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Talk of the Town - Montmorillon

Talk of the Town - Montmorillon

Thinking of moving?  Here we visit Montmorillon in Vienne (86)... 


 Montmorillon on the River Gartempe in the Vienne is known as the ‘City of Writing and Bookmaking’, as well as the ‘Village of the Written Word’. Its attractive medieval quarter with its narrow and rather steep streets is lined with bookshops as well as those specialising in calligraphy and bookbinding. And it’s a serious business as publishing and the book trade contribute to the town’s economy, as they have done since the 18th century.

In style, it is a typical French market town with a mix of old and new, the more modern part of the town featuring all the services you would need and expect from banks to the post office and small shops. There are also a number of schools to choose from - three écoles maternelles, three écoles élémentaires, one collége and three lycées.

The town, which is 44km south-east of Poitiers, has a strong architectural story to tell with buildings dating back through the centuries to Romanesque times. These include the Notre Dame Church, built into a cliff face and known for its 12th century murals. The Romanesque cemetery chapel, now restored, is an unusual octagon shape and is modelled on the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

On a rather different note, the town has a reputation for macarons – these are nothing like the stylish colourful biscuits that are usually associated with the name but small, chunky ones that often contain a variety of other ingredients such as dried fruit, nuts and chocolate. Montmorillon’s recipe is said to be unchanged over more than 150 years and the town even has a museum dedicated to these sweet treats – the Musee de l’Amande et du Macaron (

The town is in the Gartempe Valley which is a particularly beautiful part of the world with the river flowing through wooded valleys. Fishing, especially for trout, is popular as are watersports such as kayaking. For more information: 


Wednesday mornings sees place du Maréchal Leclerc taken over by the weekly market with fresh fruit and vegetables and local producers selling everything from charcuterie to honey on site. The other market worth mentioning is the Foire des Hérolles which is about 26km from Montmorillon. It is considered one of the largest markets of its type in the southwest. It has not just food stuffs but also live animals for sale. It is held on the 29th of each month unless the 29th is a Sunday in which case it is held on the Monday.


Poitiers airport has local and international flights and is just under one hour away whilst Limoges, which also has local and international flights is a little over an hour’s journey.

By train, take the TGV from Poitiers to Paris – journey times can be as a little as 90 minutes. By car, take the A10 from Paris.