What to see in France

Camping on Noirmoutier island

Plage des Dames sur l'île de Noirmoutier
Plage des Dames sur l'île de Noirmoutier


A real paradise for nature-lovers appreciated for its typical architecture and white houses with blue shutters, Noirmoutier island is located in the Gulf of Gascony and is part of the Vendée department. With a surface area of 49 km2, it's also known as "the Mimosa island" thanks to its exceptionally mild micro climate which encourages the mimosa to flower in winter.

Until 1971, when a bridge was built, the Gois passage was the island's umbilical cord. This submersible road between Noirmoutier and the continent can only be used at low tide. It's also a curiosity considered to be unique in the world.


Gois passage on Noirmoutier island
Gois passage on Noirmoutier island© Adobe Stock


Noirmoutier island is also ideal for camping and for all those who love nature and unspoilt landscapes. You will find fifteen or so campsites on the island, two of which are recommended in particular. One of these is the Domaine le Midi*****campsite in Barbâtre. It's located by the sea with direct access, and is also close to the forest. The campsite has one heated, covered pool and one outdoor pool. It offers activities, horse-riding and evening entertainment. Le Caravanile***** is located in Guérinière. It welcomes visitors from March to November and has a new balneotherapy pool, which is covered for maximum enjoyment in spring and autumn. Two kilometres from the access bridge to Noirmoutier, the La Grande Côte*** campsite is located in Barre de Monts and lies in the shade of the pine trees on the edge of the beach. Just like the Plage des Tonnelles**** campsite in St Jean de Monts, which offers direct access to the beach and covers 26 hectares of forest.


Adobe Stock
© Adobe Stock

Things to see and do on the island

Whether you're bringing the kids or not, there is no shortage of places to visit on the island during your stay. With L’Ile aux Papillons in La Guérinière, you will enjoy magic moments surrounded by the world's most beautiful butterflies, flying freely in the biggest greenhouse in France (open from April to September). In Noirmoutier en l’île, you can immerse yourself in the underwater world of Noirmoutier aquarium. 200 species and 1,000 animals offer a magnificent ballet in 500,000 litres of sea water along with a sealion show three times a day. (Open from February to November). To discover the north of the island in a different way, on Le Noirmout'train you can enjoy the scenery and learn about the area by listening to the live commentary. A fun type of tour, very popular with children. (Open from April to September).The salt marshes cover 1/3 of the island and are known as "Noirmoutier island's white gold". You can watch the salt producers plying their ancestral trade on the premises during a guided tour, given by the salt makers themselves on their farm during the summer season.


The salt marshes of Noirmoutier island
The salt marshes of Noirmoutier island© Adobe Stock


A large selection of activities

The beach! A must for all holidaymakers... Whether you're into sport or sunbathing, the beach has something for everyone. Conveniently, Noirmoutier island has plenty to offer in this area. The La Barbâtre beaches are 7 kilometres long and are ideal for water sports or bathing. The La Guérinière beaches are home to part of the island's heritage with the mills on La Court beach and the La Cantine bunkers, as well as the fish locks at low tide. Luzérone beach south of L'Herbaudière is the best spot for a beautiful sunset! The Vieil beaches are rocky and the island's typical houses seem to stand on the sand. Here, Mardi Gras beach is a scenic inlet appreciated for its peaceful atmosphere. This is where some scenes in the film César and Rosalie were shot. The kids can have a whale of a time at the many beach clubs provided for them. Lastly, discover the unmissable Bois de la Chaise wood and its Mediterranean vegetation, with Les Dames beach featuring little wooden cabins and a pier.


The island is also the ideal playground for all water sports, on your own or accompanied by professionals. Discover kitesurfing, sand yachting, boat rides, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, kayaking... and many more you might like to try.


83 kilometres of cycle paths all around the island, of which 20 are ideal for families. Bordering natural sites and therefore far away from traffic, with no hills at all, they are safe and easy to ride on. Cycling is a great way to see the island's unique landscapes.


There are several suggested hikes available so you can visit the island's natural sites like the marshes, dunes, polders and forests. Lasting between 1.5 and 3.5 hours, they are all suitable for the family and offer walks at the heart of the salt marshes. Another hike invites you to walk to the Gois passage from the Pont de Noirmoutier bridge, providing a chance to explore some magnificent maritime landscapes. Or there's a third very comprehensive hike on which you will see dunes, marshes and forests. These hikes are each marked in different colours so just follow the signs.


Plage des Dames beach on Noirmoutier island
Plage des Dames beach on Noirmoutier island© Adobe Stock


See all my campsites consulted