With over a thousand years of history, Fougeres boasts a magnificent C12th moated castle in addition to several other historic monuments and beautiful gardens, which in turn have inspired many prominent authors including Victor Hugo, Châteaubriand, Balzac and Flaubert. Fougeres is thus an important town for Art and History. Balzac, for example, chose Fougeres as the setting for his masterpiece ‘Les Chouans,’ in 1828 and Victor Hugo wrote ‘Quatre-vingt-treize’ when brought to Fougeres by his mistress, Juliette Drouet.
Fougeres is situated on a hill above the Nançon River, in the Ille-et-Vilaine department of the Brittany region.
40km north east of Rennes, near the ‘frontier’ with Normandy. Dinard airport can be reached in 80mins, Nantes airport in 2h and Rennes airport in 50mins. The nearest ferryport is St Malo which can be reached in 80 mins.
For centuries Fougères was an important frontier fortress and faced many battles. In the C13th century, for example, Raoul II led a revolt of the Breton barons against Henry II Plantagenet, King of England and Duke of Normandy so in 1166, Henry II seized the city and destroyed the castle. Luckiliy it was then immediatly rebuilt by Raoul, and is still standing today on the right bank of the Nancon. Sitting between 2 huge granite cliffs, the castle and its 13 towers is surrounded by thick protective walls, a treacherous moat full of weirs and glorious gardens. It is said to be the largest castle in Europe.
Fougeres also made its mark in history through its crystal-works, founded in 1645 due to the town having the essential factors of a sandy ground, a forest and ferns, and then its shoe industry, started in 1852 but which is now almost extinct. And also through being a stronghold for ‘salt smugglers.’ During the Middle Ages, salt was heavily taxed when imported from the Breton regions to the rest of France and so salt smugglers would creep along the walls of Fougeres with confiscated salt to sell to other regions.
Every Saturday is market day, the Forêt de Fougères, just north of the town is ideal for walking (there are numerous neolithic monuments to pass by), cycling and swimming as there is a lake (St François Lake) and in the summer there are regular concerts held in the castle, which also offers guided tours throughout the year.
To view the sights within the town itself, the electric tourist train is the best mode of transport. Sights include
An elegant, granite belfry constructed in 1397; one of only three in Brittany, that serves as the focal point of the weekend market, the tiny museum on Rue Nationale, the Place aux Arbes, which offers stunning views of the castle, the castle itself, which is open June to September, the Saint-Leonard Church, which was started in the C12th and then finished with an exuberant gothic style, the frescoe wall with its mirror image of the town, the Place du Theatre with its C19th theatre, ancient wooden houses and La Porte Notre-Dame, a substantial fortified entrance gate to the town.
Food & Drink
La Ramouagerie (the cooking of mixed apples and sweet cider for 48h) is one tradition the whole town takes part in. Throughout the night, villagers sing and dance in order to stay awake and keep stirring the mixture to make sure the apple does not stick to the bottom of the copper basin; “on ramaouge” they cry. It is a wonderful excuse for a festival.
- Tante Suzette, 1 place du théâtre, 2 rue de la Pinterie, tel: 02 99 99 88 30
- La Taverne de Maître Kanter, 3 place de l’Europe, tel: 02 99 94 4040
- Le Saint Leonard, 20 rue Nationale, tel: 02 99 94 36 23
- Le Haute Seve, 37 boulevard Jean Jaurès, tel: 02 99 94 23 39
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Fougères. We have a large network of partners in Brittany. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Brittany matching your requirements. Do not hesitate to contact us to find out more about our selection of properties for sale near Fougères.