Branch out from the same overcrowded summer destinations with our guide to the best alternative beach holidays.Read more...
The Vendée - At a glance
Fontenay-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
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