The Olympic Torch Blazes a Trail Through Vendée 



The Olympic Torch Blazes a Trail Through Vendée 

The Olympic Torch begins its very own tour de France on May 8th 2024, after it disembarks in the port of Marseille. Its winding and dizzying journey will take it across France and through myriads of landscapes over 64 different territories, including a full day in the Vendée on June 4th. 

With its healthy swell and breezy coastline, its web of cycle routes and expansive, flat sandy beaches, the Vendée is much loved by water sports amateurs, cycling enthusiasts and travellers seeking to fill their lungs with fresh, salty air and, why not, blow out the cobwebs with a sporty trip. It’s no wonder the dynamic destination is looking forward to hosting the Olympic Torch for a full day, celebrating its ties to French sport but also its love of spectacle and the grandiose. 

The torch will not be the only revered guest this summer; the national female basketball team has chosen the Vendespace cultural and sports hall as their training ground throughout the Games and the Presnes de Saint-Gervais stud farm will be welcoming riders and their steeds during practice sessions.  

The Vendée is truly embracing a sporty year as it will also host the 10th edition of the awe-inspiring Vendée Globe, a solo sailing race around the world, leaving from the port of Les Sables d’Olonne. 

Where to see the Olympic Torch in Vendée 

The flaming torch will go through seven of the department’s iconic sites, beginning at 08:00am and finishing at 06:00pm.

1. The tour begins at the Passage du Gois, this legendary submersible road connects the mainland to the lovely island of Noirmoutier and will certainly make for some fantastic photos.


Aerienne-Passage du Gois ©Alexandre Lamoureux

2. It will carry on to Fontenay le Comte. As the former capital of the department, this pretty town boasts remarkable vestiges of grand, Renaissance townhouses. Its pretty historic centre earned it several coveted accolades in French tourism: ‘Ville d’Art et d’Histoire’, highlighting its strong heritage and preservation efforts, and ‘Plus Beaux Détours de France’, a label marking it as a notable destination off the main tourist trail. Don’t miss the gorgeous arcades, emblematic fountain and the Terre-Neuve castle. 

Fontenay-le-Comte© Alexandre-LAMOUREUX

3. The torch will then shine a light on Montaigu-Vendée, home to a different but no less impressive castle, and also the host city of the Mondial de Montaigu, a tournament bringing together the best “junior” football teams. Some 12,000 school kids are expected to attend!

Lesremparts_Montaigu Vendee ©simonbourcier

4. The torch could not miss the Puy du Fou, France’s favourite theme park in the world and that of 2.5 million visitors in 2023. This historical theme park is used to putting on a show and the Olympic torch will fit right in with the incredible effects and dedication from actors and technicians who put together breathtaking, action-packed, live tableaux of chapters of French history.


Puy du Fou Les Vikings, ©Stéphane Audran

5. La Roche sur Yon, capital of the department will see the torch next and is accustomed to hosting sporting events with the Vendespace and the city’s stud farm. The torch will pass by the emblematic Napoleon square


LaRochesurYon, ©Alexandre Lamoureux

6. The torch will move on to La Pointe d’Arcay, a biological reserve and a true gem from southern Vendée. While the full route of the Torch will not be available to the whole public in this protected area, activities are planned at Aiguillon la Presqu’île.


PointedArcay, ©Alexandre Lamoureux

7. Finally, the torch will end its tour vendéen in Les Sables d’Olonne, among the most beautiful bays in the world and city of the world-renown Vendée Globe race. A huge party will rock the Place du Vendée Globe as the Olympic cauldron will be set alight.

On August 25th, the Paralympic torch will make a stop in La Roche sur Yon. 

Les Sables dOlonne ©Alexandre Lamoureux

Who will the torch-bearers be? 

  • Jean René Bernaudeau: manager of the Total Energies Vendée cycling team 
  • David Bossard: volunteer at the SNSM (sea rescue service) and survivor of the 2019 Sables d’Olonne shipwreck 
  • Emma Louineau: world number 6 in MTB (mountain-biking) Trial 
  • Françoise Amiaud: former high-level basketball player 
  • Michel Allemand: former president of Mondial football Montaigu 
  • Bernard Martineau: former president of the cycling Tour de Vendée 

For more information, visit 

Lead photo credit : Les Sables dOlonne, ©Alexandre Lamoureux

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