But if you don’t share the same level of enthusiasm as us (yet), we’ve thought of a few other good reasons to visit the boatyard.
France - the number one tourist destination in the world!
There are reams of books written about traveling in France. Think Paris, cool cafes, world-class galleries and museums, patisseries and boulangeries, white sand beaches, azure blue waters. Seriously, need we say more?
Getting to the boatyard
The closest airport of the boatyard is in Nantes which is an hour and half drive from Les Sables d’Olonne. While there, we recommend a visit to Les Machines de l’île – an imaginative menagerie of fascinating mechanical creatures that appear to breath and move in a convincingly realistic manner. This steampunk paradise is intriguing in it’s ingenuity and there are plenty of opportunities to interact with these fantastic creatures. For us, another highlight in Nantes is the office of Franck Darnet, the chief interior designer at Privilège.
Les Sables d’Olonne - Home of Privilège
While the word quaint can at times be overused, it is best suited to describing Les Sables d’Olonne. Away from the tourist trappings of beach towns in the south of France, this historically maritime town located on the Atlantic coast is known for it’s long sandy beaches, colorful fishing fleet, and famed locally harvested oysters. While not a popular tourist destination with international travelers, Les Sables comes to life in the summer months, attracting sunbathers who stroll the beach-side promenades, dig in to the local seafood restaurants and explore the side streets decorated with seashells and ceramics. The location is ideal for building and launching the Privilège catamarans with a walled protected inlet. Of course, this is also the birthplace for the famous round-the-world solo race – the Vendée Globe!
La Rochelle - Europe’s biggest pleasure yachting marina on the Atlantic
An hour and a half drive south from the boatyard is La Rochelle, a important port town established in the Middle Ages. The main feature is the “Vieux Port”, a well-preserved old town flanked by impressive medieval towers, lighthouses and narrow, winding streets filled with antiquity. For us, this is also the location for Marc Lombard’s office – Marc has been Privlège’s naval architect since 1985 and has laid the foundation for the design and build of the bluewater, long-range sailing catamarans.
Angers and the Apocalypse Tapestry
A two hour drive from the boatyard will take you to another town filled with historical artifacts. The impressive Château d’Angers is a castle built in the early 13th century. Give yourself a full day to walk the grounds of the castle and explore the many buildings and gardens. This is also the location of a fascinating collection of tapestries depicting the story of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelations. You don’t have to be a historian or a theologian to appreciate the sheer size of the intricate tapestry that’s not only a reflection of the cultural significance from the time it was commissioned, its also an impressive work of art. Like everywhere else in France, you’re never far from a castle, old ruin or significant historical monument!
Clisson - A Romantic Landscape
If you are flying out of Nantes, we highly recommend staying in Clisson, which is only 30 minutes from the airport. You can walk the ruins of the château de Clisson which date back to the 13th century and enjoy the numerous scenic lookouts from the top of the fortified walls. You can easily lose sense of time walking the labyrinth of cobbled-stone streets. This is an inspired town influenced by the idealized Romanesque view of nature and art.
Let’s not get distracted – we’re still talking about a visit to the boatyard!
Building a semi-custom yacht can be complicated given the number of choices and possibilities for customizations and equipment. That’s where Eric and Caroline come in – they’ve mastered the whole process and will coordinate with the design architects and engineers at Privilège and the suppliers to ensure a smooth build process. From selecting wood and fabric samples to redesigning your living space, the work order process will ensure all the details are considered and accomplished.
Of course, a tour is still in order. Starting from the end, we guide you through the whole build process. The FRP shop is where all the bulkheads, hulls, decks and small components are laid up. You will get to see the infusion process, the layup of the hulls and deck and see how each step is skillfully orchestrated for the best build possible. A walk over to the various finishing shops will give you a better understanding to the rest of the build process – such as the installation of major components like engines, wiring and plumbing, and furniture installation.
And the number one reason for visiting the boatyard? Setting sight (and foot) on your boat for the first time! Whether it’s just a box of fiberglass or an empty hull, seeing your yacht for the first time is truly an emotional experience, and for us, the number one reason to visit the boatyard.