The problem with being a blogger is that you can’t go on holiday and just take a few photos. I have So. Many. Photos from our two week trip to France that I want to share with you, but I’ve managed to edit them down to just these few (ha!). Oh – and the ones in the Part 2 and Part 1 posts. So, yeah, not such great editing I guess. Still, maybe you’re planning a holiday to France, or thinking about where to go next summer. Then I hope these photos and the accompanying video at the end might persuade you to consider a trip to The Vendee very seriously.
There was so much to do on the site, our days there generally involved relaxing on the terrace (where we ate breakfast every morning):
Swimming in one of the three pools. There was also a hot tub and two big waterslides. Win.
Going to the park. There were two parks, both with a wide selection of play equipment, lovely sandy ground and lots of friendly kids for my girls to play with.
Through Siblu, we also hired bikes. A local bike hire company come to the neighbouring Siblu site (Le Bois Masson) every day in the morning and evening so there’s no need to drive into town to collect bikes. We hired two adult bikes and a kids’ trailer for the girls which attached to the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine’s bike.
The cycle tracks around St Jean de Monts are amazing. In fact, The Vendee as a whole is very geared towards cyclists. We loved cycling to the beach through the pine forests, with lovely off-road routes which included plenty of picnic stops to have lunch along the way. The French take their picnics very seriously.
This is the beach at St Jean de Monts. It’s huge. Seriously enormous. It couldn’t be more perfect as a beach for a young family because the sand is so soft and clean, and it stretches for miles so the beach never feels crowded. Also, the sea goes out really far before it gets deep, making it the ideal water for my two non-swimming girls to splash about and play in safely.
We also went on some brilliant day trips. In fact, I took so many photos of our days out that each day out could easily fill a post all on its own. Around twelve kilometres down the coast is the pretty fishing town of St Gilles Croix de Vie. We had a lovely morning strolling around the cobbled backstreets here and meandering along the waterfront. After that we went for a pizza (eaten outside – don’t you love being on holiday?!) and then ate crepes looking out over the water. Heaven.
We had a fun day out in the nearby town of Challans which was hosting a traditional French street festival during our stay. It was all totally free and seemed to involve every single person in the town dressing up in traditional costume, eating in the street, dancing and drinking brandy. We went on a horse and cart ride (Frog was in heaven) and spent a huge amount of time people watching. There’s more from this day in the first video of our holiday.
We had a couple of rainy days in our second week, which I’m told is quite unusual for The Vendee at this time of year. Still, we didn’t let the wet weather spoil our fun. Planete Sauvage is a 45 minute drive from St Jean de Monts, set just outside the city of Nantes. It was easy to get to and great fun while we were there – even if the NLM did have a minor panic attack about a wilderbeast hitting his brand new car (more on that in the video below).
One of my favourite days out was a trip to the island of Noirmoutiers, another 45 minute drive away from St Jean de Monts. We visited the main town on the island – aptly named Noirmoutiers – which looked like it was straight out of Instagram. Seriously, I could have Instagrammed every corner of this place. From the cute little shops selling pretty things to the shuttered windows, bikes, gorgeous old buildings and restaurants, I’m determined to go back to this place again. I expect it would make a lovely destination for a romantic short break away, if you wanted to go somewhere a little different to the usual Paris, Venice etc.
Looking back through all my photos there are, unsurprisingly, far too many pictures of food. We ate a lot. A heck of a lot.
Every morning for breakfast we’d wander down to the local shop and buy fresh pastries which we’d scoff with coffee, tea and fruit on the mobile home’s terrace. In the evenings, when it was hot and sunny, we cooked up barbecues consisting of great quality French meat and local seafood. We ate huge amounts of fresh salad – the fruit and veg section of our local supermarket (Super U) was something else entirely – along with fat juicy prawns, moules marinieres, dauphinoise potatoes and cassoulet.
And, obviously, wine.
OK, and macaroons, fruit tarts, creme brulees…
Bread, far too much bread.
We had lunches out, indulging in gorgeous Galettes (savoury pancakes) in Noirmoutiers – mine was stuffed with camembert, shallots and ham and topped with lettuce.
And there was the odd cheeky cocktail at the Siblu bar.
The ice cream in The Vendee is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. In fact, there was almost too much choice. Frog made a valiant effort of trying every single flavour during the two week break. Apparently her favourite was Kinder chocolate flavour. Who’d have thought it?
And that’s pretty much it. If I include any more photos my blog will probably crash and if I write any more words you’ll probably get sick of hearing about it (if you’re not already). I’m just going to leave you with this video – Part 2 of our holiday to France. Top marks go to those of you who can spot Frog interrogating us with a particularly awkward question over dinner one evening.
France, we love you. See you again next summer…