Port Bourgenay, Vendee: visitors guide

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The town of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, along with the nearby Port Bourgenay and the popular Veillon beach are centrally placed in western Vendée between the resorts of Les Sables d'Olonne and La Tranche-sur-Mer.

The main attraction for visitors are the spectacles that are held in the Chateau de Talmont during the summer, but the town of Talmont and Port Bourgenay also deserve a visit when you are in the region.

Exploring Port Bourgenay and Talmont Saint Hilaire

Well placed in the heart of the popular Vendée coast, you will find all the ingredients of a typical Vendée destination - although here they are slightly separate! The town of Talmont-St-Hilaire is a few kilometres from the coast, there is a popular port area at Port Bourgenay and just to the south is the popular beach called the Plage de Veillon.

Talmont-Saint-Hilaire Tourist Office is situated next to the entrance to the Chateau de Talmont.

Talmont Saint Hilaire

Chateau de Talmont

The main monument in the town is the Chateau of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, also known as the Richard the Lionheart castle. Although in ruins there are substantial parts of this castle still standing - the original castle was substantially reinforced in the 12th century by Richard the Lionheart, before falling into ruin following damage by Cardinal Richelieu in 1628.

During the summer there are frequent medieval events and reenactments held at the castle, and at other times the castle is also open to visitors (afternoons only from mid September to Easter, admission price 5-8 euros according to season).

It is during July and August that we recommend you visit the Chateau de Talmont, when various events are held such as falconry and jousting and also when the impressive Spectacle Nocturne is also held once a week.

Elsewhere in the town there are a few sites of interest such as the Church of Saint Pierre, built at the beginning of the 20th century, and the Salle Louis Chaigne, the original market hall for the town. These two monuments are a short distance up the hill from the castle. While here take a short stroll around the narrow quiet streets of the original old town.

At the bottom of the hill below the castle there is a small lake which is now preserved as a nature reserve. You can take a walk around the edge of the lake, which is very nice and peaceful especially if you are visiting from one of the Vendee beaches during summer time!

Motor enthusiasts will also want to visit the Vendee Museum of Automobiles here in Talmont-Saint-Hilaire which has a very wide and fascinating collection of more than 200 cars dating from 1885 to the present time.

Port Bourgenay

The port here is very pleasant for a stroll, and has a small selection of bars and restaurants where you can sit and look over the harbour.

The old cannon in the port is thought to date from a ship called 'La Seine' which sank here in 1789, while of more recent construction you can see a German built blockhouse which was part of the German defences here during the Second World War.

Just north of the port along the route towards Chateau-d'Olonne is the 'Aquarium of the 7th Continent' with large aquariums representing the marine environment in each continent of the world and including a multitude of species that you might not expect to see in western France, from small sharks to small multi-coloured tropical fish.

Chateau de Talmont

Plage du Veillon

Veillon beach stands on a narrow peninsula between the sea and a natural bay a short distance south of Port Bourgenay.

Although at little more than one kilometre long the beach at Veillon can't claim to be one of the longest in the Vendee, and it has only limited facilities, it can claim to be one of the most attractive and is one of the most popular with visitors to the area around Talmont-Saint-Hilaire.

Attractions nearby

There are various other resorts along the Vendée coast that you can visit during your stay in the region, such as La Tranche-sur-Mer and Longeville-sur-Mer. Our favourite, a few kilometres north-west of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, is Les Sables d'Olonne..

You can find more local travel ideas in the Vendee guide and the Pays de la Loire guide.

See also:

Photos of Port Bourgenay

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Map of Port Bourgenay and places nearby

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Address: Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, Sables-d'Olonne, Pays de la Loire, 85440, France || GPS: latitude 46.468056, longitude -1.616944

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The French version of this page is at Port Bourgenay (Francais)