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Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie is the number one sardine port on the Atlantic coast and with the marina in the town centre, the town still has all the charm and authenticity of a fishing village. 

A fishing port specialised in sardine fishing 

The port at Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie is well-known for ‘blue fish’ such as sardine, mackerel, anchovies and horse mackerel, and today the town boasts a fleet of around forty fishing boats, employing around a hundred fishermen, with a digitalised fish market and ten wholesale fish merchant units. 

This is the only port in France to have been awarded the ‘Site Remarquable du Goût’ (place of wonderful tastes) label. This label honours a tradition for sardine fishing that is deeply rooted in the town.

The fishing boats are used for various types of fishing, they use trawling nets, they fish in the open sea, use traps, standard fishing rods and nets. Every year, close to 3,000 tonnes of sardines are unloaded, which is ¾ of the total amount of fish unloaded here.

The famous sardine is caught from April to September, then from October to February, the Saint-Gilles shrimp takes over. Known as the Rose de Saint Gilles, this shrimp is 100% local and wild and can be found on the local markets and in the best restaurants.

Port la Vie, a town centre marina

The ‘Port la Vie’ marina is right in the town centre of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and is the perfect place to recharge your batteries and just take in the peaceful atmosphere all around.

Take a stroll along the docks in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, listen to the masts clicking away in the breeze, take a moment on one of the benches and just watch the boats coming in and out of the marina.

Exploring the marina


There are some very pleasant walks or bike rides to do from the marina. Take a stroll on the footpaths that run alongside the river Vie, wander down the Promenade Marcel Ragon then the Promenade de la Garenne as far as Bénéteau square, the scenery all around you is superb. 

To really make the most of your time at Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie marina, we also recommend admiring it from the other side, to see it from a different angle. 

Your exploration will then take you as far as the Concorde bridge, follow the docks on the Saint-Gilles side until you reach the lock. From the Promenade Marie de Beaucaire you’ll have a breath-taking view of the marina. This authentic place is great for a walk with family or friends.

There are picnic tables available to use if you fancy stopping off for a bite to eat. Then carry on walking to the Dune de la Garenne, you’ll arrive at the jetty and the Grande Plage de Saint Gilles.

Not-to-be-missed: go up to the viewpoint and admire the breath-taking view of the ports, marinas and Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie’s Grande Plage.  


The Chemin de la Sardine (sardine trail) is a fun and original 2.4 km route, where you simply follow the blue sardines on the ground. You’ll pass by 14 historic, heritage and gourmet points of interest related to the maritime town.