MAREUIL-SUR-LAY Is a very picturesque wine producing market town on the River Lay, dominated by the spire of its Romanesque church and 16th century chateau.
A sign posted "route des vins" leads to some of the many local vineyards where wine tastings are available (full details from the local tourist office). There are bars, bistros, and restaurants as well as the usual shops, doctors, chemists, dentists, banks, supermarket and post office just a few minutes walk from your holiday base.
The attractive cathedral town of Lucon is within ten minutes drive of Le Moulin. Artfully trained and pollarded trees form green arches in summer above the roads leading to the centre, which is dominated as much by the crazily decorated water tower north of the Champ-de-Foire, as by the elegant 85m spire of the cathedral, flood-lit by night. Opposite the cathedral is the former distillery of H. Vrignaud Fils, now an old fashioned shop here you can taste Vrignaud's various speciality liquors distilled locally.
The Atlantic coast is only half an hours drive, with its miles of clean and golden sandy beaches. The famous and interesting port of La Rochelle is within forty minutes, and similarly distanced is the lovely seaside town of Les Sables D'Olonne, now famed as the starting place of the Vendee Globe Yacht Race.
The chateau of Puy Du Fou offers an interesting and exciting day out, and at weekends, after dark, a spectacular Son et Lumiere show is enacted. A trip to Poitiers to visit Futuroscope is well worth while.
Fontenay-Le-Comte is a picturesque old town with leafy squares, ancient houses, and Saturday street market on the banks of the Vendee River. Guided tours on foot or by horse-drawn carriage, or even a pleasure flight over the town and nearby forest of MerventVouvant can be arranged at the Tourist office.
There are also horse riding centres, tennis courts and golf courses nearby. Scuba diving can also be enjoyed a little further afield and of course the area is ideal for walking and cycling.
Coulon, officially labled one of "the most beautiful villages of France" is a busy little waterside town, 60km southwest of Lucon, where a handsome church, interesting shops and fishermen's houses line the old streets. "Plates", traditional flat bottomed boats can be rented from several companies along the quayside of the Sevre Niortaise river and explore the intricate network of tree lined waterways, known as the Green Venise, created by monks in the 13th century
La Rochelle, one of the Yachting capitals of France, is known for its immense marina, full of all manner of sailing craft, and its bustling old harbour dominated by twin fortresses and surrounded by an old town steeped in history, and characterised by ornate and imposing architecture. There is a nautical museum, state of the art aquarium, and opportunity to take a boat trip to one of the nearby islands as well as stretches of beach to enjoy.
The South Vendee has its own pleasant climate, boasting as many sunshine hours as the Riviera, and in summer fields of sunflowers stretch for miles. Nearby vineyards can be visited to taste and purchase wine, and on the coast local seafood is the speciality
Average Weather for the region