Close to the forest of Mervent-Vouvant, you'll come across a medieval village nestled in the meander of a river. Stroll through the narrow streets of Vouvant and walk along the ramparts to the foot of the Mélusine Tower.
The work of Melusine, the fairy
It is said that Vouvant was created by Melusine the fairy from a sip of water and as many stones as her apron would hold...
The combination of the fairy's magical talents and the hard work of generations gave us the Romanesque church Sainte-Marie, the stone-worked gate, the flower-scented alleys that descend to the River from which the town sprang, all the charming streets and squares, and especially the tower of Mélusine, vestige of the feudal castle of Lusignan.
The spells cast by the fairy meander down to Foussais-Payré, a typical Renaissance-style village located in the bocage - the hedgerows and fields of the Vendée countryside.
The Melusine Tower
The Mélusine tower is the only vestige of the castle of Lusignan, dating from the 13th century. The keep is circular, rather rare for the time. You can take the spiral staircase to the top of the tower to admire a magnificent panorama of your surroundings. From its height of 150 feet, the view over the forest of Mervent-Vouvant and the mediaeval town is breathtaking!
You can collect the precious access key to climb to the top of the Mélusine Tower from the Tourist Information Office (in season) or the Café Melusine (out of season),.
Vouvant, village of painters
Melusine the fairy still flutters about, like a muse, attracting artists to the village of Vouvant. They are inspired by the bucolic atmosphere that envelops the ramparts of the town, and have made their home in Vouvant!
A tour of artists' studios offers the visitor the chance to discover some fifteen workshops and art galleries in the very heart of the village of Vouvant.
Contemporary paintings and sculptures are presented in the Theodelin nave, an exceptional exhibition venue inside the church of Vouvant. It hosts the salon Mélusin'art, organised each year in April by the association "Vouvant, village of painters."
Don't miss the Nocturne des Arts, where painters, sculptors, graphic artists and craftspeople exhibit their works in the village, illuminated at night...
Stroll in the gardens of Vouvant
Crowned with the award "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France," the medieval town of Vouvant will also seduce you with its gardens and its walking path along the river Mère.
The "jardin des sens" will surprise you with its fifteen squares containing medicinal, aromatic and tinctorial plants surrounded by fruit trees. An experimental garden which aims to promote biodiversity, it has a pond, insectariums, nest boxes, hives and areas left to grow wild.
A stop at the garden of the priory, backed by the Romanesque church, is a chance to discover an example of an old monastic garden, with its cooking and medicinal herbs. The public area is a privileged place to take a walk. It overlooks the ramparts and affords a breathtaking view of the river.
For a longer walk around Vouvant and along the river, make the fun crossing with the chain ferry that connects the two banks of the river Mère. By foot or by bicycle, a complete circuit is possible using this small flat-bottomed boat. Haul away!