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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Deux-Sèvres

Thouars - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Deux-Sèvres

Perched on a rocky promontory, above a meander of the Thouet, the town of Art and History of Thouars has a rich built heritage.

Overlooking the valley from the top of its long Louis XIII-style façade, the Castle of the Dukes of Trémoille, a listed Historic Monument, was built in the 17th century at the request of Marie de La Tour d'Auvergne, wife of Duke Henri III de La Trémoïlle. This imposing building, covered with freestone and slate, now houses a public college, the inside of which can be visited during the Heritage Days, on the third weekend in September. Adjoining the castle, the Holy Chapel of Our Lady, dating from the early 16th century, has a splendid Flamboyant Gothic façade with a Renaissance gallery.

The tour of the town carries on towards the Church of St. Medard, a beautiful building from the 12th and 15th centuries, remarkable for its western façade, in the Poitevin Romanesque style, and its north gate, adorned with a multilobed arch influenced by the Mozarabic style! Around Place Saint-Médard stand picturesque old half-timbered houses, including the House of Artists dating from the 15th century.

Other sites to see in the streets of the historic centre include: the 12th-century Prince of Wales Tower, a relic of the medieval fortifications, which was used as a grain storehouse then a prison for salt smugglers; the Porte au Prévost Tower, through which Du Guesclin's army passed in 1372; the Neo-Gothic Chapel of Joan of Arc, converted into an art centre; and the old Abbey of St. Laon, whose convent buildings now house Thouars Town Hall.

The Henri Barré Museum, based in the Neo-Gothic mansion of Doctor Barré, contains French and foreign earthenware, paintings from the 16th to the 19th century, furniture from the Empire, and many objects and documents relating to the history of the Thouars area.

Additional information

Labeled City of Art and History, Thouars nestles on a rocky promontory, overlooking the valley of Thouet. The commune takes place in New-Aquitaine, in the department of Deux-Sèvres, not far from Bressuire, Saumur, Loudun or Parthenay.

Populated for more than 5,000 years, the territory of the commune really took shape only in the 7th century. Known to be one of the strongest fortresses in the region, the city of Thouars was the theater of many battles between France and England, especially at the time of the Hundred Years War. From industrial city to the nineteenth century, it has now become a jewel in the tourism of Deux-Sèvres. The city has indeed many vestiges of its centuries of history, allowing to make a dive in the past the time of a walk in the medieval or Renaissance lanes.

Things to see and do

Today the home of the Collège Marie-de-la-Tour-d'Auvergne, the castle of the Dukes of Trémoïlle dates from the seventeenth century. Set on a natural promontory, it takes place on the remains of an old castle of the 8th century. Classified as a Historical Monument, it still has an orangery that has served as a model for Versailles, a chapel, stables or a very beautiful inner courtyard.

One can still admire several vestiges of the ancient ramparts classified to the Historic Monuments. Built between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, today they present the Prince of Wales Tower, the tower at the Prévost next to a Plantagenet-style tower, and Porte Maillot.

Several private mansions are visible in the city, such as that of President Tindeau at the end of the 15th century and listed in the Historical Monuments, the Three Kings of the same period, or the House of Artists. A former abbey rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries, the town hall also deserves a visit.

Classified as Historic Monuments, the church of Saint-Laon dates from the 12th century. One can admire a very beautiful bell tower, colored stained glass windows, as well as the tomb of Marguerite of Scotland, the first wife of Louis XI.

The Saint-Médard church, also classified as a Historic Monument, dates from the 15th century. Of Romanesque style, it reveals a portal with four archivolts, as well as very beautiful stained-glass windows.

Also worthy of note is the neo-gothic chapel of Jeanne-d'Arc, which houses a cultural exhibition center, the chapel of the castle of the dukes of Trémoïlle, which combines flamboyant gothic and Renaissance styles, and Notre-Dame-du -Cottage built in the 20th century.

Opened in the 1920s, the Henri-Barré museum takes its place in a former private mansion in neo-Gothic style. There are many different collections of faience, archeology, ethnography, fine art and furniture.

The ecomuseum of the mill of the Crevant makes it possible to discover the life of old in the vicinity of Thouars. The regional center Resistance and Freedom pays tribute to the Resistance fighters who defended the country in the region at the time of the Second World War.

Historic building, the halls are still active and continue to host the weekly markets of the city.

Very green, the town of Thouars also benefits from several natural spaces like the park Imbert or the gardens workers installed along the Thouet. Bike paths have been laid out to appreciate the local flora, as well as the architectural heritage.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Performance halls

Events and festivities

The market is held every Tuesday and Friday morning under the halls. A Christmas market is also organized.

The Terri'thouars Blues is a music festival organized between March and April.

At the beginning of June, the city celebrates Saint Medard with various animations.

The Arts'Osés, in June, offer several concerts.

In July, we can attend the Atouts Arts festival dedicated to all the arts.

An exhibition fair takes place in September.


Medieval city of Thouars
Medieval city of Thouars
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Castle Marie of the Tour d'Auvergne
Castle Marie of the Tour d'Auvergne
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View of the esplanade
View of the esplanade
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See photo
Mill of Crevant of Thouars
Mill of Crevant of Thouars
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Henri Barré Museum - City of Thouars
Henri Barré Museum - City of Thouars
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

At 10 km, Castle Oiron, the southernmost of the Castles of the Loire with an exhibition of contemporary art famous in the world.


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