At the junction of la Granite cake and the limestone Niort plain,  village with fourteen hamlets is crossed by three ancient ancient ways : the great Roman road from Bordeaux to London ; the Gallic green path of Magne, joining the town to La Chaussée in Charente-Maritime (land communication route conducive to commercial exchanges between Gâtine, la Plaine, Aunis and l'Océan, via the Sèvre Niortaise and the Marais, during the entire time of activity of the port of Tiffardière and Sevreau, at Saint-Liguaire) and the Roman road known as the Bissêtre starting from Rom, crossing from east to west two arms of the Sèvre of the village and used by the armies until 1622. Saint-Maxire certainly stems from the distorted name of Saint Mathiasone of the twelve apostles of Jesus replacing Judas after his betrayal and death. Moreover, the municipal coat of arms takes up this hypothesis. It is composed of eleven crescent moons and a twelfth surmounted by a capital M. In the Middle Ages, the villa of Saint-Maxire pass of the pagus and the vigueria of Niort in the castellany of Fontenay. Its first lord is Moreau de Magné. Since its appearance in the 1585th century, the inhabitants have strongly adhered to Protestantism. A few years later, the temple, located at the exit of the town, at the crossroads of the Bissêtre and Xaintray roads, was destroyed. On All Saints' Day in XNUMX, after the rout of Angers, anxious to avoid Niort, 430 men from the Counts of Laval and Boulaye presented themselves at Saint-Maxire to cross the bridges. Washed away by a flood, they were replaced by wooden bridges. In 1622, the Catholic troop of criminal lieutenant Pierre Thomas pursued the soldiers of the lord of Soubise, Benjamin de Rohan, to the bridges of the city. Despite their destruction, Soubise was beaten. As a reward, Thomas received letters of nobility from Louis XIII. By decree of May 6, 1628, preaching by the pastors of Benet and Maillezais were prohibited. The greatest number of Protestants were converted in 1681. On May 12, 1793, during the meeting of the administrators of the department, President Piet-Berton-Chambelle addressed a reprimand to the inhabitants: They have, for the most part, the tricolor cockade in their pocket and they have not yet planted the tree of freedom. The call to order is almost immediately heard. On July 03, the 6th battalion of Calvados was garrisoned at Saint-Maxire to support the army of the coasts of La Rochelle commanded by General Biron. At the beginning of the 19th century, eight water mills were operating at full capacity. Today, the alleys and the typical architecture of this Poitevin village invite you to stroll near the laundriesmillslodgings et mansions2003 is for the commune the year of consecration of the flower boat festival receiving the Grand Prix for excellence in maintaining the art of celebration presented by the National Federation of Festival Committees of France. The same year, the 53rd edition was celebrated on the theme of cinema, with the mobilization of 10 boats, 10 to 15.000 paper flowers per boat, 400 volunteers for the pleasure of the eyes of 6.000 visitors.

What to see in Saint-Maxire?


01. Oriou Castle

Located on the edge of a loop of the Sèvre, the castle from the end of the Middle Ages is reworked since the Renaissance. It was owned in the 16th century by Laurens, then Berland whose coat of arms is visible on the south turret. From 1667 to the first mid-19th century, it belongs to the Jordan de VilliersAnd then Mr. Laurence and, shortly after, was acquired by Clémentin de la Rochebrochard whose son gives it to the doctor Auguste Tonnet at the end of the 19th century. Its facade is flanked by corbelled turrets on cul-de-lampe and l'penthouse (upper part) is openwork with oculi (bull's eyes). There stair tower overlapping the building attests to the antiquity of the place. A sundial surmounts the entrance door. Private property.

02. Saint-Mathias church

According to local tradition, Saint Maxire lives on the banks of the Sèvre Niortaise. To cover the flight of the Macrine sisters, Pezenne and Colombe, he raise his stick so that the waters of the river change direction et stop the horses of the barbarian leader Salbart. It is since this event that the Sèvre, instead of flowing towards Villiers-en-Plaine, descends towards Sainte-Pezenne et Niort. In the year 1000, the church is donated by Raoul Beluce, his wife and his son Thibaud at the Saint-Cyprien abbey in Poitiers. Until the 13th century, it was served by the monks of the Saint-Mathias priory adjoining the building and belonging to the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Martin de Tours. Before 1720, the vault of the Romanesque span threatening ruin is demolished et the bell tower replaced by a bretèche. The church is converted into fodder store et stable for the horses of the Vendée army in 1798. The current monument dates from the XNUMXth century. Of the stone coffins were discovered during the clearing in 1860 of the foundations of the apse of the apse. In 1957, after a controversy between the parish and the municipality, the sanctuary was endowed with a 277 kg bell offered by families from the town and baptized Françoise-Dominique.

03. The Fontaine wash house

Le limestone soil of Saint-Maxire is one of the receptacles of the waters of the granitic Gâtine. This natural phenomenon is explained by the fact that the Deux-Sèvres department is crossed by the threshold of Poitou. This is located between two granite massifs (armorican and central) and two sedimentary basins (Parisian and Aquitaine). On the granite part (north and east), a dense network of watercourses irrigates their surface basins (Sèvre Nantaise, Thouet, Cébron). His groundwater are shallow. This old land offers a bocage landscape with little cultivation and drilling. On the sedimentary part (south and west), the aquifers. Young and limestone soils present a plain landscape (Niortais, Lambon and Dive basins) with underground rivers, but shallow.

04. The health wash house

Le hamlet of Optolleries is located near one of the Routes of the Deux-Sévrienne Jacquaire Way. He is mentioned in 1498 as being the village of the Hospitallers. This monastic and chivalric order had to provide room and board and provide care at the backgammons, pilgrims peregrinating in the direction of Santiago de Compostela. The commandery of Saint-Jean of Jerusalem of Saint-Rémy-en-Gâtine there had Dependencies.

05. The Habites washhouse

Abbot Vilaine of Saint-Cyprien of Poitiers donated the Saint-Genest priory to Live Has benedictines which will apply to deforest the region. It is rebuilt by his chaplain Pierre Berlant, canon of the Poitiers Cathedral, who was buried in his chapel in 1668. Traditionally, every August 28, a religious procession took place from town of Saint-Maxire to the Habites

The Adventures of Baron Faeneste by Agrippa d'Aubigné tell the story stratagem imagined by a resident of the hamlet of Habites, Mathurin Biraud de la Bithe. Ruined by a long trial and forced to leave the country for run away from creditors, sell before notary, for a sum paid in cash, to his lawyer Cheneverd de Niort a land which is none other than the cemetery of Saint-rémy, the one adjoining the chapel dependent on the Benedictine priory. The tale concludes with a quote: “The devil celebrates when you deceive your lawyer. »

06. The park Flower Boat Festival

1942 in the prisoner assistance committee organize a fair and a flower boat competition. THE festival committee took over in 1988. This event is scheduled for last Sunday in July.

Other curiosities to see…

  • The Grand Portal (manor with a high roof taking its name from its large front door)
  • La Bobinière known as the Logis (noble house from the 17th century taken over in the 19th century)
  • The ancient stately home of Le Colombier partly rebuilt in the 17th century (monumental porch and Renaissance decorative elements)
  • The noble house of Croisette
  • The monumental staircase of the old Espinasse castle from the 15th century
  • The seven water mills
  • The remains of a megalith at a place called The stone that turns

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