Pays de la Loire Section

Saint-Jean-de-Monts seaside resort in Vendée

[wce_code id=1]

Saint-Jean-de-Monts – Côte de Lumière

Saint-Jean-de-Monts is renowned for its 8km long sandy beach.

The little fishermen village developed into a seaside resort in the mid 19th century, when sea bathing became trendy.

The original village is still there, tucked around its church, but the town has since expanded along the shoreline and inland.

Saint-Jean-de-Monts is located on the Côte de Lumière, as the coast that stretches from Saint Hilaire de Riez to les Sables d’Olonne was named in 2005.

This coast is essentially sandy, except in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie.

Saint-Jean-de-Monts recently embarked in the restoration of its seafront.

It developed a network of paths and cycle tracks that are part of the Sentiers cyclables de la Vendée*.

This series of paths stretch over 500km, from Ile de Noirmoutiers to Saint-Gilles-Croix de Vie.

This restoration also included the creation of parking plots adorned with flowerbeds and trees and art works.

La Baigneuse, a sculpture by Henry Murail, stands at the end of Avenue de la Mer, the resort’s road that runs along the seashore.

You'll find a second sculpture representing three birds opposite the Tourist office.

Most seafront buildings are contemporary, however, you’ll still find, here and there, an original Art Deco facade.

Saint-Jean-de-Monts in the Marais Breton

Saint-Jean-de-Monts is also part of the Marais Breton-Vendéen, a vast marsh that once delineated the historic provinces of Poitou and Bretagne.

A network of canals, wet meadows and polders crisscross this 45 000-hectare area.

Until the Middle Ages, the ocean covered the region as far as Machecoul and Challans, two towns which are today located about 20km inland.

This vast Baie de Bourgneuf was then known as Baie de Bretagne.

It was dotted with several islands such as the Ile de Bouin and Ile de Sallertaine, which are now attached to the continent.

However, you’ll still find the super Ile de Noirmoutiers offshore.

The accumulation of sediments coming from the Loire and the Charente progressively closed the bay and created the Marais Breton.

The Romans developed the salt marshes 2,000 years ago.

The Benedictine monks founded their monasteries between the 11th and 13th centuries and dug the first network of channels and polders.

The development and exploitation of the salt marshes throughout the Middle-Ages turned the region into the leading French producer of sea salt.

Until the 18th century, the Marais Breton produced 300,000 tons of salt which was then used for preserving meat and fish.

Bouin and Bourgneuf, the main producers, shipped most of their salt to the Nordic countries.

However, gradual silting up of the bay resulted in the reduction of the salt marshes and therefore decline of the production.

Farming took over.

The channels were progressively cleared from sea water and filled with rain water.

They were also enlarged in order to facilitate irrigation.

As a result, the Marais Breton is today essentially a freshwater zone, with the exception of the area west of Bourgneuf.

The salt marshes are today redeveloped because of the ever-growing demand for natural and traditional products.

Tip: Hire a bike and make use the extensive network of cycle tracks; they run along the seashore and through pine forests, it’s beautiful.

Department of Vendée
Coordinates: Lat 46.793464 - Long -2.061786

*lavelodyssee.com
Apremont castle and park

November 30 2019

Apremont castle, Vendée’s first Renaissance Chateau

The castle of Apremont, today mainly in ruins, was built by a childhood friend of Francois I and was thus the first Renaissance castle of Vendée
Poitevin Marsh waterway

May 30 2018

Poitevin Marsh, the Green Venice

Poitevin Marsh, the second largest wetland in France, is known as Green Venice, a lush green marsh you discover by punts that gently glide on man-made waterways nestled under the tree canopies
Chateau de Commequiers

August 28 2017

Chateau de Commequiers, demolished by order of King Louis XIII

Chateau de Commequiers, the fortress of the Protestant lords of La Tremoille was demolished by king Louis XIII at the end of the Wars of Religion
Moulin de Raire

August 17 2017

Moulin de Rairé, a windmill in constant use since 1555

Moulin de Raire in Sallertaine, a windmill that has constantly turned and been exclusively powered by the force of the wind since its construction in 1555
Translate »
Scroll to Top