Le Littoral, Vendee

The Vendee by Bob and Paula Banyard, Couriers

Sunshine, rugged coasts, pine forests, fields of sunflowers and beaches. We were lucky enough to spend the summer of 2010 working for Canvas at Le Littoral campsite on the Vendée.

The site itself was well organised and the staff very friendly. We looked after eighteen mobile homes and six tents. The site is situated close to Talmont St Hilaire, an historic town with links to Richard the Lionheart.

This area of France has so much to offer. We had a great time. Hard work, good company and a beautiful environment! At the beginning of the season we were able to get out and about in between the busy schedule of montage cleaning! First hand experience is very useful as you acquire plenty of ideas and suggestions for the customers. During our stay we met some holidaymakers who were regular visitors to the area and they were also able to give us useful information.

The Vendée is within easy travelling distance of Britain. The majority of our visitors came on the St Malo ferry, often overnight thus leaving only three and a half hours driving in France which meant they were not too tired on arrival.

During the first few days most customers were happy to explore their immediate surroundings. Access to the beach was easy from the site and most were happy to take a walk by the sea, cycle or sit by the pool, soaking up the vendee sun.

A short distance away was the port of Bourgenay which made an ideal walk in the evenings. It took no longer than forty minutes along the coastal path, winding in and out of the pine forests to the harbour and all its bars and cafés. A great place for watching the sunset and to absorb the atmosphere of France. After a few relaxing days customers would start to enquire about excursions further afield. We would suggest many possibilities according to their own interests. La Rochelle and the Ile de Ré were both definitely worth a visit but one of our favourite day's out was on a Wednesday (Market Day) to St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and the Château at Apremont.

From Le Littoral the drive along tree-lined roads to St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie would take around forty minutes. If you wanted to catch the market it was best to set off quite early as French markets are swift to pack away around noon. We love the atmosphere of Market day in France. The hustle and bustle, the amazing variety of colours and smells! The seafood was incredible and the fruit and  vegetables arranged in neat rows looked as if they had been individually polished before being presented for sale! Clothes, shoes, handbags and jewellery all on display, tempting even the most adamant to buy.

Next we would take the car to Apremont. It's a short drive inland along delightful country lanes. Soon the towers emerge from between the trees, an architectural wonder! There is a small boulangerie in the village square and we stop to buy a baguette and croissants. Next to a small path leading to the river is a grocery shop so we buy camembert, pate and orange juice to complete our picnic. We find a shady bench by the river and we eat as we watch the dragonflies dance across the surface of the water.

Feeling suitably replete we wend our way through the sleepy village to the top of the hill and to the entrance to the Château d'Apremont. There are beautiful rose gardens and a full explanation of the history of the Château given in several languages. Visitors are free to explore and immerse themselves in the intriguing past of this dream like castle. We recommended this outing to many of our customers and they all loved it!

There really is so much to do in the Vendée, something for everyone and as you can imagine we met so many people with differing interests, likes and dislikes. Couples usually liked sightseeing such as La Rochelle, Les Sables-d'Olonne, St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, Château de Talmont, Georges Clemenceau’s house, La Bourrine, at St Hilaire de Riez, St Jean de Monts, Ile de Noirmoutier, Apremont, Vouvont, and Fontenay le Compte. Not forgetting the seaside towns of La Tranche-sur-Mer and Jard-sur-Mer. Walking and cycling were popular past times for all generations, the cycle paths are second to none! Everyone must try Moules-Frites when staying on the Vendée, delicious! Many who travel to the area take advantage of the Atlantic waves, surfing is very popular and exciting to watch!

Families with small children would enjoy a day out at Parc d’Attractions des Dunes, La Belière Loisirs, Château des Aventuriers, the zoo at Les-Sables-d'Olonne and Atlantic Toboggan. One family visited Plantète Sauvage and had a marvellous time! Of course the main attraction of the area and somewhat of an institution is the Puy du Fou. It's about an hour away from Le Littoral and is quite expensive but well worth it! What an experience! We are told that the evening performance is incredible as well! A theme park with a difference, horses, birds of prey, special effects all depicting the history of the Vendée, amazing!

We had a wonderful season on the Vendée. Our memories include happy customers, walking by the sea, cycling along coastal paths, moules, Apremont, the Puy du Fou, sun and fresh sea air!

The list goes on and on! We loved it!

Les Sables-d'Olonne

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Review added by: Canvas Holidays

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Head Housekeeper in Tignes

With: Mark Warner Ltd

Kitchen Porter

With: Season to Season Employment Ltd