Les Sables d’Olonne: Gateway to Adventure, Charm, and Ocean Racing

The next ten days flew by as we prepped our boat for its grand voyage. But despite the busy preparations, we couldn’t resist dedicating some time to exploring the delightful city of Les Sables d’Olonne. Nestled in the Vendée region of Western France, Les Sables d’Olonne wasn’t just one town, but an amalgamation of three smaller towns: Olonne-sur-Mer, Château-d’Olonne, and Les Sables-d’Olonne itself. These charming towns seamlessly blend into one another, offering visitors a unique tapestry of cultural and historical experiences.

However, for sailing enthusiasts, Les Sables d’Olonne holds a special allure. This vibrant city serves as the starting port for the legendary Vendée Globe race, a single-handed, non-stop, round-the-world yacht race. Founded in 1989, this grueling test of human endurance and nautical prowess takes place every four years, drawing intrepid skippers from around the globe and captivating audiences worldwide.

Wandering through the bustling Port Olona, you’ll be greeted by an impressive parade of racing sailboats. These magnificent vessels, some bearing the scars of epic ocean journeys, whisper tales of adventure and daring. The atmosphere is abuzz with maritime activity, and the locals, known for their infectious hospitality, are always happy to share their passion for the sea and answer any questions you might have.

For a touch of Vendée Globe spirit, local shops offer a treasure trove of souvenirs, from commemorative clothing and model boats to posters and books detailing the race’s rich history. But your experience in Les Sables d’Olonne goes beyond just mementos. This charming city invites you to immerse yourself in its vibrant culture, delectable cuisine, and stunning coastal beauty, making it the perfect base for exploring the Vendée region’s hidden gems.

Below are some images from the Port and the city.

Posted in