Copy of Best things to do in Vendée and Charente Maritime
This region is brimming with natural and architectural treasures and there’s certainly lots to see and do. Two-wheeled transport is the way to go and the best way to get to places off the beaten track. The good news is that there are lots of purpose-designed cycle paths (and flat surfaces!).
Le Puy du Fou – The ultimate family day out that will have kids and adults filled with wonder. What started out as one village’s pie-in-the-sky dream has become an internationally acclaimed historical extravaganza. Le Puy du Fou is France’s second-biggest theme park and a wonderful antidote to its heavily commercial competitors. Visitors are thrust back to different periods of history through a host of impeccably-orchestrated shows that nail the wow factor. The pinnacle is the epic Cinéscénie night performance which is simply out of this world.
La Venise Verte – There’s a tendency to dub any waterlocked town as being some sort of Venice. In this case, it’s Green Venice, named after its delightful countryside setting. Patches of land formerly used as meadows and crop fields spring up among almost 4,000 km of canals, channels and troughs. This unique part of the Marais Poitevin landscape was initiated by monks. Hire a punt or a riverboat, take a guided boat tour, or stick to the paths on bike or horseback.
Marennes-Oléron basin – Oléron oysters are reputed throughout France, and this is one of the biggest production spots. All the paths lead to an oyster hut where you can taste the freshest oysters imaginable. Follow the canal towpaths to discover them.
Roche-Courbon castle – French novelist Pierre Loti called it Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Indeed, its fairytale turrets don’t go unnoticed. And the grounds ooze with a dreamy romanticism that’s worth going out of your way for.
Cordouan lighthouse – This is not only one of France’s oldest lighthouses, but also one of the last to be occupied by wardens. On top of that, the building itself is fantastic. You can reach it by boat, then climb the 311 steps up to the marble-clad King’s quarters and the stained-glass window chapel. Enjoy the impressive views over the estuary.