Department: Vendée (85)
Region: Pays de la Loire

A walk along any part of the Vendéen coast – the Côte de la Luminière – at sunset will always be a magical experience, whatever the time of year.

Les Sables d’Olonne is a perfect example of a perfect seaside resort. This great long arc of golden beach is a gem; quite perfect, in fact: families huddle in islanded groups, bodies are bronzed (or sautéed), children gambol like never before and playfully bury papa in the sand while he sleeps.

Set against a usually gentle sea on the one hand and two miles of pizzeria, bars, cafés, shops, restaurants and papa baba on the other, the resultant mayhem is simply delightful.

At the northern end of town, Port Olona is the starting point for the single-handed round-the-world yacht race, the Vendée Globe, held every four years (the next is 2012); no stops are allowed, and no help along the way – this is tough, and there is yet to be a race when everyone who started succeeded in completing the journey.

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1 promenade Joffre, 85104 Les Sables d'Olonne.
Tel: 02 51 96 85 85