The Vendée General Council President later said: « I declare the Vendée Globe Village officially open. It is a celebration of the heroic sailors of this seventh edition ». Also attending were Les Sables d’Olonne Mayor Louis Guédon, Sodebo CEO Patricia Brochard and the skippers. Bruno Retailleau opened the gates of the entrance pavilion, an architecturally innovative building that stands like a lighthouse at the entrance of the port. As a place to get practical information on the 2012 Vendée Globe, the pavilion allows the public to access the Quai Gravière, the plaza and the dock, all open to the public.
The Village was a single structure in 2008-2009 but this new Village – where about a million visitors and 1,200 French and international journalists are expected throughout 23 days – has been divided into four different areas spreading on a total surface of 4 hectares that makes for a much easier circulation of the visitors. The Vendée General Council area offers a playful, educational and thorough presentation of the race with, among other sites, a large 225-square metre Aquarium developed with the Maud Fontenoy Foundation and featuring a visual representation of the Vendée Globe skippers’ route in the form of an indoors marked path.
Flying the colours of all skippers
The race’s partners as well as the yachts’ sponsors are brought together in the Archipel area where various sophisticated and fun booths with their mascots and activities will attract families. A huge and public-friendly « Business Area » will make it easier for companies – especially local ones – to meet and exchange through exhibition spaces, private rooms and meeting areas.
The Village is also about having fun and it offers many food&drinks possibilities as well as activities, concerts, fashion shows and performances... endless activities are scheduled until November 10, the start of the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe!
THE SKIPPERS SAID…
Arnaud Boissières (AKENA Vérandas)
« The Village is even larger than four years ago, it makes people feel even more welcome. I love the colors and the nice portraits, they really look great. It’s pretty amazing! »
Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée)
« I’m very impressed with the huge crowd visiting the Village right after the 10AM opening. It’s a good idea to give everybody access to the docks, it makes people feel happy and comfortable, which is very pleasant. »
Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat)
« The village is really different, the technical area is much more practical, giving the skippers more possibilities and more autonomy. The Village is very well-organised this year. »
The Village is open from October 20 to November 11, 2012, from 10AM to 8PM. (Free admission)
Extended hours (closing at 10PM): October 20 and 27 and November 3 and 9.
On November 10, the Village will open from 8AM to 8PM and, on November 11, from 10AM to 6PM.
Pontoons will be open from 10AM to 8PM every day until November 8 (included).