Leaving Les sabs for good - Aug 24, 2021
Today we leave Les Sables d'Olonne for good. We have been here 5 weeks on and off mainly to have aftermarket additions added to the boat. These included solar, air con, generator, inverter and many more. This enables us to live off the grid. Thanks so much to Jerome & co from Robin Marine who worked tirelessly to achieve this. We were also hauled for 4 days where we learnt to live "on the hard". Today we are leaving for Ribadeo, Spain. Should be there in 48 hours.
Les Sables d'Olonne is the main fishing and yachting port of the Vendée area on France's Atlantic coast, south of the Loire. The area of "Olonne" as been inhabited since before Roman times. The Harbour was originally created in the 13th century and has since been expanded into the larger port and harbour area of Les Sables d'Olonne – protected from the ocean by a barrier of former sand dunes, and open to it through a narrow navigable channel.
In the early Middle Ages, Olonne exported wine and salt to ports in northern Europe; in the late 15th century, the settlement on the north of the harbour entrance - now the Les Chaumes quarter, was fortified. In the 16th century, when the fishermen of western France began to follow the explorers towards the new fishing grounds of the north Atlantic, Les Sables developed into France's leading cod fishing port; but the industry declined in the 18th century. Les Sables d'Olonne was too far from the main centres of population.
Tourism came to the rescue of the town's fortunes at the start of the 19th century, thanks to its long expanses of sandy beaches. Even before the railway arrived in 1866, the town was a reputed bathing resort, and in 1825 acquired its first casinos. Casinos had been banned in France until the year 1806, when a law was passed to allow them to open in spa and seaside resorts only.
Since the arrival of the railway, les Sables d'Olonne has developed mainly as a seaside resort, and more recently thanks to its yachting marina. It is also a small but active commercial port, mainly used by small bulk carriers for grain and sand.