Saint-Gelais at the Peril of the Dragons
St-Gelais offers a wide view over the Sèvre Niortaise. On a hillside, the village, whose 1st lord was Hugues de Lusignan, nestles around its church, temple and castle. The sanctuary, built in 1109, dominates the valley, as does the Renaissance castle built by the Protestant Charles V de St-Gelais. The cup and basket of the Lord's Supper carved into the ridge of its south gable bear witness to the fact that Calvinist worship took place here until 1643. From 1681 onwards, the terrible actions of King Louis XIV's dragoons decimated the ranks of the Protestants. A new temple was rebuilt in 1844. Don't miss the Mélusine fountain, a contemporary nod to St-Gelais' legendary connection with the most famous character in Poitou.
Attractions include the 12th-15th-century church of St Gelais, Renaissance château, Protestant temple, dwelling, heritage path, wash-houses and the Futaie meadow.