Puy du Fou: In a picturesque park of over 40 hectares, you will discover the history of the Vendee.  Experience the invasion of a Viking camp, watch gladiators chariot racing in a roman amphitheatre.  Visit a reproduction of a 19th century commune.  Enjoy breathtaking displays of falconry, jousting, horse riding acrobatics and much more.  During July and August there is a spectacular open night show – not to be missed. (35 mins)  www.puydufou.com

The Loire Valley: Famous for its chateaux and wines, the Loire Valley offers also some exceptional scenery.  Some towns worth a visit: Saumur with the Cadre Noir (National School of Horsemanship).  Chinon and its medieval castle.  Also the unique gardens of Villandry. (45 mins)

Marais Poitevin: Green Venice – a maze of waterways and luxuriant vegetation.  There are many villages, tow paths and quay sides.  Coulon is cited as one of the most beautiful villages in France.  Take a trip on a guided punt or be more adventurous and go it alone!” (45 mins)

(www.marais-poitevin.fr)

Pescalis: Situated near Moncoutant, this fishermans’ paradise offers over 150 hectares of lakes.  It is Europe’s premier fishing and nature centre and open to beginner and enlightened amateur.  All types of fish are available. (20 mins) (www.pescalis.com)

Futuroscope: A hi-tech experience with adventures on land, sea and in outer space using the latest projection system technology. (50 mins) www.futuroscope.com