2018 marks the 800th anniversary of Les Sables d’Olonne – and the town is putting on special events and exhibitions all year, tracing its own past and that of neighbouring La Chaume. All events are free and accessible to all.
From 6 April: Discover the personalities who have marked the course of the town’s history: Savary de Mauleon, Nina d’Asty, Felix Faure, Odette Rousseau and Georges Clemenceau. An outdoor exhibition is open in the Garden of Liberty in Les Sables.
2–31 May: Come and leave a message or photo at the town hall. Each of them will be put in a tube and not opened until 2068, in 50 years’ time, at which point a ‘Wall of the Future’ will be made.
30 June: A communal bathing experience will be organised, during which participants must be fully dressed, as was traditional during the Belle Époque! Les Sables beach from 11am.
14 July: To celebrate France’s National Day, traditional fireworks will be released from the small pier, plus other surprises.
28 August: A commemoration of the liberation of Les Sables. Come and talk to veterans, elected representatives and institutional personalities.
29-30 September: The aim is for 800 boats to be gathered on the open sea to celebrate 800 years of Les Sables. Register your interest at email@example.com .
20 October: A celebration of the union of Les Sables and La Chaume, with rock’n’roll concerts and traditional songs performed from 8–10pm on each side of the water.
November: The centenary of the Armistice of 1918. The Abbey Sainte-Croix museum will put on an exhibition of the work of Otto Dix (open until January 2019). His life and work were marked by the horrors of the Great War.
21–23 December: Discover the medieval era for a weekend, with jugglers and fire-eaters taking over a temporary medieval village in La Chaume.