1. Must-not-miss: Bressuire Castle
Welcome to the Bocage Bressuirais located 1h30 from the Marais Poitevin, from the Futuroscope and from the Puy du Fou. To get your trip to this region off to a great start, make sure you don’t miss Bressuire Castle. This castle, built in the 11th century by the Lords of Beaumont, has kept most of its fortifications comprising 700 m of ramparts and 38 towers. Stroll freely through the landscaped gardens around the ramparts and admire the breathtaking vistas over the town. A highly-original must-see here are the goats which tend to the surrounding area! When you visit the castle, you may also take in the temporary painting, photo and sculpture exhibitions (for free) which are regularly organized in the 19th-century seigniorial dwelling.
For those of you who love treasure hunts, you can head off on a Tèrra Aventura trail, the free made in Nouvelle-Aquitaine game. Here the quest takes you on a wonderful stroll known as “Sir Beaumont and his castle”.
On the agenda for budding adventurers: 1.5 km and a free one-hour geocaching session for all the family. Start off in front of the castle’s main door to follow in the footsteps of the Lord of the premises. Zabeth, one of Tèrra Aventura’s key characters and, above all, queen of History investigations, will be your guide for this adventure. The trail is a little rugged but the kids will love it, especially when they get to meet the goats!
If you’re a fan of the Middle Ages and castles, another must-not-miss is the fortified castle of Saint Mesmin in Saint-André-sur-Sèvre, west of Bressuire Castle. Especially during summer when there are loads of activities for children, it becomes kids’ kingdom!
2. Favourite event, the Highland Games
Bressuire Castle is also the magnificent backdrop for a one-of-a-kind, world-class event which takes place every 2 years in June: the Highland Games.
Perhaps you’ve never heard of the Highland Games? These are traditional Scottish games of strength. Since 2003, enthusiasts of these games have placed Bressuire on the European and international stage for this Scottish tradition. And, it’s a real competition which takes place with events such as: stone shot put (light and heavy), weight for height and tossing the caber. The sports events are complemented by Celtic music and dance enjoyed by thousands of spectators who head to Bressuire every two years especially for this weekend. Save the date for the next Games: 12 and 13 June 2021.
Did you know?
There’s another Tèrra Aventura trail in the Bocage but this time round it’s a heritage and medieval one and takes place in Mauléon, "Petite Cité de Caractère" “ Villages and Small Towns of Character” label), just 20 minutes from Bressuire on the road to Nantes.
The town of Mauléon, perched on its rocky spur, has preserved some of its medieval fortifications. “La botte secrète” (“The Secret Boot”) trail covers 3 km with 1 to 2h gameplay around Saint-Jouin Church and the district where the tanners worked. Noble companions, will you discover the secret boots? Zéroïk, Terra Aventura’s highly-temperamental character, will help you out. Good luck!