Famous for its rolling hills, beaches, and stunning coastline, the Vendée region in western France is also a gourmet paradise. From delicious restaurants and local produce, to a wealth of seasonal products… Here, you will find a wide array of culinary experiences to delight your taste buds. These are top five food activities to keep an eye out for when in Vendée:
1. Enjoy a candlelit dinner in Noirmoutier
Visit the island of Noirmoutier in the Vendée region and taste the dishes prepared by chef Alexandre Couillon in his two Michelin star restaurant, La Marine. The menu changes with every season, and the chef uses fresh ingredients to serve creative cuisine based on local flavours.
If you want to spend an unforgettable evening with your loved one, book a candlelit dinner at La Marine.
The Vendée region has 6 other Michelin-starred restaurants and is now one of the best gastronomic destinations in France!
2. Discover the specialities of the Vendée in the local markets
Every week and in any town in the Vendée, you will certainly find a market to stroll through. An integral part of the culture, markets are the place to go to if you’re looking to find great food and fresh local produce. Here are some to look out for:
- Sardines – the pride and joy of the Saint Gilles Croix de Vie.
- Bonnottes – potatoes grown in sandy soil enriched with seaweed.
- Prefou – bread baked with garlic or topped with cheese, chorizo or other new flavours.
3. Take a road trip along Fiefs Vendéen wine routes
If you love wine, why not take a road trip along the Wine Route in the Vendée?
Visit vineyards, meet winegrowers and learn about the subtle aromas of Vendée wines through tasting sessions. With five terroirs in the Vendée (labelled as “Fiefs Vendéen”), several wine tour circuits are available to discover. Here are a few:
- Mourat estate in Mareuillais – 20km of vineyards to explore.
- Pissotte – visit Mathieu Coirier, the last winemaker of the village.
- Vix in Marais Poitevin – Mercier vineyards are close to the canals of the Green Venice.
4. Savour delicious oysters at an oyster farm
The “Vendée Atlantique” oyster is a special variety of the region, appreciated for its delicate flavor and salty aroma. The breeding technique has been nurtured since the 18th century in the Bay of Bourgneuf, making them unique from other oysters.
Venture to the smallest port in France, Talmont Saint Hillaire in La Guittière, to visit an award-winning oyster farm and catch a glimpse into what makes their oysters so special. While you’re there, don’t forget to enjoy the vendean art de vivre by having a few fresh oysters with a glass of white wine while looking over the view of the port!
5. Immerse in the history of chocolate at the Musée du Chocolat
This is for the chocolate lovers out there!
The Maison Gelenscer, artisan chocolate maker since 1956, has created the Musée du Chocolat in La Roche-sur-Yon. Spread over more than 300m², this museum invites you on a journey through time. Immerse yourself into the history of cocoa through various playful and informative sensory experiences, complete with quizzes, recognition tests and virtual reality. At the end of the tour, you can witness the transformation of cocoa into chocolate through a glass corridor which takes you through the production laboratory.
Tour duration: 1h30 on average.
Individual guided tour is available upon request.
Children age 6-12 can take part in “Make your own chocolate lollipops” workshop.
These five culinary experiences cover a range of price points. Whether you’re on a budget or not, you should still be able to plan a fantastic trip to this beautiful region of France.
Planning a trip to the Vendée? Find more inspiration on things to do in the region, here.