Visit Fontenay-le-Comte (Pays de la Loire, France)
Note: Fontenay Abbey is NOT in this town - please see our detailed visitor guide at Fontenay Abbey.
Fontenay-le-Comte is a town found on the banks of the gently flowing Vendee River, inland in southern Vendee, north-west of Maillezais. Fontenay-le-Comte was capital of the Vendee region around the end of the 18th century, and the most interesting buildings date from that period and the preceding centuries.
A quiet and pleasant country town, there are no great highlights in Fontenay-le-Comte but there are many interesting buildings to discover in the town and it makes a very pleasant place for a stroll.
The centre of the town is a conservation area, restricting development, and you will come across some impressive mansions and townhouses as you pass through the open squares and past the fountains - the tourist office will give you a useful guide to follow to ensure you see the best of the town.
The main highlights are the arcades of Place Belliard; the Fontaine des Quatre Tias; and the medieval houses along Rue des Loges - the Maison Millepertuis and the half-timbered house a little further along the street.
There is a park area around the remains of the castle (Parc Baron) at the top of the town, and a pretty little medieval garden in the same park. (At the time of our visit the garden was very neglected and the park rather poorly maintained - a shame because it could easily be a highlight for Fontenay-le-Comte.)
There are a few benches along the Vendee River where you can stop and enjoy the peace.
Be sure to visit the Fontenay museum to learn more of the history of the town.
Chateau de Terre-Neuve
Visit the 16th century Chateau de Terre-Neuve, fine example of the French renaissance style of architecture, lovingly furnished and known for its fireplaces and ceilings. Built for the 'High Provost of the constables of France, Nicolas Rapin, who was also a companion to King Henry IV, the castle is also well known as being home to a leading 19th century artist, Marquis Octave de Rochebrune, who produced nearly 500 etchings while at the castle.
Located in Fontenay-le-Comte the castle is open from 1 May to 30 September, 9.00 - 12.00 and 14.00 - 19.00. Entrance charge payable. See www.chateau-terreneuve.com for more details.
Close to Fontenay-le-Comte
Fontenay-le-Comte is well placed for exploring the unique marshland environment of the Marais Poitevin region
Also recommended, you can explore the grounds of the Chateau de l'Hermenault to the north-west of the town - a tranquil setting for the parklands and interesting outbuildings they contain (especially the interior of the large barn)
Photos of Fontenay-le-Comte
Click any picture to start the gallery
Tourist classifications for Fontenay-le-Comte
Fontenay-le-Comte has received the following tourist classifications: recommended detour town (plus beau detour); historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); listed town of Art and History
Address: Fontenay-le-Comte, Vendee, Pays de la Loire, 85200 || GPS: latitude 46.466, longitude -0.806065
Map of Fontenay-le-Comte & places nearby
Highlights close by
Maillezais abbey 12km
See lots more places to visit nearby and a more detailed map at places near Fontenay-le-Comte.
See Pays de la Loire and Vendee (the region and department for Fontenay-le-Comte) for more travel ideas...
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Fontenay-le-Comte, France
- Natur'Zoo de Mervent - zoo or wildlife park (7km)
- Abbaye Royale (Nieul-sur-l'Autise) - religious monument (11km)
- Abbaye Saint Pierre et Eglise de Saint Nicolas (Maillezais) - religious monument (12km)
- Eglise de Notre-Dame (Vouvant) - religious monument (12km)
- Vouvant - most beautiful village (12km)
- Eglise de Notre-Dame de l'Assomption (Maille) - religious monument (14km)
- Marais Poitevin - grand site of france (18km)
- Jardins du Bâtiment - remarkable garden (18km)
- Baie de l'Aiguillon - site of natural beauty (19km)
- Eglise de Saint-Eulalie (Benet) - religious monument (19km)
Market days in Fontenay-le-Comte: Regular market(s) are held in Fontenay-le-Comte each Saturday all day. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Fontenay-le-Comte (Francais)