Niort travel guide

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Visit Niort (Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France)

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Niort is a large town situated on the Sèvre river about half way between Poitiers and La Rochelle in the Deux-Sèvres department and Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of western France.

Exploring Niort

France This Way review: Niort has an interesting historical centre, with houses dating from the medieval and renaissance eras and several monuments of interest to discover, as well as a vibrant shopping area in the old town

The old and new parts of central Niort are separated by the large Place de la Breche. It is the historical centre to the south of this square that is of interest to visitors. There is a car park in this square, so it is a good place to start your visit.

Donjon in centre of Niort

Note that most of the monuments we refer to below are in or close to the town centre, as is the central square with its shops and restaurants, so it is an easy town to explore.

The Donjon, on the river banks in Niort, is a major part of a medieval castle and the most important monument in Niort that dominates the town centre. In part the donjon dates from the 12th century, when it was built in the roman style by Henry II (Henry Plantagenet) and Richard the Lionheart, and is one of the largest castles from this period that remains in France.

The building includes two adjacent donjons separated by a logis: the two donjons are similar in design but one is a few metres taller than the other, both have round towers in each corner. The views across Niort from the donjon terraces are a highlight of a visit, and you can visit the Museum of Ethnology and Archaeology in the building.

On an island in the river just across from the donjon you can see Fort Foucault, the tower of which is the remains of a 12th century castle.

The Pilori is an interesting renaissance style building dating from the 14th century that was once the town hall for Niort. The building takes its name from the pillory that previously stood here. The whole building, in particular around the doors and windows, features decorative stonework. The pilori is now used as an exhibition center for local artists.

From the historic centre you can stroll across the bridge in the centre of Niort. From the other side of the Pont Vieux you have nice views across the town and the church as well as the donjon, and along the banks of the river, probably the nicest view of the town as a whole.

 
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There are several churches in Niort of which the most important is the Church of Notre-Dame, built in the gothic style in the 14th-16th centuries. The tall spire of the church makes it the tallest building in the Deux-Sevres department.

Also in Niort you will see the Church of Saint-André, a 19th century rebuilding of a medieval church that originally stood here and clearly identified by its two tall symmetrical spires; the small Church of Saint-Florent (roman style, 11th century) which has some unusual engravings inset in the church walls; and the Church of Saint-Etienne (19th century, built in neo-gothic style).

The Town hall in Niort is an imposing neo-renaissance style building with a large central campanile built at the end of the 19th century.

The 19th century market hall, is a large structure built in the glass and steel design that was popular at the time (1869). The building is next to the donjon, and the contrast of the ancient stone towers of the donjon with the steel and glass facade of the market hall is impressive.

This is one of the most impressive market halls of this type in France, and the market has a very extensive range of fresh produce available. Markets are held here every day except Monday with those on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday being the largest.

Church of Saint-Etienne in Niort

Elsewhere as you explore Niort old town you will see several half-timbered houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The Maison de la Vierge is particularly interesting because it has a statue of the Virgin and child in one corner.

Most of the shops in Niort centre are in and around the Rue Victor Hugo, and Rue Ricard which connects the town centre to the old centre. On Rue Victor Hugo, make sure you also take a look in the Passage du Commerce, a street of specialist shps that has been covered with a glass ceiling to create a sheltered passage that is very attractive.

Next to the Niort Tourist Office on Rue Brisson you will enjoy exploring the many arts and craft shops along the Quai des Arts. If you are looking for presents to take away with you this is the place to find them!

Attractions nearby

The footpath along the banks of the Sèvre river in the town centre and towards the Marais Poitevin is a popular place for walking, jogging and fishing.

Niort is a popular base for exploring the unusual canals and marsh landscapes of the Marais Poitevin.

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

See also Find Niort hotels

Photos of Niort

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Visit near Niort with France This Way reviews

Coulon

Coulon

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
Chateau de Cherveux

Chateau de Cherveux

The Chateau de Cherveux, one of the best preserved 15th century castles in the region, is close to Niort

Chateau de Cherveux guide
Nieul-sur-l\'Autise

Nieul-sur-l'Autise

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
Melle Church of Saint-Hilaire

Melle Church of Saint-Hilaire

The church of Saint-Hilare in Melle is a very impressive example of 12th century architecture

Melle Church of Saint-Hilaire guide

Address: Niort, Poitou-Charentes, 79000, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 46.325833, longitude -0.460556

Plan your visit to Niort, Deux-Sevres

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Coulon: most beautiful village (9 km)
  • Eglise de Saint-Eulalie (Benet): religious monument (12 km)
  • Marais Poitevin: grand site of france (16 km)
  • Abbaye Royale (Nieul-sur-l'Autise): religious monument (20 km)
  • Zoodyssée: zoo or wildlife park (21 km)
  • Abbaye Saint Pierre et Eglise de Saint Nicolas (Maillezais): religious monument (22 km)
  • Eglise de Notre-Dame de l'Assomption (Maille): religious monument (25 km)
  • Melle église St Hilaire (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (27 km)
  • Arboretum du chemin de la découverte: remarkable garden (27 km)
  • Forêt de Benon: site of natural beauty (28 km)
  • Baie de l'Aiguillon: site of natural beauty (28 km)
  • Eglise de Saint-Pierre (Dampierre-sur-Boutonne): religious monument (29 km)

Market days in Niort, France

Regular market(s) are held in Niort each Thursday all day & Saturday all day. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

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