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The town is in the south-west of the department, on the right bank of La Loire estuary. It has a sandy beach and two small harbours, one for fishing boats and yachts (Port des Pêcheurs) and another for larger vessels (Port de Plaisance). The name "Les Sables d'Olonne" comes from offshore sandbanks that are exposed at low tide. History In 1814 it was awarded by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to Marshal Jean Baptiste Bernadotte who became Prince Charles John of Sweden under his Swedish title Karl Johan after having been Crown Prince since 1810 under his French title Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte.