The Vendee region of France is located on the country’s west coast, where the Atlantic Ocean rolls in. If you want your holiday here to be based around the seaside, a trip to Noirmoutier Island is an absolute must.
At its closest point, the isle is just half a mile from the mainland, but when you arrive you’ll feel a world away. There are two ways to access the island; the first, and most straightforward, is via the bridge at Beauvoir-sur-Mer. However, a more interesting route is via the cobbled causeway of le Passage de Gois. This road is covered by water at high tide, so is not one you can take at any time of the day.
One of the main reasons to visit Noirmoutier Island is for its stunning beaches, with 50 km of sand just waiting to be discovered. Among the best spots are the cove of Plage des Dames, La Blanche, which boasts an old abbey, and Plage de la Bosse, which is backed by rolling dunes and fragrant pine forests.
There is more to Noirmoutier than just its coastline, however, and one of the main industries on the isle aside from tourism is salt production. There are various salt marshes here, with around 80 establishments still producing salt. You can visit one of these to learn more about how it’s done, as well as to buy some salt.
Other top attractions on the island include Chateau de Noirmoutier in Noirmoutier-en-Ile, which is now home to a museum, the Sealand Aquarium and Ile aux Papillons - a butterfly farm where you can see more than 700 kinds of butterflies from all over the world.
Although you can drive to Noirmoutier Island, the best way to get around once you’re there is on foot or by bike. Life here moves at a slower pace and you’ll truly appreciate it if you also slow down and take the time to enjoy the peaceful spots you come to.
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