Les Sables-d'Olonne

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Les Sables-d'Olonne
Subprefecture and commune
Les Sables-d'Olonne
Les Sables-d'Olonne
Coat of arms of Les Sables-d'Olonne
Coat of arms
Motto(s): Advocata nostra, ora pro nobis
Les Sables-d'Olonne is located in France
Les Sables-d'Olonne
Les Sables-d'Olonne
Location within Pays de la Loire region
Les Sables-d'Olonne is located in Pays de la Loire
Les Sables-d'Olonne
Les Sables-d'Olonne
Coordinates: 46°29′50″N 1°47′00″W / 46.4972°N 1.7833°W / 46.4972; -1.7833Coordinates: 46°29′50″N 1°47′00″W / 46.4972°N 1.7833°W / 46.4972; -1.7833
Country France
Region Pays de la Loire
Department Vendée
Arrondissement Les Sables-d'Olonne
Canton Les Sables-d'Olonne
Intercommunality Olonnes
 • Mayor (2014–2010) Didier Gallot
Area1 8.83 km2 (3.41 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 16,105
 • Density 1,800/km2 (4,700/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 85194 /85100
Elevation 0–26 m (0–85 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.

Les Sables-d'Olonne (pronounced [lɛ sabl dolɔn]; French meaning: "The Sands of Olonne") is a seaside town in Western France, on the Atlantic Ocean. It is a sub-prefecture of the department of Vendée, and has the administrative level of commune.

Location and geography[edit]

Les Sables-d'Olonne is a seaside town in western France, on the Atlantic Ocean. It is situated on the coast between La Rochelle and Saint-Nazaire, near the coastal terminus of the A87 that connects it and nearby communities to La Roche-sur-Yon, Cholet, and Angers to the northeast. The nearest major metropolitan center of France, to Les Sables-d'Olonne, is Nantes, to the north (approximately 105 km, by road).[1]

It is at the level of administrative division in the French Republic of a commune[2]—roughly equivalent to civil townships in the United States[citation needed]—and is a sub-prefecture of the Department of Vendée.[3]


Les Sables-d'Olonne (pronounced [lɛ sabl dolɔn]) is French for "the sands of Olonne". It was founded in 1218 from Havre d'Olonne by Savary I de Mauléon, the Lord of Mauléon, Sénéchal of Poitou and prince of Talmont.[citation needed] Its history is tied to the ocean for which it has served as a port and point of maritime commerce.[citation needed] Louis XI separated Les Sables d'Olonne from the town of Olonne in 1472.[citation needed] It became the largest cod-fishing port in France, with 14,000 inhabitants, in the 17th century.[citation needed] During the French Revolution, unlike the surrounding Vendée, the city supported the Republic, and so was often besieged—unsuccessfully, because of its port.[citation needed] The current local tourism industry traces its roots to bathing establishments, first begun in 1825. Rail service reached Les Sables on 29 December 1866, via the line from La Roche-sur-Yon, Bressuire, Saumur, and Tours;[citation needed] express service to and from Paris would arrive in 1971.[citation needed] The city's port served as a base port for American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.[4]Germany occupied Les Sables d'Olonne during World War II[citation needed] and, upon evacuation of that army at war's end, the German army made an effort to destroy the port, and mined the harbor.[citation needed]

Interests and events[edit]

The Vendée Globe yacht race, which takes place every four years, starts and ends at Les Sables-d'Olonne.[citation needed]

The Musée de l'Abbaye Sainte-Croix is a municipal museum situated in a 17th-century building that is devoted to modern and contemporary art, and that has "Musée de France" status.[citation needed] It includes works of Gaston Chaissac (1910–1964) and Victor Brauner (1903–1966).[citation needed][why?]

Les Sables-d'Olonne is the setting for 1948 novel Les Vacances de Maigret (fr), by Georges Simenon.[citation needed]

The town is the birthplace of pirate François l'Olonnais.[citation needed][why?]

Image gallery[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

Les Sables-d'Olonne has been a sister town of the following European communities:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]