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The Vendée - Eating and sleeping
The white haricot beans known as mogettes are a local speciality © Simon Bourcier, Vendée Expansion Pôle Tourisme
You can eat very well in the Vendée, there’s little doubt about that. Traditional local specialities are hearty, peasant food like cabbage, and the white haricot beans known as mogettes – that would be set to simmer slowly in the embers of the kitchen fire while a family toiled in the fields. With such a long coastline and active fishing industry, fish and shellfish are an important part of the culinary repertoire. It’s true that this is not the French département with the most refined, sophisticated food, but the excellence of what you will find here depends on the focus on a number of high-quality raw ingredients and products that make the short journey from sea or land to the plate with not too much human interference. As you might expect, La Rochelle and Nantes offer a greater range of ethnic cuisine than you will find in the Vendée itself.
For peak times in July and August, booking well in advance is advisable and, indeed, often essential. A huge proportion of visitors to the Vendée choose to stay in campsites, which nowadays often entails renting a mobile home on a campsite rather than actually sleeping under canvas. Particularly out of season, this can be a very economical option. Despite its popularity, the region has none of the large, resort-style hotels that are found on the Mediterranean coast of Spain or Turkey, for example. Hotels are generally of the small, owner-managed type, some to a very high standard and with plenty of character, though you will find some grander establishments just outside the Vendée in La Rochelle and Nantes. For would-be self-caterers who want something less communal than a campsite, there are plenty of holiday rentals available.