Family holidays in France
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Holidays in Vendee

Carisma mobile home/camping holidays to France: Vendee-( Pays de la Loire/Poitou Charente) Camping Les Sables-d’Olonne, Camping Jard, Jard sur Mer. Camping Les Conches, Longeville, La Tranche sur Mer. Camping St Hilaire de Riez-Sol a Gogo, Camping St Jean de Monts. Carisma Holidays coastal campsites.

Following the revolution, France was split up into departments, and most of these departments took on the name of largest river within the area. However, the Vendee was not the largest river in the new department, but due to strong pressure from active politicians from Fontenay-le-Comte the Vendee was chosen; it should have been called the Deux-Lays.

The Vendee is perhaps the best-known holiday area of the French Atlantic coast that stretches from south of the Loire valley – covering the Cote de Jade near Saint-Nazaire and the Cote Lumiere – (‘coast of light’) at St.Hilaire close to St-Jean-de-Monts, St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, Les Sables-d’Olonne to La Rochelle – where the region becomes known as the Charente-Maritime. With its own micro-climate, this family-favourite holiday region has been attracting holiday-makers for a mobile home holiday for many years. Carisma Holidaya families have been taking beach camping/mobile home holidays in this region of France, enjoying the sandy beaches for which the Vendee region is so famous. The Vendée is divided into four distinct regions: these are The Coastal Region, The Marais, The Plaine and The Bocage and Carisma Holidays has its campsites all along the west coast of France particularly in the Vendee.

The coastal regions and its islands have long sandy beaches backed by sand dunes which were planted with pine and Holm oak. In places there are low cliffs and rocky outcrops. The coast and islands have a mix of pretty fishing villages and coastal towns for the family on their camping holiday to enjoy.

There are three main areas of Marais, or wetland which are situated behind the coastal area. One reaches the coast just south of St-Giles- Croix-de-Vie, with the other stretching from Les Sables-d’Olonne to Longeville-sur-Mer. These are the Marais Breton, Marais Olonne and Marais Poitevin. The Plaine is a large flat region behind the coast responsible for much of the Vendée’s agricultural produce. The Vendée Plaine (sometimes known as the Luçon-Fontenay Prairie) is the original coastal plaine that developed behind the Bay of Pictones. It was a vast expanse of natural grassland, almost devoid of trees. The Bocage is split into the Bas (low) Bocage and the Haute (high) Bocage. These are areas of rolling countryside full of farms with livestock and vineyards. Sud Vendée and Mervent Forest: The Mervent Forest is a National Park containing ancient trees a lake complex and much rare flora and fauna; it is normally included along with the Marais Poitevin, in the southern Vendée, for the purposes of tourism.

Carisma mobile home holidays give direct access to some of the famous sandy beaches. Where you can always find a secluded spot to enjoy your family picnic with the children. The west coast of France offers numerous beaches and days out for the whole family to enjoy on their camping holiday to France. The Vendée is justifiably proud of its beaches. Most have achieved the blue flag for cleanliness. They attract families to holiday on their shores from all around the world and have done so for more than a century. There is nothing like blue sea, golden sand and glorious sunshine to conjure up a picture of the ideal family camping holiday and the Vendée has an abundance of all of them. The most popular areas for families are Les Sables-d’Olonne, Jard-sur-Mer, St.-Hilaire-de-Riez – Camping Sol a Gogo and Les Conches, Longeville. The Vendee is well known for its beach holidays, and no wonder. Swimmers have empty seas to enjoy and wind surfers have their own section of beaches to use (as at Jard-sur-Mer). Or you can enjoy body boarding & surfing at La-Tranche-sur-Mer, at Longeville where Carisma Holidays has one of their family campsites in the Vendee. Our mobile home holidays in France attract a large number of families who return for many years. Carisma camping holidays in France, in mobile homes, offer family groups the freedom to enjoy their holidays with no time restrictions for meals.

The Vendée is recognised as one of the finest destinations in France for those who love to ride the waves, and a round of the world championships is regularly held at La Tranche-sur-Mer. Atlantic rollers together with gentle sloping beaches, the varied breaks and the long hours of sunshine make the Vendee ideal. It doesn’t matter whether you are a seasoned surfer or a raw novice, the plethora of different breaks and surfing conditions along the 146 kilometres of coastline means that there is somewhere to suit all holidaymakers. For those who enjoy the long board then the variety of breaks are best around La Tranche, La Terrier and Les Conches in the south, and La Tranchet near Les Sables d’Olonne and La Sauveterre further north in the Vendée. For the experts of the short board or body board then most beaches will have some useable surf, though if you want the best then the beaches mentioned for the long boarding are equally good for this type of surfing.

