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|Region||Pays de la Loire|
|Canton||La Roche-sur-Yon-Nord and La Roche-sur-Yon-Sud|
|• Mayor (2008–2012)||Pierre Regnault|
|• Land1||87.52 km2 (33.79 sq mi)|
|• Population2 Density||620/km2 (1,600/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||85191 / 85000|
|Elevation||32–94 m (105–308 ft)
(avg. 74 m or 243 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
La Roche-sur-Yon (pronounced: [la ʁɔʃ syʁ jɔ̃]) is a commune in the Vendée department in the Pays de la Loire region in western France. It is the capital of the department. Its inhabitants are called Yonnais.
The town expanded significantly after Napoleon I had chosen the site as the new préfecture of the Vendée on 25 May 1804, replacing Fontenay-le-Comte (then under its revolutionary name of Fontenay-le-Peuple). At the time, most of La Roche had been eradicated in the Vendée Revolt (1793–96); the renamed Napoléonville was laid out and a fresh population of soldiers and civil servants was brought in. Napoléonville was designed to accommodate 15,000 people. In 1854, La Roche was described in an English guide as "the dullest town in France".
The town was called successively:
- La Roche-sur-Yon (during the Ancien Régime and the French First Republic)
- Napoléon-sur-Yon (during the First French Empire)
- Bourbon-Vendée (during the French Restoration)
- Napoléon-Vendée (during the French Second Empire)
The river Yon flows southward through the commune and crosses the town.
The Communauté d'agglomération "La Roche-sur-Yon Agglomération" contains 15 communes:
- La Chaize-le-Vicomte
- Les Clouzeaux
- La Ferrière
- La Roche-sur-Yon
- Le Tablier
La Roche-sur-Yon is the chief town of the Arrondissement of La Roche-sur-Yon, which covers 11 cantons, 92 communes, and has a population of 230,386 (1999 census).
La-Roche-sur-Yon is chief town of two cantons, covering 12 communes, with a total population of 70,709.
- The canton of La Roche-sur-Yon-Nord (North) is made of part of La Roche-sur-Yon and of the communes of Mouilleron-le-Captif and Venansault (29,789) (42.2%);
- The canton of the La Roche-sur-Yon-Sud (South) is made of part of Roche-sur-Yon and of the communes of Aubigny, Chaillé-sous-les-Ormeaux, La Chaize-le-Vicomte, Les Clouzeaux, Fougeré, Nesmy, Saint-Florent-des-Bois, Le Tablier and Thorigny (40,920) (57.9%).
- Cantons: seat of 2 cantons (12 communes,70,709 inhabitants)
- Population with double accounts(1999): 52,947 inhabitants
- Population without double accounts (1999): 49,262 inhabitants
- Intercommunality (2004): Communauté d'agglomération 79,665 inhabitants
Saint-Louis church and Napoléon square
The Gare de La Roche-sur-Yon railway station offers connections to Nantes, Paris, Les Sables-d'Olonne, Bordeaux and several regional destinations. The A87 motorway connects La Roche-sur-Yon with Les Sables-d'Olonne and Angers, the A83 with Nantes and Niort.
La Roche-sur-Yon is twinned with:
- Gummersbach, Germany
- Coleraine, United Kingdom
- Drummondville, Canada
- Cáceres, Spain, since 1982
- Tizi Ouzou, Algeria, since 1989
- Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia
- Burg bei Magdeburg, Germany, since 2005
- Afantou, Greece
- Graham Robb, The Discovery of France, Picador, London (2007), pp257-8
- John Murray et al, A Handbook for Travellers in France (1854), quoted in Graham Robb, The Discovery of France, Picador, London (2007), p.258
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