Fougères

That's chateau life !

The town of Fougeres, renowned for its castle, launched a publicity campaign in 2013 to underline its many assets  - That's Chateau Life, an expression meaning living in luxury. The aim was to show the true values of the third largest city in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine and to incite families and companies to settle in Fougeres. Posted on the walls of Rennes and the region, the slightly provocative campaign used striking catch lines like: “Better and cheaper housing” to stress that life in Fougeres is both more accessible and more relaxed. The idea was also to change the perception of a town mainly known for its castle.


A special campaign for businessmen was also launched reminding that with the motorway and several business centres, the town was ideal for entrepreneurs. The campaign used posters, the local press and television to deliver a simple message: ideally placed between Rennes and the seas, cheaper than other cities, Fougeres is a bustling little town and the passage of the Tour de France is another proof of this vitality.

www.fougeres-laviedechateau.fr

Web sites

The caslte life campaign, localisation - HAVAS 360 © P. Martin
1 previous stage
Population: 21,000
Sub-prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine (35)
Specialities: shoes, glass, ramaougerie (apple pastry).
Economy: shoes, food industry, furniture, mechanics, glass, electronics, computers and robotics.
Sport: AGL (football), Pays de Fougères Basket (N3), Badminton Club du pays de Fougères, Subaquatique Club Fougères (diving)
Celebrities: Juliette Drouet (Victor Hugo muse), Honoré de Balzac, Jean Guehenno (writers), Fabien Lemoine (football)
Festivals : les Flambées musicales (February), Jazz en Fougères (April), Medieval Festival (June), Festival Voix des Pays (July), Salon du pastel (August), Youth Book Fair (November)
Labels : ville d'art et d'histoire, ville fleurie (4), Cité d'Art de Bretagne.

Timeline

  • 10th century

    First mention of the Fougeres castle, at the time a simple medieval fort..
  • 1166

    Destroyed by Henry II Plantagenet, the castle is rebuilt and enlarged by Raoul II of Fougeres and becomes one of the leading strongholds for the defence of Brittany. The town is then strongly disputed between Brittany, France and England.
  • 1307

    King Philip the Fair buys the domain.
  • 1449

    The English plunder the city and spur Francis 1 of Brittany into reaction.
  • 1488

    Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier. Fougeres is definitely annexed to France.
  • 16th century

    The town loses its defensive role and industry develops, especially tannery.
  • 1793

    Fougeres falls to the Chouans but the war with the Republicans lasts until 1801.
  • 1863

    Fougeres specialises in the making of ladies shoes.
  • 1906-1907

    Hard strike in the shoemaking manufactures. Jean Jaures comes to Fougeres to support the strikers.
  • 1944

    llied bombings kill 300 and destroy the town.
Castle of Fougeres from the public garden - ©GratynLe bataillon carré - Affaire de Fougères, 1793, oil on canvas by Julien Le Blant, 1880. Université Brigham Young University de Provo, Utah.
1 previous stage
Population: 21,000
Sub-prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine (35)
Specialities: shoes, glass, ramaougerie (apple pastry).
Economy: shoes, food industry, furniture, mechanics, glass, electronics, computers and robotics.
Sport: AGL (football), Pays de Fougères Basket (N3), Badminton Club du pays de Fougères, Subaquatique Club Fougères (diving)
Celebrities: Juliette Drouet (Victor Hugo muse), Honoré de Balzac, Jean Guehenno (writers), Fabien Lemoine (football)
Festivals : les Flambées musicales (February), Jazz en Fougères (April), Medieval Festival (June), Festival Voix des Pays (July), Salon du pastel (August), Youth Book Fair (November)
Labels : ville d'art et d'histoire, ville fleurie (4), Cité d'Art de Bretagne.

Web sites

Fougères and cycling

In 1974, Fougeres hosted Etoile des Espoirs, an en end of the season race in which a 20-year-old amateur named Bernard Hinault showed extraordinary talent by finishing second of an individual time trial behind pursuit world champion Roy Schuiten. Eleven years later, early in the Tour de France, a team time trial started in Vitre and ended in Fougeres. At this stage of the race, Bernard Hinault had not yet eclipsed his rivals. But his La Vie Claire team, in which he was teaming with Greg Le Mond, made a show of strength by winning the stage to place eight riders in the top ten of the GC. The young hopeful was now at the twilight of his career. Fougeres-born independent rider Paul Thondoux rode the Tour in 1920 and only lasted two stages.

Bernard Hinault, 1980 - ©Presse Sports
1 previous stage
Population: 21,000
Sub-prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine (35)
Specialities: shoes, glass, ramaougerie (apple pastry).
Economy: shoes, food industry, furniture, mechanics, glass, electronics, computers and robotics.
Sport: AGL (football), Pays de Fougères Basket (N3), Badminton Club du pays de Fougères, Subaquatique Club Fougères (diving)
Celebrities: Juliette Drouet (Victor Hugo muse), Honoré de Balzac, Jean Guehenno (writers), Fabien Lemoine (football)
Festivals : les Flambées musicales (February), Jazz en Fougères (April), Medieval Festival (June), Festival Voix des Pays (July), Salon du pastel (August), Youth Book Fair (November)
Labels : ville d'art et d'histoire, ville fleurie (4), Cité d'Art de Bretagne.

