A Weekend in Saint Jean de Monts



A Weekend in Saint Jean de Monts

If you’re looking for a long weekend by the coast, look no further than the Pays de Saint Jean de Monts on France’s Atlantic coast. It’s the perfect destination for a long weekend of three or four days for here, a mini-break = maxi-pleasure, and even the shortest of stays will be crammed with delights. 

A beach for everyone 

Everyone, no matter your age or your chosen pastime, will love this 19km stretch of vast, gently sloping, secure sandy beaches. Build sandcastles and go paddling with the little ones, fish for shellfish along the shoreline, idle away an afternoon with a book in a quiet corner (there are 22 beaches to choose from!), or if you’re feeling energetic, have a go at the wide choice of activities on the water. And there’s even free parking nearby! 

The soft, sandy beaches make Saint-Jean-de-Monts a dream holiday destination The beaches here are perfect for young families © A Lamoureux

Escape to the heart of nature 

Obviously, to explore the wonderful countryside of Pays de Saint Jean de Monts, you’ll want to take a walk during your visit. There are plenty of routes to choose from – 120km in all – whether you’re looking for a short stroll or a long hike, in a variety of landscapes from forest to dune to marsh. And if you prefer two wheels to two feet, it’s easy to hire a bike from one of the many rental companies around and explore some of the 171km of cycle tracks. 

For families, there are orienteering courses and fun walks (with English translations) designed especially with children in mind. Have a go at the orienteering route at La Parée Jésus; follow the map and complete the challenges through the forest on The Spirit of Adventure; solve the clues of mystery trail games Les Sirènes; or pit your wits at the outdoor escape game Les Escapades de Marius. 

Walk or cycle around the stunning countryside © A Lamoureux

Take a trip to the market 

A must on any weekend in France is a visit to the market and there are plenty to choose from in the Pays de Saint Jean de Monts. Wander through the stalls and fill your basket with appetising local products to take home, let yourself be intoxicated by the delicious smells, and soak up the warm and friendly atmosphere… it’s the quintessential French experience. 

Be sure to taste some local specialities while you’re there, such as the cinnamon-flavoured flan maraîchin, the traditional Vendéen garlic bread préfou, or fresh oysters and other seafood. In summer, the Saint Jean de Monts market stretches all across the church square, with its stalls full of fresh produce, clothes, accessories and other little wonders. An authentic market with vibrant colours, you won’t want to miss it. Epicureans will want to head to Fromentine, too, where they can taste oysters fresh from the fishing huts, visit the small port of Pont Neuf or stroll along the Oyster Farmers’ Path. 

Saint Jean de Monts market

Discover unique neighbourhoods 

Saint Jean de Monts’ historic district of Devallon, nestled between beach and forest, seems frozen in time in the 1920s with its charming villas and quiet atmosphere, a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. 

In La Barre de Monts, stroll through the streets of Fromentine, the town’s the maritime district, where there’s plenty to discover, from the small metal lighthouse on the edge of the forest to the esplanade with its string of seaside villas. Take the path through the dunes to the beautiful Plage de la Grande Côte, and explore the shopping street and Oyster Path. 

Seafront villas © alamoureux

Try something new 

Why not push the boat out and try a new outdoor activity during your break in the Pays de Saint Jean de Monts? It could be the experience that makes your getaway truly one to remember for years to come. The possibilities include: a game of golf with your feet in the sand; horse or pony riding on the beach; pedalling side by side in a ‘rosalie’ (a four-wheeled bicycle); surfing the ocean waves; a dizzying Ferris wheel ride; flying like the wind aboard a sand yacht. 

Take a deep breath in the woods around St Jean de Monts © A Lamoureux

Firm favourites 

And of course, there’s a whole host of visitor favourites you’ll want to fit into your long weekend. Why not climb to the top of the recently renovated Pey de la Blet belvedere, the 37m high staircase in the sky, and take in the views over the surrounding forest? Taste the famous flan maraîchin and chichi montois, the local doughnuts. Learn all about the fauna and flora of this fabulous coastline by visiting Biotopia and swim in a seawater pool at the Thalasso. Climb 70m up the Kulmino water tower to the viewing platform and contemplate the 360° panoramic view over the marsh, forest, dunes and islands. Pack a picnic and enjoy an al fresco lunch by the fisheries of Le Porteau, at La Barre de Monts, or under the shade of the pine trees in the forest. Discover the market gardening heritage of the fascinating terrain of the Marais Breton Vendéen by visiting Le Daviaud eco-museum. Stroll right out into the ocean along the 400m Estacade (pier) in Saint Jean de Monts. And, of course, check out the calendar of events to make sure you don’t miss any celebrations, activities or experiences during your stay. 

Whatever you choose to do in the Pays de Saint Jean de Monts, your 72 hours by the sea are sure to leave you wanting more. Maybe see you again next weekend? 

For more information, visit en.paysdesaintjeandemonts.fr 

Climb to the Pey de la Blet belvedere for magnificent views © Florian PEROUD

Lead photo credit : The coast around the Pays de Saint Jean de Monts is all the reason you need to visit © Florian PEROUD

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