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Vendee - any tips?

(27 Posts)
adifferentwoman Mon 13-Jun-11 19:12:50

Off for a week beginning August to Vendee. Staying in a gite in St Hilaire de Riez - would appreciate any holiday tips...where's best in the day and any good places for early evening meals out with kids? Thanks......

ChippyMinton Mon 13-Jun-11 19:16:36

If your DC are 5+, a trip to Puy du Fou is a must.

Try a quick search of old threads - masses of good info about the Vendee. I think half of MN have holidayed there at one time or another.

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 13-Jun-11 19:17:59

Avoid St Jean de Monts.

bigTillyMint Mon 13-Jun-11 19:20:46

St Gilles croix de Vie. There is an ice cream shop on the road where all the restaurants are (and main carpark) which does the most enormous ice creams with a mammoth selection and is very good value. Yum!

And Puy du Fou is fab!

midnightexpress Mon 13-Jun-11 19:25:35

Just marking my place - we're off to the Vendee on Saturday grin.

I've been before a couple of times, pre-DC, and did the night-time show at Puy de Fou. Which was OK, but I don't think I'd take younger children there, from what I recollect. Do recommend the Venise Verte - we hired punts and had alovely day gliding down the waterways, twas lovely.

I've bought the book suggested on another thread, which seems to have lots of useful information. Link here

Have fun!

FriedaRoam Mon 13-Jun-11 19:30:58

take warm clothes and rainwear

ChippyMinton Mon 13-Jun-11 19:33:16

Hire those four-wheeler multi-seat bike things and have a whirl along the prom in St Jean de Monts. 30 minutes is enough!

That Angela Bird book is good. We pottered inland one day to visit a chateau and also went up a water tower. Apremont

mustdash Mon 13-Jun-11 19:38:34

Another vote for Puy de Fou. We don't often go to places like that, but the DCs (then 5,7,9) and the DCs of the friends we went with (4,8) all loved it. It was very hot at the Gladiators though - 40deg because of the design of the auditorium, and we didn't get to the Vikings, because of the queues.

Lots of time on the beach, and a day trip to Ile de Re too.

chibi Mon 13-Jun-11 19:44:21

What's wrong with st jean bibbity?

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 13-Jun-11 19:45:43

Have you been there?

Its like Blackpool or Southend or Skegness or any other horribly tacky seaside town.

chibi Mon 13-Jun-11 19:50:29

I have, though not in august. It didn't seem bad, though admittedly there aren't tacky seaside towns where i am from so i am not the best judge

I do find as i age i am happy just to go away, as long there isn't raw sewage flowing past my holiday chalet for example i am probably chipper and happy to be there

bigTillyMint Mon 13-Jun-11 19:51:42

I've been there, I think, but I don't remember and amusement arcades, etc.

TBH the Vendee isn't really my cuppa - the beaches are a bit boring. My fav is Brittany, but we are going to below La Rochelle again this year where the weather is more reliable and the beaches not so just wide and flat.

pointydog Mon 13-Jun-11 20:03:46

St Jean is nothing like Blackpool! Heavens above.

We loved puy du fou too. And the Olden Days Day in Challans. It takes place on a few Thursdays, I think, so check if it's on during your week. You'll be in a big holiday area so lots of places to eat out with kids.

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 13-Jun-11 20:26:41

Point taken - I've never been to Blackpool but St Jean is what I imagine Blackpool to be like! Full of tattoo parlours, doughnut stands, over-developed, overcrowded, lacking in soul, lacking in beauty, etc.

adifferentwoman Wed 15-Jun-11 10:27:45

Thanks everyone......really looking forward to it and intrigued by St Jean comments. Had envisaged it as some beautiful french seaside resort but clearly not!!! As we're going with friends, there'll be one boy who is 7 so I think he'll love Puy de Fou, but there'll also be 3 girls in the group - ages 3, 4 and 5...suitable for those or not?

Any tips on child friendly restaurants for early eating out?

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 15-Jun-11 10:45:40

The beach at St J is gorgeous, but don't imagine a quaint picturesque small French town. St Gilles croix de vie IS nice (as recommended by bigTillyMint) but can be a terrible traffic bottle neck and extremely difficult to get in to and park, especially on market days.

I would highly recommend taking a trip to Normoutier (I think its called) which is a very pretty island, a bit like the Isle of Wight, which you get to over an amazing road bridge across the sea. The town is charming, there is a sweet, old fashioned aquarium, and you can buy really top class sea salt flakes there, and see the salt lakes etc. I have very fond memories of my day on Normoutier.

frenchfancy Wed 15-Jun-11 17:05:17

Puy du fou is suitable for kids of all ages. My 3 girls love it. I think when we first went the eldest was about 4, we have been lots of times since and never tire of it.

The food can be a bit hit and miss though - take a picnic.

Anyone comp)aring anywhere in the Vendee to Blackpool has quite clearly never been to Blackpool. To my mind the south vendee is more picturesque than the north, but either way the beaches are lovely - what is not to like about large expanses of clean sand, with the sea gently sloping away?

pointydog Wed 15-Jun-11 18:13:24

Go to the local tourist information. There are very good What's On type leaflets. We went to a fab little sheep festival near st Hilaire.

midnightexpress Wed 15-Jun-11 18:35:04

fab little sheep festival

Tell us more pointydog grin

pointydog Wed 15-Jun-11 19:25:21

Givrand. This is a nice website. It was in July though.

But that sort of local event with breton pipes and dog agility courses and sausage grills and bars serving apperitifs. I like that sort of thing.

pointydog Wed 15-Jun-11 19:26:48

Bretignolles had a nice creperie near the beach and a pizza/mussel sort of place with very friendly staff but there are Loads of child friendly places to eat out.

bigTillyMint Wed 15-Jun-11 19:34:39

Bibbity is right about St Gilles being a bottle neck - get there in the early evening wink

And Noirmoutier is lovely too. Infact I read a book where the story was based there when we last stayed round that way, but I can't remember the title or author blush

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 15-Jun-11 20:20:08

Heh heh! Tis lovely when you read a book set in the place you are staying.

I was reading The Van by Roddy Doyle when dh and I were on our honeymoon in Dublin. Still one of my favourite ever books and because we were much younger and on a budget, we stayed in Clontarf, an outskirty district much-mentioned in the book.

Would love to read a novel set in Normoutier! Wrack your brains tilly.

jenpet Wed 15-Jun-11 21:22:09

I know there is a Joanne Harris novel set on Noirmoutier. Could be Coastliners??

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 15-Jun-11 21:52:53

Ooooh Jenpet!

Just googled Coastliners and it says it is a Breton island, so I'm not sure, but having read the synopsis am now tempted to read it anyway. So thank you.

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