Le Moulin du Calvaire
L'Ile d'Yeu, Vendée, France
- Stylishly Comfortable
- A property designed with great style and with amenities that offer a relaxed stay.
- Beach house
- A house on or near a beach
- At land’s end, on the water’s edge
Wake up in a Windmill
Its historical sails spinning slowly in the breeze, this early 19th-century windmill offers a unique stay on a sacred, reachable-only-by-boat French island occupied since Neolithic times.
Wake up in a Windmill
Its historical sails spinning slowly in the breeze, this early 19th-century windmill offers a unique stay on sacred, ancient land—a property at the heart of a reachable-only-by-boat French island in the Atlantic. The property offers an atmosphere at once seafaring and simple country, and is walking distance from the beach and the tiny fishing harbor at Point Joinville. The refurbished tower and its neighboring cottages, formerly home to the estate’s miller, are both brightly updated, in a garden surrounded by orchards and coastal lowlands dotted with ancient megaliths and cupstones. Sea views and sunshine make outdoor living a must here, though interiors are alluring, too—fresh, modern, maritime-influenced and sun splashed, with exposed stones and ancient beams highlighting the site’s history.
The property is located in the center of the island, five minutes' walk from Ker Châlon beach. The site is a protected natural area, and allows easy access by bike to all the beaches and shops on the island. The best means of transport on the island is bike, and there are several rental companies right next to the boat landing stage. The short distances (the island is 10km long and 5km at its widest) and the central location of Le Moulin also make it easy to get around on foot, for those who enjoy strolling along small paths. However, the owners also try to make their car available to carry luggage or to help out.
Tucked into the Isle of Yeu’s largest, private, protected parkland, the estate sits on eight hectares at the island’s center, a five-minute walk from Ker Chalon beach and the northern island community of Port Joinville. The island is reachable only by boat, and is home to over 30 beaches, from small coves with coastal creeks to long sandy stretches interrupted by rocky bars and salt marshes. Small in size, only approximately 8 by 10 kilometers, the island has very few cars and is best explored on two wheels. The ancient Port Joinville, walking distance from the property, charms with its low white fishermen’s huts hung with blue shutters and topped by terracotta tile roofs. The village is the island’s capital and was once the leading tuna fishing port on the entire west coast of France. Still a working fishing hub, the port’s daily haul includes generous catch of ugly but tasty monkfish, hake, sole, tuna and lobster.
Taverns, creperies, and seafood restaurants line the town’s waterfront, and a daily farmers’ market presents fresh local produce, berries, and prepared foods and jams. The smaller port community of Port de la Meule is a postcard perfect, gull-heavy harbor with a jumble of bobbing fishing boats. L’ile d’Yeu includes dozens of engraved rocks, dolmens, menhirs, and recuperated iron and bronze weapon tips. The ancient island’s early capital was the community of Saint Sauveur, a village with a notable Romanesque church and zigzagging streets of brightly shuttered whitewashed homes. Two community lighthouses are open to visitors on the island, the Grand Phare, dating from 1829, built following several tragic shipwrecks, destroyed in World War II, and rebuilt in the 1950s, and the Pointe de Corbeaux, an art deco windmill that soars 19 meters tall on the southeast end of the island.
L'Ile d'Yeu, Vendée, France. Nearest airport: Nantes or Bordeaux, then to l'Ile d'Yeu via ferries; 1 hour (Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie) or 30 minutes (Fromentine)
BEST TIME TO VISIT: May to October
Here’s what you can expect during your stay:
- Well equipped
- Newly added electric heating for the winter
- Indoor Fireplace