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Val-du-Mignon: several communes with a rich heritage

Come and discover the incredible heritage of Usseau, Antigny and Olbreuse!



Culturel, Historique

Usseau is a crossroads between the Aunis plain, the Marais Poitevin and the sea, and derives from Ussena, meaning a hillock planted with vines. Part of the canton of Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon, the commune comprises 5 hamlets known locally as "les écarts": Antigny, Le Grand Breuil, Olbreuse, Le Plénisseau and Ussolière. Remains of several ancient sites have been uncovered during trenching, gardening and ploughing. A former Huguenot centre, Usseau is the birthplace of Eléonore Desmier, who was born in Olbreuse in 1639. Through intermarriage, her descendants can be found in seventeen European dynasties, hence her nickname of the grandmother of Europe. In 2019, Usseau will join forces with Priaires and Thorigny-sur-le-Mignon to form the new commune of Val-du-Mignon and become its administrative centre.

-> Unmarked route

Val-du-Mignon: several communes with a rich heritage

Distance : 5.3 km

Step 1: Église Saint-Pierre

A Romanesque church dating back to the 12th century, it has undergone several phases of alteration: sculpted capitals from the 14th century in the apse, and restoration of the bell tower in the 19th century, for example. Interesting features include 11th-13th century sarcophagi, funerary slabs and a double-vessel baptismal font dating from the early 17th century.

Step 2: Lavoir du Bourg

Here we find a fairly rich washhouse dating from 1900, with three stone walls, a tiled roof and a floor that can be adjusted according to the height of the water.

Step 3: Moulin à eau d'Antigny

This water mill dates back to the 19th century. Other mills can be found in neighbouring villages such as Ussolière.

Step 4: Château d'Olbreuse

The building we see today dates back to the 14th and especially the 18th century. In fact, the building has evolved considerably over the centuries. The original architectural plan featured four towers flanking three wings of the castle. Two of the towers have survived, and one of them still bears the marks of its defensive architecture. This was the birthplace of Eleonore Desmier d'Olbreuse, nicknamed the grandmother of Europe (thanks to the various marriages of her descendants). It is privately owned, but guided tours are available during the summer.

Step 5: Moulin Joyeux

This windmill dates back to 1826. It can also be found in the village of Ussolière.

Step 6: Centre culturel Pierre-Henri Mitard

Don't hesitate to visit the exhibition retracing the various archaeological discoveries from the Usseau site (Merovingian cemetery) and the incredible story of the d'Olbreuse family. Pierre-Henri Mitard was a historian who was very involved in the historical research linked to the discoveries of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The site is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 3pm to 6pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 12.30pm.

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