Location & Activities
Belle Vue is ideally located in the heart of the 'Marais Poitevin' regional park, at the southernmost point of Vendée. This means it is not only ideal for the popular Vendée beaches and attractions, but also the numerous places of interest of the neighbouring 'Charente Maritime'.
Photo: ©A. Lamoureux/Vendée Expansion - droits réservés - www.vendee-tourisme.com / toute reproduction ou publication interdite
Belle Vue is situated in the village of Puyravault, at the southernmost point of Vendée and close to the border with Charente Maritime.
The area, and particularly the zone around La Rochelle, benefits from a 'microclimate' thanks to the protection given by the islands and the Charente estuary. This particularly mild and sunny climate makes Vendée one of the most popular touristic destinations in France.
The village of Puyravault has a small bakery just a few minutes walk from Belle Vue which provides a surprisingly varied selection of breads and pastries. The neighbouring village of Champagne-les-Marais has an excellent restaurant, a small supermarket and a pharmacy. The city of Luçon is just 7 miles away, with its large supermarkets, shops and restaurants and twice-weekly indoor market.
Belle vue is just 15 miles from the magnificent old port of La Rochelle and the beautiful island of the Ile de Ré. The cathedral town of Luçon is only 7 miles away, and we are also close to the region known as the 'Venise Verte' (Green Venice).
La Rochelle lives up to its reputation for being the most beautiful town on the West coast of France. Its most famous landmarks are the two towers which guard the entrance to the old port.
During the long summer evenings around the old port you'll find craft stalls, portrait painters, music and entertainers. The old port also offers year-round boat trips to the surrounding islands and around Fort Boyard.
The port of "Les Minimes" hosts a massive marina with thousands of boats and a small beach. The aquarium is near to the old port, with its wonderful displays of fish, sharks and turtles. The cinemas, museums, art galleries and the large variety of restaurants make La Rochelle a place not to be missed.
The Vendée region is famous throughout France for the quality of its fine, sandy beaches. The sea is warm, shallow and very clean, particularly good for children. Some have lifeguard cover during the summer months.
‘Belle Vue’ is only 12 miles to the nearest beaches. Aiguillon sur Mer, La Tranche, Longeville, Jard and Les Sables d’Olonne are all within easy reach. As we are on the Southern edge of Vendée, the beaches of the Ile de Ré and Chatelaillon-Plage are also easily accessible.
Out of season, when the wind picks up, the same beaches can provide interest for surfers, wind surfers and sailors. As the beaches are on the large side, they seldom feel crowded, even during the height of summer.
Ile de Ré
The Ile de Ré is one of the jewels of the Atlantic coast; 30km long and 5km at its widest point, it is just 30 mins drive away from Belle Vue. It is accessed by a 3km long toll bridge (€8 or €16 return depending on the season).
There are sandy beaches to the South West and salt marshes and oyster beds to the North East. The beautiful old port of La Flotte is well worth a visit. The island's capital, St-Martin, is an atmospheric north-coast fishing port with whitewashed houses clustered around a well-protected harbour.
The 'Venise Verte' is a vast drained area of dykes and criss-crossing canals punctuated by picturesque villages that makes for great walking and cycling. In a number of towns and villages, boats such as punts and canoes can be hired. These wetlands are home to a wide range of fascinating wildlife of the region, from majestic raptors to elegant storks.
The Abbey of Maillezais, a building of great historical importance, is well worth a visit.
The Forêt de Mervent
Just north of the ancient market town of Fontenay le Comte (25 miles from Belle Vue), the forest of Mervent is over 12,000 acres of mixed woodland, hills, rivers and lakes.
Ideal for walking, riding, cycling and picnics, the forest is also home to a water sports complex, a small zoo and an amusement park (Parc de Pierre Brune).
The villages of Mervent and Vouvant are two of the prettiest in the region.
Luçon is our nearest town, approximately 12km from Belle Vue.
It has a beautiful Roman Cathedral and is known historically for having Cardinal Richelieu as its first bishop. There are three large supermarkets, banks, a twice weekly food market and a good selection of small shops. It is also the home of 'Kamok', a delicious coffee liqueur : you can taste it at the old distillery where it used to be made.
There are many evening events which take place throughout summer such as the "Son et Lumière" show, which takes place in the Jardin Dumaine in July.
Both départements of Vendée and Charente-Maritime offer a huge variety of attractions for all ages. Listed below is just a small selection of the options available in the surrounding area..
Aquarium of La Rochelle
The Aquarium of La Rochelle is situated in the heart of the city. Opened in 2001, it is one of Europe's largest and is open every day of the year.
It takes 2 hours to walk around this vast exhibition. There are 65 tanks displaying 10,000 Atlantic, Mediterranean and Tropical species in 3 million litres of water, a 360° tunnel surrounded by jellyfish and microscopic sea life, and a 1,5 million litre tank containing sea water and 20 species of sharks!
Indian Forest is an amusement park just 20 miles (30 minutes) from Belle Vue. It is free to enter, but once there you are bound to want to have a go at one of the many activities on offer.
The park caters for all levels of fitness and agility, and all ages. For the youngsters there’s a large selection of giant inflatables including castles, giant slide, human bar football, fly trap, rodeo... There is also pony trekking and paintballing.
For the more adventurers there are nine levels according to fitness and age. Harnesses are used for safety, as the heights of the course also range between 3 and 25 metres. Tree houses, rope swings zip wires and cargo nets are all involved.
Puy du Fou
Europes first ecological and historical theme park. 35 hectares containing both medieval and 18th century villages, water theatre, rose garden and arboretum, plus amazing spectacles to see.
The cavalry display contains jousting, dressage and the "bataille du donjon", with an array of large medieval weaponry. The falconry display is not to be missed - the center is used to breed and protect endangered species, and to keep this ancient art alive.
At the weekend, there is a completely separate event; the "Grand Spectacle", re-enacting the historical wars of the Vendée. It is the largest outdoor show in Europe.
Futuroscope is a 21st century theme park built on the edge of Poitiers, about a two-hour drive from Belle Vue. Its futuristic architecture pays homage to the technologies of both today and tomorrow.
The visual technologies used allow you to watch 3D films on giant flat, circular and spherical screens. Dynamic cinema introduces you to new video techniques including virtual reality. Kinematic films are shown on a giant, seven story high screen, and the magic carpet, with screens both in front of you and below your feet, gives the illusion of flying. All in all there are twenty-two different attractions.