“I read somewhere that the Vendée Globe race village set-up in Les Sables d’Olonne for the race start has had a record number of visitors with 1.5 million visitors over three weeks!
I spent several days on the race village manning one of the Sodebo stands and I can confirm we have seen A LOT of people!
The impact of the Vendée Globe is unbelievable with the crowds and people coming from all over France and even Europe. Seeing all these visitors queuing to go on the pontoon to see the boats and try to see the skippers is incredible! The miles to get there, the hours queuing, bad weather, nothing takes away their enthusiasm. Families come together and you see all ages from all walks of life! Parents are interested in the technical side of things and dream of adventure whilst children learn experiencing all the fun, recreational and educational activities.
Race start day is a very unique day. It is as if time stood still. Emotions run high on the race village!
At dawn, the crowds hurry to get close to the pontoon to get first row seats and experience this rather unique moment. In the meantime, exhibitors enjoy their last day soaking up the last hours of the amazing atmosphere in the race village…
As for me, working at our “Dolce Casa by Sodebo” stand that day, I treasure this very special memory. During my break, I came across a lady who was in tears. I approached her to find out if she needed any help and she replied: “Thank you, I’m fine… I’ve just left my son who’s off to race in the Vendée Globe…”. I didn’t know what to tell her to make her feel better, so I offered her some “Dolce Casa” madeleine cakes! And since then, I have been keeping an eye on this lady’s son’s boat !”
Catherine, in charge of HR development