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Towns and Villages of the Vendee
L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer
This is the most southerly town on the Atlantic coast of the Vendée and it is the Mussel capital of France, with over 20% of the Nation’s production being cultivated in the estuary of the River Lay and the Anse de l'Aiguillon.

This old fishing port, which for a long time was the port of the Abbey of St.Michel, is still an active if small fishing port today and on the quayside there are several stalls where fresh fish and mussels can be bought. On the old bridge that connects L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer and its neighbour La Faute-sur-Mer one can observe the locals fishing using 'carrelets a square net which is lowered into the rising tide in an attempt to catch ells, shrimps and crabs.

The town centre, set back from the river, can easily be missed. It boasts an old church, an active main street with shops, bars and cafes and is surrounded by streets of small white washed cottages.
The main tourist road runs alongside the river before turning to cross the bridge. Between the road and the river with its harbour are two man made lakes with what must be the safest salt water beaches in the Vendee. There are the usual refreshment establishments for the beach users and a play area for children together with a water slide. The second lake is home to the sailing school where one can take lessons.

As one would expect there are an ample number of eateries from pizza houses to restaurants however it is as one would expect the seafood restaurants that proliferate.
For those who want to explore the more natural aspect of L'Aiguillon then a trip along the road to the 'point de L'Aiguillon' will not disappoint, on its left are the views across the polder lands, the fen-like fields that were reclaimed from the sea. Rising out of them is the islet of 'Dive' where once the sea lapped against the cliffs which towers a dizzy 15m above the low lying fields, It is just a few tightly packed houses and is both unique and charming. Scattered along the road one can also view the various oyster farms, where oysters are matured and harvested and can indeed be purchased.
On the right of the road is the river, and for 5 kms this is bordered by a large concrete Dyke built by the Dutch who helped drain the land a century ago. It was built to protect the low lying fields from the rising tides, this does obscure the view of the river from the road but there are several primitive steps curved into the Dyke and a couple of entrances through the dyke which enable one to get a view of the small harbours and boat moorings as well as some small (somewhat muddy at low tide) sandy beaches.

The Road terminates at the point; here one can leave ones transport and ramble over the dunes to more beaches and to the nature reserve where thousands of wading birds can be seen. Views out across the Ains de L'Aiguillon reveal the immense extent of the mussel farms, where thousands of poles (bouchets) are anchored into the mud with ropes attached to them. The mussels cling to the ropes, grow and are then be harvested.

l'Aiguillon-sur-mer harbour and town
River Lay and Harbour
l'Aiguillon-sur-mer town centre
la Dive islet near l'Aiguillon-sur-mer
beach and lake at l'Aiguillon-sur-mer
Bouchets on the roundabout.
The lake
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Mussels being landed nr. le Point de l'Aiguillon-sur-mer.