Historical sites and places to visit in the Vendée
Visit the Vendée's historical monuments to learn all about the region's tumultuous past. Abbeys, lodges, castles and marshlands hold the fascinating secrets of times gone by. And there are lots of other places to visit too, for young and old alike.
Jardin des Olfacties
Coëx (5 minutes)
The Jardin des Olfacties is a beautiful botanical garden in the village of Coëx featuring more than 3,500 varieties of exotic plants over five hectares of grounds. It is a delight for the senses, with an explosion of colours and fragrances, and perfect for a leisurely stroll in the shade. The garden also has water features and a Japanese pagoda. Entrance is free, and it takes about two hours to explore the whole garden.
Brétignolles sur Mer (10 mins) - Visit the website
A fairytale miniature world depicting a bustling village of times gone by with its wooden carts, tradesfolk, little stone houses, a watermill, and a church which looms proudly over the village at a whole 3 metres high. Watch the steam locomotive as it chugs past the windmill. 650 characters recount the tale of this typical Vendée marshland village. A great place to visit for young and old alike.
Apremont castle and lake (15 mins)
The magnificent twin towers of Apremont Castle stand proudly amid a charming and character-packed little town. Built on the site of a mediaeval fortress upon a rocky promontory, this Renaissance castle overlooks the Vie valley.
La Mothe Achard (20 mins) - Visit the website
Its name means "extraordinary vegetable garden", and that's exactly what it is, with more than 1,500 varieties of exotic and tropical plants, and intriguing species of pumpkins. Learn lots as you take a fun stroll in the shade of giant sunflowers and surprise your senses with pelargonium plants that smell like Coca Cola, a plant that tastes of oysters, and an explosive gherkin!
La Salorge de la Vertonne
L'Ile d'Olonne (20 mins) - Visit the website
Take a trip over to the Ile d'Olonne and visit La Salorge de la Vertonne, the island's salt barn which is based at the Marais aux Fèves salt marshes. Make sure you pick up some of their "Fleur du sel" while you're there.
Talmont Saint Hilaire (40 mins) - Visit the website
This famous fortress was built on a rocky overhang in the 11th century by Richard the Lionheart. Activities, workshops, shows and guided tours take place in July and August.
Historial de la Vendée
Les Lucs sur Boulogne (40 mins) - Visit the website
Plunge into 7,000 years of the Boulogne valley's history at this ultra-modern museum. Meet the first hunters of the Neolithic era, meander through the Gallo-Roman streets, chat to the great Renaissance humanists, relive the legend of clog-wearing soldiers from 1793, and experience village life in the last century. This is a unique and exciting science museum that will keep children happy for hours.