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MENIGOUTE and the Gâtine area

Situated between the open countries of the Poitou and the beaches in Vendée, the Gâtine is an area of granite, hills and fields, criss-crossed by hedges.  The river Thouet, a tributary of the Loire, irrigates the area.  Local heritage is made up of Romanesque churches, castles and typical traditional granite houses.  The large granite boulders attract as natural curiosities which have given rise to myths and legends.

In Gâtine, there is little or no trace of human occupation before the first century.  However still visible is the site in Louin, with its hypogeum, it is one of the rare exceptions which dates back to the Gallo-roman period.  The area started to become populated from the 11th Century. Monks were encouraged to the area by chateaux owners and villages grew up around priories. Romanesque churches were built along the St Jacques de Compostelle route and several medieval bridges can still be found crossing the river Thouet, for example, in Airvault and Gourgé.  The church Saint-Eulalie in Secondigny with its massif octagonal spire is a fine example of one of the churches which was built in the 12th Century on granite.
Natural heritage :
Magnificent landscapes, lakes, river Vonne, charming paths....
A bocage landscape where cattle breeding is the main farming resource.

Historic heritage :In the Ménigoute district or "canton," created in 1790, about 4500 inhabitants are living now in 11 rural municipalities whose Ménigoute is the main town (less than 900 inhabitants). The Greenwich meridian cuts right across the village, situated at the southern limit of the Armorican system.

• Jean Boucard Chapel.
XVIth century : Jean Boucard Chapel, one of the last jewels of the Flamboyant style in Deux-Sèvres area.



• The cross "hosannière"
In the middle of the "place des cloîtres" it is a stone cross, center of an ancient churchyard.
A small sundial is visible on one of this cross sides.

• Castle Boucard
XVth century castle, today shelters a rural traditions Museum.



• Close to the parish church, is an ancient roman church (XIth century) the first religious construction in Ménigoute. Recently restored by the Ménigoute's municipality, it welcomes conferences and artists exhibitions

THE SURRONDINGS OF MENIGOUTE

Close to Ménigoute, Mouton-Village is the second word for Vasles, a village whose traditional sheep breeding is at the root of a development project.
Ménigoute is also part of the larger territory of Parthenay country of a famous cattle breed : the "Parthenaise" known for its excellent flesh.