After buying and selling two times in France, we hope that this third one proves to be lucky! …. Somewhere, I can almost hear the famous statement ‘ Jamais deux sans trois‘ – never twice wihout the third time … I shudder.
After visiting properties in a close 100+ during our search in the 35 departments, we bought the one we did not look for, in a twist of fate, when our friend Olivier sent us an email. It ticked all the boxes and was perfect for us, just as we imagined it to be. Not too big, not too small, enough for the two of us and plenty of space to receive friends and visitors.
Although, it came to us in a perfectably habitable state, we needed to ‘mettre à notre goût‘ as the French would say – to put to our taste. A good splash of white everywhere was my chosen strategy, and new kitchen and bathroom, with some en-suite plans to go. My pins on my board have been getting plumped each day. Soon, all to be set up. Exciting!
Before dwelling further into the property details, which is a humble maison de maitre in its elegant vast square rooms layout, a glimpse into the place is important to locate this habitation in a country of 551,500 square kilometres. The Vendée is in the west-central part of France on the Atlantic Ocean. The coast of the Vendée extends over 200 kilometres (120 mi) of mostly sandy beaches, dunes and pine woods. Tourists from overseas and locally frequent them. Some resorts include les Sables D’Olonne, La Tranche-sur-Mer and Saint Jean des Monts. Most of beaches are “blue flagged” for their cleanliness offering calm waters which qualify for a baby bath with soft white sand, and sheltered ‘criques‘.
The department also boasts of its medieval churches and abbeys, museums, and for nature lovers—thousands of marked footpaths, with signposted bicycle routes running along the coastal mudflats, and marshes with a huge network of canals, attracting unusual birds. It is a peaceful haven for this piece of sheltered land from the harsh winds from the Atlantic Ocean and offers a beautiful mild Mediterranean climate.
Inland, the chief attractions include the Marais Poitevin (an area of marshlands famed for wildlife), the forested area around the village of Mervent and the rolling countryside of the Bocage. It is criss-crossed with canals and punctuated by pretty little towns which straddle the rivers and canals of the area. In the north of the department, the historical theme park Puy du Fou attracts more than 1.45 million of visitors per year.
Nature lovers will find Fontenay-Le-Comte an ideal base, with its major town,
Fontenay-le-Comte. The Renaissance town of Fontenay-le-Comte is often referred to as the prettiest town in the Vendée and is surely one of the prettiest in France being listed in the “Plus Beau detours de France“.
Sitting astride the River Vendée this former port was a fording town on the old Roman coastal road from Les Sables D’Olonne to Niort. Many of the villages through which the road passes, though now miles from the sea, still have streets named quay road and signposts for the port. The reason for this is that as the Marshes gradually silted up, and the land was drained by the Benedictine monks the sea receded and by the end of the 19th century the town was all but finished as a port…
It was the capital of the Vendée department from 1790 to 1806 and was only stripped of the title by Napoleon as a punishment for its part in the French Revolutionary Wars.
Having enjoyed the historic aspect of the town you can also delight in the more modern pleasures afforded by the numerous excellent restaurants and cafés. The former train station, situated in the Avenue de la Gare at the top of the Rue de la République, has become a cultural centre and now houses exhibitions, musical performances and many other functions. There are excellent shops and other leisure facilities and Fontenay-le-Comte is justly proud of being called “the cultural and sporting town of France”.
Fontenay-le-Comte purportedly provides more cultural and sporting events, per capita, than any other town in France and held the World Crocket Championships on the superb lawns alongside the river Vendée . It also boasts an equestrian centre and the best karting circuit in the Vendée, and has vibrant clubs for tennis, football, rugby, squash and many other sports. There is a website specifically dedicated to the numerous and varied sports clubs and facilities in Fontenay-le-Comte.
Do you know about the Griffon Vendee ? It is a very handsome dog which makes excellent companions and guard dogs.