Welcome to the ‘Coast of Light’
The Vendée is known as the ‘Coast of Light’ due to the fact it receives as many or more sunshine hours per year as the Cote d’Azur, between 1800 and 2000 per year, the most on the coast itself, hence its nickname. The Vendée is divided by its three distinct landscapes: the North with its groves, the South with its plains and marshes and the coast with its dunes and pine forests.
The Vendée is known for its economic diversity and is a land of entrepreneurs, there is approximately one small business for every fourteen inhabitants. It is characterised by a low rate of unemployment (usually around 2% lower than the national average).The Vendéen economy is mainly driven by Tourism, Agriculture, Food Processing and Light/Medium Industry.
The Vendée is famous in French history for the Vendéen war during the Revolution when the Revolutionary government closed all Catholic churches and banned public worship. This was the spark that set the Vendée ablaze with a barbaric war which saw numerous victories by the peasant Catholic forces loyal to the king.
They were led by aristocrats because at the time there was far less of a divide between upper and lower classes in the Vendée than elsewhere in France (since this is what started the revolution in the first place). The revolutionary government continued to send large numbers of troops to fight the Vendéen army and they began a mass genocide that was only halted when Napoleon came to power and stopped the madness, restoring religious rights and giving them full indemnity. Napoleon also aided in the reconstruction of towns and villages including the (then) new capital of La Roche sur Yon, designed in part by Napoleon and chosen for its location because it was within one days ride (by horse) to anywhere in the Vendée.
For more on the history of the Vendée be sure to visit the ‘Historial‘ historic museum located in Lucs-sur-Boulogne. It traces the history of the Vendée from pre-historic times to present day and also hosts many temporary exhibits. There is also a memorial honouring the victims of the Vendée wars there.