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The GR8, one of the best hiking trails in coastal France

The GR8 national long-distance footpath provides 221 km of paths for walking enthusiasts. During your hiking holidays in France, enjoy the Vendée’s most beautiful coastal sceneries.  

Port du Bec à Bouin

The GR8 coastal footpath links the Barre de Monts with L’Ile d’Olonne. Thanks to a 74km path which follows the coast nicked named “La Cote de Lumiere” due to its high sunshine levels. We pick up the GR8 again for a 31 km long distance hike between Les Sables d’Olonne and Brem sur Mer. From here we are totally submerged in a variety of Vendean landscapes - from marsh areas, sandy dunes, to rocky coastlines - while at the same time passing through forests and small villages. These walks will delight nature lovers. 

  • Difficulty Level: not challenging 
  • Path Type: ramble 
  • GR8 signaling white and red 

From Bouin to La Barre de Monts... 28 km hiking in the northern vendee’s unusual marshes

Imagine broad meadows stretching as far as the eye can see, intersected by estuaries and canals; a coastline of traditional ports and fisheries where oyster farming reigns. This stretch of the GR8 footpaths over 28km. Nature-lovers will enjoy spotting the many types of birds that make this location famous for birdwatching. Hike on to the picturesque Port du Bec with its coloured boats before resting your backpack at Barre de Monts. 

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From La Barre de Monts to Saint Jean de Monts... 24 km hiking under the shaded cover of the pine forest

The GR8 trail continues along, crossing Notre Dame de Mont’s national forest. This shaded path is not far from the large fine sandy beaches of this part of the coast. Its forest and coastline constitute an exceptional flora and fauna which you can discover as you follow the path.

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Did you know? 

Saint Jean de Monts is the first resort on the French coast to be labelled "Nordic Walk Station". It offers 5 marked trails which cover more than 45 kilometres – either through the national forest or via the dunes which give a stunning view of the sea. 

From Saint Jean de Monts to Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, the GR8 23 km explores the rugged coastline

Follow the GR8 along a pine-scented footpath, redolent with the invigorating smell of the sea. Meandering through a pine and holly oak forest until it arrives at the pretty village of Sion. Then, on towards Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, hike further by following GR8 along the "Corniche vendéenne". Three kilometres of granite rocky coastline stretches between the ocean and charming 19th century villas. The corniche is listed as an outstanding natural site. The rugged cliffs feature many natural treasures which you can explore along your hiking trip
Saint Gilles Croix de Vie is worth an overnight stop. While strolling along the Quayside and the jetty you can soak up the fishing village atmosphere...

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Photo aérienne du port du Bec à Bouin
Photo aérienne des Sables d'OlonnePhoto aérienne des pêcheries

From Saint Gilles Croix de Vie to Brem sur Mer... 20 km between rocky coastlines and sand dunes 

Leaving Saint Gilles Croix de vie you hike through various dune areas following the Jaunay river which stretches along this part of the coast. The GR8 trail then takes you past Brétignolles sur Mer, well-known resort, renowned for its beautiful surfing beaches. From this point you will encounter many different types of landscapes.

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From Brem sur Mer to Les Sables d'Olonne 31 km hiking path along the « Coast of light”

The GR8 scenery varies along this part of the path. From wetlands, dunes, forest to a rugged rockier coastline. Hiking along the path into the saltwater marshes, you can stop off at the bird observatory. Do not forget your binoculars and admire grey heron’s, black-winged stilt, and the elegant avocet. The view is simply breath-taking. Before arriving in Les Sables d'Olonne, the GR8 crosses La Chaume, a quaint little fishing village with coloured houses and narrow streets. Once you arrive on the famous Remblai of Les Sables d’Olonne, take casual stroll into the famous l'Ile Penotte quartier. Here the house facades are decorated with seashells. 

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From Saint Vincent sur Jard to La Tranche sur Mer... the GR8 covers 22 km in a refreshing forest

After leaving Saint Vincent sur Jard, the GR8 hiking trail crosses the national forest at Longeville sur Mer. The pine forest will keep you cool and in the shade. There is a remarkable ecosystem all around you. The Vendean path of the GR8 ends at La Tranche sur Mer, a dynamic seaside resort which is nicknamed "Little California". 

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