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Towns and Villages of the Vendee
Les Sables d'Olonne
Les Sables d'Olonne (lay sab do lon) situated on the Atlantic coast about half way down the Vendee is one of France's original holiday destinations. The town is dominated by the magnificent stretch of sand of the Grand Plage and the promenade that runs along its full length with many of the classic Victorian buildings still there.
Les Sables d'Olonne has a thriving fishing port and world class marina.

In Roman times there was no land where Les Sables d'Olonne now stands. Founded in 1218 by Savary Ler de Mauleon, Lord of Mauleon, it was then separated from the town of Olonne by Louis X1 in 1472, It thrived early on  as a whaling port until by the 17th century it was France's port for cod fishing with over 14,000 inhabitants (today the population is approx 16,000).
In 1825 the first bathing establishment were formed which flourished till today it is one of the finest resorts on the Atlantic coast.
Train services started in December 1866 with express services to Paris in 1971 and the TVG in 2008.
The Port was destroyed by the Germans on 27th August 1944 as they evacuated the town.
Les Sables d'Olonne is home to the internationally renowned "Vendee Globe" the world’s most prestigious single handed around the world race which is held every 4 years, leaving in November and circumnavigating the globe without assistance before returning in January. The month before the race the Vendee globe village is open to the public and it is an event not to be missed. 
Water sports as would be expected are very prominent here from the beach games and swimming to surfing, land yachts, wind surfing all manor of sailing from dingy sailing up to ocean yachts, whether you want to participate or just watch  you will not be disappointed.
Apart from sports, Les Sables has a great variety of other interesting things to see and do including a very good zoo, boat trip to the Marais Saline, historic buildings and art galleries and interesting walks not to forget shopping in the small winding back streets or the regular markets.
Eating out is one of the great pleasures of life and you will not be disappointed here in Les Sables d'Olonne. There is a wealth of restaurants catering for all tastes and budgets. The excellent fish restaurants that face the fishing port and new marina is a favorite with most, or those around the main marina where there a many interesting eateries,it may be easier to catch the ferry across the harbour to Chaume rather than walk around.
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