La Roche sur Yon in the heart of the Vendée
Discover La Roche-sur-Yon, a new town built by Napoleon in 1804 in the heart of the Vendée, between Nantes and La Rochelle and halfway between the sea and Puy du Fou.
A charming town full of places to discover, La Roche-sur-Yon is a perfectly harmonious blend of history and modernity.
You will be delight by its varied aspects, and it also forms a starting point for your longer excursions.
A new town created by Napoleon
In the middle ages, La Roche-sur-Yon was the capital of a principality. The town grew up around the castle and the Vieille Horloge (Old Clock) quarter. The Renaissance House, dating from 1566, witnessed changes in the town during the early years.
However, an edict issued by Napoleon on 25 May 1804 created a modern city and gave the old town a new aspect. It was laid out in pentagonal shape, like a Chinese Checkers board, with buildings in neoclassical style.
This functional urban design was centred on several squares, the best-known of which honours the founder: Place Napoléon.
From the HARAS DE LA VENDÉE to the "Place Nap'", as the inhabitants call it, with its amazing mechanical menagerie "Les Animaux de la Place", by way of the Yon Valley, surrender to the charms of this one-of-a-kind town, capital of the Vendée and full of surprises.
Cultural and sporting events all year round
Vibrate to the rhythm of a rich, varied annual programme which has something for every generation! La Folle Journée Festival, La Bicentenaire Race, the Colors Festival, the R.Pop Festival, the International Film Festival, La Joséphine (an annual mass run to raise money for breast cancer) and Christmas are some of the unmissable events in the calendar.
On the sports field, La Roche-sur-Yon hosts an international athletics meeting and celebrates other important sporting events.
Shopping at La Roche sur Yon
With 500 independent and franchised shops, La Roche-sur-Yon hyper-centre is a commercial lung in the heart of the town. The Clémenceau semi-pedestrian precinct and the Les Halles quarter overflow with numerous small outlets offering a wide range of products.
Are you looking for high-quality local produce? Don't waste a moment! Head for the Marché des Halles, the biggest fresh produce market in the Vendée.
There are two commercial centres on the road into the town: Les Flâneries, the biggest commercial centre in the Vendée, and Sud Avenue with no less than 45 shops to explore.
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