Fontenay-le-Comte travel guide

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Visit Fontenay-le-Comte (Pays de la Loire, France)

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Fontenay-le-Comte is a town found on the banks of the gently flowing Vendée River, inland in southern Vendée and north-west of Maillezais.

Fontenay-le-Comte was the 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.

Note: Fontenay Abbey is NOT in this town - please see our detailed visitor guide at Fontenay Abbey.

Explore Fontenay-le-Comte

France This Way review: a quiet and pleasant country town, there are several interesting buildings to discover in Fontenay-le-Comte as well as the Chateau de Terre-Neuve and it makes a pleasant place for a stroll.

The centre of Fontenay-le-Comte 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.

Canal in centre of Fontenay-le-Comte

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. You can also visit Fontenay museum to learn more of the history of the town.

The view of the town is dominated by the spire of the Church of Notre-Dame: the church was built in the 15th century in the 'flamboyant gothic' style on the site of a much older church: the roman style crypt below the church was built in the 11th century, then 'lost' for several centuries until it was rediscovered in the 19th century.

The Church of Saint-Jean (on Place Saint-Jean) also dates from the 15th century although it has been repaired and renovated several time since.

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.)

You will also want to walk along the riverside in the town centre which is nicely maintained and also gives nice views across the town. There are a few benches along the Vendee River where you can stop and enjoy the peace.


Chateau de Terre-Neuve

You can vist the 16th century Chateau de Terre-Neuve in Fontenay-le-Comte. This is an impressive 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 a companion to King Henry IV, the castle is 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 (around six euros to visit the museum and castle exterior, or 10 euros including a guided tour of the castle interior). See for more details.

Chateau de Terre-Neuve in Fontenay-le-Comte

Close to Fontenay-le-Comte

Also recommended, you can explore the grounds of the Chateau de l'Hermenault to the north-west of the town. This is a tranquil setting for the parklands and interesting outbuildings they contain (especially the interior of the large barn).

Fontenay-le-Comte is well placed for exploring the unique marshland environment of the Marais Poitevin region

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

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Visit near Fontenay-le-Comte with France This Way reviews



Highlights in Nieul-sur-l'Autise include the Abbey of Saint-Vincent and a traditional watermill

Nieul-sur-l'Autise guide
Maillezais abbey

Maillezais abbey

The ruins of the Maillezais abbey are on the edge of the marshes of the Marais Poitevin

Maillezais abbey guide


The pleasant village of Vouvant still retains part of a medieval castle and an ancient stone bridge

Vouvant guide


Marans is a small town with a pretty section along the river in the town

Marans guide


Established since 2000 years agio, Coulon is now a centre for exploring the Marais-Poitevin marshes

Coulon guide
Marais Poitevin

Marais Poitevin

The Marais-Poitevin is a region of canals and marshes, an unusual environment best explored by boat

Marais Poitevin guide

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

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, Pays de la Loire, 85200, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 46.466, longitude -0.806065

Plan your visit to Fontenay-le-Comte, Vendee

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Natur'Zoo de Mervent: zoo or wildlife park (7 km)
  • Abbaye Royale (Nieul-sur-l'Autise): religious monument (11 km)
  • Abbaye Saint Pierre et Eglise de Saint Nicolas (Maillezais): religious monument (12 km)
  • Eglise de Notre-Dame (Vouvant): religious monument (12 km)
  • Vouvant: most beautiful village (12 km)
  • Eglise de Notre-Dame de l'Assomption (Maille): religious monument (14 km)
  • Marais Poitevin: grand site of france (18 km)
  • Jardins du Bâtiment: remarkable garden (18 km)
  • Baie de l'Aiguillon: site of natural beauty (19 km)
  • Eglise de Saint-Eulalie (Benet): religious monument (19 km)
  • Marans: ville fleurie 4* (23 km)
  • Coulon: most beautiful village (23 km)

Market days in Fontenay-le-Comte, France

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)