Villiers-en-Plaine is a village with a long history. Originally, Villac was a lacustrian city In the Middle Ages, it took the name of Villiers, which became Villiers-en-Plaine in the 16th century. The feudal castle is erected in the 9th century in the present town by the Norman invaderswho became lords of the place. Shaved in 1242 by order of Saint-Louisit will be rebuilt in the 15th century by the Jourdains of Embleville. By marriage, he becomes the property of the La Forterie family from 1868 to 1954. Not far from the newly built village hall, stands a wooded park of seven hectares around the castlerebuilt in the 19th century and today town hall. Its outbuildings have been converted into a children's area and its former stables house the Georges-Louis Godeau media library. Amongst the many small local shops, the Villiers-en-Plaine wine cellar has a reputation that extends far beyond the doors of the village. To take advantage of a beautiful panorama of the Villiers region located to the north of NiortYou have to take the road to Niort to Coulonges. The cereal plain then takes shape, extending as far as the nearby Vendée.

What to see in Villiers-en-Plaine?

01. The castle-hall

They have become the lords of the localitys, the Norman invaders built in the middle of the 9th century on a slight eminence the primitive castle originally composed of four crenellated towers. His castellany will depend on both St-Maixent and Parthenay. In 1242, he was razed to the ground by order of Saint-Louisfor his lord Guy de Rochefort is a supporter of Hugues de LusignanCount of La Marche and ally of the King of England. Only the cellars remain still today. The Jourdains, lords of Embleville, Oriou (St-Maxire), des Forges (Ménigoute) and other places rebuilds it in the 15th century and protects it with fortifications defended by the old, small and large guard. The count and mayor of Niort Etienne de Villiers was the master of the place at the beginning of the 16th century. 20 November 1566, François Jourdainwhich is at the service of the Duke of Montpensier Jean de Bourbonexchange with Jean de LavalBaron de Bressuire, the 6th part of the barony of La Mothe-St-Héray against the land and seigneury of Villiers-en-Plaine. On his death, the fiefdom was given to his son Louis which pays tribute to theabbot of St-Maixent During the French Revolution, Charles Jourdain having emigrated, the family home is nationalisedand then bought back in 1795 by his wife Renée-Charlotte de Conty. The present building, which retains the south tower, the dry moat and the location of the drawbridge, was built in the mid-19th century in the spirit of the great classical castles of the 17th and 18th centuries: a court of honour framed by a main building and two wings. In 1868, the estate was transferred by marriage to Émile Gaud de La Forterie by Marie Jourdain. In 1954 it was owned by the Fathers of Chavagnes-en-Paillersa religious congregation from the Vendée, then purchased in 1962 by the City of Niort who uses it as a leisure centre. Since 1989, the Villiers-en-Plaine town hall has been located in the neoclassical monument which was renovated twenty-three years later.

02. Saint-Laurent church

The church is one of the stops on one of the routes of the The Deux-Sévres Way of St James. It was given in 1080 to the Benedictine priory of Saint Lawrence under theSaint-Cyprien de Poitiers abbey. The building was rebuilt in the 15th century. Its bell tower dates from the 19th century. The sanctuary is the place of burial of several members of the Jordan familythe lords of the parish from the 15th century onwards (see the epitaphs carved in stone and bearing their coat of arms azure with a golden lion, arms known as those of Poitou and of the mayors of Niort).

Other sights to see:

  • The old priory of La Dent from the 12th-13th centuries in Champbertrand (private)
  • The remains of the 18th century dovecote in La Garde one pillar of which is built on the base of a column from the ancient pagan temple of Ceres
  • The Gallic path of the Chevaleret from Saint-Maixent to Fontenay via Villiers (mule track used for the transport of charcoal made in the Secondigny forest and crossing the path of the sauniers)
  • The city stadium (football and basketball), close to the Plaine school, the tennis court and the football stadium. 

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