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The public gardenof Fougéres offers an exceptional view of the castle and the medieval town.Initially built as a place for strolling, the municipality,taking advantage of the great views over the origins of the town from its belvederes, has given it a great functional diversity, as a place of relaxation as well as a recreational and scientific space. The demolition of part of the walled enclosure opened up the upper part of the city above the suburbs, ventilated the adjoining streets and pulled out the cemetery of Saint Leonard, making it possible to create the city´s first public garden thanks to the initiative of the mayor who managed to have the site classified as a natural site of artistic character.Laid out on three levels, taking advantage of the unevenness of the terrain, like an English garden, the upper level is the origin of the current gardens, known as the Square of Trees.
This square merges magnificent views with the architecture of the neo-Gothic church of St Leonard, patron saint of prisoners, whose rose window is inspired by the one in Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.In between is the LerouxSquare, a French-style garden with tree-lined streets enclosing a large granite fountain and an old-fashioned pavilion.The lower part, which is like a botanical garden, laid out on the banks of the river next to the medieval city, has 50 ferns from Asia, Russia and America. And that is what Fougères means... Ferns.
The public garden never ceased to seduce the romantic artists: "I have seen it in sunshine, at twilight and even by moonlight and I never grow tire of the sight, it´s wonderful" wrote Victor Hugo to his daughter Adele. Balzac was also inspired by the garden to write the final episode of his novel "Les Chouans", setting the intrigue in the streets of the city where Breton rebels conspire against the Republic.Eventhe writer Guéhenno, born in Fougères, who returns from time to time to breathe the same air as the first time, still feelshis initial intimacy with his homeland.
Public GardenRue des Valées
Open every dayFrom 16th April until 15th October from 8 h until midnight
From 16th October until 15th April from 8 h until 22 h
SALTED CARAMEL BUTTER WAFFLE
Do you want to make the most of your time to discover this fantastic city full of surprises and don´t want to take too long to eat? Well, you´re in the right place. We suggest a delicious local specialty that will also fill you with energy and vitality.Who can resist a freshly made waffle, hot, with the aroma wafting into your stomach? We all probably know that the waffle is a half soft, half crunchy biscuit with a toasted yellow colour and a characteristic square shape.But where does its name come from?In France the waffle is known as gauffre.The name wafle or waffle, comes from the word "waffer" which is how the plates used to prepare them were called since the Middle Ages. These pans are made of aluminumor cast iron in the shape of a grid with moldsthat are filled with batter and baked at a very high temperature.
Although it is said to have originated in the Brabant region of Belgium, its production and consumption is widespread in the Netherlands, Switzerland and northern France, where it was already being eaten in the XIII century.Most recipes use a dough composed mainly of wheat flour, sugar and egg beaten with milk, water or melted butter and also yeast and salt. Vanilla, cinnamon or other ingredients may be incorporated to personal taste. Some people use corn flour, resulting in a much thicker dough. In Anglo-Saxon countries it is very popular to use potatoes.The waffle can be accompanied by many ingredients. The typical ones are cream, chocolate, Nutella or even nothing at all.
The truth is that the combinations are endless, but we are going to make it easy for you. We suggest the Salidouwaffle, the best Breton cream by far. It is a delicate and sumptuous cream made of butter and caramel with a pinch of salt.
It´s easy to find Créperies where you can taste them in Fougéres: on the Place du Château, on the Place du Marchix in the medieval quarter or up the Rue Pinterie, you´ll find several.
A real regional delicacy, crème de Salidouis a pastry specialtywhose texture and colour are an invitation to taste. Its flavour is so delicate, smooth and creamy that it will delight your palate. It is a real delight. It is similar to Argentinian dulce de lecheor Mexican cajeta, although these are prepared in a different way. While in these last ones the ingredients are cooked with the milk, in Salidou´s cream they are cooked separately and the final touch is given by the salt.It can be spread on crepes, waffles, ice cream, pancakes, desserts or simply eaten with a spoon. It can also be used to garnish your cakes or dishes.
Since its creation, it has never been missing in a Breton kitchen.You can find it in any supermarket.
It almost always comes in glass jars, from 100 gr. to a kilo. Although you can also find them in cardboard boxes with different aromas. We tell you therecipe so that you can make it at home.
The ingredientsare about
250 gr. of cream
150 gr. sugar
120 gr. liquid cream
50 gr. salted butter
1 teaspoon of fleur de sel
Place the sugar in a saucepan and heat it over a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until it turns golden brown, while in another saucepan bring the cream to the boil.
