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Saint Gilles Croix de Vie - family resort and port town

St Gilles Croix de Vie is a family beach resort and lively port town located on France's Atlantic coast, in the popular holiday department of the Vendée. Unlike many coastal towns, which tend to fall asleep in the winter months, St Gilles remains lively and open all year round, making it a great location for a holiday house which you can let out in high season, and enjoy for yourself when most of the tourists have gone back home.

Long sandy beach

The long, broad sandy beach at St Gilles is clean and excellent for families, although bathers need to be aware that the Atlantic waves can be pretty impressive at times! This part of the Vendée attracts surfers and kite surfers all year round, providing a "cool, hip" atmosphere, attractive to families with teenagers to keep happy. Even if you don't want to participate in these sports, they are great fun to watch from the safety of dry land!

About town

St Gilles Croix de Vie is a lively, well equipped little town, with a host of things to do and good shopping facilities. The restaurants are excellent, with seafood (especially fresh sardines) a speciality. The town has a lively social life for most of the year, with plenty of friendly bars (including a themed jazz bar, great for fun-filled music nights!) where you can enjoy tasting the local wines and even try a cocktail or two.

Saint Gilles Croix de Vie's festivals

St Gilles is also notable for some really good festivals, and if you have never attended a French festival you have a treat in store. Try to be there for the Pentecost Jazz Festival in May, or the Bastille Day fireworks, an experience you will never forget!

Down at the harbour

The harbour of St Gilles gives the town its true character, and you can while away many a happy hour just taking in the scenery as the colourful fishing boats come in and out with their freshly caught cargoes. Fishermen can purchase equipment for their sport at a specialist shop here, and there are loads of seaside related mementoes and gifts on sale too, for you to send home to those not lucky enough to be here, or to remind you of the town.

St Jean de Monts

The well known seaside resort of St Jean de Monts is a near neighbour, and this resort has all the sophistication of the French Riviera towns in the south of the country. All members of the family will find something to do here, with nightclubs for the teens and twenties, a huge range of restaurants, children's fairground rides and beach sports and entertainment.

Out and about

St Gilles gives you the opportunity to take a boat trip to the lovely islands that lie off the Vendée coast, and this is certainly a recommended day out. The region offers a large choice of sporting activities, the most obvious being sea or beach based such as swimming, surfing, kite surfing and fishing, but there are many land based activities available too. Try horse-riding, walking, cycling, tennis or perhaps have a go at petanque if you want a sport with a real French flavour!

How to get there

The airport at La Rochelle, with flights with budget airlines Ryanair, flybe and easyJet is very close by, or fly to Nantes, Angers or Poitiers. Nantes is served by Ryanair and Aer Arann, Angers by Eastern Airways, and Poitiers by Ryanair. The TGV stops at Poitiers, making train travel another option. If you are driving, you will find the town on the D38, the nearest major roads being the A83 and A87.

Property prices and availability in and around Saint Gilles Croix de Vie

Seaside properties in the Vendée can be expensive, as the area is popular with French city dwellers seeking holiday homes as well as with Brits and other foreigners. The good news, though, is that there is plenty of good quality property available in the Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, with everything from small "lock up and leave" homes to luxury apartments. Some properties have leaseback schemes on offer, and these can be worth considering if you only want to take holidays in the property and are not planning to live there permanently. The market is normally strong for re-sale and also for rentals, so investment here can be a very good idea.

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Saint Gilles Croix de Vie AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Saint Gilles Croix de Vie?

Saint Gilles Croix de Vie is located on the west coast of France. It lies in the north-west of the Vendée department.

Saint Gilles Croix de Vie Property Map


Pays de la Loire Guide

Pays de la Loire Property Map


Vendée Guide

  Vendée Map

Population: 7,189

Access: By air: Fly to La Rochelle, Nantes, Angers or Poitiers with a variety of airlines. By rail: Travel by Eurostar to Paris then change to a TGV to Poitiers. By road: Saint Gilles lies on the D38, the nearest major roads being the A83 and A87.

Economy: The economy of Saint Gilles Croix de Vie includes fishing and tourism.

Interesting fact: The town was actually once not one but two towns lying on opposite banks of the River Vie, hence the long name which incorporates the two names of Saint Gilles sur Vie and Croix de Vie. They were brought together under one name in 1967.

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