Things to do in the Mervent Forest in the Vendée

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About the Mervent Forest

In the South Vendée near Fontenay le Comte

One of a series of forested granite hills (or massif forestiers) that border the marais. Only 15 minutes drive away from your holiday gite, the forest of Mervent provides over 12000 acres of mixed woodland, with over thirty varieties of tree, including holm oaks (a Mediterranean species that does very well in the warm climate of the Vendée), penduculate oaks, ash, hornbeam, beech and chestnut.

The historic village of Vouvant, noted as one of the most beautiful villages in France (the only village in the Vendée with this label) is just to the North of the forest. It is without question a very attractive village with bars, one or two nice looking restaurants and lots (eleven at our last count) of art galleries selling work by local and other artists.

The Parc de Pierre Brune is a fun old fashioned amusement parc in the centre of the forest.  Opinion is somewhat divided as to the merits of the Parc de Pierre Brune. Some people have been slightly put off by the tired aspect of the park, but many have found the rather old-fashioned approach to entertainment very refreshing. Our own children love the combination of archaic play equipment (giant swings, high-hats, slides, etc), trampolines in all shapes and sizes, and bouncy castles.


The lake at Mervent is actually a reservoir formed by a dam – Le Barrage de Mervent.  The lake is a popular spot for local fishermen.  Boats can be taken out onto the lake – canoes, kayaks and electric motor boats can be rented from the local water sports centre.  Life jackets are provided and the contract and explanation are in English.


Natur’Zoo de Mervent

There is a small, well managed zoo just outside of Mervent which provides a very nice afternoon out. The range of wildlife on display is surprising for a small zoo: lions, tigers, bears, wolves, monkeys, lemurs and more. Popcorn is sold at the reception and is particularly appreciated by the residents of the “petting zoo.”  

For more things to do in the Vendée see our comprehensive guide About the Vendée