L’AIGUILLON-SUR-MER, FAMILY ATMOSPHERE IN A PITTORESQUE PORT
At the low-lying coastal strip bordering the Poitevin marshes and right next to the mouth of the river Lay is l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer, the Vendée’s southernmost seaside resort. From here you can distinguish the bridge connecting the mainland to the Ile de Ré in the nearby Charente Maritime.
Three sea-water pools warrant for safe and serene bathing and sunbathing for some, while others may opt for practicing favourite water sports, or even angling.
The fishing port with its wooden piers and stilts is celebrated for its oyster and mussel farms.
The Pointe de l’Aiguillon, with its wild dune and beach landscapes tempts you out to long walks, swimming, and birdwatching excursions.
During your stay, do not forget to indulge to fresh fish, seafood, and the exquisite “moules de bouchot”, which are best during the summer season.
LA FAUTE-SUR-MER, A PENINSULA BETWEEN SEA AND NATURE
Bordered on one side by the river Lay and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, la Faute-sur-Mer with its 11 km of sandy beaches offers plentiful opportunities for bathing and other nautical sports. Naturists will feel at ease at the Anse de la Barrique, near the Pointe d’Arçay.
This seaside resort has a genuine environmental asset. Enjoy walks through the Rade d’Amour, the national nature reserve Casse de la Belle Henriette, as well as through the biological reserve of the Pointe d’Arçay.
Sea enthusiasts are invited to visit the fishing port, the base for numerous nautical activities such as excursions and fishing trips out on the ocean.
Not least, gourmets should not skip the “moules des bouchots”, oysters, and other Vendée specialties in store to delight their taste buds.
SAINT MICHEL EN L’HERM, A FORMER ISLAND OF THE GOLFE DES PICTONS
St-Michel-en-l’Herm is surrounded by fertile lands gained from the sea through centuries of hard work, as only witnessed by the island at the Ile de la Dive. Its orientation table displays a unique panorama over the dry marshes and the Baie de l’Aiguillon.
You will also learn to appreciate the open polder-landscape, numerous sites suited for birdwatching and rich culture heritage sites, such as the Abbaye Royal, and the Museum André Deluol with its sculpture and painting collections.
EACH HIS OWN POOL AT L’AIGUILLON SUR MER
The first reservoir is open to bathers, stand-up paddleboarders, and triathletes. The second is accessible to cable skiers, wake- and knee-boarders, as well as wakeskaters. The third water reservoir is exclusively dedicated to angling (no permit needed).
Life at the waterfront pulses to the rhythm of the tides! Don’t forget to get a copy of the local tide table at the tourist offices.
It is reminded that the dunes bordering the beach constitute an extremely fragile natural environment protected by strict regulations.
FISHING & NATURE
at l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer or La Faute-sur-Mer , by foot or with a line…
Your catch is for personal consumption only. Caught fish, crustaceans, and shellfish must conform with strict regulations
– Minimum sizes for shellfish are 4 cm for mussels, 3 cm for cockles, 4 cm for clams, and 3.5 cm for scallops
– The maximum catch per person is 5 kg for mussels and oysters, 3 kg for clams, cockles and scallops.
Once these rules are respected, it’s up to you to find the good spots. Plaice is best caught from the old bridge, or else in the water reservoirs for bathing and fishing, in canals, otherwise directly at the beach.
LA POINTE DE L’AIGUILLON
This 700 metre wide “spur” stretches for about 12 km along the estuary of the river Lay and ends at a tip, where the river joins with the estuary of the Sèvre Niortaise. Thanks to its funnel-shape, the Pointe de l’Aiguillon is a unique location for observing nesting birds as of early springtime, and migration birds from September to November. In this period you can take part in organised excursions into the nature and to bird-watching points.
La Pointe de l’Aiguillon also offers superb walks on its wild beaches.
LA CASSE DE LA BELLE HENRIETTE
This 180 hectares large dune band emerged towards the end of the 19th century and constitutes due to its reed beds an exceptional environment, which shelters rare wildlife species and more common migration and nesting birds. To preserve this ecosystem, please observe the marked-out trails.
LA POINTE D’ARÇAY
Another emblematic site of la Faute-sur-Mer is the Pointe d’Arçay. This 9 km long and 1 km wide arm under the management of the NFB/ONCFS is a unique and unspoilt ecosystem where many protected species thrive.
LA RADE D’AMOUR
Located on a former concession of an oyster farm, this area benefits from an exceptionally rich biodiversity. The site is equipped with a marked-out itinerary with a number of spots suitable for bird-watching that offering remarkable panoramas over the Lay estuary and.
LA BAIE DE L’AIGUILLON
La Baie de l’Aiguillon is an outstanding natural site representative of the atlantic estuarine salt marshes surrounding vast mudflats. It is therefore one of the most important halts on the avian migration routes between Europe and Africa. The area is under full protection and inscribed on the list of France’s national reserves.
Numerous bird-watching sites have been established in the centre of the reserve, such as the one at the embankments near St-Michel-en-l’Herm, or that in the rocks of the Île de la Dive.
THE LAY RIVER
The Lay is the main coastal river of the Vendée. It has its sources at St Pierre du Chemin, near the town of la Châtaigneraie. It successively passes through the boscage, the alluvial sediments in the plain, and the Poitevin Marshlands to end up in the Atlantic Ocean between the sandy landscapes of l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer and the Pointe d’Arçay.
During excursions at sea, one can admire the unique natural beauty of the Lay estuary, where the coming and going of the tides stage a never-ending show performed by the bird wildlife in a protected environment.