An unusual day in Les Sables d’Olonne
Located on the Vendée coast, the town of Les Sables d’Olonne is a must-see destination for lovers of sunshine and picturesque coastal landscapes. If you plan to spend a day in this charming town, be sure to visit the Penotte Island district, the Chaume district and Les Salines with its salt adventure park. Get ready for an exciting adventure and discoveries rich in history, culture and nature.
First of all, parking is easy thanks to the city’s numerous parking lots. The nearest to the city center is the Arago parking lot, where you can leave your car for the duration of your visit. Head for the embankment for a lovely stroll along the waterfront! It’s the city’s most famous promenade and the perfect place to admire the sea and the boats.
The Ile Penotte district… An explosion of color and creativity
Continue your morning by heading to rue Assas to explore the Île Penotte district. A unique place where art is expressed on the walls of houses. The district owes its name to a local artist, Danièle Arnaud-Aubin, who created seashell frescoes on building facades. Bulots and periwinkles, oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and exotic shellfish, the Seashell Lady will take you on a journey through her fantastic world.
Stroll along the narrow streets and admire the stunning works of art that tell sea stories, local legends and scenes of life. Each house is a real work of art, with colorful shells and unique designs.
The Chaume district… A journey through time and maritime tradition
After discovering Penotte Island, head for the Chaume district, a place steeped in history and charm. This fisherman’s quarter is the oldest part of town. To reach La Chaume, take the shuttle bus from the port of Les Sables d’Olonne.
When you arrive in this picturesque district, you’ll immediately be transported back in time. Wander through the narrow streets and admire the traditional houses with their colorful shutters and stone facades. Don’t miss the 11th-century church of Saint-Nicolas, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view from its bell tower.
Worth knowing: Legend has it that the church was built by a castaway in honor of Saint Nicolas, patron saint of sailors and fishermen.
In fact, it was built by the monks of Sainte Croix de Talmont, then abandoned after serving as a military stronghold. At the turn of the century, the church or Prieuré Saint-Nicolas was completely renovated and now hosts numerous cultural events.
The Chaume district is also an ideal place to discover the region’s maritime history. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Arundel Tower, which offers a breathtaking view of the harbor and ocean. The Tower houses the Museum of the Sea, where you can discover the fascinating evolution of navigation techniques used by sailors. Find out about the opening times of Arundel Tower, as it is not open all year round.
In this area, remember to set aside some time to lose yourself in the picturesque alleyways and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere. Stroll along the waterfront and breathe in the sea air, steeped in the history and charm of the area.
You’ll find plenty of small seafood restaurants, perfect for sampling local specialties in an authentic maritime atmosphere.
Les Salines and the salt adventure park… to marvel at nature with fun activities
To continue your day, go on an adventure with des Salines. A preserved natural area home to salt marshes and a unique natural environment. Less than 4 km away, Les Salines is easily accessible by car from Les Sables d’Olonne.
Explore the landscaped trails and admire the magnificent salt marsh scenery. Learn more about traditional salt production and discover the methods that have been used for centuries.
Complement your visit to the saltworks with exciting adventures at the salt adventure park. This park offers fun and educational activities for the whole family. Test your balance on the high acrobatic courses, take a bike ride through the surrounding countryside or enjoy the games and activities on offer: kayak, paddle and several circuits for a sporty stroll through the heart of the marshes.