Things to See & Do

Beaches

The Atlantic coast with its glorious beaches is only 30 minutes drive from La Boulinerie, giving the choice of miles and miles of sandy coastline.

 Les Conches - one of the beautiful beaches near La Boulinerie


Les Conches – one of the beautiful beaches near La Boulinerie

 Fun in the evening sun at Les Conches near La Boulinerie


Fun in the evening sun at Les Conches near La Boulinerie


The sandy pine forests behind the dunes at La Faute


The long sandy beach at La Faute sur Mer

The beaches vary from pure sand and dunes at La Faute sur Mer, the nature reserve at the Pointe d’Aiguillon, to the sand and rock pools of St Vincent sur Jard and Jard sur Mer.


Fun in the sea at Les Conches


Fun in the sea at Les Conches

Body boarding, surfing and wind surfing can be enjoyed at the beaches around La Tranche, Longeville & Les Conches.

 Body boarding on the beach at Les Conches.


Body boarding on the beach at Les Conches.

There is world class surfing along the coast – In May 2015 the French National Kitesurfing Championships took place at La Tranche sur Mer. .


Fun in the evening sun at Les Conches

. Windsurfers, dinghies, boards and paddle boards can be hired from many beaches. There are surf schools at many of the surfing locations.

 Land yachts can be hired on the beach at La Faute sur Mer near La Boulinerie


Land yachts can be hired on the beach at La Faute sur Mer near La Boulinerie

Cycling

The coast is well served with many hundreds of kilometres of newly designated cycle tracks along the dunes and through the pine forests. Bike hire is widely available.    

We are please to announce that a bike-hire service is now available  

We have joined forces with GoGo Bike Hire,who will deliver bikes and all accessories to you. A local, family-run, and English speaking business, they will tailor your bike-hire package according to your needs. Any reservations should be made directly at www.gogobikehire.com


Cycling by the sea!

For further information click here

Puy du Fou

This extraordinary theme park displays the history of France through spectacular re-enactments from the standpoint of events in the Vendée

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 Set in a huge landscaped park, the shows of the Puy du Fou combine the skills of actors, horsemen, falconers and stuntmen together with stunning sets and effects that bring history to life.


Puy du Fou – the life-size Roman arena

. Sensational and exciting, some American visitors last year rated the park as “better than Disneyland”!. Open from April until end September. You can reserve on line or we can make reservations for you.  English translation headsets available on demand from the ticket office.


Viking show at Puy du Fou


The Viking Show at Puy du Fou

The Puy du Fou also stages evening shows (the “Cinéscène”) on regular evening dates throughout the summer. This outside spectacular is perfomed on a “stage” of several acres (the largest in the World), and features over a thousand actors and some of the most ingeneous special effects seen anywhere.

For further information click here

Indian Forest

A brilliant adventure playground for children and adults alike about 30 minutes from La Boulinerie. « Accrobranche » circuits at various heights through the tree tops provide thrills for all age groups in this very well run and patrolled park


Fun in the treetops at Indian Forest

. Bouncy castles, pony rides and other giant inflatables are available for smaller children and a « maxi bungee » jump for the brave.

Paintballing, and nocturnal tours of the circuits are also available.

Everyone returns exhausted but exhilarated!


Indian Forest

For further information click here

Futuroscope

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Originally opened as the European Science Park, this extraordinary theme park is now dedicated to the Moving Image.

Incredible 3D cinematic effects, space simulators and rides are being constantly updated.

About an hour and a half from La Boulinerie but well worth a day’s trip.

For further information click here

Parc Floral et Tropical de la Court d’Aron

Court d'Aron lotuses


Lotuses at Court d’Aron

Located at Saint-Cyr-en-Talmondais, between Luçon and Les Sables d’Olonne, the “Parc Floral et Tropical” (Floral and tropical park) of la Court d’Aron, offers a botanic world tour.

From early July, acres of Asian lotuses provide a simply stunning show.

For further information click here

La Rochelle


La Rochelle – the old port

The historic city of La Rochelle lies 30 minutes from La Boulinerie and hosts our nearest International airport (La Rochelle-Ré).


The cloistered streets of La Rochelle

There are wonderful shops in the cloistered streets which lead down to the old Port.


The old streets La Rochelle


Restaurants along the port in La Rochelle

The Port itself is lined with great restaurants and overlooks a beautiful marina.


The old port at La Rochelle

The covered market is open daily and offers excellent local produce.


Fresh shellfish at the market in La Rochelle


La Rochelle Market – open daily

There is a superb and very well-known aquarium which makes a brilliant outing in the unlikely event of rain!

We are often asked by English visitors where they can find a Decathlon – the answer is in the out of town shopping centre at La Rochelle!

For further information on La Rochelle click here

L’Ile de Ré

This beautiful, well preserved island is connected to the mainland by a 2km bridge from La Rochelle, half an hour from La Boulinerie.


St Martin en Ré

It offers fantastic beaches and cycling routes


Cycling on the Ile de Ré

The centre of the island is given over to vineyards and pine forests, oyster beds and salt pans, and in the spring is thick with the smell of the yellow mimosa blossom.


Vineyards on the Ile de Re


Rockpooling on the Ile de Ré


Rockpooling on the Ile de Ré

The capital, the old port of St Martin en Ré, is a stunning town centred around the old port, now surrounded by excellent restaurants, pretty buildings and a wide variety of shops.


The old town and port – Ile de Ré

A really great day out – one of our family’s favourites!

For further information click here

Luçon 

Luçon Cathedral1


Luçon Cathedral

Our nearest big town, 10 minutes from La Boulinerie, Luçon has a beautiful cathedral and stunning and spacious public gardens (Le Jardin Dumaine) as well as offering excellent shopping facilities.

