A handy guide to travel options between the UK and Vendee for summer 2024.
Here we include information about ferries and driving times, direct flights and car hire, plus train travel to Vendee. Click on ‘Read more’ for all details.
One of the reasons for the popularity of Vendee to the British is the relatively short driving distance to sunshine. For many in the south of England, Vendee can be reached in a day, albeit a long one. The much-improved roads across the north of France offer a short sea crossing from Dover with a 6 to 7-hour drive. Alternatively, a longer (and less frequent) crossing to Normandy or St Malo means a shorter drive of between 3 and 4 ½ hours once in France.
The AA Route Planner indicates the following driving times from the ferry ports to Les Sable d’Olonne:
Calais 6 ½ hours
Le Havre 4 ¾ hours
Caen 4 hours
Cherbourg 4 ¾ hours
St Malo 3½ hours
Roscoff 4½ hours
An overnight ferry to Normandy is a good option to break your drive and with an early morning arrival at the French port offers a more leisurely drive to your property for the afternoon check-in. These overnight crossings, as well as those to Brittany (Portsmouth-St Malo for Vendee) get fully booked quite quickly, especially weekend crossings during July and August. An alternative is an early morning sailing from the UK port with an overnight hotel close to the port if travelling some distance to the south coast.If taking a short crossing and a longer drive, you may want to consider an overnight hotel. Different hotel chains provide different room types such as triple and family rooms, so it is worth doing some research. A good starting point is the Accor Hotels website which features a number of the leading chains across a wide price range including Novotel, Mercure, Ibis and Formula 1.
All of our villas in Vendee have a Saturday arrival day in peak season. Flexible changeover days outside peak season mean you can tailor your holiday to flight availability and prices.
The details below are correct to the best of our knowledge. However, please check the airline’s website for up to date information.
We also recommend that before booking you make yourself aware of the airline’s cancellation terms in case of further flight disruptions.
London Gatwick-La Rochelle
London Stanstead-La Rochelle
All the above-mentioned airports offer car hire from all the major rental companies. It goes without saying that we recommend you pre-book your car, and shop around for the best deal.
Our top tips for car hire:
- Take advantage of the online check-in facility offered by some rental agencies before you travel. This will save time on arrival at the airport.
- If possible, get the person in whose name the car has been booked to go straight to the car-hire desk, rather than wait for your luggage, to get ahead of the queue at the rental desk.
- We read of many problems where rental agencies claim that the vehicle has been damaged, even though the bumps or scratches were pre-existing. Take a moment to photo the vehicle where pre-existing damage has been highlighted on your rental agreement as proof should there be any future dispute.
To make the most of your stay at one of our villas in Vendee we strongly recommend having access to a car. Nonetheless, if members of your party are arriving by different means, travelling to Vendee on the train is an option to consider.
Through tickets are available from London to Vendee using Eurostar, high-speed TGV trains, with only the last part of the journey on a local train. The journey time from London to Les Sables d’Olonne is usually between seven and eight hours. All journeys require a couple of changes and we recommend itineraries where this happens at Lille Europe, where only a change of platform is required. Other options entail crossing Paris between terminals, which may be off-putting for some. A second change is required at Nantes.
Tickets can be booked at the English language website of French Railways.
If your travel plans are a little more complicated and involve flights and train travel, there are TGV trains from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to Nantes usually requiring a change at one at one of the out-of-town TGV only stations. Trains are not too frequent, so check your itinerary carefully and be aware of your options if your flight is delayed. The local train connection from Nantes to Les Sables d’Olonne takes under 1 ½ hours.
Information updated February 2024.