Les Sables d'Olonne

Photo of Les Sables d'Olonne

About Les Sables d'Olonne

A seaside resort town straddling the Lumiere Coast, Les Sables d'Olonne is the ideal place for a family seaside holiday. With 3km of sandy beaches, museums, historic sights, zoos, aquariums and some amazing seafood restaurants. Therefore it is unsurprising that the best places to stay in Les Sables d'Olonne tend to be set directly on the beach.

Founded in 1218, the town was once the home of Richard the Lionheart and the remnants of his castle, the Chateau de Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, still stand today. Historically, the town thrived from its fishing and shipbuilding industries, and these traditions are still very much alive: every 4 years, Les Sables plays host to the Vendee Globe, the round-the-world single-handed yacht race.

Strolling through the La Chaume district, past the fishermen's houses, quays, lighthouses and jetties is the best way to see the town. Indeed in L'Ile Penotte, the neighbourhood of the town centre, the facades of the houses are decorated with shellfish - completed by a local artist - highlighting the long-marriage between the town and the sea.

The 3km stretch of sandy beach is divine, the sand has a texture as soft as icing sugar, and there a great many watersports on offer from local vendors - from scubadiving to waterskiing. Take some time to stroll down the seaside promenade, past the cafes and shops and seafood restaurants, and drink in the gorgeous view of the Belle Epoque villas facing the sea. Beside the beach is untamed land, full of marsh and forest and rugged coastline, ideal for exploring by foot, bike or horse.

Historically, there is much to see in the town, whether you're exploring the ruins of the fortress of Richard the Lionheart, the remains of the Tour d'Arundel or the tranquil 11th-century priory of Saint Nicolas. For a slice of high culture, be sure to check out the Musee de l'Abbaye Sainte-Croix, a former abbey and now art gallery. As for children the Zoo or Aqaurium are a great option.

What not to miss

  • Sunbathe on the 3km stretch of white sand beach.
  • Stroll along the seaside promenade at sunset, drinking in the views of the marina reflecting the rippled sky.
  • Check out the Zoo, where you can see lions, pandas and monkeys.
  • Explore the ruins of Chateau de Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, the former home of Richard the Lionheart.
  • Immerse yourself in art at the Musee de l'Abbaye Sainte-Croix.
  • Hike through the forest and marshland that flanks the beach.

This is the ideal place for a family seaside holiday, however, it can get quickly booked up in the summer months, so to ensure a room at one of the best places to stay in Les Sables d'Olonne we recommend planning your trip well in advance.

The best places to stay in Les Sables d'Olonne

Beach life

  • Atlantic Hotel: a trendy seaside hotel offering nautical-themed rooms with private balconies, a spoiling spa and one of the most beloved local restaurants in town. Ideal for families.

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • Fly to La Rochelle Airport and get a train or bus to Les Sables d'Olonne.
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.
  • The best time to go is during the summer when the temperature ranges between 12 and 26 degrees.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Les Sables d'Olonne

  • Atlantic Hotel Les Sables d'Olonne 138 rooms from £95

    A trendy beachside hotel including an indoor pool and spoiling spa. Interiors have a nautical theme with a retro twist, all feature private balconies and some, private hot-tubs. Le Sloop restaurant is a local favourite and boasts sea views and seafood dishes. Pets and children welcome!

    Beach Life  -  A perfect beach-chic property with a nautical theme and positioned right on Les Sables-d'Olonne coastline.
    Total relaxation  -  With an excellent spa, fine dining and fresh sea air - this property is meant for unwinding!
    Great walks  -  Start your day on the right note and head off for a walk along the Bay of Les Sables d’Olonne.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor pool
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