Les Sables-d’Olonne is a short water taxi across the estuary from La Chaume, a short distance from camping La Dune des Sables. La Chaume is a pretty fishing village full of narrow, winding streets and a couple of great rock pooling beaches. It is on the tip of the peninsula opposite Les Sables-d’Olonne and a little passenger ferry takes holiday makers across the estuary to Les Sables-d’Olonne, which is a vibrant city with all one could ask of a holiday destination to France for families. Les Sables-d’Olonne offers shopping, eating, people-watching and a day or afternoon on the beach before returning by the water taxi to La Chaume for an evening meal.

Should you be able to drag your selves away from the beaches and the campsites with all the typical facilities that French campsites offer your family group, there are numerous family-friendly places to discover on your mobile home holiday. Close to Les Sables-d’Olonne is perhaps one of the best-known and popular with Carisma holiday makers to France: the Marais Poitevin, a peaceful, unique area of marshes, canals and rivers you can discover by boat, canoe or donkey. The marshes fall into two popular areas of the Vendee: the Pays de la Loire and Poitou-Charentes. The frogs you hear here are the very noisy but hard-to-spot little green frogs; children will watch quietly for a sight of them. Flat-bottomed boats called ‘barques’ are used to take families through the still, green waters that give this region its well-known name of ‘Green Venice’ (‘Venise Verte’). You can learn about mussel production here at the Maison de la Mytilculture at Esnandes. Early morning is the best time to visit, leaving the rest of the day free for the beach and perhaps an early evening barbecue outside your mobile home at la Les Sables campsite.

Perhaps a family trip to the zoo at Les Sables-d’Olonne where the gardens range over three hectares and is situated just a couple of hundred metres from the sea at Les Sables-d’Olonne. Families get a chance to get close to over two hundred species of animals in as realistic a reproduction of their natural habitat as is possible. The children will see tigers, elephants, lions, monkeys, sea lions, tropical birds and reptiles. Les Sables-d’Olonne zoo also cares and nurtures many endangered species.

Or try the automobile museum on the route des Sables d’Olonne at Talmont. This houses over 200 vehicles including cars, bicycles, motorcycles and horse-drawn carriages dating from 1885 to prototypes for the future.

Take the children to visit the Stone Age Museum at CAIRN. This is set in over 7 acres of parkland at Saint-Hilaire-la-Forêt near Avrille. See how Neolithic Man built the first dwellings, made fires and discovered how to knap flint. Take part in activity workshops such as making pottery, ornaments and art or try some Neolithic face painting. This is a living museum of the Vendee, it is fun and educational for all the family, and you can explore the full sensation of prehistoric living by transporting yourself back 5,000 years and putting yourself in the shoes of prehistoric man. Experience making fire without matches, participate in interactive workshops, such as demonstrations of hunting, and flint knapping, and visit the reconstruction of a prehistoric house and a dolmen. (Perhaps the precursor to camping holidays in the Vendee for families?)

There is something for all the family here to discover at CAIRN, Saint-Hilaire-la-Forêt. Another great family day out is to the largest and best-known Theme Park in the Vendée, this is without doubt the Puy- du- Fou. The Puy- du- Fou offers two distinctly different experiences: with the Grand Parc du Puy du Fou operating during daytime hours and the spectacular Son et lumière (‘Sound and Light’) after dark. Both are unique and world renowned. The daytime experience requires an early start if you intend to see all of the attractions, and such is the popularity of the Cinescenie Son et Lumiere that booking well in advance is advised. From Camping St Hilaire, Camping Sol a Gogo, Camping Les Sables, Camping Jard or Camping les Conches-Longeville it is well worth a visit. There is a gladiator display in the Roman amphitheatre, falconry and a Viking raid using lasers; a must for the whole family to see before returning to the quiet of your mobile home on the campsite.

Younger children in particular will enjoy the Animaux de la Ferme. This farm and nature wildlife park 1 kilometre from Avrille covers 10 hectares on which there are upwards of 500 animals from 15 different species within which are some 40 breeds. The numbers vary as each group of animals have many new births every year and so the family numbers are constantly increasing. From great bulls to small chicks, all the animals on this farm are seen living in their natural surroundings and are raised here on the farm throughout the year.

During the summer months there are wooded trails through natural countryside. There are wild animal and nature trails and fun trails for all the family on their holiday to the Vendee. The Parc des Dunes at Brem-sur-Mer is one of the biggest fun parks in the Vendée, and with over 41 attractions spread over 3hectares there is something for all the family. Have a family day out from your campsite to try the attractions that include: ball pools, swings, trampolines, a dry slide, kids’ quads, 2 waterslides, inflatable table football, water games, inflatable games and 18 holes of mini-golf. The park is a short drive from any of the Carisma Holidays campsites on in the Vendee although the closest campsite is at St.-Hilaire-de-Riez.

