If you are staying at one of Carisma’s Vendee campsites, you may enjoy a day trip to Noirmoutier Island. Since the early 1970’s, this island has been connected to the mainland of northern Vendee via a bridge. Prior to this, people waited for low tide to cross the Passage du Gois, an undersea road which is exposed when the tide retreats. If you pay close attention to the tide times, it is still possible to walk across three miles of sandy cobbles to the island.
If you are practiced at cooking shellfish, you can even join the locals to collect a very fresh dinner on route. If not, there are plenty of restaurants selling seafood that has been locally prepared using traditional recipes. From oysters and mussels to lobster, the region is renowned for the produce caught at sea.
Once on L’ile Noirmoutier, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained. For a start there are glorious beaches, backed by sand dunes and cycle routes through the pine forests for exploring the island. Alternative tours are offered by the Hippobus de L’ile, a horse drawn carriage and Le Noirmoutier train.
Younger children might enjoy Mini Ville, a miniature reconstruction of a traditional French village or one of the beachside children’s centres such as Parc de Loisirs du Gois and Club Mickey. These include inflatable slides, trampolines, mini karts and mini golf to provide plenty of fun activities.
The island is overlooked by a medieval castle, which is open to visitors and as the highest point of the island offers great views in every direction. It might inspire budding knights, but avoid Tuesdays as it is closed.
Meanwhile, animal enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to the island’s Sealand Aquarium in Le Vieux Port or Ile aux Papillions, a butterfly farm. Older children may be more impressed with Laser Game and the island’s own water park, Oceanile which is open until 7pm throughout July and August.
In addition to the natural and family orientated attractions, Noirmoutier is host to a variety of annual events. These include celebrations of theatre, music and a variety of sports. As a few examples, the Fete de la Port de Noirmoutier will take place on 13 June, whilst the Noirmoutier Classic Boat Race is scheduled for 7 August and an island bike ride ‘Sel en Selle’ will take place on 19 September.
No matter how you decide to spend the time, a trip to L’ile Noirmoutier can make for an interesting day out during your Vendee holiday.
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