Jonzac travel guide

Photo of Jonzac

Visit Jonzac (Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France)

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The town of Jonzac is situated at the southern end of the Charente-Maritime department between Saintes (40 kilometres to the north) and Bordeaux (70 kilometres to the south).

With a history dating back at least to the ancient romans, the town has in recent decades reinvented itself as a popular spa and leisure centre. Away from the spa there are some interesting buildings in Jonzac based around its lively town centre.

Explore Jonzac

France This Way review: Jonzac town centre is quite extensive, attractive with several monuments and sights of interest, and we enjoyed exploring the town centre

Water and spa

Jonzac is best known for being a spa town, and although the spa waters were first discovered only 30 years ago, several thousand visitors a year now visit to receive the therapeutic benefits of the water from the thermal springs.

More recently a substantial water-based leisure complex has also been opened at Jonzac, known as the 'Antilles de Jonzac' and featuring a lagoon, indoor beach, waterfalls etc.

Street of shops in Jonzac

Jonzac town centre

The town centre is the area between the Place du Marché to the west and the Château de Jonzac to the east. Between the two, there are various shops and cafes along the Rue de Verdun and the Rue James Sclafer.

In the Place du Marché there are two buildings of interest:

  • The Church of Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais is a 12th century roman style church with an attractive facade and a nicely proportioned belltower
  • The 19th century is best represented by the market hall in Jonzac Place du Marché, with a structure based on a metal framework (as popularised at that time by the Eiffel Tower).

If you follow Rue de Verdun, the main shopping street (pedestrianised) to the east from this square, you pass a good number of small shops before reaching Rue James Sclafer, with several medieval houses and a gateway through a small remaining part of the towns original defensive ramparts.

 
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At the place where these streets meet, you can walk about 50 metres south and see the river, broad and slow moving at this point, with the stone bridge and overlooked by some imposing buildings. In the 17th and 18th centuries, this was the economic centre of Jonzac, with tanneries along the riverbanks.

Just before you reach the castle, the Rue James Sclafer enters the Place du Château, with a statue, rows of trees, and some of the most impressive townhouses in Jonzac.

Château de Jonzac

The most notable building in the town is the Château de Jonzac. The chateau was built in the 15th century on the site of an earlier castle that had been destroyed during the Hundred Years War.

Extensive changes were made during the 19th century, part of the original castle demolished, and the moat filled in, but significant parts of the medieval castle remain including the two main round towers and several other interesting architectural details.

Still in active use, the chateau now houses the town hall and also an archaeology museum (in the cloisters).

Close to the castle you can follow the ancient street called the Rue de Champagnac. This narrow and winding street, in places now a tunnel, has medieval origins, with the bends incorporated in the street so that barricades could more easily be erected in case of the town of Jonzac being invaded.

Another religious monument in Jonzac is the Convent of the Carmes (16th century, now home to a cultural centre).

Roman style church in Jonzac

Attractions nearby

At Barbezieux, to the east of Jonzac, you can see a medieval castle and at Pons you can see a castle keep and a monumental staircase, with a pretty garden.

Our favourite town close to here is Cognac, about 30 kilometres to the north-east of and famous for the brandy produced in the town

You can find more travel ideas in the Charente-Maritime guide and the Poitou-Charentes guide.

See also: 

Photos of Jonzac

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • castle
  • church (1)
  • church (2)
  • church (3)
  • church-tower
  • jonzac (19)
  • jonzac (20)
  • mairie
  • market-hall
  • medieval-street (1)
  • medieval-street (2)
  • river-views (1)
  • river-views (2)
  • shopping-street (1)
  • shopping-street (2)
  • stone-arch

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Map of Jonzac and places nearby

 
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Visit near Jonzac with France This Way reviews

Pons

Pons

Pons is a quiet small town overlooked by a castle tower that is a pleasant place for a stroll

Pons guide
Barbezieux

Barbezieux

Here in the small town of Barbezieux it is the castle that dominates the town, and your visit...

Barbezieux guide
Cognac

Cognac

Cognac has an extensive old twon and town centre, nice riverside walk and lots of Cognac distilleries. Definitely recommended.

Cognac guide
Jarnac

Jarnac

Visitors to Jarnac can explore the small old town, walk along the riverside, and sample the local Cognac!

Jarnac guide
Saint-Simon

Saint-Simon

In the Charente town of Saint-Simon you will enjoy a stroll along the river, and perhps then a boat trip along the river

Saint-Simon guide
Pauillac

Pauillac

The small town of Pauillac is best known for the surrounding wine chateaux such as Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau Latour and Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Pauillac guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Charente-Maritime

Tourist classifications for Jonzac

Jonzac is classified as a recommended detour town (plus beau detour)

Address: Jonzac, Poitou-Charentes, 17500, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 45.446667, longitude -0.433611

Plan your visit to Jonzac, Charente-Maritime

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Forêt de la Lande: site of natural beauty (16 km)
  • Pons ancien hopital des pèlerins (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (16 km)
  • Forêt de Pons: site of natural beauty (17 km)
  • Parcs et jardins du château de Beaulon: remarkable garden (21 km)
  • Eglise de Saint-Germain (Gimeux): religious monument (22 km)
  • Jardin du Chaigne: remarkable garden (25 km)
  • Eglise de Saint Martin (Gensac-la-Pallue): religious monument (27 km)
  • Abbaye Notre Dame de l'Assomption de Châtre (Saint-Brice): religious monument (31 km)
  • Château de Richemont (Charente): site of natural beauty (31 km)
  • Abbaye de Fontdouce (Saint-Bris-des-Bois): religious monument (36 km)
  • Abbaye aux Dames de Saintes (Saintes): religious monument (36 km)
  • Saintes basilique St Eutrope (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (37 km)

Market days in Jonzac, France

Regular market(s) are held in Jonzac each Tuesday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Jonzac (Francais)

 
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