Île d’Yeu conceals many heritage treasures. It’s up to you to come and discover them as soon as possible! This excursion promises you great surprises. It will invite you to a beautiful immersion in the past.

From the Neolithic to the Middle Ages, an island of belief

Known to men since the Neolithic period, the Île d’Yeu has reaped its heritage. Engraved rocks, dolmens and other megaliths attest to the presence of our prehistoric ancestors.

In the Middle Ages, the territory entered a new era. At the end of the 4th century, a pilgrim Saint Martin de Vertou was charged by Saint Félix, bishop of Nantes, with converting the populations south of the Loire. He then came to evangelize the Island. During his visit, the first church of Saint Sauveur was built. This construction was followed by that of a monastery dedicated to Saint-Hilaire built by monks from Ireland, then another dedicated to Saint-Etienne built by monks from the Tours region.

tourism ile dyeu

An island with military heritage

Later, France entered the Hundred Years’ War. The lords of the island therefore decided to build a castle to protect themselves from English invaders. A rampart which will have little effect because the Island will be taken and occupied for 37 years. The Vieux-Château is still accessible to visitors today.

Finally, in the 19th century, the Île d’Yeu saw the establishment of the Pierre-Levée fort. Having first served as barracks, it was subsequently transformed into a state prison. The one that the islanders call “The Citadel” welcomed Philippe Pétain during his sentencing.

Our advice: to discover the heritage of this island rich in history, let yourself be tempted by a guided and commented bicycle tour.Contact the Île d’Yeu tourist office for more information.

In any case, full of surprises, Île d’Yeu is ideal for a family excursion.

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Distance from the campsite:

  • 15km of road towards Saint Gilles Croix de Vie then approximately 60 minutes of crossing;
  • 45km drive towards Fromentine then 45 min crossing.

Complete change of scenery as soon as you arrive on the Ile d’Yeu. When you dock at Portjoinville, this small fishing port will welcome you in a colorful and lively atmosphere.

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visit dyeu island

There are many ways to discover the island

For people who cannot travel easily, buses with driver guides will allow you to comfortably discover the essential sites. It is also possible to rent scooters, cars or visit the island by horse-drawn carriage or on the little train. If possible, we advise you to rent bikes in Portjoinville and explore the paths of the Island.

Here everything is magnificent: its villages with small white houses and colorful shutters (green, blue, yellow…) full of flowers thanks to its hollyhocks or even its hydrangeas, sometimes long sandy beaches which are an invitation to swim, sometimes its rugged cliffs and its wild coast.

Stop for a picnic or restaurant at the little Port de la Meule to recharge your batteries and you will fall under the spell of its little chapel: Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle.

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The visit will continue with a stopover at the Vieux Château then to Pointe du But to return leisurely to Portjoinville to wait for the departure of your boat to the continent.

The Compagnie Vendéenne offers crossings to the Ile d’Yeu with a recent fleet of 3 fast ships (20 knots). These are equipped with “exterior decks” and “panoramic lounges”.

You can book your tickets for the crossing at the campsite reception.

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dyeu island excursions

Île d’Yeu, a great family excursion

17 km from the Vendée coast, Île d’Yeu is a friendly place. It will delight sea lovers with its beautiful views. And, it will charm the whole family with its pretty fishing ports (Port-Joinville, port de la meule) and its history.

island of eye walk

A beautiful place near Brétignolles-sur-Mer

Two ferry terminals allow you to access the island of Yeu.One in  Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, 15 km from the Les Dunes campsite, you will have to allow 60 minutes of crossing.You will have the possibility to park in a free car park for the day 500 m from the pier near the Soudinière lake. Another free parking lot (except July-August) is available at Place de la Douane. It is an equivalent distance from the pier.

The other in Fromentine, 45 km from the campsite, the crossing time is limited to 45 minutes.Secure, paid parking lots will be indicated to you near the pier. However, you also have the option of parking outside Fromentine to have access to free parking. Shuttles will take you to the pier at no additional cost.

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To properly plan your day trip, consult the timetables offered by the Vendée company.You can also find all this information at the campsite reception where you will be able to reserve your tickets at an advantageous rate.

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visit to Ile Dyeu with family

An island with two faces

Do you like to go for walks? You will not be disappointed while strolling around the Île d’Yeu. You will dock in the north of the island at Port-Joinville. You will then discover a village, with typical architecture, made up of small white houses.

To take advantage of all the riches that the Island has to offer, cycling is the most suitable means of transport. Many bike rental companies will be able to offer you their services on site. On this part of the Island, the coast is made up of beautiful sandy and green expanses, similar to what can be found on the continent. To the south, you will discover a wild coast made of rocks sculpted by the ocean.

If you would like to organize a bike ride to Île d’Yeu, do not hesitate to consult the discovery trails offered by the tourist office.

Photo credits: A.Lamoureux.Vendée Expansion. All rights reserved. ​

Ile d'Yeu bike ride

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