7 New Summer Spots in the Vendée  

7 New Summer Spots in the Vendée  

With 85 miles of sandy shores along the Atlantic coast, summer is the time for leisurely beach days and coastal dining in the Vendée. If you’re holidaying along the French west coast this summer, here are seven must-try hotels, restaurants, and bars that have opened up this season.  

1. Hôtel Le Noirmoutier 

Just a stone’s throw from the Pont de Noirmoutier, the grand southern entrance to Noirmoutier Island, and the Passage du Gois, the rocky causeway accessible only at low tide, Hôtel Le Noirmoutier sits on its own private stretch of coast (you can even bring your own boat – there’s a mooring right outside). Maritime chic meets African safari décor in the hotel’s 14 individually designed rooms, some of which come with a sea-view terrace, and there’s even a family room where the kids can escape to their own mezzanine.

You don’t have to spend the night to admire the views. The restaurant’s expansive seafront terrace boasts one of the most idyllic backdrops on the island, and the menu shines the spotlight on island specialities, from freshly-caught fish to Noirmoutier’s famous potatoes.   

Rooms (July/Aug rates) from 310
57 rue de la Pointe, 85630 Barbâtre  

+33 (0)2 19 00 11 85 

Each of the 14 rooms are individually decorated © Le Noirmoutier

2. Damona Lodges 

For an escape from the busy beach resorts, Damona Lodges are hidden away in the 50-hectare Domaine de la Chausserie park, surrounded by pine forests, wild rivers, and wildlife (keep an eye out for deer as you stroll along the woodland trails). Situated between Les Sables d’Olonne and Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, and just a short drive from the beaches, the quirky lodges are styled from wood and natural materials, and designed to offer an eco-friendly, back-to-nature retreat.  

Take your pick between Bohemian or Rustic lodges, all of which come equipped with kitchenettes, en-suite bathrooms, and airy terraces—the most luxurious also have an outdoor jacuzzi with views across the park. This is all-the-trimmings glamping, so you can expect wifi, air conditioning, and TVs, just in case you don’t want to disconnect entirely.  

Lodges (July/Aug rates) from €150 

La Chausserie – 85150 Vaire 

+33 (0)6 12 42 42 42 

Escape to nature in the Damona Lodges © Sarah Scaniglia

3. L’Abissiou 

Hidden down a side street between the port and the beach, L’Abissiou has joined the ranks of Les Sables d’Olonne’s Michelin-starred eateries (there are three in total), earning its first Michelin star for 2023. Elegant, minimalist surroundings allow the menu to take centre stage at this small restaurant, which is the brainchild of chef Boris Harispe and his partner Mélanie Roussy, who cut their teeth at a string of Michelin-starred restaurants before taking over L’Abissiou in 2020.  

The culinary creations on offer are seasonal, locally sourced, and ever-changing, but seafood is more often than not the star of the show—we are in the Vendée’s largest port city, after all. Think fresh Saint Gilles sardines served with an aubergine caviar or marinated langoustine with a bulgur soufflé. Yum! 

Tuesday to Sunday, 7.30pm-9pm. 

81, rue des Halles, aux Sables d’Olonne  

09 86 36 42 29 

4. Les Villas du Bois Marin  

Few campsites are as ideally situated as the Camping La Fôret, with direct access to the sandy Pont d’Yeu beach, and dunes, coastal marshes, and pine forest trails all within easy walking and biking distance. The popular campground has been a long-time pioneer of sustainable tourism in the region – it was among the first in the Vendée to receive Europe’s Green Key eco-label – and its latest venture, Les Villas du Bois Marin, is an impressive feat of eco-design.  

The fourteen bespoke eco villas sit in a pocket of woodland, each with its own private terrace (half of them have jacuzzis too). Designed by architect and environmental engineer Erwan Dessberg, you can rest assured that your villa meets the highest eco standards, plus guests have access to the resort’s solar-heated pool and spa.  

Villas from 120
190 Chemin de la Rive, 85160, St Jean de Monts 

02 51 58 84 63 

Bespoke eco villas hidden among the trees near St Jean de Monts © Camping La Forêt

5. L’Esprit d’Ici  

Foodies looking to sample the Vendée’s regional delights will want to add L’Esprit d’Ici to their address book. The association of 35 local producers has recently launched its own restaurant, putting Vendéen delicacies in the spotlight. Head there on a weekday lunchtime or Friday evening (reservations are highly recommended) for a menu created from 100% locally sourced and mostly organic produce.  

The homemade burgers come highly recommended, as do the regional cheese plates, but you’ll also find a variety of plats du jour, often featuring confits, sauces, meats, and wines that are available for purchase in the shop.  

Mon-Fri 12.30-2pm, Fri 7-11pm. 

Lieu dit “La Maquinière” 85120 La Tardiere 

02 51 87 31 81 


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A post shared by L’esprit d’ici (@lespritdici)

6. La Plage 

Saint Jean de Monts’ first beachfront hotel has been transformed into one of the resort’s most impressively situated restaurants, with a change of ownership in 2023 breathing new life into the spot. Sweeping ocean views come as standard on the spacious terrace, from where you can gaze straight out over the Estacade de Saint Jean de Monts pier—get there early to snag the best seats, then settle in to watch the sunset with a cocktail or two. 

The restaurant is the ideal spot for a relaxed dinner with family or friends, with tapas-style dishes and street food bites that beg to be shared. A bonus: there’s often live music or DJs playing on Friday or Saturday nights in season. 

Fri-Sat 3-11pm (additional opening hours vary – check their Facebook page 

1 Esplanade de la Mer, Saint-Jean-de-Mont

7. Rocksea

Among the seafood restaurants and cosy bistros of Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, the port town’s latest offering has a whole different vibe. Part-live music venue, part-bar-restaurant Rocksea has a rock’n’roll feel and a menu filled with international fare – think fish and chips, steak-frites, and classic burgers, as well as a variety of cheese and charcuterie planches to share.  

Keep an eye on the schedule, as the venue’s large concert hall hosts a variety of live bands, featuring both local artists and touring groups.  

19 route de l’Aiguillon  

85800 Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie 

02 28 17 91 67 

Lead photo credit : Terrace views from Hôtel Le Noirmoutier © Le Noirmoutier

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Zoë Smith is digital editor of FrenchEntrée and a travel writer for France Today. As a freelance journalist, she has also written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and is a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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  •  Gary Lewis
    2023-08-16 05:26:05
    Gary Lewis
    Good article, but needs a map.