Highly acclaimed French writer Michel Houellebecq might have given Niort the title of ‘France’s ugliest town’ but don’t let the review deter you from discovering beautiful sights and historical landmarks in its vicinity. The city of Niort is located in the western region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the part of Deux-Sevres. Niort lies near the banks of the Sevre Niortase River. Being the fourth financial center of France, the city is home to 53,000 citizens.
Donjon de Niort
Fans of medieval buildings and architectures would be thrilled to visit the Donjon de Niort. The structure was built by the English king Henry the second after his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is composed of two 12th century, 28-meter structures connected to smaller buildings added during the 1400s. Inside of the fortified Donjon are gardens, parade grounds, and houses.
Musee Bernard D’Agesci
Bernard D’Agesci was an artist born and raised in the city of Niort. He was about to become a member of the Academie in Paris when the French Revolution started and prompted him to go back to his hometown. He is responsible for establishing the first library, museum and botanical garden in the city. The present museum, which is named after D’Agesci, houses the history of education, natural history, and fine art wings.
Tourists that are a fan of old towns would love to visit Old Niort. Spanning two hills, this region of the city is home to old houses and sculptures that was built back in the 15th or 16th century. The house across l’Hotel de Chaumont was the birthplace of Louis XVI’s second wife, Francois d’Aubigne.
In the middle of Old Niort is the location of a 16th-century hall called Le Pilori. The Renaissance-styled building served as Niort’s town hall up until the French Revolution. For a time, the structure was as a bookshop and at present, it houses art exhibitions.
On the edge of the city of Niort is a region of marshland that is rich in nature and history. The wetter part of the marshes has even been dubbed “Green Venice.” Other than drifting leisurely on the marshland waterways, tourists can also take walks through footpaths and across wooden bridges to see stone cottages or explore the forests which are mainly composed of ash, alder, and poplar trees.
Within the marshlands, the Maison du Marais Poitevin, a historic mansion, is also open for visits. Inside, there are five exhibition rooms where animated projections narrating the history of the estate could be viewed. Some of the projections include the people’s livelihood, fishing culture, and boating.
La Coulee Verte
Similar to Central Park in New York, the city of Niort also has a park in the heart of the town. La Coulee Verte is 15 hectares of quays, banks, river islands, and bridges on the Sevre Niortase river. A beautiful area that combines city structures and natural setting make taking walks on the park, a relaxing experience. The main landmarks of the city like the church of Notre Dame and Saint Andre are visible, making the park an ideal place for taking tourist photos.