and Villages of the Vendee
attractive village just 12 kilometers from Fontenay-le-Comte in the south of the
Vendee is where Alienor d'Aquitaine was born in her fathers castle in 1122, her
mother Aenor de Chatellerault is buried in the Royal Abbeye St.Vincent.
Alienor became Queen of France by her first marriage to LoiuisV11 she granted
the abbey royal status.She later became Queen of England by her marriage to
The abbay was built in 1068 by Ayraud Gasedenier the
Seigneur of Vouvant and during the 13th century the Augustinian monks from the
abbey along with those from; St.Michel-enl'Herm, Maillezais, Absie and
St.Maixent in digging the five abbeys Canal, which with continuous digging over
several centuries drained the Marais Poitevin to produce the fertile productive
lands of today.
The abbey was burnt down by the Huguenots in 1568 and this
saw a decline in its prosperity. It was listed as an historic monument in 1862
St Vincent's abbey is the finest example of Romanesque and is
the best preserved in western France, it contains a 3 elements the church, the
cloisters and the monastic building almost virtually intact.
Romanesque Cloisters with its 4 galleries is the only one in western France to
survive intact and the pointed arches upon heavy scalloped capitals supports the
groined vaultings. The cloisters links the church to the charter house. In the
17th century the vaultings of the charter house were rebuilt in the Romanesque
The front portal of the church has many stone carvings portraying
the 7 deadly sins, geometric motifs and animal masks which are surmounted by
interlacing and palmettes.
The triple nave with its 7 barrel vaulted bays
borne on transverse arches rests on twin columns, the lateral arches are
supported on single columns.
There is a
discovery trail centered around monastic life; touch books and state of
the art museum technology.
Now open the Maison d'Alienor: a virtual tour by
leading characters from Nieul-sur-L'Autise's History
Events: L'Art en
Gouter: concert and talks with refreshments.
Les Jeudis de St. Jacque: every
Thursday (july-Aug) a voyage through history with music.
Tours in period
costume for children 5-9.
Nieul Village de Lumiere: open evenings 5-9th
From October to May: daily from 9.30 to 12.30
am and from 1.30 to 6.00 pm
From June to September: daily from 10.00 am to
Closed the last three weeks in January.
Tarifs: Adult: 5 €
Concessions (students, disabled persons, unemployed): 3 €
children under 18
de la Meunerie 16 Rue du Moulin. Tel. 02 51 52 47 43.
In the restored
watermill which was built in 1728 you will discover the life and workings of a
miller. This working watermill was returned to active use by a local association
in 1997 and today produces about 60 tons of flour a year for the local
boulangeries, this includes flour for the old farmhouse breads, buckwheat flour
for pancakes and organic flour.
You can view the large oak paddle wheel as it
revolves to the flow of the mill stream and all the workings and gears that turn
the mill stones.
The two rooms of the millers house are furnished as they
would have been in the 19th century. There is also a work shop of the clog
maker. A bread oven and two stone Ponnes for laundry.
Open 15th June to 15th Sept
everday 13h to 19h Closed Saturdays.
Tarif. Adult 4.5€
Child (7-18) 2.5 €
Fete de la Meunerie. Sunday and Monday of
Penticoste (first Monday in June) open from 10.00 cost 6.5€ a great
day of entertainment and displays including lace making wheel wrights, basket
making bread making and a lot more.
Champ Durand. This Neolithic site on the Oulmes road just south of the
village was discovered in 1971 from aerial photographs and dates from
2400Bc. It consists of 3 concentric rings of ditches and banks upto
2.5m deep 2 kilometers in length, one of the entrances was gated and had a
drystone tower, the other entrances had carved banks. There is little sign of
habitation and was thought to be primarily a meeting place, graveyard and market
as well as defensive.