Ciel nuageux27°
  • Foodie experiencesFoodie experiences
    Pêche à pied Jard sur Mer

    After high tide, rock pooling is a great bucket list option!

    The Best French restaurants, the Vendée recognised for its “Belles tables”

menu burger
  1. Home
  2. Experience the Vendée
  3. Distinctive landscapes
  4. Lakes, rivers, and canals for blue water holidays

Book now

  • Accommodation
  • Puy du fou
Distinctive landscapesAbsolutely fabulous

Lakes, rivers, and canals for blue water holidays

Lakes, rivers, and canals are not lacking in the Vendée. Several well know rivers cross the Vendée from north to south such as Le Lay and La Vie which provide some ideal fishing spots. Lakes too are in not short supply – Jaunay lakeApremont lake and lake of La Tricherie offer leisure zone swimming activities as well as numerous other water sports. And not forgetting the marshland areas that cover part of the Vendée. Two very distinctive landscapes, the Marais breton and the Marais poitevin, display exceptional eco-systems, authentic traditions and activities adapted to the countryside.  So, it is not always necessary to be by the sea, there are a multitude of other options to relax with your feet in the water.  

The coastal rivers and main streams in the Vendée 

The Vendée has 13 rivers of more than 50 km, the largest being the river Lay which is 120 km in length. The Lay River flows generally south-west ward into the Bay of Biscay and arrives at the sea between La Faute sur Mer and L'Aiguillon sur Mer. Geographically, it is the most important river in the Vendée, not only for its length but also for its velocity. The River Vie is another of the Vendée's coastal river, it is 62km long and flows from Bellevigny generally westward discharging into the Altantic Ocean at Saint Gilles Croix de Vie. Inland rivers provide a variety of fishing environments as well as ever changing picturesque landscapes. The famous Sèvre Nantaise, in the north-east of the county, is one of the region's most attractive rivers whose total length is nearly 141 kilometres long. Enclosed by valleys, it often creates torrential conditions in winter. The central River Yon is 56km in length, and passes through the Vendée’s main administrative centre, La Roche sur Yon. It flows generally southward from a small wooded and winding valley through stunning granite outcrops which have eroded over time. It is also a right tributary of the River Lay.  

Finally, further south, the River Vendée, some 83 kilometres long passes through the lakes of Mervent and Albert, before flowing into the Sèvre Niortaise at Ile d'Elle in the Marais Poitevin. It is the right tributary of the Sevre Niortaise.

The Marshes - two distinctive areas, both with a labyrinth of canals

Vendée's marshes consist of two large wetland areas with extraordinary light conditions. 

  • The first is the Marais breton, which extends from the southern half of the Pays de Retz in the Loire Atlantique to Saint Gilles Croix de Vie.  
  • The second is the Marais poitevin, the France’s second largest wetlands. It is set in the stunning verdant area around the villages of Maillezais, Damvix and Le Mazeau.  

These eco-systems, reclaimed from the sea several centuries ago, now form a labyrinth of freshwater and saltwater canals, housing a diverse range of plants and wildlife.


Leisure and fishing lakes for blue water holidays

The majority of the Vendée's lakes are dammed, and each one has its own unique fish population. At the heart of the Vendée, near La Roche sur Yon, you will find the lakes of Moulin Papon, Jaunay and Apremont - ideal, well-known and well-regarded fishing spots. They are the perfect place for lovers of the great outdoors.  

The Mervent complex, located near the Marais poitevin to the north of Fontenay le Comte, consists of three lakes in a wooded, undulating landscape. In the Vendean Bocage, close to Puy du Fou®, you'll also discover a number of lakes where you can go fishing, either on the banks or on board a boat. These include the lakes of Angle Guignard in Chantonnay, Rochereau in Sigournais and La Bultière in Saint Fulgent district. 

Yon Valley La Roche sur Yon
Apremont Quaint Village VendeeLac de Moulin Papon
Canoe Lac de Mervent

The lake Mervent leisure facilities for many water sports activities

The Mervent leisure facilities offer a life-size playground with its 80-hectares stretch of water. On site, many water sport activities are available: canoe rentals, kayaks, electric boats, mountain bikes... as well as supervision by qualified instructors if necessary.

Leisure and swimming activities on the lake of Chassenon

The leisure area of Lac de Chassenon, just south of the Mervent-Vouvant forest, is a must for leisure and swimming activities. Since 2014, it is the only indoor beach to benefit from the Blue Flag label which is awarded to sites for their environmental quality. On site, many games await children: playground, water slides, paddling pool, bouncy castle. It is also possible to rent motorboats or pedal boats to enjoy the superb scenic views of this part of the southern Vendée.

Touchegray lake vendee paddle

Swimming lake and leisure facilities of Touchegray

At the leisure facility of Touchegray in Chantonnay, a swimming area has been equipped with a sandy beach. Numerous water sport activities await you: canoe-kayak rental, stand up paddle and pedal boats. On site: inflatable structures for children, “ludi-sports” for younger family members (archery, a digital orientation game, and archery touch...), fishing activities as well as a beach library. Enjoy picnic tables, table tennis and fishing areas. You can also set out to discover the wild and the atypical environment on the Angle Guignard lake. Different routes are possible.

Leisure facilities and adventure courses at the lake of la Tricherie

The leisure facility of Lake la Tricherie, near Les Herbiers offers a multitude of activities: Tépacap Vendée with its 8 tree adventure courses, various children’s games, inflatable structures, rides, and water sport activities such as pedalo, paddle... Other experiences include the Splash game 2.0, a real water park composed of inflatable games of all kinds (trampoline, slide...). If you become a bit peckish, shady picnic tables are available or if you prefer a comfortable spot on the terrace of the creperie/pizzeria.

The lac de la Bultière : relaxing, hiking, canoeing and so on… 

The magnificent lake of Bultière invites you to relax in a natural verdant setting. You can explore its dam and numerous hiking trails suitable for all levels. Other activities include rowing, canoeing, slack line, paddle, archery, and orienteering. You can also take part in a semi-nocturne hike in a canoe or paddle with a qualified guide, or you can join in with a musical workout fitness session. Courses are also available for young people. 

The lake of Apremont : supervised bathing in July and August

Apremont is classed as a "Petite Cité de Caractère" but is also known for its leisure lake, not far from the castle. Apremont leisure facilities offer a variety of activities to enjoy during a day beside the water’s edge. In July and August, bathing is supervised to ensure everyone’s safety. A partly shaded beach and an area with picnic tables is available. From April to October, wake park, boat rental and even mini golf, making this place even more lively. 

Lac du Jaunay, an exceptional leisure lake for outdoor and nautical activities 

The Lac du Jaunay is a vast protected natural site with many shady areas, is a perfect spot to spend a whole day. Swimming, hiking, pedalo, donkey riding, mountain biking… there are plenty of outdoor and nautical activities around Lac du Jaunay. To fully enjoy this natural setting, a picnic is a super option, but do not forget to leave this exceptional site clean and litter free.
Around Lac du Jaunay, there are many 4 and 5 star campsites with top of the range facilities. Several of them welcome international clients and are referenced in the Welcome c'est Beau Ici initiative

Lac du Jaunay Vendee

Not to be missed

La Roche sur Yon, 370x370

The very heart of the Vendée

Marais poitevin

The Marais poitevin and the green Venice


Rolling hills around the Puy du Fou

The island of Noirmoutier

Yeu island

The island of Yeu

La Tranche sur Mer

Stunning beaches

Plage du Paracou aux Sables d'Olonne

Coastal resorts and sea ports