Situated not far away from the historical centre of Rennes, Fougères is a city where history meets literature. This city that has one of the biggest medieval castles in Europe and was Victor Hugo's and Honoré de Balzac's favorite place in Brittany. But even if the castle is the central and most emblematic place in Fougères, this is not the only thing that you can visit in this city. Here, you can also see many other beautiful and interesting buildings such as the Church of St-Sulpice, the Victor Hugo Theater, and you can have a splendid view of the city from the Public gardens. And this is why Fougères is a place that you absolutely need to visit in Brittany.
In the Middle Ages, Fougères was a strategically very important city. When the city’s wooden castle was destroyed in 1166 by the English soldiers, Raoul II, a baron of Fougères, started immediately to build a new one. The construction began in the 12th century, and this castle was built constantly and enlarged until the 15th century. But eventually, the castle lost its military role at the end of the 15th century. Listed as a French historical monument since 1862, today this medieval castle is conquered by thousands and thousands of tourists. The Church of St-Sulpice is another place in Fougères that is definitely worth visiting. Also, a French historical monument since 1910, this Gothic-style church from 1600 has two remarkable medieval Breton altarpieces and beautiful windows made in 16th century by Pierre Symon, a local artist from Fougères.
In the 16th century, Fougères was a rich and prosperous city thanks to the linen manufacturers. Highly industrialized in the 19th century, this city was even known as the world capital of women’s shoes. But unfortunately, because of the strong competition, between 1945 and 1968, this branch of industry was completely extinguished in Fougères. As a memory of those prosperous years stands the Victor-Hugo Theater. Built in 1886 and designed by a local architect Jean-Marie Laloy, this theatre has a monumental façade decorated with the masks of Tragedy and Comedy. Closed in 1970 for the security reasons, after the years of renovation, the Victor-Hugo Theatre was finally open to the public in December 2001. Next to this theater, you can find many bars and restaurants where you can have dinner or drink after the show. In the “Creperie de Theatre”, you can get a traditional Breton pancake and glace of cold cider.
Fougères, the city where history meets literature, has become worldwide famous thanks to the French writers Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac. They were more than in love with this city and especially with its Public gardens. Balzac even wrote about this park in his first novel “Les Chouans”. And for a good reason. The Public gardens are a place that offers a beautiful view over the city, its medieval castle and the Church of St-Sulpice. In 1913, this garden was even classified as a natural site and a monument of artistic character. The entrance to this garden is free, and it is open every day from 8 am to 10 pm, and in summer until midnight.
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