Vendée Beaches

Beach at La Terriere

Many of the beaches in the Vendée have been awarded the blue flag for cleanliness and water quality and accordingly the region can quite rightly be proud of its reputation for fine, sandy, gently sloping family beaches. If you want to see a list of the blue flag beaches and you will find it at this address:

In view of this, the beaches of the Vendée make for a superb holiday destination for the whole family and the fact that the region enjoys around 2,500 hours of sunshine per year only enhances this experience. For those who like to get an all-over tan, there are a few “Free” beaches or plages naturistes on the Vendée coastline and for those who like surfing, the best beaches for this particular pass time lie between St-Gilles (Grand Plage) and Les Sables (Tanchet). Of particular note is the beach between Longeville and La Tranche.

You will usually find a lifeguard at busy beaches. Look out for the signs: a green flag means no danger; and orange flag – exercise due caution; a red flag – bathing is forbidden – a calm sea could conceal treacherous currents. It should be fairly evident that beaches where the waves form large breakers can be thrilling for adults but are very dangerous for children or inexperienced swimmers.

The dunes behind the beaches are good for picknicking and walking and make good campsites. However it is strictly forbidden in this area to camp in the wild and lighting fires is prohibited. Failure to adhere to these rules will result in a hefty fine so do follow them.

Here is a list of some of the main beaches in the Vendée going from North to South:

Beaches of Île de Noirmoutier

The island of Noirmoutier has many glorious beaches and the Plages des Dames still has wooden bathing huts from the early 20th century where the ladies used to change their clothes safely away from prying eyes.

St-Jean-de-Monts & Notre-Dame-de-Monts

Both in what is known as the Pays de Monts which is a stretch of coastline consisting of more than 12 1/2 miles of fine sandy beaches with pine forest behind. Beaches generally very safe and feature many activities.

Île de Yeu

A fine choice of coves on the south coast. There is a beach at the Anse des Soux which is sheltered and has a huge cave accessible at low tide. More family-oriented beaches with clear shallow water at the Grande Conche, the Ovaires and Ker Châlon close to the camping ground.

Les Sables D'Olonne

Les Sables d’Olonne

Les Sables d’Olonne

The largest seaside resort in the Vendée. Its main beach: Le Grande Plage is one of the safest beaches on the Vendée coast. A long crescent shaped beach of gently shelving sand protected on both sides means less dangerous undercurrents than an open beach. There are surveillance posts on the beach also. Read more about Les Sables d’Olonne


One of the favourite surfing spots in western France: La Sauzaie is found here with waves reaching as high as 15 or 16 feet but as there are underwater rocks steer clear unless you’re an expert surfer. Also here are the beaches of Sauveterre and Aubraie. The latter is safer at mid tide but look out for the mussel rocks!

Beach at La Tranche sur Mer

Beach at La Tranche sur Mer

La Tranche-sur-Mer

Because of its extremely mild microclimate, the south coast of the Vendée is often called ‘Little California’ and visitors love the huge sandy beaches backed by wooded dunes and forests. La Tranche-sur-Mer which is made up of 7 beaches is an extremely popular resort. The beaches are safe and restaurants and cafes are all close by. The Plage de la Terrière  (top of page) is well-known for its surfing as well as its naturist beach.