Visit Fougeres (Brittany, France)
Fougeres is an interesting historical town and castle to the north-east of Rennes, in Brittany and close to the border with Normandy.
The town falls into two distinct halves, with the Chateau de Fougeres and the Medieval Quarter being in the lower town and quite high above is the upper town which has been largely re-built following a fire in the 18th century.
Fougeres upper town
If you start your visit in the upper town head first to the Tourist Information Office on the Place du Theatre. Here you can get a leaflet with a route to make sure you see all the main sights.
The Place du Theatre was formerly called the Place du brûlis (burnt) following the fires which destroyed a lot of the upper town. This was then rebuilt in granite using the style recommended by the then architect to the king, similar to the style used in Rennes. The theatre itself has a more ornate, Italianate style and was inaugurated in 1886.
The main street is the Rue Nationale and its granite austerity is softened by the paved floors and wrought iron balconies and by the sight of the Church of St Leonard and its attractive bell-tower at the end of the road.
Down a side street from the Rue Nationale is the Belfry. Fougeres and Dinan are the only two towns in Brittany which have a separate bell tower. The one in Fougeres is the oldest and was built in 1397.
Also on the Rue Nationale is the Emmanuel de la Villeon Museum housed in a half-timbered building rare in the Upper Town. The museum contains paintings by Emmanuel de Villion, an Impressionist painter born in Fougeres.
Scattered around the town are the houses of various of Chateaubriand’s sisters, and he himself was a common visitor to the town. (He was considered to be the founder of Romanticism in French literature and was born in St Malo and grew up in Brittany).
The church of St Leonard was started in the 12th century, and later completed in an exuberant gothic style.
Now make your way to the Place aux Arbres which is a public garden and gives a terrific view of the castle of Fougeres and the medieval town way down below the gardens.
There is a lovely footpath which starts here and goes down to the medieval quarter below. The cliff has been terraced and gardened along the way and so it is a lovely walk to do.
Fougeres lower town
In the medieval quarter the castle dominates. The Chateau de Fougères is an imposing medieval castle with 13 towers. The castle is said to be the largest in Europe - it is certainly one of the most attractive. The ramparts were originally crossed by four gates but now only the Notre Dame gate remains, and can be seen near the castle.
The medieval quarter has lots of beautiful half-timbered buildings. The Place du Marchix is where the cattle market used to be held in medieval times. The houses here date to the 16th and 17th century.
The Rue des Tanneurs as the name suggests was where many of the Fougeres tanners lived and they used the water of the river Nancon for their work. The church of St Suplice was built in Flamboyant Gothic style in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Nearby is the Rue de la Pinterie with more half-timbered houses. This used to be the main street between the castle and the upper town. Make sure you admire the views of the chateau and the medieval quarter from the Jardin des Ramparts which is on this street, then take the Ruelle des Vaux on the left to the ramparts.
The forest on the edge of town (Forest de Fougères) is an 'ideal' woodland, with attractive pathways passing by various neolithic monuments. A lovely place for a walk and a picnic!
Photos of Fougeres
Click any picture to start the gallery
Tourist classifications for Fougeres
Fougeres has received the following tourist classifications: listed town of Art and History ; village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*
Address: Fougères, Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany, 35300 || GPS: latitude 48.352, longitude -1.202
Map of Fougeres & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Fougeres, France
- Parc floral de Haute-Bretagne - remarkable garden (8km)
- Jardins de la Pellerine - remarkable garden (12km)
- Saint-Brice-en-Cogles - village d'etape (14km)
- Juvigne - ville fleurie 4* (18km)
- Parc du château de Bonnefontaine - remarkable garden (24km)
- Vitre - recommended detour (26km)
- Jardin du château de La Ballue - remarkable garden (27km)
- Parc et jardin de Clivoy - remarkable garden (28km)
- Ducey - village d'etape (30km)
- Jardin des fontaines et parc de l’Athanor - remarkable garden (36km)
Market days in Fougeres: Regular market(s) are held in Fougeres each Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Fougeres (Francais)