The Chateau at Noirmoutier-en-l’ile
We looked at the weather forecast for St Jean Day Monts and were greeted by the prospect of rain for only the second time during our family holiday in France.
With three boys to entertain we decided to leave the Le Clarys Plage campsite in search of something to see and do.
Our first intention had been to explore the aquarium at Noirmoutier however after consulting our 9, 4 and 3 years olds we decided instead to visit the Chateau at Noirmoutier.
The drive from the campsite to Noirmoutier did unfortunately take slightly longer than first expected which was mainly due to the influx of new visitors to the region. We would strongly suggest that if you decide to visit anywhere located on a major arterial route that you do so on a week day and not a weekend.
As you get closer to Noirmoutier you realise why the area is so popular with both French and foreign holidaymakers alike. We crossed the wonderful bridge onto the island and finally reached the town. As you get closer to the town you suddenly see why so many people head here.
The church and towers of the Chateau at Noirmoutier-en-l’ile rise above the other buildings guiding you toward the centre of the town.
When you arrive in the town we would suggest you follow the well placed signs for the Chateau as there is a very convenient and cheap car park directly infront of the gates with the town centre situated a mere 50m walk away.
History of the Chateau at Noirmoutier-en-l’ile
The Chateau itself was built at the end of the 12th century and has a checkered history. Originally designed to protect the port and town against it’s enemies it’s helped protect local inhabitants from not only the English but also the Spanish and Dutch. Later on during it’s history the Chateau was utilised during the Vendee Wars and later still during both WWI and WWII when it was used as a prison.
Various rooms of the Chateau are filled with antiquities from throughout the years including nautical weapons, tools, models and pictures along with decorative items such as models, bronzes, pottery and china.
Disabled access unfortunately is not possible with a historical building such as this and we would therefore not recommend this outing for those with restricted mobility.
There are some truly stunning views to be had from the towers and battlements of the Chateau. Views of the bay, town and surrounding areas are available from the roof with plenty of photo opportunities available.
A word of warning!
Although the tower of the Chateau is a great opportunity for children to see the marvel and wonders of a castle we would strongly recommend against young children heading up around the battlements. Although there are railings to prevent falls they may not be suitable for younger children.
Although our 4 year old managed our three year old would have struggled without falling through the bars to the ground below and so he remained in the parade ground.
If you’re looking for something to do other than visit the local beach or pool and would like an insight into the Vendee and it’s history we strongly recommend a visit to the Chateau at Noirmoutier-en-l’ile.
We were pleasantly surprised by how reasonably priced the entrance fee was, at €4.50 per adult and €2.50 for children between the ages of 6 and 17. This meant that we didn’t have to pay for the two younger children which is widely unheard of in the UK.