Valley of Histories
Religious and historic sites
Founded by Richard the Lion heart the priory is worth a detour. Its exceptional architecture is intact with a chapel and monastic buildings, the chapter house, refectory, kitchens and guest rooms, making it easy to relive the everyday life of the Monks.
The chapel, with remarkable acoustics, frequently hosts concerts. An exceptional presentation of the treasures of Grandmont, allows a virtual tour of this building thanks to unique photographic techniques and 3D filming.
The Holy town visited by Jean Paul II in 1996.
Saint Laurent-sur-Sevre is known as the “ Holy Town of the Vendée”. Its impressive Basilica dominating the skyline was built on the ruins of an 11th century church and houses the grave of the preacher St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. Every year pilgrims come to visit the grave of Father Montfort and the charming village.
A narrow bridge crosses the river on the outskirts of the town which was built in 1879 by Gustave Eiffel (creator of Eiffel Tower).
Saint-Michel-Mont-Mercure is the highest community in the Vendée. The most spectacular view point is from the top of the church tower rising to over 290m above sea level. Accessible via its staircase of 199 steps, it’s well worth the climb to admire the surrounding countryside.
The church tower’s surmounted by the statue of the archangel St Michel which was fully restored in September 2013. An orientation table can be found near to the church.
The Abbaye of the Grainetière
The Abbey of the Grainetière is built in the heart of the Herbiers countryside in 1130.
It houses a dozen monks accompanied by an association who strive to support this listed building.
The Chapel Saint-Sauveur
The Chapel Saint-Sauveur is built around the remains of the old church, and is today converted into a cultural centre of contemporary art. It houses a permanent exhibition of exceptional embroidery created by Nicole Renard. This 140-meter canvas represents 24 years of work and extraordinary know-how. The Chapel also offers a unique scenographic device which reveals the restoration and the different elements of the magnificent altarpiece of the seventeenth century.
The sanctuary of La Salette
The Sanctuary of Salette is a picturesque example of religious architectural and a place of pilgrimage of the Virgin Mary. Nestling on the hillside overlooking the courtyard of the “Petite Maine ”, these different constructions have influenced the parish life of the late nineteenth century ... It represents the apparition of the Virgin Mary to the children of La Salette in the Alps in 1846.
Opened in 1947 in an eighteenth century dwelling house later transformed into a castle in the nineteenth century, this Protestant Museum of France presents a collection of manuscripts, paintings and objects related to the Reformation.