A Haven for Seafood Lovers - Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, France
Saint Gilles Croix de Vie is a charming seaside town situated on the Côte de Lumière and the largest Atlantic sardine fishing port!
Formed from the unification of two communities on either side of the estuary of the river the Vie, Saint-Gilles-sur-Vie and Croix-de-Vie.
Sardine fishing off the coast of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie dates back to the early 17th century. The locals learned how to preserve this small fish so it could be stored for a longer period of time. This led to the emergence of the now-famous canned sardines in oil. In the year 2000, Saint Gilles Croix de Vie sardines were awarded the red label, the first wild fish to receive such an honour. Saint Gilles Croix de Vie has a dedicated sardine shop – L’Atelier de la Sardine!
As well as the famous sardines, other types of fish associated with the region include monkfish, turbot, hake, whiting, “sablaise” sole, red mullet, pollack, dogfish, mackerel, tuna, and sea bass.
The Vendée coast also produces a wide range of shellfish: oysters, shrimps and prawns, langoustines, spider crabs, Dungeness crab, swimming crabs and the divine blue lobster. The area has favourable conditions for oyster farms producing 10,000 tonnes of oysters each year! The Bay of Aiguillon is famous for its Bouchot mussels (farmed on oak pilings sunk into the water). They are known for their pronounced flavour and the Vendée offers many different ways to enjoy this exceptional shellfish.
The Countryside in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie
The area surrounding our park on the Vendée is full of marked trails (almost 300km) for you to enjoy the varied landscapes from ocean to countryside.
A guide called Balades à Pied showing the paths village by village is available from all the tourist information offices.
Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie has 4 beaches about a 35 min drive from our park;
Le Grand Plage
Le Petit Plage
Le Plage de Boisvinet
Le Plage de la Pelle a Porteau