Curiosities of Loudun!!!

And we are moving on closer to home and passing for the first time by Loudun. It goes without saying the choices are endless in my belle France. Sometimes difficult to choose where to go next….We were on our road warrior trip by the Loire Valley and decided to go a bit south so we met with Loudun. I heard about it and wanted to visit! This will be an introduction to Loudun as we will be back.

The town of Loudun is located in the Vienne department no 86 in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It is a town with the ruins of the old castle destroyed by Richelieu, and whose historic center is surrounded by old ramparts. Land of covetousness, the Loudunais and the seneschalsy of Loudun were attached to Anjou, contrary to the administrative division in the 21C, where the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region presents an outgrowth to the north of the department of Vienne to encompass Loudun. In the Middle Ages and until the French revolution, it is the Saumurois which sinks into the current Poitou, including Loudun and the Loudunais to Mirebeau in the south. The town is located at the intersection of national road 147 and departmental roads 14, 61, 63, 147 and 759, 22 km from Chinon, 30 km from Saumur and 52 km from Poitiers. We made it on the road D61 from Richelieu.

A bit of history I like

Loudun depended on the Counts of Anjou until 1206, when Philippe Auguste attached it to the Crown of France. However, Philippe Auguste gave Loudun custody to Guillaume des Roches, Seneschal of Anjou and Maine, because the King of France considered Loudun a strategic place and decided to replace the old castle with a new fortress to counter the powerful Plantagenets. In 1476, King René, Duke of Anjou, was forced to enter into an agreement with Louis XI, being accused of having negotiated with Charles the Bold. Loudun is again reunited with the crown of France. Louis XI erects it as a bailiwick. Francis I orders the custom of Loudun to be drawn up. The Loudunais becomes a seneschalsy, which depends on the governor of Saumur.

In 1568, the struggles between Protestants and Catholics resumed. Henri, King of Navarre, then 16 years old, was at Loudun with the Protestant army. The Protestants burned the Sainte-Croix Collegiate Church, the convent of the Carmelite church (Saint-Hilaire-du-Martray) and the aldermen. The Duke of Anjou (future Henry III) lays siege to Loudun to recover the city from Protestant hands. In 1569, Coligny laid siege to Poitiers, but the arrival of the royal army forced him to raise the siege. The confrontation takes place during the Battle of Moncontour: the Duke of Anjou inflicts a bloody defeat on the Huguenots. In 1579, King Henry III elevated Loudun to the rank of non-hereditary duchy in favor of Françoise de Rohan. In 1584, Henri III gave the order to destroy the fortress erected by Philippe II Auguste, the palace of the dukes-kings of Anjou-Sicily and the fortified enclosure of Loudun. In 1587, Henri de Navarre seized Loudun, as well as Vivonne, Mirebeau and Châtellerault. Loudun welcomes the advances of the French revolution.

Things to see me think are
La Tour Carrée, former keep of the castle built by Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou, in 1040, When we passed by it was completely disambled for its reconstruction, it it was almost only to the base in stones. So no pictures. 
The medieval Le Jardin d’Inspiration at the foot of the Tour Carrée, it presents medicinal plants as well as condiments. Braided chestnut squares, pergolas, wooden arches serve as decor for this garden

The Sainte-Croix Church, now called Sainte-Croix Collegiate Church, is the setting for many contemporary art exhibitions and concerts. The choir and transept are from the 12C.

The Théophraste-Renaudot Museum: honors Théophraste Renaudot, whose works belong to the history of thought, literature.

Loudun mus renaudot front feb22
The Saint-Hilaire du Martray Church, adjoining the Carmelite convent. The Church of Saint-Pierre du marché, built under Philippe II Auguste.  
From the construction of Philippe Auguste, in 1214, near the square where “the crush of meat” stood, today is the Place de la Bouffeterie, only the sanctuary and the transept with the four superb and powerful pillars on which the vaults rest. This Church of Saint Pierre du marché was looted and ransacked during the Hundred Years War. After this troubled period, the nave was built in the purest ogival style.  The aspect of the portal of the church recalls a very high triumphal arch, very harmonious in its proportions. It is richly decorated with elegant carvings. As soon as construction was completed, the Huguenots ransacked the church and the particularly vulnerable carvings were mutilated.  The 1701 bell tower was in danger of collapsing. It was simply chained. And it was only in 1931 that it was demolished stone by stone and reassembled in its primitive aspect.  During the French revolution, the church, looted, became the temple of Reason then it was transformed into a fodder park.The portal was restored in 1987.

Loudun ch St Pierre front feb22

Loudun ch St Pierre nave to altar feb22

Loudun ch St Pierre baptismal font feb22

Loudun ch St Pierre organ back feb22

The city of Loudun and the Church Saint Pierre du marché
Enclosure area (moat, enclosure, former round tower), 13C , The City/Town Hall, 19C, and the Porte du Martray, the only vestige left of the four gates of the urban wall built under Philippe Auguste.

Loudun ramparts castle feb22

Loudun hotel de ville front feb22

Loudun porte du Martray feb22

The city of Loudun and its heritage

The Loudun tourist office on its heritage

There you go folks, another dandy town in another region of my belle France. This is Loudun worth the detour and we will be back for more soon. For now ,hope you enjoy the brief introduction on the curiosities of Loudun!!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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