Site: Town, Castle, Belfry
Although the most prominent attraction in town is the Medieval castle, there are a number of other sites from the Medieval period of Fougères that make for an interesting Circuit Découvert. The castle, more correctly a castle fort, is the biggest of its kind for Medieval Europe and one of the most imposing in France. Also of particular note is the town’s Medieval belfry, one of only three still standing in Brittany and in fact the oldest of the three. Substantial portions of the ramparts are still standing, but only one of the town’s four gates remain in place.
Facilities & Visiting Fougères:
The self-guided Circuit Découvert de la Ville can be done throughout the day, and all year round. The castle is open throughout the year, but opening hours vary in different seasons. For example, the castle is closed on Mondays from October to April but open on Mondays during July and August; check the website for specific details.
Although following the circuit is fairly easy, the Medieval points of interest are not all on the same level. The belfry and the church are situated on a much higher part of the town while the castle and the beautiful Medieval houses are on a lower level. The steps and paths between these different levels can be quite steep.
Where is Fougères?
Fougères is a large town in the Ille-et-Vilaine department of Brittany, north western France.
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Archaeology Travel’s Tip for visiting Medieval Fougères:
If it is open, I thoroughly recommend visiting the Tourist Office and getting a free map of the Circuit Découvert. This self-guided tour takes in all the important Medieval features of Fougères. If the Tourist Office is not open, there are a number of large information panels, with good maps in most of the more central car parks. From these the circuit of Medieval attraction is clearly and well sign-posted. Follow brown sign-posts for Circuit Découvert de la Ville, or watch out for small circular discs that are embedded in the road, with an image of a shoe on them. Why a shoe? Historically, shoemaking was one of the principal industries in the town.
The circuit can be completed in a brisk two hours, but that would probably not include touring inside the castle. A more leisurely tour, including the castle, of which there is a lot to see, and a stop for lunch could take the better part of a day. There are a number of restaurants and cafés along the route. And of course having a traditional crêpe at one of a number of Crêperies along the way is highly recommended!
Photographs of Medieval Fougères