HOLIDAYS IN THE VENDÉE: DISCOVER THE HERITAGE OF LA ROCHE-SUR-YON
Whatever motivates you, there is always a good reason to come to La Roche-sur-Yon! The town is full of remarkable monuments, sites and viewpoints, which combine well with the pleasures of open space, nature and green areas; with a curiosity for history and our heritage of beauty; with the joys of rambling... La Roche-sur-Yon has it all!
On your holidays you can combine a range of visits to satisfy both your interest in cultural heritage and your love of nature... Enjoy a mix of different flavours as you discover the treasures of La Roche-sur-Yon and its surroundings.
THE ITALIANATE THEATRE OF LA ROCHE-SUR-YON
Experts talk about the history of La Roche-sur-Yon's theatre - its architecture, the particularities of an Italianate theatre, the various stages of restoration, and the programme of performances.
These videos will allow you to learn more about different aspects of the theatre, a great complement to your visit.
THE 'CHAOS DE PIQUET'
Piquet, in Le Tablier, is a picturesque spot in the heart of the Yon Valley. Hikers and archaeologists alike are fascinated by the caves, the waterfalls and the 'kettles' hollowed out in the rocks. The remains of an old spinning mill (1861) and the foundations of various watermills recall the industrial past of the valley, now enlivened by the presence of a famous dance hall, La Guinguette de Piquet.
Each of these aspects is recounted by the speakers who describe this wild, romantic spot.
La Chaize le Vicomte
A few kilometres away from La Roche-sur-Yon, the village of La Chaize le Vicomte contains some real jewels of architecture, starting with the romanesque Church of Saint Nicholas, dating from 1099, and the ruins of the castle built by the Viscounts of Thouars.
The visit continues with the Charles Payraudeau Museum, containing more than 2,000 species from the famous zoologist's collection.
A unique interview on the military training of conscripts blows the dust off a few forgotten local traditions!
Chaillé sous les Ormeaux
The history of the town can be seen from different angles. Apart visiting from the town itself or the beautiful house known as L'Aubonnière, you can learn how the clay-rich sub-soil gave rise to a brickworks and a whole industry which has grown out of it.
The town centre is also the starting point for several walks through the delightful countryside.
Finally, to complete your exploration of the fauna and flora, the Dragonfly Centre with its natural garden gives views of the different types of landscape round the village, while for fishermen there are 17 kilometres of river bank to fish.
AUBIGNY AND THE RECORDS FESTIVAL
In an ideal site at the gates of La Roche-sur-Yon, Aubigny contains an outstanding architectural treasure in its mid-12th century church.
But another unmissable visit is the World Records Festival, a result of the dynamic powers of association of the townspeople, which brings together all the exploits carried out up to the beginning of the 1990s to break new records, duly certified.
The result is a collection of some sixty gigantic objects, now exhibited in the World Records Space and described with a wealth of detail by the story-teller Yannick Jaulin.
THE RAMBOURG WATERMILL AT NESMY
Standing in its leafy green setting, this watermill is the last survivor of the 40 mills which worked along the river banks; it closed down in 1981.
It was adapted repeatedly to incorporate new techniques. The stone wheels were replaced in 1912 by cylindrical metal rollers, and the second storey was built in 1957 to take a new sieve.
It was what is called a multiple pass mill, as the grains of wheat are passed through the mill several times to obtain the desired grade of flour. For this reason it looks more like the first flour mills developed in the first industrial revolution and after the invention of the internal combustion engine.
When it was restored in 1999, it was decided to leave all the machinery as it was, making it a rare example from the history of milling. The reconstructed wheel, identical to the original, is the only working part.
As its name indicates, this village is in iron-mining country. There are old mines in the village of Les Thermelières, 10 kilometres from La Roche-sur-Yon, which were worked until 1913.
The dynamic village keeps alive the memory of its mining activities, with its 'coopératives' (unions) and the magnificent site of Le Plessis-Bergeret which has existed since the 12th century and today is an education centre.
CHURCH OF SAINT LOUIS, LA ROCHE-SUR-YON
These interviews explain how the building of the church at the beginning of the 19th century was closely linked with Napoleon's pacifying vision; he considered it to be one of his "granite blocks".
Its architecture and history bear witness to this, as well as the two organs installed in the church.