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La Tranche-sur-Mer (Municipality, Vendée, France)

Last modified: 2021-07-11 by ivan sache
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Flag of La Tranche-sur-Mer, current and former versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 2 May 2021

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Presentation of La Tranche-sur-Mer

The municipality of La Tranche-sur-Mer (2,975 inhabitants in 2019; 2,104 ha; municipal website) is located on the part of the Atlantic coast of Vendée known as Cô de Lumière (Light Coast of).

La Tranche-sur-Mer developed around a chapel erected near Maupoas cove on a piece of sand "given in 1120 by &Étienne de la Jarrie to the lord-abbot of Talmont", as mentioned in a charter dated 1227. Evoking a marriage between Savary de Mauléon and Amabilis (or Amable) du Bois, the charter was forged from scratch to safeguard the rights of Savary de Mauléon's son, Raoul IV, born out of wedlock. In 1720, Robert de Vignolle, "King's Engineer", pointed out that the chapel was “undermined by the sources of the sea”. In 1725, he ordered its destruction and reconstruction about 200 meters away, at the current location. A second church was built in 1729. The cemetery, also "encroached by the sea", was transferred next to it in 1736. Dilapidated and cramped, the church was demolished and rebuilt in the same place in 1868 by the architect Léon Ballereau. The cemetery was moved again in 1954.

In 1603, notary Nicolas Herpin established salt marshes in La Tranche. The transport of salt to Normandy, the Basque Country and England began in addition to the export of agricultural products. In the 18th century, an important trade of garlic and onion existed in the region/ From 1722, the drying up of the marshes between "the parishes of Angles, La Tranche and other neighboring parishes" allowed the use of the meadows and marshes for breeding.

During the Wars in the Vendée, the inhabitants of La Tranche refused to enlist in the Catholic and Royal Army and repulsed the insurgents in 1793. In 1795, the Count of Artois, the future Charles X, was to land at La Tranche with the English fleet. The emigrants were supposed to join Charette's troops then stationed near Nesmy. The landing was cancelled,which definitively condemn the already compromised insurgency. Charette was soon captured and shot in Nantes in 1796.
The final stages of the action of 30 June 1798 was fought just off the harbour of La Tranche. The English fleet imposed a ruthless blockade. Throughout the night, a fierce battle opposed the Seine, commanded by Captain Bigot, to three English frigates, Pique, Jason and Mermaid at Pointe du Grouin where the four ships eventually ran aground. Dismasted, her powder drowned, her crew decimated, the LSeine surrendered, after sinking Pique and seriously damaging Jason, which sank a little later. The British returned to burn the remains of Pique and "refloat" the Seine, which they towed to Portsmouth.
Taken captive in England but soon released, "in consideration of his unhappy courage", Captain Bigot was welcomed in triumph in France. The Directory cited him to the order of the Nation, after a Council of War had cleared him from any liability in the loss of his vessel. The Seine would continue its career under the English flag and would end up being shipwrecked on the Dutch coasts.

Sea bathing began ine the mid-19th century. The first villa was built in 1848 by Eugène Daviau, a banker from Luçon, Seaside tourism began under the Second Empire. The forest and beachgrass were planted in the 19th century in order to fix the dunes.
During the German occupation, Hindu soldiers from the Free Indies legion set up by the Germans stayed at La Tranche. Several houses were dynamited, so that the town would be declared "the most damaged in Vendée" at the Liberation. Fearing new demolitions, the priest of la Tranche, Roux, placed the parish under the protection of Our Lady of Fatima. In 1944, the Germans evacuated La Tranche, after having blown up the lighthouse. In 1946, a statue dedicated "to the Virgin of Fatima" was erected to thank her for saving La Tranche. The new lighthouse was inaugurated in 1953, replacing the temporary wooden tower installed after the blasting in 1944.

In the 1950-1960s, the bulb flowers (tulips, daffodils, gladioli, etc.) cultivation superseded traditional vegetable growing, which was less and less profitable. La Tranche earned the nickname of "Little Holland".
Tourism became a dominant source of income at the dawn of the 21st century, leading to the disappearance of local customs (fishing at locks, collecting seaweed) and fostering the development of a new economy (construction, services, campsites, water sports, etc.). The first municipal campsite in LA Tranche dates from 1950.

Olivier Touzeau, 2 May 2021

Flag of La Tranche-sur-Mer

The flag of La Tranche-sur-Mer (photo, photo, photo) is white with the municipal logo.
The former flag of La Tranche-sur-Mer (photo, photo, photo), observed before 2010, was vertically divided blue-white-red, charged in the center with the municipal arms arms, "Gules a lion or a chief per pale, 1. Azure a sun or, 2. Vert a heart of Vendée argent". On the flag, all the charges of the arms are, oddly, represented in white/argent. The Latin motto reads "Sun For Everyone".

Olivier Touzeau, 2 May 2021