Visit the town between land and water. Discover Moncontour’s rich history. Why were there over 100 washhouses in the 19thcentury? Why is there a defense tower here?

A battleground located between the Duchy of Aquitaine and Anjou, Moncontour gained importance as early as the 11th century with the establishment of its first fortress. From Foulque Nerra to Coligny to Du Guesclin, great figures from French history have sealed their destinies here; Classified since 2017 as a “Station Verte”, France’s first ecotourism label, gently stroll through Moncontour to encounter authentic, unspoilt landscapes.

In a beautiful carder of greenery, a magnificent lake offers a variety of activities linked to water and family relaxation: swimming, kayaking and pedalos, waterslides, water ski lifts, fishing or even, mini-golf.

Admire the traditional residences that succeed opulent bourgeois houses to form the village’s artery of life, established on the former ford crossing of the Dive. In the middle of this street, near the old Dive, a magnificent “renaissance” window known as the fenêtre Coligny, reminds us that the admiral, leader of the Protestants, spent the night here that preceded the terrible defeat of his troops in 1569.

Le Donjon de Moncontour

A masterpiece of the Middle Ages, the famous site of the battle pitting Protestants against Catholics in the royal army in 1569. This XIth century keep, built by Foulques Nerra, was used to protect Mirebeau and the citadel of Loudun.

The view is breathtaking from its 25-metre height!

It is a beautiful 11th century keep built by Foulques Nerra. It was used to protect Mirebeau and Loudun. Climb up the top of the keep and enjoy the breathtaking view (25 meters high)! Book your visit with the Moncontour Tourist Information Board.

A little history…

In 1569, the old keep witnessed the famous Battle of Moncontour, as the Wars of Religion raged. The Barony of Moncontour then belonged to the de Chastillon family, notably Claude II, “chevalier de l’ordre de Saint-Michel, un des cent gentilshommes du roi en 1557”. The monastic house of the Abbey of Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes, then in the process of being abandoned, was burnt down by Protestants in 1569. The Catholics, led by the Duc d’Anjou, future Henri III, advised by Gaspard de Saulx, Seigneur des Tavannes, confronted Protestant troops led by Admiral de Coligny. The first skirmish took place on September 30, 1569, at Saint-Clair, where the Protestant troops were weakened. They retreated to Moncontour. Then, as on a chessboard, the pawns are put in place, and the battle of Moncontour can begin:

“on the 2nd, the Duc d’Anjou, who had slept at Mazeuil, headed for the ford of Tibets, where the royal army passed on the left bank of the Dive. Coligny, finding himself too weak, had wanted to head for Airvault to avoid battle; but the German reistres, whose pay was late, had refused to follow him. On October 3, the two armies met half a league from Moncontour, the Protestants to the north and the Catholics to the south. The Catholics were victorious, and the Protestants had lost a large number of combatants.”

Coligny, wounded, retreated. His army of nearly 17,000 men was decimated.

Lavoirs Trail

Moncontour, a thousand-year-old stronghold brimming with watering holes, wash-houses, parks and ancient stones… The wash-houses trail is a beautiful walk set in the heart of a green setting bathed by the River Dive.

The wash-houses trail begins in the communal park and is laid out over approximately 2,000 meters. Discovery panels accompany you along the way.

Moncontour is a charming village with many wash-houses, parks and ancient stones. The wash-house trail is a beautiful 2 km walk for all the family.

Opening: all year round
1st Sunday in August: Animation “Les Lavandières”
Tarif:free access
Tél.: 05 49 98 94 94