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THE VENDEE is a large département (or county) about the size of Devon or Cumbria (or, for American readers, somewhere between the size of Maine and West Virginia), located on the French Atlantic coast, just south of Brittany and Nantes, and north of La Rochelle. Its position, within 2 to 5 hours of the various western ferry ports, makes the area an easy day's journey from Britain and Ireland.
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Ste Hermine
Vendee Guide

Situated on the Plaine or 'Lucon to Fontenay Praire' as it is often called, this small town on the river Smagne has a fine 17th century chateau which stands on the site of a medieval castle and has an annual festival in August.
St Hermine is on the crossroads between the plain to the east and south and the bocage to the north and west it is also on the crossroads of major transport links and on the actual crossroads, for years a notorious bottleneck, stands an enormous war memorial which at its head is a stature of the Politician Georges Clemenceau, Known as the "tiger" also as the "father of Victory". It was Clemenceau who signed the treaty of Versailles  for France and it was clemenceau who unveiled the memorial by the sculptor Sicard on December2nd 1921 with the words " On this day when our Vendee celebrates the victorious motherland, I see no room for individual glory. Today belongs to France; what more do we need to fill our hearts"

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Le Pub des Halles situated in Ste Hermine is an English pub serving good food and drinks, about a 5 minute drive from the gites, recommended, owners very friendly.
Le St George in St Juire,
bar and restaurant
serving haute cuisine,
open at
lunch times and
for evening meals, reservation is
advisable as very popular.
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The Puy du Fou
Is not just famous for its sound and light shows, especially the famous Cinéscénie and its 1,200 actors on a 23-hectare stage, but a number one theme park destination too.
It is located in the hedged farmland of the Vendée region, near Les Herbiers and Cholet and an hour from Nantes and Angers. The park puts on lots and lots of amazing shows in the heart of a hundred year-old forest: roaring battles, with Vikings attacking an ancient village with thatched roofs, magnificent raptor flight displays in the Dance of the Phantom Birds, swashbuckling shows with the Richelieu Musketeers … Animals are everywhere, to the delight of children and adults alike. The park also lets you step through the gates of time and wander through an authentic medieval city, a magnificent eighteenth-century village and a Belle Epoque town from 1900. At night, a fantastic symphony of water and fire – so romantic – lights up the old Puy du Fou lake. New for 2012: the Imaginary World of La Fontaine, an interactive experience in the extraordinary La Fontaine Gardens – very 17
th century, the Grand Siècle. Surrounded by animals from the celebrated Fables and talking trees, the statues suddenly come to life and there is one surprise after another as visitors pass by.
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The Vendée is justifiably proud of its beaches. Most have achieved the blue flag for cleanliness and are typically gently sloping with fine golden sand. They attract visitors to holiday on their shores from all around the world and have done so for more than a century. There is nothing like blue sea, golden sand and glorious sunshine to conjure up a picture of the ideal holiday and the Vendée has an abundance of all of them.
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Park Pierre Brune

Set in the heart of the Mervent Forest, east of Fontenay le Comte in the South Vendée, Pierre Brune is a fun park on a 25 acre site full of attractions for all the family.
From April to Mid September the park is open most days from 11.00 to 19.00 and in July and August is open every day from 10-30 to 19h. The price of entry is €11 for an adult and child and includes all the activities, (except the mini carting and the 2 tennis de terre battue).
Open; From 3rd April to October
                 July /August    11.00 to 19.30h
Tarif; 11€

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The Green Venice
The Green Venice or Venise Verte as it is called in France is really the more tourist intensive part of the Marais Poitevin . It is that part of the Marais Poitevin that was the last to be drained and is called the Marais mouille or wet marshes. It is world renown by artists who come here for the light and its juxtaposition with the water, the variety in the innumerable shades of green and to capture the magic of this enchanting corner of France. This lazy landscape is criss-crossed by a system of canals lined by willows and popular trees. The slow flowing rivers of the Sèvre Noirtaise and the Vendèe meander across this fen-like landscape with it's essential dyke systems which are necessary to control the water levels. The myriad canals are covered with green duck weed which gives it its name of Verice-Vert or Green Venice. Dotted along the banks are many pretty little stone cottages, which are a delight for the artist and tourist alike. These marshlands support a variety of flora and fauna, many of which are rare and unique. Much of this is best viewed either from the flat bottom boats on hire all along the canals or by taking a stroll along the many quiet footpaths. There are nature reserves at several places on the Marais Poitevin.
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La Rochelle
Guarded by medieval twin towers, the Vieux Port at La Rochelle is one of the most photographed harbours on France’s Atlantic coast, the colourful hub of a town packed with history and heritage, tempting boutiques and cosy restaurants.
Pick up a town guide from the Tourist Office in the colourful Gabut district beside the harbour. Once a collection of old fishermen’s huts, the brightly painted clapboard buildings now house shops and cafes.
Opposite the Tourist Office is La Rochelle Aquarium, home to 12,000 marine animals, whilst the floating Maritime Museum nearby includes a weather ship, trawler and tug boat.
The historic old town features vaulted stone arcades and historic public buildings, as well as imposing private mansions from the 17
th and 18th centuries. Visit the newly restored Natural History Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, or one of several themed collections.
easy to explore on foot, La Rochelle is ideal as a short-break destination or as part of a longer holiday. It also offers 160 km of designated cycle paths, accessible to everyone thanks to the fleet of 350 yellow municipal bikes or ‘Yélos’.
Enjoy one of the many music and film festivals, sports events and concerts, not forgetting Le Grand Pavois, Europe’s biggest floating boat show every September.
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La Rochelle Aquarium

La Rochelle Aquarium is one of the biggest private European aquariums.
It is a creation of Coutant Aquariums leader in its field.
 Renè Coutant was the first to carry a family passion that would inspire his children to keep his work and dreams of recreating the underwater world alive. Every time
Roselyne or Pascal Coutant recall how it all started, they are transported back to their childhood. This is a common example of a family venture in which passion becomes profession and, over two generations, the children make their father’s dream a reality.
And now the third generation are embarking in the very same adventure.