The Vendée - At a glance

Fontenay-le-Comte, the Vendée, France by A. Lamoureux, Vendée Expansion Pôle TourismeFontenay-le-Comte is one of the Vendée's main towns © A. Lamoureux, Vendée Expansion Pôle Tourisme

The Vendée at a glance

Location Mid-western France, bordering on the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the departments of Charente-Maritime to the south, Loire-Atlantique to the northwest, Maine-et-Loire to the northeast and Deux-Sèvres to the east

Size 6,721km2

Climate Oceanic climate, with hot, sunny summers and mild winters

Status Département number 85, within the Pays de la Loire region

Population (Vendée) 662,000 (INSEE, 2014)

Life expectancy (France) 79 years (male), 85 years (female)

Main towns La Roche-sur-Yon (departmental capital), Challans, Les Herbiers, Olonne-sur-Mer, Les Sables-d’Olonne, Fontenay-le-Comte. Outside the Vendée, but covered on this webpage: Nantes, St Nazaire (both Loire-Atlantique), La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime).

Economy Services (especially tourism), light industry/manufacturing, food processing, agriculture

GDP per capita (France) US$42,300

Official language French

Religion Roman Catholicism, with some adherents to Protestantism

Currency Euro (€). For up-to-date rates, go to the XE website.

Airports (both outside the Vendée) Nantes (Aéroport Nantes Atlantique), La Rochelle (Aéroport La Rochelle-Île de Ré)

International telephone code +33 (France)

Time GMT+1 (GMT+2 in summer months)

Electrical voltage 220V (50Hz)

Weights and measures Metric

Flag Half-red, half-white background, with two red interlocking hearts, a crown and a small cross

Public holidays 1 January, Easter Monday (March/April, date varies), 1 May, 8 May, Ascension (39 days after Easter Sunday), Whit Monday (50 days after Easter), 14 July, 15 August, 1 November, 11 November, 25 December

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The Vendée articles

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Memorials of the Vendée Wars

If you’re travelling to the Vendée and want to touch its identity, you need to unlock its dark history. A perfect way of doing so is by visiting these memorials to the bloody conflict.


Family days out in the Vendée

With its campsites and beaches, the Vendée and the surrounding area have all the ingredients for a classic family holiday. Here's our pick of the region's best family-friendly days out. 


Seven reasons to visit the Vendée

Whether you want to sample unique cuisine, learn about local history or explore the great outdoors, the Vendée offers plenty for the visitor to enjoy. Here are seven reasons why the region should be on your travel list.