~ Explore the Area ~

Situated in the heart of the Valley Thouet between Marais Poitevin and Saumur, this Small City of Character charms visitors with both its architectural heritage and with its natural scenery, its wooded countryside.

The medieval town is known as the "Vallis Aurea" which means "Golden Valley" or "Clear Valley". Nowadays there are still many vestiges of the Augustinian abbey founded in the 10th century. Its abbey Saint-Pierre is one of the major Romanesque buildings in Poitou..

The commercial activity of the city developed in the late Middle Ages, around the covered market, at the heart of the medieval city. The economic boom has intensified in the 19th century with the arrival of the railway. The geological resources of the area, both limestone and granite, have led to the development of the lime industry in the 19th century. Currently, the cement factory of Airvault produces nearly 1 million tons of cement per year.

  • The underground fountain in the heart of old town is one of the sights not miss, under the forecourt of the abbey church of Saint-Pierre. The key is available at the Tourist Office, located at 48 rue des Halles, during its opening hours.
  • The abbey church of Saint-Pierre features eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth century architecture. Note the presence of a barrel organ, a rare instrument, there are only 7 in France. A guide will show you the church and demonstrate the organ during the summer season.
  • The museum Jacques Guidez, housed in the former abbey, provides collections of local ethnography. These include, among others, the class room of yesteryear and a room with old toys.
  • For fans of country walks, the lavoir circuit (public washing places) around Soulièvres delights walkers. The Grand Prairie of Soulièvres is the favourite place of relaxation for families.
  • It’s also possible to visit the Old Castle and its lime kiln, on request to the owner.
  • This Small City of Character includes small steep streets in the medieval centre.

The Abbey of Airvault is a monument situated in the town of Airvault (Deux-Sèvres, Poitou-Charentes). It is an attraction for tourists staying in the region.

With important vestiges of its abbey formerly located on the way to Saint Jacques de Compostela, the town of Airvault (Deux-Sèvres) forms a major touristic and cultural center of Poitou Charente for all lovers of history and medieval architecture.

The abbey Saint-Pierre, still intact, is in itself a landmark of the Poitou Romanesque, noteworthy for its carved decorations. In the choir and in the nave and on the façade, capitals, medallions and statuettes draw the attention of the curious. The richness of its furniture, much of which is registered, is also a major asset to the abbey. It contains amongst others a mechanical barrel organ from the nineteenth century, which is exceptional, but also a wooden lectern eagle from the late seventeenth century. Furthermore it holds the cenotaph from the tomb of Pierre de Saine Fontaine, the founder who died in 1110 at Airvault and who established the rule of St. Augustine.

Unfortunately, during the Revolution a road was pierced through the abbey, separating its convent buildings. Several buildings are still visible, like the room called the "vat", the "prison" (old fortified gate), underground rooms, the fourteenth-century chapel and especially the abbey house which houses the municipal museum Jacques Guidez since 1975. In a pleasant and wonderful setting, this museum dedicated to the arts and traditions of the people enables large and small to dive into the heart of the daily life of past centuries. Temporary exhibitions are regularly organized, as well as entertainment for children and adults.

The Vernay Bridge is a monument in the town of Airvault (Deux-Sèvres, Poitou-Charentes). It is an attraction for tourists staying in the region.

The peculiarity of the town of Airvault (Deux-Sèvres) is in featuring two medieval bridges at very short distance: the Bridge of Soulièvres built between the twelfth and fourteenth century and the one of Vernay. Le Vernay Bridge provided a connection between the abbey and the castle of Vernay by crossing the Thouet. Its style, often described as Romanesque, is actually characteristic of constructions of the Angevin Empire. With 120 m in length and its 11 semicircular arches, this imposing monument contributes to making Airvault a town of rich and varied cultural heritage.

The Castle of Airvault is a monument in the town of Airvault (Deux-Sèvres, Poitou-Charentes). It is an attraction for tourists staying in the region..

Enriching the already considerable medieval heritage of the town of Airvault (Deux-Sèvres), the medieval Old Castle still overlooks the town center from its imposing towers. Well-preserved remains form a representative ensemble of military architecture of the twelfth and thirteenth century with its ramparts, its parapets and arrow slits, not to mention its two towers. The fortified southwest gate reveals the remains of a drawbridge and a portcullis. The main house situated in the courtyard dates from the sixteenth century, this now holds a crêperie.

The castle is classified a historical monument since 2007.

There are also other castles to be found in the municipality of Airvault. The Castle of Vernay, which is private property, and the one of Soulièvres which was destroyed in the middle of the twentieth century. There are still some buildings left. The municipal “salle de fêtes” (party hall) is now installed on the premises of Soulièvres.