Fontenay-le-Comte Cafe

The name Fontenay comes from the Quatre-Tias Fountain which roughly translated means ‘fountain of the four pipes’ and indeed the fountain is still there to see today. The King’s coat of arms complete with salamander emblem is engraved on the pediment and the Fountain is also inscribed with the names of various magistrates who have sat on the bench in Fontenay.


During the Middle Ages, Fontenay which at that time was the capital of lower Poitou was a fortified town which was very frequently under attack. In the year 1372, local heroine, Jeanne de Clisson defended the town when it came under attack by Bertrand du Guesclin who was one of the generals who had played a large part in getting the English out of France. At the end of the 16th century, Fontenay was a town much disputed by both the Protestants and Catholics and two centuries later the Republicans fought the Royalists twice beneath the city walls.

In the town today, you will see many limestone houses, some coated with roughcast sprawling between two thoroughfares which run perpendicular to the river the centre of the town is the Place Viète, which occupies the site of the Bastian, originally part of the old curtain wall. The old town may be found to the East in the areas around Église Notre-Dame and Église St-Jean (beyond Rue des Loges).

Reredos in L'Église Notre-Dame - 1681

Reredos in L’Église Notre-Dame – 1681 by van Gholuwen – a Flemish born artist from Tours

Places of interest include:

L’Église Notre-Dame

With its 15th century belfry remodelled in 1700 and its 82m tower topped by aspire decorated with rockets and its flamboyant Gothic main doorway.

Fontaine de Quatre-Tias

As mentioned above

Musée Vendéen

Containing archaeological collections and much information on the history of the town. Located east of the Place Viète

Vendée Main Towns