The gardens of the Breccia, in the past Place de la Brècheare one of the lungs of the city centre of Niort. Today, this esplanade is part of the in Western France. From fairground to a parking, parking in gardensIt took a few years before the Gardens of the Breach are transformed in a central public space in the heart of the city of Niort.

The history of Place de la Brèche

Philippe Wall

Fairground, in the first instance

In the 18th century, the Place de la Brèche has become the the nerve centre of trade in the region and hosted until the 20th century large agricultural and industrial fairs. Indeed, during these years, mechanisation of agricultural tools is being modernised, at the fairs, you will find threshing machines, mowers, sorters and presses. 44 editions will take place on the Place de la Brèche until the municipality decides to move the latter on a larger and more suitable site to meet the increase in exhibitors but also for the visitors with easier access and parking.

Did you know that?

The origin of the appellation place of "la Brèche" would come of a breach that would have been opened in the walled enclosure of the city at the time to the extension of the royal fairs.

Parking, in a second phase

In 1974, after the trade fair was moved that this place will become a car park. It could accommodate about 1,000 cars, which was an advantage for a city to have a device with such a large capacity. It was a car park for 32 years because In 2006, a new face took shape for this central location.


Now known as Les Jardins de la Brèche


And the green followed the tar... Revitalize the Niort city centreThat was the initial idea, and the challenge has been met! Today, it is one of the largest squares in Western France. After several years of renovation, the square is transformed into a garden with 4 hectares of planted areas. The city of Niort, committed to the environmenthas set up a sprinkler system of these gardens by rainwater recovered on site.

The Breach is divided into 2 parts. At the top, you will find a cinema complex with the Mega CGR. At the bottom of the Breach, it is the pedestrian esplanade. Bordered by café and restaurant terraces, you will then have a wide choice for satisfy your taste buds! It is also access to the main streets leading into the city centre by direction of Halles de Niort and the Dungeon.


In the middle, you will find the Gardens of the Breach, which have become a place of relaxation par excellence. You can come and stroll through the different thematic gardens: the garden of scents; the garden of the four seasons and the garden of insects and birds, a biodiversity refuge. You can also come to play petanque or have fun at the water games on the 500m² esplanade dedicated exclusively to this with slides, turnstiles, basketball hoops etc.


It is also a a place to meet and share. You will find many picnic tables, in the sun or in the shade. This is the a favourite meeting place for families and young people.

It is also a place for cultural event important. Throughout the year, you'll find a wide range of numerous walks, shows, concerts and exhibitions of all kinds. A meeting place for all generations!


The facilities of the Jardins de la Brèche :

  • Several playgrounds
  • An underground car park with 530 spaces
  • A cinema
  • Drinking water points
  • Thematic gardens
  • Picnic tables

Meeting the Ladies of the Breach


At the top of the Breach, meet the "Ladies of the Breach", by the plastic artist Franck Ayroles.

This urban sculpture represents 2 multicultural women two and a half metres high sitting on a bench. This work is highly symbolic as it evokes exchange, communication between peoples, communities, tolerance symbolised by two women of different colours conversing. They bring together the northern and southern hemispheres.

"This sculpture has considerable importance in my artistic life because it sums up what I have been defending through my work for more than 25 years.

Franck Ayroles

These ladies invite the passer-by to sit with them, for a break, a discussion, or a photo. Its ladies are an original landmark at the top of the Breach Gardens. Since its installation and thanks to the social networks, the clichés of the "The 'Ladies of the Breach' travel the world and raised the profile of the city of Niort.

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