A Magical Christmas in Vendée: A Family Wonderland



A Magical Christmas in Vendée: A Family Wonderland

While many head east for the famed Christmas markets in Alsace, look to the west and you’ll find a perfect blend of tradition, charm, and festive cheer in Vendée.

With its beautiful coastline hugging the Atlantic, why not add a seaside twist to your Christmas holiday? With its picturesque landscapes and rich history, Vendée transforms into a winter wonderland during Christmas, promising an unforgettable experience for families.

Christmas markets with a difference

Vendée, known for its sandy beaches, charming villages, and rich cultural heritage, takes on a new allure during the Christmas season.

Start your Christmas journey by exploring the vibrant Christmas markets that pop up across the region. These markets, adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, offer a plethora of local crafts, artisanal gifts, and delectable treats. From handmade ornaments to traditional French sweets, the markets showcase the best of Vendée’s festive spirit.

Head to Beaulieu-sous-la-Roche for one of the largest markets in the area. Look out for its animated shop windows and its impressive nativity displays with traditional Santons staged among the well-known landscapes of Vendée but also Normandy or Provence. Held December 1st to December 3rd.

The Château de Tiffauges market is celebrating its 27th edition this year – meet over 60 crafts people presenting their creations and take a ride on a traditional merry-go-round. Taking place on the weekends of December 1st to 3rd and 8th to 9th.

For something really different, head to the Maillezais Abbey which is putting on an oriental-themed Christmas market. Imagine tents, palm trees and sand and find the perfect gifts for the whole family among the 60 or so artisans presenting their wares. The new illuminations on the cathedra are also particularly impressive. Taking place on the weekends of December 1st to 3rd and 8th to 9th.

Visit the tourist office’s website for a list of all the Christmas markets in Vendée

Traditional tasty treats

Christmas in Vendée is synonymous with indulging in delectable culinary delights. The region’s gastronomy takes centre stage, offering a feast for the senses. The Christmas markets are a gastronomic paradise, where the tantalizing aroma of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts fills the air. Local vendors serve up regional specialties, allowing visitors to savour authentic Vendéen flavours.

Festive dish par excellence, oysters are their freshest in Vendée so make sure to stop at the fishmonger’s to order a platter of delicious oysters as well as other shellfish.

For a festive spread, don’t miss out on tasty pâtés and terrines made poultry bred in local farms but also deer and game meat. You can often purchase pots straight from the farms.

Wash it all down with wine from the AOC Fiefs Vendéens and don’t forget the traditional, buttery brioche, a Vendée specialty.

Sparkling lights and spectacles

Vendée truly comes alive with dazzling light displays that transform the region into a magical spectacle. The Christmas illuminations in towns and villages create a fairy-tale ambiance, inviting families to stroll through streets adorned with twinkling lights, giant ornaments, and whimsical decorations.

One of the highlights is the twinkling Christmas display at the Logis de la Chabotterie, on December 16th and 17th. Alongside the pretty illuminations, many activities for young and old are held – bow-shooting, merry-go-round, face-painting and a petting zoo!

The Haras de la Vendée at la Roche-sur-Yon opens its doors on December 23rd and 24th and from December 26th to 31st then from January 2nd to 7th 2024! For Christmas, the trainers and horses of the stud farm will be sublime.

The Puy du Fou park adds an extra layer of magic to the season. Known for its immersive historical spectacles, the park transforms into a winter wonderland with themed shows and enchanting decorations. Families can witness the spectacle of knights in shining armour, experience the magic of a Victorian Christmas, and enjoy heartwarming performances that bring the spirit of the season to life.

For more festive inspiration in Vendée, visit the Vendée website.

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