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The town hall in Machecoul
The town hall in Machecoul
Coat of arms of Machecoul
Coat of arms
Machecoul is located in France
Coordinates: 46°59′38″N 1°49′18″W / 46.9939°N 1.8217°W / 46.9939; -1.8217Coordinates: 46°59′38″N 1°49′18″W / 46.9939°N 1.8217°W / 46.9939; -1.8217
Country France
Region Pays de la Loire
Department Loire-Atlantique
Arrondissement Nantes
Canton Machecoul
Intercommunality Machecoul
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Didier Favreau
Area1 66.62 km2 (25.72 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 5,732
 • Density 86/km2 (220/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 44087 / 44270
Elevation 0–36 m (0–118 ft)
(avg. 5 m or 16 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.

Machecoul is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France.

Its 5,732 inhabitants are called Machecoulais. It was the site of the opening of the uprising of the Vendée, in 1793.


The commune of Machecoul is surrounded by the following communes:


  • Gallo-Roman Wood Lighthouse ("Phare à Bois").
  • 8th Merovingian sarcophagi.
  • Many old mills.
  • 11th century Notre-Dame-de-la-Chaume abbey.
  • Former 13th century Romanesque church.
  • La Trinité church (1881).
  • 11th century Cahouët Bridge ("Pont de Cahouët"), wrongly said "Roman Bridge" ("Pont Romain")(it does not date from Roman times). Small bridge over the river Falleron.
  • Castle of Machecoul (also known as "Castle of Gilles de Rais" ("Château de Gilles de Rais") or "Bluebeard's castle" ("Château de Barbe-Bleue")): close to the town centre are the ruins of the 13th-century castle of the town, once owned by the infamous child-murderer Gilles de Rais (1404–1440). Nowadays, on summer evenings, one can partake of a son et lumière show telling his story.
  • The "Auditoire" (18th century). Former court main hall (central part), which was built in 1755.
  • The Lime Kiln ("Four à Chaux") (1857). Located on Saint-Michel Island, rich in limestone. Restored in 2001.
  • Les Halles (1885).
  • The Hippodrome des Chaumes (1885).
  • The former Segin Distillery (1886).


On the edge of town is the Gitane bicycle factory. Fans of the Tour de France will recall the Breton cyclist Bernard Hinault riding for them in the 1970s.

Machecoul has a weekly street market where one can buy roasted poulet noir, the black chicken of Challans.

Twin towns[edit]

Machecoul is twinned with:


Machecoul was the birthplace of:

See also[edit]