We are lucky to have 2 towns on the Ddestination Niort – Marais Poitevin marked Small Cities of Character®: Arçais and Coulon. Authentic, they were able to tick the many criteria to obtain this mark, guarantee of excellence in tourism.

Focus on the brand concept

The brand Small Towns of Character® is a quality mark allocated to municipalities of less than 6000 inhabitants which have an exceptional architectural, cultural and natural heritage. This distinction was created in 1975 to highlight the heritage wealth of rural communities and contribute to their economic development. The mark is awarded for a renewable period of 6 years and is issued by a national association, the Small Cities of Character® Association France.

The criteria for obtaining the mark:

Municipalities must complete several criteria to obtain this distinction:

  • Possess a quality architectural and urban heritage, testifying to a rich history and culture;
  • Having hired conservation and enhancement actions of their heritage as well as environmental efforts and the quality of life of their inhabitants.

In addition, municipalities must engage in local tourism development proposing guided tours, cultural activities and events promoting their heritage and their region. They must also offer quality services for visitors, such as accommodation, restaurants and shops offering local and artisanal products.

The advantages of having this brand:

The Petites Cités de Caractère® brand offers many benefits for the municipalities that have it. First of all, it allows them to enhance their heritage and to attract quality tourism. Visitors in search of authenticity are attracted to towns with the “Petites Cités de Caractère®” brand for discover their history, culture and local gastronomy. The brand is also an asset for the economic development of municipalities, in promoting job creation in the tourism sector and by boosting the local commercial fabric.

Our Little Cities of Character®



Arçais is the invitation to a walk in small boat, discovering a authentic village and peaceful nestled in the heart of Poitevin marsh. A place where time seems to stand still, where nature reigns in master and where the craft traditions are perpetuated.


Coulon, it’s the paradise for nature lovers, preserved landscapes and outdoor activities. In this peaceful village of Poitevin marsh, we can walk in a boat, Strolling along ou by bike and admire the beauty of canals, bridges and stone houses.


A question about Small Cities of Character®?

Melanie BOUDET

Regional coordinator of the “Petites Cités de Caractère” brand

Was this content useful to you?