Web sites

Places to see

Medieval castle

Sheltered by high hills at a top of rock and surrounded by marshes, a first fortified timber tower was built in the 11th century.  Destroyed in the 12th century, the wooden structure was immediately rebuilt in stone on the spot, using the same ditches. The fortifications were improved in the next four centuries, making the castle a real history book of military architecture. The Fougeres castle is one of the most imposing fortified castles in France, spreading over two hectares, and some even called it the largest fortress in Europe. It consists in three enclosures whose ramparts are perfectly preserved and while the dwellings are ruined, the towers are still standing high and proud.

Belfry:

Built in 1397 and inspired by the Flemish models observed during commercial exchanges, it was a way for the local merchants to master time. The oldest belfry in Brittany has been pacing the life of Fougeres people for 600 years.

Saint-Sulpice church:

The St Sulpice church was directly linked to the castle and its construction spread over four centuries between 1380 and 1760. In the course of time, it was enlarged to the west and its flamboyant Gothic style became more classical with the years. The church shelters a statue of Notre-Dame-des-Marais (Our lady of the marshes), for long venerated by Fougeres people.

St Leonard church:

The second parish in Fougeres was built for the local merchants and possesses the oldest stained glass windows of Brittany, dating from the 12th century.

Old Rocher Coupé quarry

Next to the castle, an old quarry also called California quarry is a pleasant site for a walk, made even more spectacular by the Turquoise colour of the pond. But the site is also a must for scuba divers as the pond is 50 metres deep.

Castle of Fougères, north ramparts : towers of Guibé, Mélusine and Gobelin. - ©OfolBelfry of Fougères – ©Luna04Western façade of Saint-Sulpice church in Fougères - ©Tango7174
1 previous stage
Population: 21,000
Sub-prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine (35)
Specialities: shoes, glass, ramaougerie (apple pastry).
Economy: shoes, food industry, furniture, mechanics, glass, electronics, computers and robotics.
Sport: AGL (football), Pays de Fougères Basket (N3), Badminton Club du pays de Fougères, Subaquatique Club Fougères (diving)
Celebrities: Juliette Drouet (Victor Hugo muse), Honoré de Balzac, Jean Guehenno (writers), Fabien Lemoine (football)
Festivals : les Flambées musicales (February), Jazz en Fougères (April), Medieval Festival (June), Festival Voix des Pays (July), Salon du pastel (August), Youth Book Fair (November)
Labels : ville d'art et d'histoire, ville fleurie (4), Cité d'Art de Bretagne.

Web sites

Balzac writes the Chouans in Fougeres

Balzac stayed in Fougeres between mid-September and late October, 1828, with the Pommereuls, whose father was a friend of Chateaubriand.


The novelist came to Brittany to research for his next book, The Chouans, in which the descriptions of the town and it surroundings is extremely precise. In so doing, he acted as much as a journalist as a writer, who refuses to set his tale in an imaginary place. One of the major settings of the novel is the castle of Marigny, which he calls La Vivietiere, which belonged to Chateaubriand's elder sister.


The novel, first published in 1829 as The Last Choua or Brittany in 1800, describes a Chouan insurrection in Fougeres, led by the Marquis of Montauran, also known as “Le Gars” (The Lad). Police minister Fouche asks an adventuress, Marie de Verneuil, to seduce the marquis but she falls in love with The Lad. An adventure and mystery novel, The Chouans  is Balzac's last early work, inspired by Walter Scott whom he adores. It was not a critical success but the writer will rewrite it several times to include it in his Human Comedy. It is also a turning point in his career as success is about to come. Here is his description of Fougeres.


“From the summit of La Pelerine the traveller's eye can range over the great valley of Couesnon, at one of the farthest points of which, along the horizon, lay the town of Fougeres. Frome here, the officers could see, to its full extent, the basin of this intervale, as remarkable for the fertility of its soils as for the variety of its aspects. Mountains of gneiss and slate rose on all sides, like an amphitheatre, hiding their ruddy flanks behind forest of oak, and forming on their declivities other and lesser valleys full of dewy freshness.” 

Balzac in his famous white gown, by Maxime Dastugue, after Louis Boulanger – Domaine public des Etats-UnisGilbert de Pemmereul was Balzac’s host and remained his friend.Illustration for Les Chouans (1829) by Honoré Balzac by E. Toudouze
1 previous stage
Population: 21,000
Sub-prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine (35)
Specialities: shoes, glass, ramaougerie (apple pastry).
Economy: shoes, food industry, furniture, mechanics, glass, electronics, computers and robotics.
Sport: AGL (football), Pays de Fougères Basket (N3), Badminton Club du pays de Fougères, Subaquatique Club Fougères (diving)
Celebrities: Juliette Drouet (Victor Hugo muse), Honoré de Balzac, Jean Guehenno (writers), Fabien Lemoine (football)
Festivals : les Flambées musicales (February), Jazz en Fougères (April), Medieval Festival (June), Festival Voix des Pays (July), Salon du pastel (August), Youth Book Fair (November)
Labels : ville d'art et d'histoire, ville fleurie (4), Cité d'Art de Bretagne.

Web sites

Jersey wearers after the stage 21

Classifications after the stage 21

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