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24 hours in Fontenay le Comte

Posted the 16 April 2021
Culture & heritage

Fontenay le Comte is a "Ville d’Art et d’Histoire" a French Award, given to historical and artistic towns. This elegant town has an outstanding architectural heritage dating back to the Renaissance period. The town is worth a visit, even if it’s for 24 hours, but you’ll need another visit to explore the town further…

Start your day by going to the Fontenay le Comte’s Château de Terre Neuve. Sitting at the heart of its large park, the Château de Terre Neuve is a splendid 16th century building, listed as a Historical Monument. It was built in 1580 by Nicolas Rapin, provost of the constabulary of France and companion of King Henry IV. Octave de Rochebrune, famous engraver of the 19th, added many accessories.

Before setting out to explore the town, stop off at the Musée de Fontenay le Comte. Here you will find a scale model of the town, which will help you to better understand its creation and evolution. Fontenay le Comte owes its rich architecture to the benevolence of King Francis the 1st.

That’s why, heading towards the heart of the Fontenay le Comte, you will discover a treasure trove of magnificent Renaissance residences, such as the Hôtel Grimouard.

Fontenay le Comte street vendee quaint village
Fontenay le Comte Parc Baron VendeeChateau Terre Neuve castle France Vendee

Taking a small detour to the Notre Dame church, which is visible as you arrive at Fontenay le Comte, thanks to its 82 m high bell tower. A visit to the crypt of this listed church is like a journey through time. Discovered during renovation work in 1846, the crypt reveals the original church, its columns, keystones, and arches.

Stop at Place Belliard where you can admire the arcaded houses. Then, the Quatre Tias fountain, an absolute must in the town! A real curiosity for tourist! As you stroll through the medieval alleyways, you’ll discover other fascinating places such as the Illustres quarter in the Faubourg des Loges or the Place du Marché aux Herbes.

The Parc Baron overlooks the town and provides a beautiful panoramic view. It is located on the site of the old, fortified castle. Here it is possible to see some remaining walls of the medieval castle among the vegetation. A children “Parcabout” playground perched in the trees allows them to play before setting out to continue the visit.

This shaded area is ideal for a family picnic! To enjoy fresh local products, why not take a walk around the decidedly modern market, and open to the surrounding neighbourhoods.

In the afternoon, cycle on the Transfontenaysienne. This cycling and walking loop allows you to discover the architectural and natural heritage of Fontenay le Comte.

Fontenay le Comte Notre Dame church vendee france
Bike Fontenay le ComteFontaine Fontenay le Comte french heritage
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