Touring in Loire and the Vendée

The meandering course of the Loire takes in fairytale Chateaux, world-famous vineyards and rolling countryside: not for nothing is this region known as the garden of France. It’s a magical place to while away your days and enjoy the best of French produce before heading two and a half hours west to the wide Atlantic beaches of the Vendee, where cheerful resorts and sun-splashed sand dunes await. Happy days by the sea don’t come much better than here.

Domaine de la Brèche ★★★★★

Loire | Central France

Surrounded by mature woodland, with the Loire glinting right alongside, this is central France at its most beautiful. This is a friendly parc with plenty of pastimes to keep you busy, from fishing to pony trekking, canoeing to crazy golf. The parc’s pools offer plenty of opportunities for a splash about or a whizz down the slide, but you simply have to venture a little further into the spectacular Loire countryside.  

Sitting in the heart of the gentle Anjou countryside (famous for the wine of the same name), the medieval town of Saumur has a splendid turreted château overlooking the Loire Valley, while, further afield you can explore the fantastic attractions of the Futuroscope theme park and the markets and small-town bustle of Chinon. Our top tip though? Just hire cycles and explore the network of cycle lanes that lead to pretty villages and riverside picnic spots.

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Le Clarys Plage ★★★★★

Vendée | Central France

Our Splash Parcs are the last word in thrilling water-soaked fun - and the fun doesn’t get much wetter than here, along the Vendean coast. Clarys Plage offers slides and chutes aplenty for days when splashing about in the French sun is the only thing that will do. Then, when the surf is calling, the soft, golden sands of Merlin Beach are an easy stroll away. Mind you, head out in any direction along the Vendee coast and you’ll strike gold: you’re never too far from a beach to call your own here. 

Your nearest resort is the charmingly laid-back Saint-Jean-de-Monts, a town that definitely owes its existence to the sea: with fishing boats bobbing in the harbour, fantastic seafood restaurants and surf shacks dotting the elegant promenade. The fishing village  of St Gilles Croix-de-Vie is definitely worthwhile, for an even gentler pace and more of those terrific seafood bistros.

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