The most beautiful villages of Vendée

Mallièvre
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To discover the Vendée, there is nothing better than visiting its villages. Stroll in pretty medieval alleys, admire beautiful monuments, take photos of the Vendée landscapes… Let's go for a tour of the Vendée territories, through its most beautiful villages.

Are you hesitating between old stones and ocean views? We suggest you combine the two, strolling through the coastal villages that line the coast. Without forgetting the charming little ports of the island of Yeu and the island of Noirmoutier. Then we will go a little more inland, in the Breton Vendée Marshes (fr). Going down to the south, we will get lost in the Marais poitevin (fr). And finally, we will enter the heart of the Vendée and its groves (fr).


Photos of the article © Guide de la Vendée unless otherwise stated


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Coastal and island villages

We start our tour of the Vendée with its Atlantic facade. Under the Breton Marsh, stretch the Vendée beaches, dotted with port villages and large seaside resorts.

Noirmoutier-en-île

Nestled between the salt marsh and its beach, Noirmoutier-en-île has many tourist attractions: a pedestrianized town center with pretty shops and art galleries; Jacobsen Pier, named after a large family who developed and shaped the city; his aquarium, the Sealand; its castle-museum in its historic heart...


Go for a walk between town and nature, along the quayside to observe the birds of the Müllembourg Nature Reserve (fr).



Noirmoutier on the island

Noirmoutier on the island   Noirmoutier on the island
Noirmoutier on the island
Noirmoutier-en-île

Port-Joinville

Accessible only by boat, the Ile d'Yeu favors soft mobility. The island therefore still has a somewhat wild character. Port-Joinville is a small town which has managed to preserve its village soul, with its market which animates it every morning, its small shops and its charming houses with colorful facades. You can also visit a Museum of Fishing and Rescue at Sea.


A walk on the quays of the marina at the end of the day is a treat!



Port Joinville

Port Joinville   Port Joinville
Port Joinville on the island of Yeu

The island of Olonne

L'Île-d'Olonne is a small village of salt workers in the Marais d'Olonne. The salt workers collect the salt in the salt marshes. Several sites allow you to better understand life in the marsh, this profession and the traditions which result from it, in particular the ecomuseum of the Petite Gare and the Salorge, a former salt warehouse. Its panoramic bell tower at the top of the Saint-Martin de Vertou church offers you a breathtaking view of the marsh below to appreciate its importance.


Meet at the Observatory of Birds on the Ile d'Olonne to have a glimpse of it!



The island of Olonne
The island of Olonne and its salt marshes

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The villages of the Marais Breton Vendéen

The Marais Breton Vendéen is a huge salt marsh, built by man. Its economic development is due to the recovery of salt, fishing and traditional cattle breeding in its marshy meadows. Its villages are very traditional.

Bouin

Bouin is a village so enclosed in the marsh that it has long been considered an island. It was also ravaged several times by tidal waves, before being protected by a dike. The village lives from oyster farming and fishing in the Étiers des champs and Louippe. By going around the outside of the village, you will be able to realize this special relationship between the marsh and the people.


Meet at the exit of the town, at the Passage du Gouin, to see the spectacle of the rising or falling tide.



Bouin
The pretty port of Bouin
Bouin
The wind turbines of Bouin, against a background of poppies

Sallertaine

Sallertaine is a small village in the middle of the salt marshes. It is the ideal place to discover life in the marshes. La Bourrine à Rosalie is an eco museum that allows you to follow Rosalie's daily life in this traditional and typical house of the region. You can also visit the Rairé Windmill. The educational farm of the Zanimo islet recalls this land of cattle breeding. Handicrafts are also very present there. Sallertaine is renowned for its “ artisan island ”.


Sallertaine is a good starting point to take La Route du sel.



Sallertaine

Sallertaine   Sallertaine
Sallertaine
Sallertaine and Bourrine in Rosalie

The villages of the Marais Poitevin Regional Park

The Marais Poitevin Regional Nature Park includes 50 towns in the Vendée. The villages in the heart of this “ green Venice ” live to the rhythm of the marshes and benefit from this rural environment of pastures, cut by canals and bordered by groves.

Nieul-sur-l'Autise

Nieul-sur-l'Autise is located on the edge of the Regional Park and on the border of Deux-Sèvres. It is built around a royal abbey of the 11th century. You can admire its beautiful water mill and if you want to know more, visit the Maison de la Meunerie.


The banks of the Autise offer you beautiful walks.



Abbey of Nieul sur l'Autise © Patrick Durandet
Abbey of Nieul sur l'Autise © Patrick Durandet

The villages of the Vendée countryside

The Vendée bocage is a quieter and more intimate area. You will appreciate its authentic villages, with beautiful religious monuments and a small typical heritage.

Wanting

Vouvant was founded around the Lusignan fortified castle. Today only the Tower of Mélusine remains. The destiny of the Lusignan family has been associated with the legend of the fairy Mélusine, hence its name. It is a medieval village, classified among the " Most beautiful villages of France ". Let yourself be guided by its charming old streets. You will eventually reach the remains of its ramparts, its Romanesque church or the famous tower.


At the top of the Mélusine Tower, the view over the Vendée groves is worth the climb!



Wanting
Wanting
Wanting

Pouzauges

Pouzauges is an ancient fortified city from the Middle Ages. At the top of the hill, the Dungeon of Pouzauges throne, surrounded by its beautiful wooded park. Around the castle, the village has retained its typically medieval plan. It has several tourist interests: the park of the castle, the Polissoirs de Pouzauges, the Mills of Terrier Marteau, its small lake of Hope.


During the summer season, we recommend that you book a night torchlight walk, organized by the tourist office.



Pouzauges
Pouzauges
Pouzauges and its pretty point of view

Mallievre

Mallièvre is located on the banks of the Sèvre Nantaise. This situation allowed the installation of weavers and millers. These artisans got rich and built beautiful stone houses. It has a small heritage linked to water: fountains, wash house, mills… To learn more about the art of weaving, visit the Maison du Tisserand. The village is located on the Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle and you can go hiking there.


An interesting and free guided tour on the history of Mallièvre.



Mallievre

Pouzauges

Mouchamps

Mouchamps is classified among the " small towns of character ". Overlooking the Petit Lay river, it is a medieval village. Between the river, the ponds of the Soubise park and the small streams, it has its feet in the water and you will take bucolic and refreshing walks in summer. Its Renaissance heritage deserves to linger. There is also a church and a Protestant temple.


Do not miss a stroll on the hiking trails at the water's edge.



Mouchamps
The countryside near Mouchamps

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We have reached the end of our guide to visiting the villages of the Vendée and all we have to do is wish you wonderful walks!


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