Village developed around the former domain of Bassiniusrich Gallo-Roman landowner, Bessines is located at the crossroads of Aunis and PoitouBordered by the Jaron reach and the Vieille Sèvre, this rural commune nestles on the side of a hill which dominated the former Gulf of PictonsIts Romanesque church Saint Caprais, stopover on the Camino de Santiago, and its three ports open the door to you Poitevin marsh. Its marsh is classified as a biotope and natural zone of ecological, fauna and flora interest.. In 2011, Bessines joined the Healthy Earth charter of the Poitou-Charentes region by adopting alternative solutions to become a municipality of environmental excellence (reduction in pesticide consumption, rational mowing to preserve groves and unique or protected species and the return of insects, seeding of 1.200 m2 of roadside edges with fallow floral plants). The peaceful village has also welcomed a number of personalities from the plastic arts or the 7th art, the most famous of which is Jean Richard, the only actor in the world to have performed all of the Commissioner Maigret by Georges Simenon and who was born in 1921 in Bessines, at the Pierre Levée manor (private property from the XNUMXth century). The suburban village is one of the rare communes in Deux-Sévriers where is cultivated the angelic, the emblematic plant of Niort and Poitevin marsh. Moreover, it is in the spotlight in May during the Angelica Festival

What to see in Bessines?

01. The Saint-Caprais church

The hermit Caprais, a little-known saint, became the first bishop of Agen in the 4th century. Bessines is the only church in the diocese of Poitiers placed under this name.
Away from the village, the church, today listed as a Historic Monument, is mentioned for the first time in a charter in 988. The 11th century monument was redeveloped in the 1982th century. Half ruined during the Wars of Religion, it was partially restored in the XNUMXth century. In XNUMX, following damage caused by bad weather, the building was restored, then again delivered to worship in 1986.

To have : 1982th century portal, bell tower, two shell fonts (Bessines is located on the Way of Saint-Jacques de Compostela), beam of glory representing the resurrected Christ surrounded by Mary and John the Evangelist (made in 2000 by the Niort sculptor Laurent Page and installed in 1771 to celebrate the millennium of the building), Hosannière cross from XNUMX in the cemetery.

02. Jean Richard (Bessines, 1921-Senlis, 2001) alias Commissioner Maigret

He is the founder in 1955 of 2nd private zoo in France post-war, the inventor in 1963 of 1st French theme leisure park (the Sand Sea in Ermenonville, in the Oise) and the owner in 1977.  of the largest entertainment and leisure company in Europe (3 traveling marquees, 1 sedentary marquee, 1 zoo and 2 amusement parks). It is also the only actor in the world to have performed all of Georges Simenon's Maigrets, from 1967 to 1990. He toured in the Poitevin marsh in 1968 in Inspector Corpse, one of the 92 episodes of the cult TV film.

03. The artist Fabrice Hyber(t) (Luçon, 1961-), The Man from Bessines

He is I' author in 1989 from The Man from Bessines. These little green men 86 cm high installed on the municipal water network (fountains spewing water through all body orifices) respond to a public order for street furniture, reflect the close link existing between the market gardener and the Poitevin marsh and are also present all over the world. This internationally renowned artist living in Paris also produced in 1991 the largest soap in the world listed in the Guinness World Records (22 tonnes molded in a truck bed). In 1995, he transformed the Museum of Modern Art in Paris into a Hybermarché and installed a professional hairdressing salon at the Center Georges Pompidou on the occasion of the Feminin/Masculin exhibition of 1996.

Other curiosities to see:

  • Le dovecote-porch du Grand Pruneau (17th century, private historic monument) 
  • La Boudrie Neuve (representative habitat of Bessines)
  • The partly Protestant cemetery et his hosanne cross 1771
  • The little green men by Fabrice Hybert
  • Noisy Space (associative and cultural center, municipal stopover lodge and nautical base)
  • The municipal port
  • The angelica fields and the annual festival dedicated to the umbelliferae.

Major events not to be missed in Bessines

The Angelique's Day

In May, “celebrate” what you like by (re)discovering angelica, the emblematic plant de Niort and Poitevin marsh through The Angelique's Day and thanks to the volunteers of the Bessines festival committee! On the program: guided tours of the plantations, local produce market, lunch under tivoli, local crafts...

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