GETAWAY AROUND THE WAY OF ST JAMES
The town of Melle and its surroundings are labelled an area of art and history for the richness of the heritage and their landscapes full of history. Pilgrimage routes dotted with Romanesque churches, passing by the mines dug under the town or even the magnificent village centres, this escapade promises surprising and exciting discoveries.
Exploring the Melle region !
The weather forecast for the weekend was good. The three of us, including Christine, booked the very cosy gite with character La Petite Tour Carrée in Melle, which we thought was perfect with its heated swimming pool and jacuzzi. The Melle region is labelled a Pays d’Art et d’Histoire®, which suggested there was lots to discover. On the Friday morning, we started by visiting the town. It’s a peaceful place, historically and culturally rich. There is lots to see, with the oldest silver mines open to the public in Europe, the three magnificent Romanesque churches, the ramparts, the Hôtel de Ménoc, the Baltard inspired covered market and the Chemin de la Découverte and its lush arboretum. We thought it was fabulous and would love to live there... We had lunch at the famous Les Glycines restaurant, just by the market, before a trip to Chef-Boutonne, Petite Cité de Caractère® and full of charm, where you can discover the fine washhouses and the château of Javarzay. Back in Melle, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at L'Argentière before going back to our gite.
Our recommandation !
# MELLE AND ROMAN ART
Art lovers, those of a curious nature or pilgrims on the Way of St James... don’t miss the 3 remarkable Romanesque churches in Melle: Saint-Savinien, Saint-Pierre and Saint-Hilaire, listed as a UNESCO world cultural heritage of humanity. Deux-Sèvres is home to some delightful examples of Romanesque art, which you can discover on a walk.
Historical discovery !
10 minutes from Melle, we found the majestic Royal Abbey of Celles- sur-Belle. Devastated during the wars between Catholics and Protestants, it was rebuilt from the middle of the 17th century. Its French gardens are splendid, perfect for our photos. You just can’t stay in Deux-Sèvres without trying some of the famous local cheeses! A quick stop and a few purchases at the Maison des fromages de Chèvre was, therefore, required, before an excellent lunch on the shaded terrace at the l’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye. In the afternoon, we visited the Musée du Poitou protestant and a walk along the sentier huguenot reminded us of the terrible history of the Protestants, from the Reformation to exile, including the dragonnades policy. The Melle region is a real journey through 1,000 years of French History. A real gem that you’ll want to visit again and again!
Did you know ?
# HISTORY OF PROTESTANTISM
The sentier huguenot, 6 km long, gives you a real insight into Protestant history and, more particularly, the persecution. The Huguenot cross, a rallying symbol for Protestants, marks the route. On the trail, several family graves mark the hedgerow landscape.
WHERE TO SLEEP AND EAT, WHAT TO DO?
Dive into the Melle region and its historical heritage !