The sweetness of life is of setting to Melle. The municipality actually benefits from an exceptional natural environment. Sweet hills covered with chestnut wood, the fertile meadows surround the city with a tenderly undulating landscape. Built on a promontory, the town is crossed by three rivers that embellish the scenery landscape. City of art and history, Melle has a rich historical heritage and unusual. Its history will enlighten you on the curiosities that the municipality shelters. Present in Antiquity, the city exploits its silver mines during the Middle Ages. The galena, that is to say the lead containing the silver, was extracted and shaped to make the change. This activity of coinage lasted until 1189 when the activity was relocated to other cities of France. Later, Melle became an important breeding center for donkey to such an extent that its reputation and fairs extended beyond the borders of the country. The mechanization of agriculture put an end to this economic boom. Today, Melle relies mainly on tourism. Resort and discovery, Melle has many assets that will seduce you.
The town of Saint-Léger-les-Melle, following its merger with the Enclave of the Martiniere from 1 January 1973, became Saint-Léger-de-la-Martinière.
With about 1 100 inhabitants, an area of 2500 hectares, the town is situated on a plateau at an altitude of 160 meters.
It is dug three deep valleys, which run in small rivers.
Two of them, the Mareuil and Bignon, form the Light at Saint-Leger. The Light, after having crossed the pond to the Rhodia factory, falls into the Berland at a place called Canteau on common Paizay-le-Tort.
In the valley flows the 3rd Beron, fed by the brook trout of the Triangle and several small fountains, prized by anglers, including the pond Foot Pouzin.
The town is rural. There is still in its villages 24 farms with herds of goats and lactating dairy cows, beef cattle and much grain. In this area there are also 5 craftsmen (masons, carpenter, lumberjack).
The industrial zone "Rhodia" and the commercial and artisanal (with about thirty companies and businesses), and the town, the city Peter Brown and Clos de la Talle, characterize the urban side of the town.
Saint-Léger-la Martiniere is located on the D950 between Poitiers and Saintes. In crossing the town, the road is called the Grand Chemin St Jacques de Compostela.
On either side are ancient inns that have been transformed into houses, town hall and function room with its pigeon, falconry next to the bakehouse, garden flowers and bowls. On the square shaded by linden trees is the church of the 12th century.
Today Saint-Léger-de-la-Martinière has 1050 inhabitants. The presence on the territory of "Miss Mills, who was originally a factory, and the merger in 1972 with the common Enclave Martiniere have contributed to population growth.
It is still common on many historical relics in wood and wood Melle custody, ditches demonstrate the existence of defensive walls. In the Valley of Light entries galleries extraction, and the filing of land mines demonstrate the presence during the centuries of researchers lead ore. In the village there are still some of the hostels in Saint Jacques de Compostela, doorways, carved fireplace.
A must-see for your visit, the silver mines of the Kings Francs are a curiosity not to be missed. Indeed, you will have the opportunity to descend in the 350 meters of underground where once the vein was exploited. Returning to the surface, you can follow the history of these silver mines exploited until the 10th century by watching 3D movies. And there you will learn that you are on a truly unique site since these mines are the oldest silver mines visitable in Europe.
As you walk through Melle, you will have the opportunity to admire many vestiges of the past. From half-timbered houses to the Art Nouveau façades, the walk is punctuated by history. The wash houses of the distant past adjoin the 1930's music kiosk. While the fortifications and the Saint-Jean gate will take you back to medieval times. You can stop by and enter the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saint-Hilaire, dating from the 12th century. Fantastic animals decorate its Romanesque façade. Inside, the carved decor is rich and varied. A little further on, the church of Saint-Pierre will surprise you with its ocher facade. Classified as Historical Monuments, its first traces date back to 950. The harmonious edifice also houses sculptures of a rare beauty. Finally, the church of Saint-Savinien also classified to the Historic Monuments is located inside the ramparts. Dating from 1040, it became a prison in 1801. Restored, it is the theater today of many cultural manifestations.
Nature lovers will be delighted. You will have the opportunity to go through the Arboretum of the Way of the Discovery of Melle. Starting from 3 circuits leading to a church and a wash house, you will stroll through a nature composed of no less than 1,400 varieties of trees and shrubs and 200 species of roses. A large bowl of fresh air awaits you. To continue in the nature, you can walk in the forest arboretum of Deux-Sèvres through woods. A true educational ecosystem, the arboretum invites relaxation and rejuvenation.
Gourmands can learn everything about goat cheese and goat meat following the Route du chabichou and goat cheeses. Passionate producers will open their doors to introduce you to cheese making and invite you to taste it.
- The church of Saint-Léger:
- Built in the 12th century church of Saint-Léger-lès-Melle belonged to the abbey of St. Jean d'Angely.
- It was restored in 1682 by the architect Le Duc said "Tuscany" at the expense of Rene de Poix, lord of the fief of St Romans, who had represented his arms on either side of the choir.
- A sculptor has carved illiterate "she degli" to describe the wings of eagles appearing on the shield.
- The nave is paved with gravestones, including that of Charles Lecoq, Lord St. Leger, who died in 1718.
- Portal dated sixteenth. In the nineteenth, we proceeded to various piercings and restoration of windows in the choir.
- In 1901, the gable of the facade was redone, and two new bells have been placed.
- The circuit of Light.
- The circuit Béron.
- Other laundries St. Leger.
Every two years, you can attend the biennial of Contemporary Art of Melle held in odd years, from July to September. Around a chosen theme, artists present their works sometimes literary, sometimes painted and often unusual. You will leave in a world of cultural discoveries of contemporary art in all its forms.
There are two other important manifestations of Melle at the Cafe du Boulevard, although no boulevard is adjacent to the café. La Ronde des Jurons first of all which proposes each month a vernissage of a different artist. The opportunity to discover new talents. Then the Arts en Boule invite you to a jazz festival where each quarter a satirical press review is proposed in addition to the concerts. The whole ending with a part of oysters watered with muscadet.
In summer, a classical music festival takes place in the Saint-Savinien church, and at the end of July, you can attend the Boulevard du Jazz.
- Evening Poitiers in March.
- Chabichou Day in June