We’ve just returned from a holiday in Vendée region at Siblu villages (you can read my review of Siblu Holidays here) and I wanted to write a post to share with you all the amazing things that you can do if you’re like me and would want to explore the region. Don’t get me wrong, we love chilling out by the poolside too but we really like to get it and show the children all the things the region has to oﬀer. There is so much to do however that I have ended up writing several posts, and this one is dedicated to the Island of Noirmoutier which is a thirty minute drive from Siblu Villages and something you absolutely 100% can’t miss.
So, without bleating on, here is everything you need to know about Noirmoutier in Vendee with children:
Noirmoutier is a small island (like, really small) just oﬀ the coast of Vendee, connected by a huge bridge OR the rather famous Le Gois, which is an access causeway twice a day. It is as quaint as it is diverse and I love it. When you ﬁrst go over the bridge to the island there is a small beach area to pull into. This is where all of the shellﬁsh is collected, you need your wellies to go on the beach for sure because it is MUDDY! It’s amazing seeing all the shellﬁsh being collected – a real cultural experience for the kids who subsequently spent an hour going along the beach and collecting various shells… and crap corpses. They even found a jellyﬁsh!
Once you’ve had a look here, hop back in the car and drive along to Noirmoutier village. Take your time here – there is a small retro game shop and stunning women’s clothing shop along the little village strip. It was fabulous; very quiet but be warned – everything (including the castle which is your main attraction on the island) is closed at lunch time for two hours and shut on Mondays. Such a disappointment for us all to rock up on a Monday! The aquarium there also has a really good reputation but we couldn’t go in because: Monday. Anyway, for lunch we did stop at a traditional crepes cafe where you could indulge in sweet or savoury crepes and LUSH ice cream. The staﬀ were so friendly and polite, it made an alternative to the fancier restaurants that seemed to take centre on the island and the ﬁsh restaurants – which are plentiful. If you are a foodie and wanting to try some local cuisine, you can’t beat Noirmoutier.
From Noirmoutier village we drove up to Le Vieil which I still think of as one of my favourite parts of the whole holiday. If you’re looking for a quiet beach, an unspoiled and gloriously French village, then this is it. I can honestly say that we would adore staying on the the island and bumped into a couple who were spending half term hiring a cottage in Le Vieil with their children and grandchildren- something f that they had been doing throughout the year for over 35 years. It was lovely to see them ﬁshing for whitebait with the kids and something that I would love to do with my own children.
From Le Vieil you need to move across to the harbour town of Le’ Herbaudiere – walk along the harbour and plan what you intend to do when you need to dock up you own boat whilst you gaze at large and small boats in their lovely little harbour. Find the bakery on the corner and make sure you get some pain au chocolat and some traditional local ﬂan called flan maraîchin.
Another small note for reaching the kids something – Noirmoutier is traditionally a salt island, there are still active salt “farms” all over the island and they are really fascinating to chat about as you are driving around. Those are the only places we had time to visit on the island but we will 100% go back – in fact; we would have booked for Summer if it wasn’t for Toby’s operation pending and not wanting to miss the dates.
If you want to you can ﬁnd a plethora of fabulous cottages to stay at on Noirmoutier itself – though I would avoid it in July as it becomes very busy AND the Tour de France is setting oﬀ from Noirmoutier village. So guaranteed to be a costly time to go. If you don’t want to stay on the island, you can read all about our experience at Siblu Villages, which I highly recommend for young families!
You can see more of our holiday to Vendee here on youtube: