This new title from Bradt is the only English-language guide to focus on this part of the Pays de Loire: The Vendée and surrounding area including Pornic, La Rochelle, Île de Ré and Nantes, an increasingly popular part of France. Written by award-winning travel writer Murray Stewart and Angela Bird, who for almost 50 years has owned a home in the region, it offers comprehensive coverage of this beguiling area, with details on everything from family holidays to walks, cycling, local cuisine and history. Thanks to the author's long history with the area, the guide also reveals the quirks and themes which give the Vendée its own distinct character, as well as straying just beyond the area's boundaries to incorporate La Rochelle and Nantes, both entry points for those arriving by air and both offering urban distractions for the occasional rainy day.
The Vendée offers all the benefits of a well-established destination, both with French and British visitors, with easy access times from the UK by ferry adding to its appeal. Popular with campers and self-caterers, its sunny climate and 140km of sandy beaches, combined with tree-lined canals and open marshland, make for a diverse outdoor playground. Bradt's The Vendée and surrounding area includes information on suggested walks and cycleways, and also summarizes the best places for bird-watching. The region has no true cities, or even large towns, but the guide includes details of the many local museums which provide easily accessible insight into the bloody history of an area which has, at times, been central to the evolution of modern-day France.
Angela Bird has studied and worked in France, and has owned a home in the Vendée for almost 50 years. She wrote her first guidebook to the area in 1995. In the UK she has worked for The Illustrated London News and Country Living magazines, and was for four years Vendée correspondent for the French publication Côté Ouest.
Murray Stewart is an experienced guidebook author, having updated several titles for Bradt and written Bradt's The Basque Country and Navarre: France and Spain, which won the British Guild of Travel Writers' Best Guidebook award in 2016. He spends part of the year living in the Minervois in southern France and is a near-fluent French speaker. He is a keen long-distance walker and has a passion for wildlife and the outdoors in general. His fondness for cycling in France first took him to the Vendée when his legs were considerably younger.