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Situated at the very southern end of the Atlantic coast of the Vendée, in the estuary of the River Lay on the Baie de l'Aiguillon, l'Aiguillon-sur-Mer is the mussel capital of France, producing over 20% of the country’s mussels on its extensive mussel beds.
The old fishing port, which for a long time was the port of the Abbey of
St.Michel-en-Herm, is still an active if small fishing port and on the
quayside there are several stalls where fresh fish and mussels can be
bought. On the old bridge that connects L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer and its
neighbour La Faute-sur-Mer
one can observe the locals fishing using 'carrelets a square net which
is lowered into the rising tide in an attempt to catch ells, shrimps and
The town centre, set back from the river, can easily be missed. It
boasts an old church, an active main street with shops, bars and cafes
and is surrounded by streets of small whitewashed cottages.
The main tourist road runs alongside the river before crossing
the bridge to la Faute-sur-mer. Between this road and the river with
its harbour are two manmade lakes with what must be the safest salt
water beaches in the Vendée. There are the usual cafes and pizza
restaurants for the beach users and a play area for children together
with a water slide. The second lake is home to the sailing school where
one can take lessons.
As one would expect there are an ample number of places to eat, from
pizza houses to restaurants in and around L’Aiguillon, however as one
would expect seafood restaurants are the most common.
For those who want to explore the more natural aspect of L'Aiguillon a trip along the road to the 'Point de L'Aiguillon'
will not disappoint. On the left there are views across the polder
lands, which are fen-like fields that were reclaimed from the sea.
Rising out of these low lying fields and towering a dizzy 15metres above
them is the islet of 'la-Dive'.
This was once an island and one can see where the sea once lapped
against its cliffs. Today it is just a cluster of tightly packed houses,
it is both unique and charming. Scattered along the road to the point
de L’Aguillon one can also view the various oyster farms, where oysters
are matured and harvested and where of course they can be purchased.
On the right of the road is the river, and for 5 kilometres this is
bordered by a large concrete Dyke built by the Dutch who helped drain
the land a century ago. Built to protect the low lying fields from the
rising tides, it does obscure the view of the river from the road, but
it is essential to protect the fields behind it from flooding. There are
several primitive steps curved into the Dyke and a couple of entrances
through the dyke itself which enable one to get a view of the small
harbours and boat moorings as well as some small sandy beaches,
which at low tide are somewhat muddy.
The Road terminates at the point, where one can leave one’s transport and ramble over the dunes to more beaches and on to the nature reserve, where thousands of wading birds can be seen. Views out across the Baie de L'Aiguillon
reveal the immense extent of the mussel farms, with thousands of poles
(bouchets) with ropes attached to them, anchored in the mud. The mussels
cling to the ropes, grow and are then harvested.
Camping; Aire d'Accueil des Dunes. Tel. 02 51 27 41 58.
Camping de la Baie. Lot Baie. Tel. 02 51 56 40 70.
Camping Bel Air. Route Bel Air. Tel. 02 51 56 44 05.
Camping Pres des Sables. Rue Jean Racine. Tel. 02 51 27 13 88.
Taxis; Taxis Cote de Lumiere. Rue des Marais. Tel. 02 51 27 13 33.
Bike Hire; Bien eric. 33 rue Jacques Moreau. Tel. 02 5156 49 01.
Horse Riding; Ranch de Cacharel 02 51 29 42 82. Pony riding 1-4 hrs. Beginners games.
Photos of L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer
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