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A fishing port renowned for its sardines, Saint Gilles Croix de Vie is today one of the major hubs of the Vendée coast. Despite its success, it has managed to preserve its soul, the soul of a welcoming and warm city, where a real gentle lifestyle reigns all year round. Its fine sandy beaches, the old quarters, its five weekly markets, the pretty villas, its casino, the fishing and marina ports in the very heart of the city… everything contributes to asserting its authentic and picturesque character.

In Saint Gilles you will find the pier, where you can take the ferry to the magnificent Ile d’Yeu

A bit of history…

The Romans first occupied the site of Saint Gilles during the conquest of Gaulle by Julius Caesar. But we only find traces of the existence of Saint Gilles in the 13th century. During the following centuries, the population installed at the mouth of the river Vie, will undergo a significant development, in particular thanks to a flourishing commercial and port activity (salt and wheat). At the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th, saw the birth of Croix de Vie, which would become a parish in 1690.

The revolts of the Vendée of 1793 hardly affected the region. On the other hand, the second revolt of 1815 provoked clashes between the Giras (republicans) and the Croix de Viots (loyal to the crown). Louis de la Rochejacquelin, brother of Henri, disembarked at Croix de Vie, and died at the battle of the Mattes. Apart from this ideological separation, a natural separation constituted by the river “La Vie” further underlined the rift between the two localities.

Although connected by a “ford” and by boats, which allowed rare exchanges between the two municipalities, it was not until 1836 that a bridge was finally built. In 1838, the first transactions between the two municipalities took place, but it was not until 1967 that the two shores of the Vie merged to become Saint Gilles Croix de Vie.

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