Parc de Pierre-Brune is set in the heart of the Mervent Forest, east of Fontenay -le-Comte in the south Vendée; Pierre-Brune is a Fun Park on a 25-acre site full of attractions for all the family. The list of activities at the park is comprehensive and includes: bumper boats, a giant trampoline, 2 mini golf courses, an electronic bucking bull, mini karting, bouncy castles of several descriptions and even a little train that makes a 20-minute tour of the site.

Have an enjoyable family day trip out to one of the islands just off shore, Ile de Noirmoutier, Ile d’Yeu, Ile de Ree or Ile d’Oleron and the lesser known Ile d’Aix (where Napoleon stayed), or lunch out ‘en famille’ in La Rochelle. La Rochelle is ideal for shopping and its famous 2 towers guard the harbour. It is supposed to be here that the Knights Templar escaped across the Atlantic before the warrant for the arrest of the order was issued in 1307. Any families interested in history will be interested to know that La Rochelle was also the last city to be liberated in France at the end of the Second World War.

Talmont-St-Hilaire is a commune in the Vendee department in the Pays de la Loire region and famous for its connections to Richard the Lionheart, who built the fortress here. Jard-sur-Mer has a very pretty harbour and it is a very pleasant stroll to the harbour from Carisma Holidays’ campsite.

Les P’tits Mousses at St.Gilles-Croix-de-Vie is a miniature harbour welcoming boats (max. 5 persons) which include trawlers, ferry boats, fire boats, army boats, police boats, runabouts and kayaks. Come and discover the seaside and marshes, wildlife and flora, while sailing or paddling with your family on the Jaunay river with electric boats, kayaks and pedalos. Sauveterre Horse-Riding Centre, Olonne-sur-Mer is located close to the forest and beaches of Olonne; the centre offers horse and pony rides on the beach, in the forest or through the marshes. Lessons are given by state-qualified instructors, from beginners to advanced.

For families with horse enthusiasts you must not miss a visit to Haras de la Vendee, part of the National Stud. Situated in the heart of La Roche-sur-Yon, in a 12 acre park the Haras de la Vendee is your invitation into the world of horses. At the National Stud, in wonderful surroundings you will be entertained by fabulous equestrian shows. The National Stud founded by Napoleon in 1843 to breed horses for the army, is one of the largest in France. With over 100 stallions of various breeds on show you will have explained to you how they are cared for, from being shod to the tackle needed, their exercise and much more from some of the finest experts in France. This beautifully cared-for city farm has something for all the family.

Vouvant, labelled one of France’s most beautiful villages, lies 12km north of Fontenay-le-Comte, surrounded by medieval walls and looking down over the meandering river Mère; a nice place to visit for a relaxing lunch and stroll. There is an atmosphere of silence and safety – an atmosphere resulting perhaps from the intervention of the Fairy Melusine, who is said to have built Vouvant Chateau in a single night.

To the north of Camping St Hilaire (Camping Sol a Gogo) is the Corniche Vendeenne and Le Trou du Diable (The Devil’s Hole) – a natural arch in the rock formation. Watch the water shoot through the rocks on the high tides when the sea is being blown ashore.

On the outskirts of Poitiers in the Poitou Charente region, (a long day out but worthwhile with older children) is Futuroscope (25 years old in 2012). It has had 40 million visitors since it opened and is one of the best-loved theme parks in France. Futuroscope is a theme park with a difference dedicated to film and the moving image. Mind-boggling special effects and some of the world’s largest screens make this fantastic fun for all the family.

Have a family day out on the river Charente in Cognac, only 40 miles from the Atlantic coast of the Vendee. Don’t forget to visit historic La Rochelle. Walk down the streets of the old town and discover the shops in the arcades. A stone’s throw from Le Vieux Port is the aquarium of La Rochelle, a marine environment created with 3 million litres of seawater. The harbour at La Rochelle is guarded by two towers: Tour St-Nicholas and Tour de la Chaine. This vibrant city started off as a simple fishing village, and through the centuries has entertained the likes of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Cardinal Richelieu. The whole city is steeped in history but also offers cobbled streets, stylish shops, beautiful parks and seafood restaurants to dream of, something for all the family to enjoy.

Carisma Holidays offers families wonderful beach-side campsites for camping holidays in the Vendee and close enough to the family attractions that the Vendee region of France has to offer.


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