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Talk of the town - Parthenay

Talk of the town - Parthenay

Thinking of moving? Each issue we highlight a town in Poitou-Charentes to help you get to know the region. Here we take a closer look at Parthenay in Deux-Sèvres...

Saint-Jacques Gate Parthenay

Considered the capital of the Pays de Gâtine and situated on a bend of the River Thouet, Parthenay celebrates its Millenium in 2012. According to local legend, this fortified town was created by a wave of the fairy Mélusine’s wand and, however it was formed, records show that it went on to become the seat of one of the most powerful baronies in Poitou during the Middle Ages. Like other local towns, Parthenay became embroiled in the lengthy quarrels and battles between the kingdoms of England and France before finally coming under French control in 1372.

The castle that can be seen today rising from a granite promontory over the river was built in the 13th century – much of its costs and those of its fortifications were subsidised by the English under King John. The remaining ramparts, three walls that once stretched over three kilometres around the castle, the citadel and the town, date from this time along with the Porte St-Jacques to the north which welcomed many pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostello in Spain.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the town prospered hosting several major markets and was home to tanners and weavers. The charming half-timbered houses that can be seen in the lower town date back to this period and today the town remains an important centre for agriculture and logistics.


Parthenay Citadel from Saint-Paul Bridge 2


Parthenay has two markets a week on Wednesday and Saturday alongside its busy livestock market. The Wednesday market is split into two, the food market which is open from 7.30am to 12.30pm and the street market held from 8am to 6pm. The Saturday market is held from 8am to 1pm and is primarily food.



The closest airport is Poitiers with regular flights to Stansted, UK and summer flights to Edinburgh. By road, the A10 autoroute leading to Paris is just 45 minutes away with the nearest TGV station being Poitiers.



It is still possible to find renovation projects on small plots of land from around €40,000 although the market is beginning to pick up. There are still some bargains to be had in the countryside where a budget of €150,000 can get you a rural stone-built property with some land. €170,000 will buy a town house in Parthenay itself.