Located east of the forest of Mervent, between Fontenay-le-Comte and the mediaeval town of Vouvant, Foussais-Payré is proud to have won the "Small town of Great Character" award
Foussais, the little sister of Fontenay
Like Fontenay-le-Comte, Foussais-Payré is a town dominated by Renaissance architecture, a sign of the economic boom that saw the towns prosper at that time.
Discover the architecture of the Renaissance
Foussais-Payré mainly developed in the 16th century, thanks to the flourishing activity of clothiers, tanners and weavers. They left their mark on many buildings, homes and houses of character.
The Renaissance home of the merchant François Laurens, the Grand Logis and its elegant round window as well as the Sainte-Catherine auberge, are the most beautiful examples.
On the Place de la Boule d'Or, you'll find the market hall, which dates from the same period, home to the fairs and markets instituted by Henry IV, which set the rhythm of the life of the village to this day. In olden times its wool, flax and leather products were the subject of heated negotiations on the merchant's square.
From the old priory which houses the current town hall, to the Romanesque church of Saint-Hilaire to the town gates, via the Protestant temple, Foussais-Payré will delight lovers of religious heritage.
Follow the heritage trail to see all the architectural treasures of this charming village. A Tourist Information Office is at your disposal, in summer, at the Espace Paul de Vendée, near the church.
The unusual shops of Foussais-Payré
During your visit to Foussais-Payré, don't miss the artisanal chocolate factory "Les ateliers du goût." Who could resist the urge to open the door of this delightful boutique, full of chocolates? Located in the town centre, opposite the church doors.
Succumb to the most delicious pastries and other delicacies, lovingly made by Christophe, the chocolate-pastry chef of Foussais-Payré. Workshops, making chocolates, macaroons, and biscuits are available for young and old alike all year round. No-one leaves without their own sweet creation!
Lovers of antiques and bric-a-brac will love the flea market shop in the village, located close to the church. The store window, decorated with wooden panels, invites you on a journey back in time.
The astute bargain hunter will find a host of delights - a craquelured fish, a dinky Citroen, a bohemian crystal vase or a pretty porcelain plant pot...
Wood carvings in the village
Every year, in July, a chainsaw sculpture exhibition takes place. The event brings together sculptors from all over France to give new life to old tree stumps. The most remarkable of these monumental works are exhibited at different places around the village of Foussais-Payré.
You can admire them all year round. The sculptures change from one year to the next — a good excuse to come back regularly to visit!
Don't leave Foussais-Payré without a stop at Payré! The second hamlet of the village has a few surprises for you!
See the amazing lime kilns built around 1860 by the Vendée company Houillères and Verrerie. Listed on the inventory of historical monuments, they are constructed on two levels, the first surmounted by a small octagonal tower.
The production of lime, derived from limestone, and widely used in the building trade, lasted until 1914.
Enjoy a short detour in the surrounding countryside to see some beautiful Renaissance homes (private properties) such as those of La Touche, La Riallière (the Court of Payré-sur-Vendée), La Fournière, and Sérigny.
Don't miss the "Liberty tree," a huge plane tree 5.50 meters in circumference, planted just after the French Revolution.