5 good reasons to visit La Roche-sur-Yon

What to do in La Roche-sur-Yon? 5 reasons - Urban Tourism


Built by Napoleon, La Roche-sur-Yon has plenty more assets to show off than its prestigious origins! Enjoy 5 unmissable or unexpected experiences in this dynamic city in Vendée.

1) Steer mechanical animals in the central square

The incredible inspiration of the set designer and director François Delarozière, who has created a mechanical menagerie in the pools of the place Napoléon. A hippopotamus, a crocodile, an owl, a Nile perch, a camel and pink flamingos are each connected to a control centre that allows the public to move each part of the animal for a result that's (almost) better than the real thing. Kids love it!

2) Visit the amazing Musée du Chocolat (Chocolate Museum)

Master chocolatier Patrick Gelencser, one of the best in France, has set up a museum in La Roche-sur-Yon that showcases the history of cacao, from its Mayan origins to today. A visit to savour through six different "worlds" filled with multimedia devices, fun displays and delightful tastings. At the end of their tour, visitors can watch the chocolate makers at work. Yum.

3) Explore the Haras de la Vendée

Founded in 1843, the prestigious institution still features people and horses in a magnificent 1-acre park that celebrates the equestrian arts. Visitors can watch demonstrations, discover the secrets of the site, climb into horse-drawn carriages, explore the stables and even watch working sessions with commentary.

4) Discover the Renaissance House

In the heart of the old district of La Roche-sur-Yon, it is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The inscription on the facade dates this house from 1566, making it one of the few complete houses before Napoleon! It is located on the Place de la Vieille Horloge, which takes its name from a very high 9m which was destroyed in 1842. The Renaissance House now hosts permanent exhibitions.

5) Meet fairies and elves in the Vallée de l'Yon

The Vallée de l'Yon crosses through the town and runs south to the municipality of Tablier, where the Le Chaos de Piquet boulders can be found. Georges Clémenceau, a regular visitor, liked to compare the site to Swiss landscapes. Here, the river sometimes creates torrents that beat against the stones and granite blocks between the ruins of the windmills and spinning mills. A magical place imbued with legends that conjure up Gargantua, water nymphs or the famous "giant's cooking pot" pools clear for all to see!

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