Bessines, between hillside and marsh
Developed around the former estate of Bassinius, a wealthy Gallo-Roman landowner, Bessines lies at the crossroads of the Aunis and Poitou regions. Bordered by the Bief Jaron and the Vieille Sèvre, this rural commune nestles on a hillside overlooking the ancient Golfe des Pictons. Its Romanesque church, a stopover on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela, and its 3 harbours are your gateway to the Marais Poitevin. Bessines has played host to a number of personalities from the visual arts and the 7th art, the most famous of whom is Jean Richard, the only actor in the world to have played all of Georges Simenon's Maigret commissioners. He was born in Bessines in 1921, at the Pierre Levée manor house (a 15th-century private property).
Things to see: St-Caprais church and its rood beam, l'Homme de Bessines (green men 86 cm high), Grand Pruneau dovecote-porch...
Things to do: Angelica festival in May.