There are restaurants to suit all tastes (even a McDonalds!) and a truly French covered market every Wednesday and Saturday morning.

The town has many historic connections and buildings to explore –  the infamous Cardinal Richlieu was Bishop of Luçon for 17 years and is widely represented.


Le Jardin Dumaine – Luçon


Le Jardin Dumaine – Luçon

Three hypermarkets on the ring road and well as numerous clothing and shoe warehouses provide a wide variety of shopping.

For further information click here

Fontenay Le Comte

This charming Renaissance town lies 20 minutes to the east of La Boulinerie on the banks of the gently flowing River Vendée.


Fontenay le Comte

Its history goes back to the time of the Gauls but is probably better known as the former capital of the department Vendée . Napoleon I punished Fontenay for its role in harbouring Royalists during the post-revolution Vendéen uprisings of 1793 by creating a new capital at La Roche sur Yon (originally modestly called Napoleon sur Yon!).


The Saturday market at Fontenay le Comte

There is a fabulous market on Saturday mornings offering a vast range of local produce. Create your own meals or buy ready-prepared fare from the various stalls. The pretty buildings lining the high street house a variety of shops and restaurants (most of which are closed on Mondays).

The Chateau de Terreneuve is a pretty Renaissance castle with some extraordinary later architectural additions. Set in lovely gardens, it overlooks the town and is open from May to September. Tours in English during High Season.

For further information click here.

Le Foret de Mervant

12,000 acres of mixed woodland, thirty minutes from La Boulinerie, Le Foret de Mervent is brilliant for walking, cycling and riding; criss-crossed with sign-posted trails for all abilities, (maps available).

The cool shade under the trees can be a welcome relief in very hot weather and provides an ideal location for picnics. Wild birds and mammals abound so bring your binoculars.

The lake at Mervent village offers canoes, kayaks and pedaloes for hire.

For further information click here

Le Parc de Pierre Brune

Le Parc de Pierre Brune is located within Mervent forest and is an adventure park aimed at smaller children (although our teenagers still love it), offering large inflatables, trampolines and bumper boats.


Parc Pierre Brune

In Summer 2006 they  opened the longest slide in Europe hurtling through the trees for some 50 metres.

50m slide Parc Pierre Brune


50m slide at Parc Pierre Brune

For further information click here

Marais Poitevin

Reclaimed from the sea over a thousand years ago, this network of canals was dug from the marshes by Dutch engineers and originally used by the numerous monasteries for trade and the transportation of goods .


The Green Venice

Today you can hire flat bottomed boats or canoes to explore the miles of peaceful algae- covered waterways, known as La Venise Verte (The Green Venice), or sit back and relax in a punt steered by an informative guide.


Lazy afternoon at La Venise Verte

The wildlife is staggering; the canals seething with kingfishers, dragonflies, otters, coypu and crayfish. It is a wonderfully relaxing way to spend an hour or a day and boats can be hired at Maillezais, Coulon and Damvix amongst other places.

For further information click here

Maillezais

The Cathedral abbey of St Peter at Maillezais in the heart of the ‘Green Venice’ is probably the most beautiful and romantic ruin in Vendée. It was founded in the 10th century and abandonned in the 17th century. Open to visitors, there are many different displays with actors in costume that bring the place to life.

During August there is a spectacular son et lumière and fireworks display with flaming braziers, monks, knights on horseback and a stirring soundtrack. In December the Abbey hosts a big outdoor Christmas market, nativity and choral concerts.

For further information click here

Les Sables d’Olonne

This elegant turn-of-the-century seaside resort has beautiful beaches and a traditional seafront promenade with old-fashioned merry-go-rounds in high season.

The old port has been beautifully restored and offers a range of very good restaurants at all price ranges. There are chic shops and an excellent food market in the centre of town.


The old port at Les Sables d’Olonne

Every four years the town hosts the start in November, and the finish in February of the famous Vendée Globe single-handed, round-the-world yacht race. For several months beforehand the skippers and their yachts draw the crouds from far and wide, and their return from their hazardous voyage is an exciting celebration as each boat arrives to cheering crowds.


The Vendee Globe – The return to Les Sables d’Olonne

For further information click here

Chateau de Tiffauges

The building of Le Chateau de Tiffauges was started in the 12th century and finished in the 16th. The chateau was, at one stage, home to Gilles de Rais, otherwise known as Bluebeard, the murderous Marshal of France under Charles VII who met a somewhat bloody end. There is a collection of medieval war engines, many in complete working order and there are daily demonstrations. Under an hour from La Boulinerie.

For further information click here

La Chabotterie

La Chabotterie is a very pretty small chateau in the rural setting of Bas-Poitou, and home to Vendée’s very own two-starred Michelin restaurant. The castle and agricultural buildings form a horseshoe shape around a courtyard. There is an enclosed garden consisting of an ornamental area with geometric flower beds, a maze, and a vegetable garden where various types of vegetables and medicinal plants are grown. The visitor centre hosts a wide and frequently changing variety of exhibitions from history to horticulture. About 45 minutes from La Boulinerie.

For further information click here

Nieul sur l’Autise

The Abbey of Nieul sur l’Autise was founded in 1068. The birthplace of Eleanor of Aquitaine, mother of Richard 1st of England, the abbey was granted royal status in the 12th Century when Eleanor was Queen of France. The abbey’s Romanesque cloister is the only one in western France to have been preserved intact. It features fabulous wood carvings and beautiful sculptures. An adjoining courtyard is surrounded by the monks’ quarters. Tours are available in several languages, including English. Throughout the year it is the location for many classical concerts featuring international orchestras and choirs.

For further information click here

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