© Yannick le Gal
FougèresCapture the castle
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The main reason to visit Fougères is to see its magnificent castle, one of the finest fortresses in Europe, but this little town on the Brittany-Normandy border also has a lovely medieval district and a lively Saturday-morning market.

1000 years of history

There has been a castle in Fougères for more than 1,000 years as this site, on a promontory sheltered by hills and surrounded by marshes, was identified by the Duchy of Brittany as the perfect spot to defend its lands from the French. The current castle dates from the 12th century and consists of three enclosures whose walls are dotted with towers: the most impressive is the Mélusine Tower. The castle, where history is brought to life via images and sounds, is a must-visit for both adults and kids alike and a walk around the ramparts is not to be missed.

The old town

The medieval town sprung up to the south of the castle around the River Nançon whose waters were used by the cloth-makers, dyers and tanners; tanning was a by-product of cattle-breeding, which was a major industry in the surrounding area. The prettiest and most atmospheric part of the old town is Place du Marchix, which is lined with half-timbered houses.

The new town

These days the main part of Fougères is the upper town, which overlooks the castle. On the main shopping street, Rue Nationale, you’ll see a 14th-century belfry, which is the oldest one in Brittany. At the far end of this street is St Léonard’s church whose bell tower is open to the public in summer and offers fabulous views over the castle and surrounding area; at other times of the year the views from the adjacent gardens are almost as good.

Famous friends

Fougères is closely connected with the 18th-century writer and politician Chateaubriand, whose sisters lived in the town; their impressive stone mansions can be seen at 3 Rue Leseur and 18 Rue Chateaubriand. The Marquis de la Rouërie aka Colonel Armand, a hero of the American War of Independence, was born in the Hôtel de la Bélinaye in Place Aristide Briand.

Tour the wall walk and enjoy beautiful views over the ramparts and the gardens

Did you know ?

Fougères had a thriving shoe-making industry in the 19th century.

Unmissable places

  • The feudal castle (12th to 15th centuries), defender of the duchy of Brittany from the year 1000 to 1500.
  • The church of Saint-Sulpice (15th to 18th centuries).
  • The oldest belfry in Brittany built in 1397.
  • The church of Saint-Léonard built in the 16th century, refurbished and enlarged in the 19th century in a neo-Gothic style.
  • The 19th century theatre.
  • ‘Les Urbanistes’: the restored former 17th century convent, which houses the School of Drawing and Music.
  • The Bonabry district (19th century).
  • The factory of the prestigious shoe maker, Morel & Gaté: the front is richly-decorated with signed Odorico mosaics.
  • The former Réhault factory, now called called ‘Les Ateliers’ and converted into a centre for local community groups (permanent exhibition on the Fougères footwear industry).

Information & bookings

Fougères Tourist Office

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See the website

Official website of tourism in Brittany
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