This small, natural island is located off the Vendee coast and is just 20 km long and 7 km wide. With its preserved heritage of sand dunes, salt marshes and dense forests, this is a nature-lovers dream. Due to its unique microclimate, the island has a considerable amount of warmth and sunshine, perfect for lazy days on the beach or by the pool. Activities on the island include water-sports, sailing, fishing and deep-sea diving. There are many sites and attractions to visit and explore such as museums, churches and local craft shops. Le Chateau de Noirmoutier is one of the landmarks that are most frequently visited. Over the centuries this castle has been built on and restored, but the very first traces date all the way back to 830. The 12th century castle and museum has exquisite views looking out over the island and the ocean.
There is a traditional market held each Friday morning, with famous local produce including the Bonnotte potatoes (the most expensive in the world), oysters, fish and sea salt. As you can imagine the local cuisine is second to none, and you will be spoilt for choice with authentic restaurants, cafes and creperies. Each of the four villages on the island has their own little market, church, boulangerie and beach. If you are travelling with children then you may wish to visit the Sealand Aquarium, take the Hippobus (horse drawn carriage) for a tour around the salt marshes, visit Ile aux Papillons, which has over 700 varieties of butterfly from around the world. You could also go to the Maidon de l’Anne, a cute little donkey farm, Mini Ville, which displays little houses and villages from various areas within France, Petit Gris (a snail farm) and take the tourist train which stops off at the various attractions and points of interest around the island.
The island is conveniently connected to the mainland by a bridge that was built in 1971. It can also be reached via “Le Gois”, a 4.8 km long cobblestone walkway, covered twice daily by the tides.