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Towns and Villages of the Vendee
La Roche sur Yon
La Roche-sur-Yon is the Prefecture (capital) of the Vendee, it is the administrive centre for industry, tourism, the courts and all things political for the department of the Vendee. It is as central within the vendee as is possible and was planed as such. It was Napoleon who choose a small town which had been burnt down by the Republicans in the war of the Vendee to replace Fontenay le Comte as the prefecture on the 25th May 1804. He choose it to make a new city, a symbol of pacification, reconciliation and economic revival.
The town was rebuilt from scratch by one of the empires top engineers and was planned by compass, giving the impression of a 'geometric Barracks'. Six great roads "of Pacification which were designed to allow the free movement of troops converged onto a pentagon surrounded by wide boulevards and crisscrossed at right angles by a grid work of streets, everything perfectly aligned in faultless symmetry finishing up at its centre with the parade ground, a large rectangular esplanade which today has the statue of Napoleon on his charger, erected in 1854 and plays host to many of the cultural events including the outdoor market on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Napoleon arrived at Napoleon-sur-yon (as it was the called) in 1808 and sacked the engineer who had built a "mud Town" and ordered it rebuilt using proper soldier materials when completed it was renamed "Bourbon-Vendee, later to be changed again to Napoleon-Vendee during the second Empire and it was not until the third republic with military activity stopping that it reverted to its original name of La Roche sur Yon.

The Haras de la Vendee is one of Frances largest stud farms. Situated in the centre of La Roche sur yon on 4.5 hectares.
You will discover the worlds only academy for horses, there are equestrian shows with all aspects of horsemanship including dressage, but it is also very educational including saddlers, blacksmiths and a collection of the various breeds of horses of the world.

Gardens of Loriot. La Mancoliere, Venansault.
Just 12kms from la Roche sur Yon on the road to Les Sables d'Olonne are the 5ha gardens of Loriot, a botanical gardens with 130 species of banboo from asia africa and the americas and over a 1000 species of flowers and plants from around the world. Entrance is €6.