When we go on holidays one of our favourite things is to stumble on unexpectedly beautiful locations. On our camping trip to St Jean Du Monts we ended up taking a day trip to Ile De Noirmoutier and what a beautiful surprise it was ! We arrived on the Island Via the new bridge , now when I say new it was built in 1971 and like many bridges in France it is not for the faint hearted , many of the bridges are raised in order to allow yachts and ships to pass through ( I will tell you about the bridge outside Nantes another day ..eek ! ) I was blown away with the Island from the second we crossed that bridge , beautiful views of the sea and idyllic beaches are always the way to my heart 😉 The road is lined by salt pans with little huts by the road to sell the sea salt that is produced on the Island ( Of which I bought loads ha ha ) There is an alternative route , which , to be honest , sounds terrifying ! It is called La Gois which is a 3 mile long uneven cobble paved causeway, which is covered twice a day by up to 4m of water eek ! There are refuge markers along the route that if you get caught out in the tide you would need to climb ! Clearly I was not brave enough for that particular adventure !
The main town on the Island is Noirmoutier En Ile and this is where we spent our time that day , cobblestone streets bustling with life and lined with little cafes , art galleries , boutiques and beautiful Poissonneries which the kids loved to run into and stare at the mussels and fish , I love the fresh produce that you can buy in French seaside towns , it is something I wish we had more readily available in Ireland ! The people are so warm and friendly , which some may say is not typical French but I actually think once you step outside of Paris the people are so welcoming . We took a tour of the Chateau De Noirmoutier which is home to naval artefacts and the view from the top is stunning ! We took Noah and Emilia who were nearly two and 3.5 , they loved wandering around the grounds outside and sitting on the cannons , older children may enjoy the tour a bit more !
As is my tradition in every place I visit I sought out a tiny little church that is used to keep the fishermen safe , it was tiny and just perfect and in complete contrast to the huge church in Biarritz that has a small boat in the ceiling to protect the local fishermen .If we had more time I would definitely have hired out bikes as its a very bike friendly Island is only 20KM in length so you would get around in no time and get to see the Island at your own pace .
On our way back to the campsite we stopped at a beautiful beach on the Island , the walk from the village to the beach is lined with beautiful beach homes , I could really see myself sitting on the veranda listening to the sea , I mean who would not like that ! The kids spent a good hour on the beach collecting buckets of shells which now sit proudly on our book shelf ! There are about 15 main beaches on the Island , obviously some are small inlets and some are really long stretches of sand but one thing is for sure you would need a week to discover them all !
This was the highlight of our trip to France and my only regret is that we did not go back to the Island one more day before we went home , we all felt so relaxed and restored after our brief trip so I can not even imagine how we would have felt after a few days !