The flagship city

Only 2,000 acres in size, the city is the smallest, but has the largest population with over 16,000 inhabitants.

Les-Sables-1Flagship city, indeed, of the Olonnes Country, it is known worldwide, mainly through its famous solo sailing race : «the Vendée Globe». Every four years, since 1989, fearless seamen set sail from Les Sables d’Olonne's marina to cross the main oceans, over 24,000 nautical miles, alone on their boats, without assistance. This race has now become inevitable. More and more visitors attend this sea festivity which has become popular, taking into account the repeated achievements of sailors ready for all challenges. The city staff have become experts in setting up sea races. Each year, over fifty nautical events take place.

Moreover, all these infrastructures are completed by a marina : Port Olonna, true town within the town, offering 1 500 moorings. Les Sables d’Olonne are classified in third position, behind St Malo and Arcachon, among comparable seaside towns.

This city also owns an exceptional beach, three kilometers long, with fine sand, a beach well equipped and maintained, with its famous embankment erected between 1751 and 1756, rebuilt since, of course. There are also two piers from the same period with their light-houses. For several kilometers, on each side of the town, is the so called «wild coast», made of rocky areas separated by tiny sand beaches.  The church of Our Lady of safe harbour, in the city centre, was erected from 1643 onwards, at the request of the seamen who looked after a site for prayer. As additional tourist viewpoints, let us mention the Central Hall, erected in 1890, made of iron and bricks in Baltard style ; the famous La Chaume bourough, city's cradle ; the St Nicolas priory ; the zoological garden ; the Salines (marshy area dedicated to salt production) ; the unexpected area of «;l’île Penotte;», having front walls decorated with shells ; several museums, including the Ste Croix abbey, the shellfish museum and the sea museum. Two casinos, for lovers, that, besides the usual games, offer, throughout the year, various performances.Last, let us mention the « fishing » activity of Les Sables d’Olonne, eigth fishing port in France with 68 ships, and 200 seafarers, practising various small scale fisheries. The tonnage produced reaches 7,000 tons a year, most of it for export.

The fishing port, its waterfront and its restaurants are a typical expression of the city. But another link may exist between Les Sables d'Olonne and Worthing. Where from do the Arundel Tower in Les Sables and the Arundel Castle near Worthing get their common name ? The question is posedTexte de Rollan  Houillon, membre du jumelage