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Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie is a charming seaside town that is buzzing and lively all year round. The 3.5 km of sandy beaches, the town’s historic areas, the five markets per week, the ‘Belle Epoque’ villas… all give this seaside town its authentic atmosphere.
The town is well-known for its huge fishing port, is classified a ‘Site Remarquable du Goût’ (a place of wonderful tastes) thanks to the sardine, and there is something going on here all year round with a wide range of activities to discover as a family, as a couple or with friends.
The iconic areas of the town
THE Vieux Saint Gilles
The ‘Vieux Saint-Gilles’ is the oldest area of the town, and includes Rue Torterue, the main road dating from the Middle Ages. Back then, the river Vie divided two towns, Saint-Gilles and Croix-de-Vie. On the left banks, the ‘Girase’ (locals of Saint-Gilles) were mainly the upper-class, tradespeople and land owners. On the right banks, the ‘Croix-Deviote’ (locals of Croix-de-Vie) were deep-sea fishermen.
Petite île, KNOWN AS THE ‘QUARTIER DU Maroc’ (ON THE Croix-de-Vie SIDE)
Every house in the ‘Quartier du Maroc’ (Morocco neighbourhood) has its own identity, it’s own unique characteristics, and is effortlessly charming. Here, we are reminded of the simple life of sailors back in the day. The origins of the ‘Quartier du Maroc’ can be traced back to the town’s maritime history.
Not-to-be-missed: La Maison du Pêcheur
The seaside villas in the Boisvinet area were built from the end of the 19th century, as a result of the growing popularity of sea swimming, and rich industrialists wanted to acquire a plot of land as close to the sea as possible!
If you walk along the Vendée headland via Boisvinet, you will be faced with two superb sights: the vast blue ocean stretching beyond the harbour, and the seaside villas.
A popular place for sailing and recreational boating
A MARINA IN THE TOWN CENTRE
Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie is also well-known for its town centre marina, ‘Port La Vie’.
We recommend stopping by the Port de Vie, right at the heart of this charming town and sheltered by the Garenne Dune. There are 1,100 pontoon moorings at the marina, and it is a popular place as it can be accessed at both high and low tide.