The best things to see in Fontenay-le-Comte

Fontenay-le-Comte
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Baptized by François Ier of "Fountain where the great spirits spring up", the city of Fontenay-le-Comte bears witness to the golden age of the Renaissance in Vendée. It is therefore not for nothing that it is labeled "City and Country of Art and History"! It also appears in the Michelin guide “Les Plus Beaux Détours de France”. Stop thinking and come with us to this pretty town in the South Vendée, we will take you to discover the historical and heritage riches of Fontenay-le-Comte.
 

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Transport yourself to the Renaissance!

It is not difficult to imagine what the city could have been like during the Renaissance, as the buildings are numerous to testify to this period. As you walk through the alleys, you will enjoy the remains of this splendid and flourishing period.


Fontenay-le-Comte
Fontenay-le-Comte

Around the alleys of Fontenay-le-Comte


During your walk in the city, here are some must-see places to discover, and their description:  

  • The Fontaine des Quatre-Tias: it is THE monument to see absolutely! In dialect, "Tias" means "pipes". And by observing the fountain, you will quickly understand where its name comes from. Observe its classic pediment. You could almost assimilate it to the entrance of an ancient temple. Admire the finesse of the carvings and ornaments. If you open your eyes (and master Latin), you will discover the city's motto "Fontenay, springing source of the Fine Spirits". It was added during its restoration in 1899. It is assumed that it is this fountain that gave its name to the city. And "Count" would come quite simply from the lord of the city: Alphonse, count of Poitou, and brother of Saint Louis (King of France Capétien, all the same!).

  • The portal of the hotel says Château-Gaillard: impossible to visit Fontenay-le-Comte without going to see the Laocoon statue. But what is this? It is a carved representation of a scene from Greek mythology. The central scene represents Laocoon, a Trojan priest of Apollo, engaged with his two sons in a snake attack. Still on the portal, but off the stage, you will see, on the left, Diana, the huntress, and on the right Hercules.

Laocoon

    Laocoon and his sons, surrounded by Diana and Hercules


    • Place Belliard: On this square, you can contemplate a collection of houses dating from the 17th century. Its peculiarity is the presence of arcades. They were built under Henry IV. The name of the square comes from the presence of the birthplace of General Belliard. He distinguished himself by saving Napoleon during the battle of Pont d'Arcole.

    The arcades of Place Belliard

      The arcades of Place Belliard


      • The Gobin hotel, also known as the Sénéchaussée: The two perpendicular wings are connected to each other by the staircase tower. It is nicely decorated, and even finds there the fairy Mélusine, which can be found in Vouvant (a fairy from popular tales in the Middle Ages).

      The Gobin Hotel

      The Gobin hotel now houses some administrative offices of the Community of municipalities


      • The Château de Terre-Neuve: a true architectural gem, this castle perfectly illustrates the French Renaissance style. To visit it, do not hesitate to take note of the opening hours.

      • The hotel known as Palais-Royal: A stone's throw from Place du Dauphin, you can see this beautiful building built in the middle of the 17th century.

      The Royal Palace
      The Royal Palace

        The Royal Palace

        Discover Fontenay-le-Comte differently...

        To see more of Fontenay-le-Comte, take the time to follow the discovery trail "the Essentials" and / or the one entitled "from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance". You will see 42 interpretation panels there which will discuss with you the illustrious characters, the historical and architectural specificities of Fontenay-le-Comte.

        Click to download these two trails (fr), consult them beforehand to prepare your walk, it's practical!


        Fontenay-le-Comte
        Fontenay-le-Comte  Fontenay-le-Comte

        Signs scattered here and there in the city

        Experiences to live

        But if you are looking for a different, more fun, more attractive, or even downright unusual experience, here are a few ideas:  

        • A sound walk through headphones: this is called the Strange Balade de Fontenay (fr).
        • Communicate with the spirit of Octave de Rochebrune and live an astonishing experience thanks to the etchings of Rochebrune (fr): meet at the castle of Terre-Neuve.
        • A digital treasure hunt: by downloading the free Baludik application, you will have the choice between two different routes: either François Viète, the Renaissance geek (fr), or Le rêve du petit Jean (fr). You will be transported to two different eras, either the 16th for the quest for François Viète (provide entrance fees to the site), or the 18th century with little Jean (free).
        • Discover the hidden treasure of the Château de Grimouard: an escapegame, Le Secret de Grimouard (fr), is offered on certain dates.

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        A few little corners of paradise

        When the fine weather arrives, you can enjoy 3 unusual summer arrangements. This development called “ Summer Rives ” is in place from July to September. Like the canopy, take advantage of the various facilities available to you along the Vendée. These places were designed to rest, enjoy the landscapes and simply take the time to live.


        Canopy

        The canopy and its XXL deckchairs!

        giant nets

        Giant nets reminiscent of fishermen's squares


        Throughout the year, you can walk along the Vendée or go to the Baron Park.


        The Vendée
        The Vendée

        The Vendée divides the city into two parts


        In addition to a beautiful lush vegetation that allows you to enjoy a little freshness in the summer season, and quite simply to appreciate nature all year round, do not hesitate to go to the Parc du Baron in the middle of autumn to admire the pretty colors. foliage.


        autumn leaves

        Autumn leaves, blown away by the wind ...


        During your walk, don't forget to see:  

        • the tower of Boulaye, dating from the end of the 16th century,  
        • the incredible panoramic view of Fontenay-le-Comte,  
        • the tree climbing park and its hanging nets.

        Point of view

        A magnificent view of the city

        The weekly market of Fontenay-le-Comte

        The Fontenay-le-Comte market is held twice a week: Wednesday morning in the halls and Saturday morning in the halls and outside. In terms of architecture, the halls are a modern element that could stand out a little too much in an environment where ashlar is omnipresent… But this is absolutely not the case. This glass cube has been able to integrate and harmonize with the whole of Place Chevolleau.


        Fontenay-le-Comte


        A real hive where local producers and regulars buzz, it is a bond of life and exchange. The stalls are shimmering and the air smells of local gastronomy! Friendliness and good humor reign supreme.


        Covered market

        The stalls of the covered market


        Why not do some shopping and discover the local gastronomy? For an aperitif, plan a prefou with garlic, then the famous Vendée mogettes will perfectly accompany a beautiful piece of meat straight from the producer. And to finish gently? A Vendée brioche of course! And for gourmets, consider adding a minute cake to your shopping bag that you can enjoy at snack time!

        the good idea Do you like to discover local products? Read our article on the gastronomy of the Vendée and on the flagship local products of this gourmet department.


        It is with these sweet notes that the discovery of Fontenay-le-Comte, this incredible city once the capital of Bas-Poitou ends. You will see it for yourself, the city is definitely worth a look. Between its superb buildings, its market, its breathtaking views and its fun activities, there is something for all tastes, from the gourmet, to the adventurer, including history buffs and especially the curious. .


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        Article and photos prepared by Charline Prod'Homme, la Plume Digitale, for the Guide de la Vendée


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