10 Reasons to Visit the Pays de Saint Jean de Monts



10 Reasons to Visit the Pays de Saint Jean de Monts


Located on the Vendée coast just south west of Nantes, Saint Jean de Monts is a sunny seaside resort known for its picturesque pier jutting out into the Atlantic. The gateway to Vendée’s islands, Noirmoutier and Ile d’Yeu, it should be on your bucketlist for your next holiday destination. Here are 10 reasons why. 

sandy beach in Vendée France

Endless sandy beaches in Saint Jean de Monts ©alamoureux

1. Fine sandy beaches among the sunniest on the French Atlantic coast  

Enjoy peace and quiet on the 22 beaches of the Pays de Saint Jean de Monts. Gently sloping and without rocks, the coast is perfect for families, whether they choose wild or lively beaches. Bracelets with the parents’ number are given to children on request at the lifeguard stations on the supervised beaches and at the tourist offices. All beach access car parks are free. Even at high tide you will find sand to settle in. 

fisherman going shore fishing for shrimp

A fisherman going shore fishing to find shrimp ©Michel Arnaud

2. Hidden treasures to uncover at low tide  

Experience the French way of life by discovering shore fishing and the local recipes associated with it: tellines (known as “pignons” in Vendée), mussels, clams, oysters, etc. Find out where to discover the history behind the recipes at Le Pont d’Yeu, Les 4 aces, or on the pier.

pier at a seaside resort on the French Atlantic coast

Seaside views along the pier of Saint Jean de Monts ©Michel Arnaud

3. An authentic seaside atmosphere, day and night 

Stroll along the Avenue de la mer by night after a spectacular sunset ride on the ferris wheel that stands on the pier. Perch yourself at one of the beach bars and sip your apéro as you watch the sun go down. In the daytime, go on exciting treasure hunts, escape games and other fun walks to discover the area as a family. In the summer, festivals and street concerts pepper the event calendar as well as the renowned giant kite festival in July. 

outdoor activities tree climbing zipline

Fun in the forest in Exploraparc near St Jean de Monts

4. Outdoor sports galore 

Wide open and natural spaces are perfect for nautical activities such as sand yachting or kite surfing, and in all seasons! Take a deep breath under the cover of the forests along marked trails: horseback riding, cycling (along the Velodyssée), trail running, Nordic walking, hiking, mountain biking, orienteering. Exploraparc offers a multitude of activities: tree climbing, laser tag, archery tag, net course, virtual reality, explor’adventures, archery… End the day with a drink under the canopy at the bar and in the summer, dare to have a boogie during an evening concert. The golf course of Saint Jean de Monts, elected 7th favourite golf course of the French, is practicable all year round on draining soil with a breathtaking sea view.

oysters on the beach

Fresh oysters for dinner in Saint Jean de Monts ©Florian Peroud

5. The food: taste your way through Vendée 

Many daily markets will allow you to discover the area and seasonal products in a summer atmosphere: brioche, préfou, Challans poultry, local cheese, organic honey, melon and strawberries, Maraichine cow, Vendée ham… Tour around the oyster huts of Fromentine in the bay of Bourgneuf, enjoy a chocolate tasting at 20° Nord 20° Sud chocolate factory and tuck into the famous local dessert, the Fion. Don’t forget the local beer La Petite Ramonière, in the heart of the Vendée Breton marsh and find out about the many health benefits of the Spirulina algae.  

wooden observation platform surrounded by trees

Enjoy the views from this platform in the Pey de la Blet forest ©otfromentine CC by S.A 3.0

6. Spectacular viewpoints 

Take in the far-reaching views on a walk that brings you from the lighthouse to the Pey de la Blet. Or Climb up Kulmino, a 70m high platform giving you sweeping views of the marshes, the dunes and the forest. A cycling loop will take you there in a safe way via the Velodyssée and the Vendée bike loops.

goat in the marshes

Discover traditional farming techniques at Daviaud farm ©Florian Peroud

7. The preserved farming culture in the hinterland 

There’s nothing like a visit to the Daviaud farm to immerse yourself in the culture of the Marais Breton Vendéen. Discover ancient breeds, traditional habitat and yesteryear techniques and knowledge, explore the salt marshes, the bird observatory, and enjoy a ride on an unusual boat, called La Yole. An audio guide in English is available to accompany your visit at your own pace. 

glamping holiday accommodation

Take your pick among the wide variety of accommodation available in Saint Jean de Monts

8. A wide choice of accommodation 

Campsites, hotels, vacation rentals, by the sea or in the marshes, there is a place to stay for everyone, according to your budget and your wishes: with family, friends or as a couple etc. Follow the guide and meet the professionals eagerly awaiting to welcome you with tailored services.

birds-eye view of French Atlantic coast and Noirmoutier

Saint Jean de Monts is just south of Noirmoutier ©Emmanuelle Marcade

9. The gateway to the two Vendée islands 

Pop in to the tourist office to organize your excursion to the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier. A little air of Brittany blows on the island of Yeu while Noirmoutier will take you on a culinary trip full of flavours. 

cycling on a seaside pier

Welcoming locals and expats ©Michel Arnaud

10. A welcoming community 

If you wish, a welcoming and helpful community of English-speaking expats are there to help with the language barrier. 

Lead photo credit : Explore Saint Jean de Monts in Vendée ©alamoureux

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