Chateau de Talmont visitor guide

Photo of Chateau de Talmont

Visit Chateau de Talmont, France

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The Chateau de Talmont is a medieval castle in the centre of the Vendée department in north-west France, in the village of Talmont-sur-Hilaire.

Discover the Chateau de Talmont

France This Way review: although largely in ruins the medieval castle in Talmont-Saint-Hilaire has sufficient walls and towers to evoke the original castle and a visit is interesting

The castle at Talmont is best known for - and most visited because of - the various shows and spectacles that take place at the castle during the summer. However the castle itself can be visited even when these events are not taking place.

Interior courtyard at Chateau de Talmont

History of Chateau de Talmont

The original stone castle was built here starting around 1020, with the construction of a tower, followed by a fortified wall. This is very ancient, even for a castle, and the stone walls that remain from this period are among the oldest walls in France.

Although the castle is now at some distance from the sea it was largely built with pebbles brought here from the beaches in the area. The principal tower was added at the end of the 11th century.

In 1182 the future Richard the Lionheart took over the castle and made himself Prince of Talmont, before carrying out extensive reinforcement works on the castle fortifications, including an entire second wall of defences outside the first. By the end of the 13th century the castle was thought to be impossible to seize.

It was only in the 17th century that Richelieu ordered the castle to be largely dismantelled to prevent the protestants from using it as a safe house. During the last few decades the castle has been listed as a historic monuments and various works carried out to ensure the future of the castle.


Visit the Chateau de Talmont

From the entrance, your visit starts with a walk to reach the castle that is between the position of the two walls of defences. Most of the exterior of these walls has now disappeared so that wall you are looking at is the earlier part of the defences.

In particular, you will notice a semi-circular tower that was built as part of the improvements to the original defences.

Follow the path and you reach the main courtyard of the castle overlooked by the principal towers (and the site of the events that take place here). Until the 13th century this courtyard contained buildings that were used by the Lords of Talmont.

It was at the same time that the buildings to the rear of the courtyard were built, and the courtyard made level using materials excavated to create a large ditch outside the castle.

The principal building that remains from the end of the 11th century is the large tower. At the base of this tower you can see tall arches that are a part of the structure of a church that stood here before the main tower was built. Above, you can explore the various parts of the large tower, and reach a view across the village of Talmont at the top of the tower.

In the Middle Ages boats could reach the castle at high tide, bringing trade and prosperity to Talmont. Nowadays, as you will see, the sea is quite a long distance from here, about six kilometres distance!

Inside the tower at Chateau de Talmont

The hours that the castle is open vary according to the day and month, as does the price of admission - see Chateau de Talmont opening hours for details.

Attractions nearby

There is not a great deal to see in the village of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, but you can take a walk in pretty surroundings next to a small lake below the village.

Small seaside resorts close to Talmont-sur-Hilaire include Jard-sur-Mer and Longeville-sur-Mer.

See more castles in France. You can find more travel ideas in the Vendee guide and the Pays de la Loire guide.

See also: 

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Map of Chateau de Talmont and places nearby


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The small town of Talmont-Saint-Hilaire is mainly known for the Chateau de Talmont, where various events take place during the summer season.

Talmont-Saint-Hilaire guide
Port Bourgenay

Port Bourgenay

The small resort of Bourgenay has a port and a popular beach

Port Bourgenay guide


Jard-sur-Mer is a very pleasant, if quite small, Vendee resort with a harbour and a beach

Jard-sur-Mer guide


Saint-Vincent-sur-Jard is a small resort in Vendee where you can visit the house and gardens of Georges Clemenceau

Saint-Vincent-sur-Jard guide
Chateau d'Olonne

Chateau d'Olonne

Chateau d'Olonne is a very small resort, well placed for exploring the coast and visiting Sables d'Olonne

Chateau d'Olonne guide


At Longeville-sur-Mer you will enjoy the lively market in the town as well as the sandy beach

Longeville-sur-Mer guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Vendee

The French version of this page is at Chateau de Talmont (Francais)