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Watermills of the Vendee

Sud Vendee.. Haut Bocage.. Coastal Region.. Marais Poitevin.. Marais Breton.. Bas Bocage.. Plaine.. Marais Olonne..
Over the centuries the Vendée has made good use of the many rivers and streams that cross the Department by harnessing their power to drive watermills. The power derived by these mills was used for paper making, tanning, cloth and wool weaving, fuller mills for degreasing and felting woolen fabrics, mills for washing and dying cloth,Thistle mills with teasle covered drums for finishing woolen fabrics, powder-mills for crushing charcoal, saltpeter & sulfur and mills for grinding grain.
On the River Sévre Nantaise there were no fewer than 145 water mills along a short stretch of this picturesque river.
There are now only a few that are still working, other mills have had their structures restored to be used as private residences or let out as holiday rentals.
Watermills somehow conjure up images of idyllic beauty spots, with gentle flowing rivers bubbling along tree lined valleys with kingfishers darting with flashes of blue, weirs with quaint stone built houses inside which the wheels and cogs turn rhythmically to the sound of cascading water.

Below we have listed a few water mills that can be visited or can be seen in their privileged locations.

Maison de la Riviere
In the north east corner of the Vendee on the river Petite Maine near St Georges Montaigu is the maison de la riviere which is devoted to life of the river.

Maison de la Meunerie. Nieul-sur-l'Autise this working water mill turns out flour for local bakeries and you can come and watch the miller at work.
Moulin a Elise. Just outside the small town of Poire-sur-Vie this watermill is open to the public during the summer season.

Moulin de Rambourg. On the river Yon at Nesmy this watermill is open for visits during the summer season.

Foulon Mill, Cugand The last water driven foulon mill in France.

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moulin fouques
the watermill under the viaduct at la Barbin
watermill in the park of la Barbinier
workings of the mill at Elise, Poire-sur-Vie
moulin poupet
watermill at Poupet