Mauléon is a town of Deux-Sèvres, in the region of New Aquitaine, 20 km south-east of Cholet, bordering the departments of Vendee and Maine-et-Loire.
Belonging to the natural region of Bocage Bressuirais, bordered in particular by the Mauges and Gâtinais, the municipal area is vast of 120 km², following in particular the fusion-absorption of the neighboring villages in 1973.
The city was formed on a rock spur overlooking the Ouin valley during the early Middle Ages and developed in the south during the establishment of the Trinity Abbey in the twelfth century.
An active and coveted seigniorial stronghold during the Hundred Years War, Mauléon was later disputed and tested by the Wars of Religion. Erected in barony, the town whose castle was dismantled by Richelieu is sold in the early eighteenth century to the Duke of Chatillon, governor of the dolphin. Mauléon then becomes Châtillon-Sur-Sèvre.
It was not until 1965 that Mauléon regained its denomination of origin. Meanwhile, the city was military capital during the Vendée wars of 1793 to 1796, a deadly conflict which she recovered thanks to its commercial prosperity and its industries related to leather work (tanneries, shoe manufacturing).
Now having approximately 8,700 inhabitants, rich of a quality historical heritage and a singular environment (grove), Mauléon is a tourist stage of choice close to major destinations (Atlantic coast, Puy-du-Fou).
Mauléon has a varied historical heritage that reflects its turbulent history and the different phases of its urbanization.
Although several times looted, the former Trinity Abbey, which now houses the Town Hall and an archaeological museum, is the symbol of this. Rebuilt in the eighteenth century in granite in a neo-classical style according to a horseshoe-shaped plan, with a frontage of 65 m, it had reached its peak before the wars of religion, depending on the order of Saint -Augustin. Sold after the Revolution after being damaged again by the Vendée conflict, it was bought by the municipality in 1813. There are beautiful windows on the second level, a wrought iron balcony at the entrance and a coat of arms ducal was preserved.
The old abbey church, whose origins date back to the 12th century, was restored and enlarged in the 19th century. Finally, we notice the presbytery, later (XVII), classic style and opulent.
Then follow the old castle which was the first fief of the lords of Mauléon, built around the twelfth century with its fortifications, on a spur. His imposing stones were as useful on the defensive and architectural level as impressive for the possible attackers. Nevertheless, the building paid a heavy price to the Wars of Religion. Shaved by Richelieu in the seventeenth century, he found some luster in 1740 when a building now called the Palace was erected by the Duke of Chatillon. Ancient medieval ramparts are still visible.
This heritage discovery tour then includes the district of Saint-Jouin, which appeared in the 11th century. We notice the 12th century Romanesque church rebuilt in the 16th century in a Gothic style, and enlarged in the 19th century. Protected as historical monuments, it has buttresses and its facade is beautifully decorated (rosette, arch over the door). Over the centuries, the neighborhood has grown to the south (current downtown). He was one of the bastions of the tannery. We admire in passing the old priory of the sixteenth century became a manor.
In the district of La Passerelle, the noble residence of the Beauregard family built in 1826, in neo-classical style, was enlarged with contemporary notes (use of copper) to house a theater.
The monument to the Vendée Wars, built for the Bicentennial in 1993 on Mount Gaillard is also worth a detour.
Then we will enjoy the park Mignauderie, built in the nineteenth century in an English spirit, rich in 500 species (elms, orange trees, laurels...). Paths make it possible to reach the banks of Ouin, which have been the subject of rehabilitation works.
The various squares of the city dotted agreeably this course. That of the City Hall with its contemporary fountain (1989) which symbolizes the confrontation of the human with the worlds mineral and vegetable, that of the Green Cross and its fair which hosted major agricultural fairs, that of the Fox, which must its name to a sculpture evoking the animal on the facade of an old inn or that of Mauléon-Kirkel to 19th century dwellings.
The old district of Artisans whose buildings still have basements where we worked hemp to make fine paintings, the old tannery and its houses rue de la Rochellerie, are also to go.
On the former communes absorbed in 1973, the chapel Saint-Joseph (nineteenth) and the castle of Blandinière (sixteenth, then remodeled) and the natural site of the rocks of Pyrôme (with white quartz stones) in La Chapelle-Largeau, and the vestiges of the commanderie (XIIIe), in the Temple, deserve a visit.
The chateau de la Coudraie Noyer (fifteenth and sixteenth, classified) in Loublande, the sensitive natural space of the Cordelière aux Moulins and finally, in Saint-Aubin de Baubigné, the statue erected in tribute to Henri de la Rochejaquelein, appointed general during the wars of Vendée when he was only 20 years old, the castle of Durbelière and the engraved Vaulx rocks are also to be included in this long walk of discovery of the communal inheritance.
Labeled city of character, Mauléon can be the subject of guided tours (historical center, environment...). Price: from 2.50 euros. Information on +33 5 49 81 17 13 or +33 6 30 72 47 00. Didactic sheets for free courses are also available, as well as a kit for a treasure hunt to be done in family...
For hikers, many trails including the city as its associated villages and the landscape of farmland are pleasant exercise grounds (on foot, mountain bike or horseback). Maps and information on +33 5 49 81 95 22.
In terms of sports and recreation again, the aquatic center Aquadel can reconcile swimming, idleness and fun sensations (toboggan, pentagliss). Information on +33 5 49 81 46 61. And for a game of tennis, reserve a court at +33 9 66 88 78 29.
On the cultural side, the museum housed in the former abbey is dedicated to local history and archeology. Renovated, it will reopen in the last quarter of 2020. Information on +33 5 49 81 86 23.