Noirmoutier, Vendee: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Noirmoutier (Pays de la Loire, France)
The large island of Noirmoutier is found off the Vendée coast of western France, facing the Atlantic Ocean.
There are two ways to reach Noirmoutier from mainland France - the newer bridge from La Barre-de-Monts or the more traditional 'Passage du Gois'. The Passage du Gois is a road that is completely submerged at high tide, hence can only be used at certain times of day.
It is to the north-east of the island, and the town of Noirmoutier-en-Ille, that you will want to travel first - it is the traditional port for the island, and also has an interesting 12th century castle and church to visit. Nearby Herbaudiére, at the north-western tip of the island, is an active fishing port and also centre for various water based leisure activities.
A traditional market is held in Noirmoutier-en-Ille each Friday morning, with additional summer markets on tuesday and sunday during the summer, and also a summer only market is held in Herbaudière on monday mornings.
The best beaches (there are more than 50 kilometres of beaches in total on Noirmoutier) are along the western coast, pleasant and sandy.
If you (or your children!) need more action on Noirmoutier head for Oceanile water park for lots of dramatic water slides, waterfalls and fun for all.
Noirmoutier castle and museum
It is in Noirmoutier-en-Ille that you can visit the medieval castle, built in the 12th century. Like many medieval castles it was improved to make the accommodation more comfortable in the 15th century, and now holds the island's history museum.
The castle itself has a large courtyard and is surrounded by further defensive walls. They tell me there are lovely views from these walls but the castle was closed when we visited - it is generally open afternoons mid february to early November, but closed on tuesdays outside high season.
Elsewhere on Noirmoutier
Another of the highlights of the island is the many traditional low buildings with whitewashed walls that you se as you drive around and there are a few traditional villages to enjoy en route.
The Chaise forest of oaks and mimosas, running along the coast to the north-east of the island, is also worth visiting and exploring, as are the small forests along the western coast. Remarkably the micro-climate on Noirmoutier allows mimosas to flower in late winter - a lovely sight and more accessible than, for example, Arcachon in south-west France or Bormes-les-Mimosas on the Mediterranean coast for many visitors.
The tourist office can provide you with information about walks and cycle routes on Noirmoutier that will help you best enjoy the nature and the scenery.
Note: you may perhaps recognise the name 'Noirmoutier' - it still has an active salt production role, and provides a great deal of France's table salt. There are various places along the coast where you will see the salt flats.
Map of Noirmoutier and places nearby
Visit near Noirmoutier with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Vendee
Address: Noirmoutier-en-l'Île, Sables-d'Olonne, Pays de la Loire, 85330, France || GPS: latitude 47.01, longitude -2.23
Plan your visit to Noirmoutier, Vendee
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Pointe Sainte-Gildas: site of natural beauty (14 km)
- Notre-Dame-de-Monts: ville fleurie 4* (21 km)
- Saint-Jean-de-Monts: ville fleurie 4* (27 km)
- Pornichet: ville fleurie 4* (30 km)
Market days in Noirmoutier, France
Regular market(s) are held in Noirmoutier each Tuesday & Sunday & Monday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Noirmoutier (Francais)