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Bourgneuf en Retz

  • Musée du Pays de Retz
    6, rue des Moines – 44580 Bourgneuf en Retz
    Tel : +33 (0)2 40 21 40 83
    The association “Amis du Pays de Retz” invites you to discover traditions of the Pays de Retz, daily life of the past, through various forgotten or unusual exhibits : clothes, headdresses, tools... as well as through reconstructions of village life… an amazing journey from the past to the present... Hunts and adventures for children. For group visits : please make an appointment. Opening hours : Low season : April, May, June, September, October : Tuesday to Sunday from 14h30 to 18h30. Closed on Monday.
    High Season : July 1 to August 31, daily from 10h30 to 13h and from 15h to 19h.

  • The Old Gate (17th century)
    Rue de la Taillée - Bourgneuf en Retz

  • Former salt warehouse
    18th century, recently renovated, nowadays houses the library.
    Rue de la Taillée - Bourgneuf en Retz

  • Town Hall of Bourgneuf en Retz (1868)

  • Viewpoint site in Saint Cyr en Retz, a panorama of the Breton marshes and the Vendée

  • Church Notre Dame du Pont Port in Bourgneuf en Retz (19th and 20th centuries) Neo-Gothic style, 12 granite columns, their capitals are all different, decorated with foliage.

  • Church of Saint Cyr en Retz (19th century). Neo-Gothic style.


  • The Castle of Machecoul. 1000 years of history
    Travel through history and discover the secrets of the Castle of Gilles de Rais. Passionate about their site, the owners of the castle open their doors and share their enthusiasm for the property with you : 10 centuries of French history explained in an illustrated lecture, followed by a guided tour of the ruins of this amazing castle (1 hour 45 minutes in total). The site can be visited all year round on reservation for more than 8 people, and from early July to late September - every Wednesday at 16h. Prices : Adults - € 6 and € 3 for children under 15 years. Information and reservations : +33 (0)2 40 78 50 42

  • La Chaume Abbey
    The abbey was founded in the eleventh century ; nowadays all that remains are a few walls and a dovecote dating from the eighteenth century. The abbey comprised land cultivated by a handful of monks. In 1768, it became a part of Vertou Abbey. In 1792, the buildings were sold as national property. Today you c an see the ruins and the dovecote, landscaped fences marking the oldest parts of the abbey and greenery everywhere. Guided tours on request (contact the Tourist Office).

  • Eighth-century, Merovingian limestone sarcophagi, can be seen in La Chaume Abbey

  • L’église de la Trinité - The Trinity Church
    Abbott Bouron decided to have it built to replace the Roman style church, dating from the thirteenth century .The building started in 1863 and ended in 1881 with the construction of the two steeples under the supervision of Abbot Lavigne. Why two steeples ? The project, approved by the State Council on 14th November 1861 and by the Prefecture on 8th January 1866, included only one bell tower. It is said that reverend Lavigne had collected enough money to provide the church with three naves. His project for two steeples (62,14 and 60,53 metres high) was approved without any trouble, since the sum of the donations and loans more than covered the expenses. This is how the church of the former capital of the Duchy of Retz came to look like a cathedral , a fact which none of the visitors to Machecoul, capital of the Pays de Retz., can miss. Neo-Gothic style. Also worth seeing : the stained-glass window, depicting the Devil ; the Hearts of Vendee ; the statue of St Honoré - the patron of the Parish.

  • L’Auditorium
    Dating from the eighteenth century, it is now a municipal building used for weddings, receptions, meetings and exhibitions. It was renovated in 1995. The main part was built in 1755 by the Neufville-Villeroy family that governed the Duchy of Retz. The auditorium was used as a Seigniorial court. It became a Republican court during the revolution. The town hall occupied it, little by little, in the nineteenth century. But it continued to function as a court. The symbol of the auditorium-court can be seen on the arms on the pediment at the entrance. It dates back to 1838 when the two new wings were built onto the main part of the auditorium.

  • Les Halles de Machecoul - The covered market (nineteenth century)
    Mr. de la Biliais, the mayor of Machecoul had this marketplace built in 1892 on the site la “Cohue”, which dated back to medieval times. This old covered market was donated to the Abbey of Fontenelles by Dame Beatrix in 1235. Currently used as car park it also hosts the weekly market.

  • The Calvary chapel (1830)
    Rebuilt on the ruins of the 1673 Benedictine convent of Notre dame du Clavaire. Worth seeing : the confessional (1840)

  • Historical frescos (1947)
    They can be seen in the lobby of the Machecoul cinema. The painter Armand Pavageau tells the story of the town.

    St Même le Tenu

  • Brandais castle
    Private property, but can be seen from the Tenu river (by boat or canoe).

  • Lavaux village
    Unique and picturesque.

  • The church of Ste Maxime (1868)
    Worth seeing : the pulpit with sculpted figures ; the icon of Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours.

    St Mars de Coutais

  • Castle of Saint Mars de Coutais
    Beautiful of late fifteenth- century manor house nestling in the countryside and reflected in the river. Right below, a mooring dock for scows, flat-bottomed boats, that were used for the salt trade between the gulf of Machecoul (nowadays- the Bay of Bourgneuf) and the Loire. Private property, not open to visitors.

  • The church of St Médard (1898)
    Worth seeing : the eighteenth –century, Louis XV style, iron gate ; the statue of St Médard above the entrance porch ; the war memorial (1920), with the victims’ names engraved in gold lettering, a Pieta at the top ; the stone pulpit (1927) with its marble base.

    La Marne

  • The town hall
    Style - Troisième République.

  • La Croix du Cimetière (the cemetery cross)
    Probably part of the remains of the old church.

  • Church of la Marne
    Nineteenth century, Ogival style (first period), with a truncated bell tower, an apse-shaped (polygonal) chancel and its transept, with cut-off corners. Worth seeing : the stained- glass windows donated by parishioners (their names are inscribed), the baptistery, the bell from the old church (1123).


  • La Chapelle du Pont
    A nineteenth century chapel, gothic elements are visible in the cemetery.

    Fresnay en Retz

  • Notre Dame church
    (1801) Worth seeing : the altarpiece decorated with black marble Corinthian columns ; the black marble altar (1717) ; the chancel steps containing pieces of ancient tombs ; the consecration stone of the church (1684) under the main altar.

    St Etienne de Mer Morte

  • Museum of Sacred Art
    Open on request (contact the Town Hall) and during Heritage Days in September.

  • St Etienne de Mer Morte church (1885)
    Worth seeing : the thirteenth- century bell tower ; the thirteenth- century granite, and the white, stone altar built in 1946.

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