For a relaxing getaway, head for the island of Noirmoutier located on the Vendée Coast in France. Its atmosphere, its climate, its gastronomy, its beaches… everything here is favourable to spend a good time. Here are the must-sees during your getaway in Noirmoutier, also called the island of Mimosas.
1 | The Passage du Gois
Unlike the island of Ré which is only accessible by a bridge, the island of Noirmoutier, which is in fact a peninsula, is also accessible via its Passage du Gois. This unique paved road in Europe is revealed at low tide and connects the mainland and the island. Don’t forget to check the tide times before going there. More than a simple access point to the island, it is also the ideal spot for on-foot fishing. Besides, you will never see as many butts up raking the sand as here! The show is quite funny, especially in summer. Don’t miss the Polder de Sébastopol, a regional nature reserve classified since 2008, where you can walk in the middle of nature along the coast.
2 | Discover the island by bike
What is really pleasant in Noirmoutier is that the island is very well equipped for cyclists. Numerous bicycle paths line the different communes. There are three loops of about twenty kilometers which allow you to visit the island and its different landscapes. You can find more information on the website of the Tourist Office of Noirmoutier. We tried the circuit « Entre Marais et Moulins » which allowed us to discover very nice places that we would surely not have seen if we had moved by car. And what is really practical is that you don’t need to enter the route in your GPS since there are markers all along the route to guide you.
3 | Stroll through the pedestrian streets of Noirmoutier-en-l’Île
After a visit to the market to discover the local specialties, take the opportunity to stroll through the pedestrian streets of Noirmoutier-en-l’Île. At each corner, you will find beautiful and new surprises! Pretty facades adorned with hollyhocks, a store of vintage objects…. At snack time, you can go for a Frozen Yogurt or an ice cream to go and drink a milkshake at the No.Mad Café. After visiting the downtown area, you can take the pedestrian path along the marshes or stroll along the Jacobsen Pier and past the boat cemetery. At the aperitif time, I recommend you the Le 11 Restaurant which proposes aperitif boards.
4 | A walk in the Bois de la Chaise
The Bois de la Chaise is one of the most beautiful places on the island of Noirmoutier with its estacade, its large villas hidden in the pines where families gather for the vacations and the Plage des Dames lined with its famous beach huts. It is here that the film « Le Petit Nicolas » was shot. Very popular in summer, it is difficult to put your towel down to bask in the sun. But walking around is always pleasant. If you are looking for a quieter place, go to the pier and climb among the rocks. You will find the Anse Rouge beach, lined with pine trees, and from where you will have a nice view of the Plantin Tower (which is often mistaken for a lighthouse but is not)!
5 | Take a breath of fresh air at the Port de l’Herbaudière
For a breath of fresh air, head for l’Herbaudière, located at the extreme northwestern tip of the island. Go around the harbor and stop at the end of the pier on one of the benches. You can watch the boats arrive or go out of the harbor for a walk on the sea. Nothing could be more pleasant! You can also take a boat to reach the Ile du Pilier. L’Herbaudière is also the ideal place for lunch or dinner. This is where the starred restaurant La Marine is located, which we mentioned in a previous article.
6 | Visit the castle of Noirmoutier
In high season, many activities are offered in the four corners of the island of Noirmoutier. It’s hard to get bored! Among our favorites: the visit of the castle for its 360° view on the island and the discovery of « L’Île des Papillons » where you can discover many different species of butterflies. A very original outing! Some hotels also offer yoga activities for a relaxing moment. At Port de Morin, you can also enjoy a jet ski outing.
7 | Enjoy a beautiful sunset
To see the most beautiful sunsets, go to the West coast of the island. The beach of Luzéronde, located between L’Herbaudière and L’Epine, is one of the best spots. In the background, the Pillar Island will make all the adventurers want to take the sea to discover it. You can also see beautiful sunsets from the marshes located between L’Epine and Noirmoutier, wilder and more authentic.
Have you ever visited Noirmoutier ?
Discover the Bonnotte, the potato of Noirmoutier, accompanied by salicorne and grilled sardines. A local specialty!
We highly recommend the restaurant La Marine, or the gourmet restaurant l’Etier located in the heart of the salt marshes.
Located in front of the port of Noirmoutier-en-L’île, Le Général d’Elbée Hotel & Spa is the ideal starting point to enjoy your vacation.
By car – Via the bridge accessible free of charge 24/7 or the Passage du Gois. Don’t forget to check the tide schedules.
By bus – From Challans or La Roche-Sur-Yon. Daily connection from the Nantes train station.
From April to October. The island is very popular during spring and summer holidays.