Forêt des pays de Monts
The Pays de Monts forest: a must for your stay in Vendée!
Created around 1830 as a protective barrier between the coast and the city, the Pays de Monts forest is now a popular destination for walkers and other visitors. Stretching over 18 km from Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez to Fromentine, on the dunes of the Vendée Atlantic, it is both protected and energized by numerous attractions.
An ideal location in the Vendée landscape
Ideally located near the Bay of Biscay, the Pays de Monts state-owned forest is one of the highlights of the Vendée landscape. Close to our campsite in Notre Dame de Monts, it’s a veritable green lung next to the coastline of western France. Overlooking the dunes between Grande Plage de Sion and Plage des Mouettes, its green monochrome blends perfectly with the ocean landscape.
The forest stretches over 18 km and enjoys a temperate climate, pleasantly cool in summer and sunny in winter. Nature lovers will be enchanted by the diversity of colors and sounds to be found in this easily accessible green setting.
Planted under the Second Empire, the primary function of the Monts forest was to exploit the marshes, but also to protect towns threatened by the natural spread of sand inland. Today, more than 100 ponds are listed and are home to rare species, monitored to preserve thenatural ecosystem. This wooded cocoon features maritime pines, umbrella pines, Corsican pines, holm oaks and Montpellier maples. The flora coexists with the fauna (deer, rabbits, jays, etc.), creating a rich and protected Natura 2000 heritage. A 2-hectare heronry is another feature of this green space.
The forest has been managed and protected by the Office National des Forêts, allowing visitors to discover and admire the local ecosystem. Which makes it a natural place to visit during your stay in the Vendée!
Activities near the Pays de Monts national forest
The Pays de Monts national forest offers a wide range of activities.
First of all, you’ll find several hiking trails, from beginner to advanced level, with or without loops. Available in all seasons, these walks will delight walkers and cyclists of all ages. Dogs are generally allowed on hiking trails in the Monts forest.
To find out all you need to know about this unique forest, Biotopia (formerly Maison de la Dune) welcomes you all year round. With walks led by enthusiastic naturalists, observation outings, multisensory exhibitions and concerts, this research center showcases the natural heritage of the Vendée region. As well as learning about the history of the Monts valley state forest, you’ll find themed activities (egg hunting, mushroom hunting…).
The sandy beaches are ideal for swimming and water sports (kayaking, paddleboarding, catamaran sailing). Restaurants, ice cream parlors and hotels will be open to welcome coastal walkers.
To admire the Monts state forest from afar, you can take a ride on the Saint Jean de Monts Ferris wheel, after a stroll around the weekly market.
Around the state-owned forest at Notre Dame de Monts, you’ll find activities such as accrobranche, golf and horse-riding clubs.
Last but not least, you’ll find camping accommodation right in the heart of the Monts forest, so you can stay right in the middle of this top 10 must-see Vendée vacation destination!