Fougères day trip: discover Brittany

Fougères, with its characteristic castle founded in 1020, still has its original charm. Take a little stroll through the old town, with its lively café and restaurant terraces. The half-timbered houses are a reminder of the town’s wealthy past. Step back in time to the grandeur of Fougères! A visual and audio presentation accompanies the tour of the castle, telling its history from the year 1000 to 1500.

 

Fougères castle
Fougères castle

FOUGÈRES

Fougères also has many green spaces, such as the public park overlooking the medieval quarter around the church of Saint-Sulpice, or the two-hectare Val Nançon, accessible from the castle via the Ruelle des Vaux. If you like themed gardens, spend a few hours at the Parc Floral de Châtellier. In spring, camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons brighten up the garden.

About 20 km away, in the direction of Mont-Saint-Michel, the Rocher Portail is one of the most beautiful castles in Brittany. This remarkable example of 17th-century architecture, on the banks of a pond and beautifully preserved, offers an attractive introduction to the daily life of a noble residence. With 12 fully furnished rooms, from the ceremonial rooms to the butler’s office, listed gardens, exhibitions, children’s entertainment, etc., it promises a memorable visit!

 

Fougères village
Fougères village

To-do list:

  • The feudal castle (12th – 15th centuries), defender of the duchy of Brittany from the year 1000 to 1500
  • Saint-Sulpice church (15th – 18th centuries)
  • The oldest belfry in Brittany, constructed in 1397
  • Saint-Léonard church was built in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 19th century and extended in a Neo-Gothic style
  • The 19th-century theatre
  • Les Urbanistes: the former 17th-century convent, now restored, is home to the School of Drawing and Music
  • The Bonabry district (19th century)
  • The Morel & Gaté factory, one of the most prestigious shoe factories with a façade richly decorated in Odorico mosaics
  • The former Réhault factory was converted into a charity called “Les Ateliers” (a permanent exhibition relating to the shoe industry in Fougères)

 

Castle entrance
Castle entrance

THE CASTLE

The creation of Fougères dates back to the Middle Ages. The first mention of the castle of Fougères dates back to the end of the 10th century when it was a simple wooden building on a rocky spur overlooking the Nançon valley. The population of the lower town grew up around it, but from the 12th century onwards the upper town began to emerge, and the town was organized into two parishes: Saint-Sulpice and Saint-Léonard.

The castle continued to grow in the meantime, according to its strategic role as a stronghold on the border of the Duchy of Brittany, which did not exclude that its lords sometimes sought the favor of the kingdom of France and that Fougères suffered several armed episodes throughout the rest of the Middle Ages until its final annexation to France in 1488.

 

Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint Michel

HOW TO GET THERE

From Rennes, is 40min by car same from Mont Saint Michel, there are a lot of parking lots around the city and Sundays are free of charge. When visiting areas like this in France I’d recommend hiring a car as it’s so much quicker and easier than any other option.

I’d take the train from France to Rennes and then pick up a hire car from Rennes train station. The Eurostar takes 2 hours 46 and then the TGV takes 2 hours 20 so it’s an easy journey. For my trip, I book a room at the Hotel Vert. The hotel is located 2.4 km from the center of Le Mont Saint Michel.

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