Dolmens and menhirs
Le Talmondais is the country of giant stones: dolmens and menhirs.
The dolmens appeared during the Neolithic (4000 BC) in Europe and especially in Vendée, in the Talmondais with the construction of the largest dolmens such as the tumulus of Pey de Fontaine and the Frébouchère Dolmen in Le Bernard. These are tombs.
Some 3300 years BC menhirs were built using large stones more or less uncut, transported with wooden sledges and ropes. The menhirs of Talmondais are grouped in rows, like the ones of the Bois de Fourgon in Avrillé or of Le Plessis at Le Bernard . Here they are not tombs but perhaps monuments commemorating the fulfilment of a vow or to something to do with their religion.
Different routes that run through the area will enable you to discover these riches, and you can learn more about prehistoric people by visiting the Centre of Prehistory in St. Hilaire Forest. The CAIRN team will welcome you and be happy to share their enthusiasm.
Le Marais Poitevin ( 6 km)
Longeville sur Mer is at the edge of the famous Marais Poitevin. The town has built a museum 'Maison du Marais » which is also the departure point for a canoe circuit of 5 km which is well sign posted (2 hours) offering various information on boards. A very nice way to discover specific fauna and flora, a unique landscape along canals dug by man centuries ago.
La Guittière and The estuary of Le Payré ( 11 km)
This remarkable natural environment can be visited when you go to Jard and Talmont. In the village of La Vinière, you will be in the heart of the fish ponds . These hand made pools where fishing methods , such as "au salais" haven't changed since the 12th century. .
This technique reserved for eel fishing is practiced in the dark using a device consisting of a long handle (5 metres), with at the end of it several fan-shaped spikes which are stuck into the mud. This environment is particularly fragile and preserved, it is therefore important to respect these places, their fauna and flora and not venture off the trail.
Again, in a protected area, the marshes of La Guittière offer all their diversity and their history. Between the flights of waders and the shimmering colours, the salt marsh workers are delighted to carry on with the traditional techniques and the preservation of this unique site. In the old days, this activity was a real boost for the region, however nowadays it is left to only a few workers.
In the salt marsh of La Guittière, the idea of productivity is forgotten to give way to an ancestral know-how linked with passion. With their wooden tools, the salt marsh workers reveal their secrets as to why the salt is so white. The colour of the salt has made this village famous, because this method is unique in France. You can also visit an ancient salt store.
Oyster beds of Port de la Guittière (11 km)
At the heart of the Payré estuary, the oyster area of La Guittière works according to the tides. The " La Guittière oyster," has made this area famous by its colour and its mild taste. Indeed, the channel is full of specific phytoplankton which give to this whole area a brackish character as well as its peculiarities.
The whole area, with the Pointe du Payré in Jard and the Veillon dune inTalmont, is part of a biological ensemble which is one of the richest in Vendée (See Inventoty of Natural Heritage.