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The South Vendée, France

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The Vendee

The Vendee is divided into 3 zones: The coast along the Atlantic coast, The Grove and The South Vendée where is Le Colombier. The South Vendée has rolling hills, composed of rustic sites, forests, old farms and large properties, forming a framework conducive to walking and cycling.

Campaign 'nature' where there are friendly and authentic people.

The Vendée is also known for the legend of Mélusine. Underneath you will find a short version of this legend, translated by "Office de tourisme de pole du pays de Fontenay-le-Comte.


One evening in the forest of Coulombiers, at the end of a long day's hunting, Aimeric, Count of Poitou, and his nephew Raimondin set off in persuit of a wild boar. They far outdistanced their attendants and arrived at the outskirts of La Font de Cé, near Lusignan. There, during the excitement of the kill, Raimondin accidently dealt his uncle a fatal blow. Overcome by deep sorrow, aghast and contrite at his action, the young man was on his way back to confess what he had done when, at a bend in the road, he caught sight of three maidens dancing in a glade by the light of the moon.
One of them smiled and spoke to him. Her name was Mélusine. She was a fairy, daughter of Elinas, King of Albania, and the fairy Pressine. However, a terrible curse lay on her. Pressine had punished her for bad behaviour towards her father, by condemning her to a sad immortality, unless she maried a loving knight who was not inquisitive and who agreed never to see her on Saturdays, because on that day, she had to bathe and watch her beautiful long legs turn into a horrid scaly tail. If her husband saw her like this, she would never again take human form.

Raimondin was instantly attracted by the young girl's intelligence and beauty, and asked her to marry him. He swore that he would never try to see her on a Saturday. Mélusine was delighted to find a husband and accepted. She suggested that he should provide the lands and the castle. But Raimondin, who was not wealthly, wondered what lands? And what castle?

Once back at court, Raimondin, who was very happy but also very sad, tried to solve his problem by blaming the boar for the death of his uncle. Then, during the ceremony of homage to the new Count of Poitou, on Mélusine's advice, he asked for as much land as would fit in a deerskin. 'How stupid!' said the assembled lords. However, to their consternation, the deerskin was cut into narrow strips and laid end to end, it marked out an enormous area! 'Never mind', said the lords, 'he still hasn't got a castle'. Their complacency was short-lived, for in one night, right in the middle of the territory, with 'an apron-full of stones, a mouthful of water and a little bit of magic', Mélusine built the splendid castle of Lusignan. Moreover, so that her husband could be the most powerful lord in the region, she amused herself on certain nights by studding the surrounding hills with mighty fortresses.

However, so much good fortune gave rise to unkind comments and covetousness. Where did Mélusine's fairy-like beauty come from? Why was it that each of Raimondin and Mélusine's ten children, all boys, had some strange physical characteristic? One had only one eye in the middle of his forhead, another had a lion's claw on his cheek, another, one enormous ear, and yet another, Mélusine's favourite, and it was said the most wicked, had a huge tooth protruding from his mouth. And why did Mélusine shut herself away every Saturday?

Raimondin followed the bad advice of a jealous brother, to try to solve his wife's secret. He surprised Mélusine in her bath, combing her long fair hair and swishing her horrible fish-tail. As soon as Raimondin had taken this fatal step, the fairy screamed, and with a great noise like the flapping of wings, she flew out of the window, voicing a terrible curse on the castles that she had built. 'I swear that Pouzauges, Tiffauges, Mervent, Chateaumur and Vouvant shall all perish by losing one stone a year'.

Yet some say that on certain nights she still visits to haunt the ruins of her castles.

Naturist camping Le Colombier

85210 Saint Martin-Lars en Sainte Hermine
Tel: +33 (0)251 27 83 84



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