Little Cities of Character

Little Cities of Character

All within easy reach of Saint Michel le Cloucq are some of France’s most beautiful villages full of character and rich in history waiting to be discovered.

For those who love discovering old buildings and heritage we will now take you on a tour that we hope will delight you.




At Vouvant be sure to walk the ramparts and discover the narrow streets filled with flowers and the 3 gates. Take a tour around the Melusine Tower, the remains of this old fortified town.

Vouvant is mentioned in the legend of the Melusine Fairy, ancestor of the powerful Lusignan family. This old fortified town with its remains of the ramparts, gates and the Melusine tower.

We encourage you to visit the church, the theologian nave and the crypt where several sculptures still remain.

If you like painting, the Association of Village Painters of Vouvant offers a route you can follow to visit each of the workshops and exhibitions in the town.





Continuing on our way we pass through Foussais-Payré. Like Saint Michel le Cloucq, Foussais-Payré is on the edge of the Mervent forest and the river Vendée flows through it.

This ‘Little City of Character’ still has remains dating back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period.

Take a look at the Roman church – it is one of the most beautiful examples of Roman art in the South Vendée. Nearby is the old priory with its grand chimneys and which is now the town hall.

Going towards Saint Hilaire des Loges, you will see other half of the ‘Foussais’ – the village of Payré, which has been part of Foussais since 1968.

Its lime kilns are visible from the road and were still in working order at the end of the 19th century thanks to the mines at Faymoreau.

Look out for: the chainsaw sculptures at the end of July.


Nieul sur l'Autise



Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and of England was born here in this ‘Little City of Character’ in 1122 .

The Abbey was founded in 1068 by the Lord of Vouvant and Eleanor of Aquitaine gave it Royal status in 1141.

A must on your visit is the Saint Vincent’s Abbey : the church with its Conventuel buildings and superb cloister – the only roman cloister in the west of France that is still completely preserved.

For the younger ones and teenagers don’t forget to visit Eleanor’s house (maison Aliénor ). The new technologies, optical theatre and virtual tour are sure to please them.

Nieul sur l’Autise is actually a village on the river Autise. There is a water mill which was built in 1728 which was used to make flour and now, restored, it is a museum: la maison de la Meunerie.

Don’t forget Champ Durand the Neolithic Camp where you can see the remains of the settlement, which was discovered in 1971.





Carrying on from Nieul sur l’Autise is Faymoreau – a mining village.

Did you know that a working coal mine was still being mined here until 1958? It stretched from ‘Epagne Saint-Laurs en Deux-Sèvres. And a chevalement (a mine headframe) can still be seen in Epagne.

A museum retraces the steps of the miners and the mining villages and you can see how they lived including the hostel of the engineers.

The chapel and its windows tell the story of the life of a miner. In the ‘Little Cities of Character’ in South Vendée each year a festival takes place the Festival des Nuits Musicales – 6 concerts of jazz and classic music.


Our recommendations for local specialities

If you love chocolate then taste some at the tasting workshops ‘Les Ateliers du Goût’ at Foussais-Payré.

If you love foie gras you must go to the Canard de Mélusine in Vouvant to buy your favourites.

Not far from Faymoreau in Saint Hilaire de Voust, we encourage you to visit the Gold Lion restaurant: le Lion d’Or