Before the caramel burns, remove it from the heat and add the cream. Stir well until it thickens. Add the butter cut into small pieces until it melts. You can also add the butter to the sugar once it has browned, stir until it is completely dissolved and add the liquid cream.Put everything back on a low heat until you have achieved a creamy preparation. Finally, add the salt.
Please note that as soon as it cools down, the cream will harden a little.
Et voilà!It´s as simple as that.Once the cream is ready, pour it into a glass jar, leave it to cool and store it in the fridge.
THE OLDEST BELFRY IN BRITTANY
Belfries in France are known as Beffroi. Of the three that existed in Brittany, only two remain and this one in Fougères is the oldest. Its bells have been ringing for SIX hundred years and it is still very well preserved.It was erected by the bourgeoisie of the town as a symbol of its commercial wealth. Its architecture is inspired by the models of Flanders, an idea brought to Brittany by the cloth merchants who were fascinated by such bell towers on their travels to the Flemish lands.The construction of the current building where the carillon is located was mainly intended to reconcile its threefold purpose.
Firstly, the aim was to assert the emerging power of the cloth merchants against the weighty institutions such as the church, represented by its bell towers, or the nobility, represented by its keep.The bell tower of the church of Saint Leonard´s is a few metres higher than the Beffroi, but the bourgeoisie managed to secularize the time, which had been in line with the duties and celebrations of the Christian calendar.An element of prestige, a temporary indicator of social space, the Beffroi played an important role as a watchtower against fire.
It was indeed a watchtower in the middle of the medieval framework of easily inflammable wooden houses.The Beffroi of Fougères has a square base in stone that comes from the local quarries, devoid of any ornamentation as its function was to support and raise the noble floors above those around it.The second building, divided into two stories,has an octagonal floor topped by a cornice. If you look closely, you will see two gargoyles.You might think what a gargoyle is doing there, if it´s not a cathedral. Like this building, gargoyles are elements of Gothic architecture, and in addition to being decorative, their function is to expel rainwater so that it does not accumulate on the roof.
The tower is topped by a conical-shaped wooden spire that houses three bells. At the top there is a small tower with the initials of the four cardinal points.
Beffroi of Fougères
Place Jean Guéhenno
EXCLUSIVE WOMEN´S SHOES
The progress of science and industry that marked Europe in the XIX century especially affected the town of Fougéres. In the middle of that century, the shoe industry developed rapidly in the new district of Bonabry (around Bonabry street). Fougères became the capital of French women´s footwear. At the beginning of the XX century, the town had 40 factories and 12,000 workers and by the middle of the century, 11% of the national shoe production was made in Fougères.The Morel & Gaté factory, founded in 1886, was one of the most important. It produced luxury shoes for ladies, young ladies and children under two brand names "Au coq" and "Au coq gaulois", in the reference to the national symbol.
The brand´s sign can be seen in mosaic decorating the façade of the building.Because of the great social conflicts of the 1970s, many factories closed their doors, as was the case of Morel & Gaté which went bankrupt in 1976 and its activity was taken over by another manufacturer. It closed definitively in 1985.The present building dates from 1926 and is in Art Deco style. The façade is made of reinforced concrete, which allows molding its relief. Its design is geometric, with rectangular and cylindrical shapes. Rich Italian mosaics were used for its decoration and its roofs are the typical gabled roofs of industrial architecture, which allows the interior to be ventilated and illuminated.
Today the building has been converted into a resting home.Since 2016, a small local shoe manufacturing company has taken over the trade name of the factory. In its atelier, its 7 employees continue to use traditional machinery, but adapted to new technologies such as 3D. They continue to focus on luxury, producing on demand and with leather.
Their first collection "Renaissance" can be purchased in their Parisian shop at Rue n. 15 de Richelieu. There are eight models with a starting price of 1000 €.
Usine Morel & GatéRue des Prés esquina con Rue des Recollets
CLIMB TO THE UPPER TOWN
There is a 60-metre difference in altitude between the lower and upper part of Fougères. As there is neither a cable car nor a lift, you will have to walk up the steep slopes. We suggest some very pleasant and revealing walks so that the small effort remains just an anecdote.Our itinerary starts at the Notre Dame Gate, which is framed by two imposing towers and is part of the castle. Directly opposite, we enter the medieval quarter, a place of intense commercial activity, with the first cattle market and with its flour mills.
It was the quarter of the craftsmen: tanners, dyers and cloth-makers take water out theRiverNançon for their activities. The old washing place was home to the washerwomen who rinsed their clothes after washing them with boiled ash obtained from the ferns. This district still preserves many of its wooden houses in Place du Marchix, Rue de Savigny, Rue de Lusignan or in Rue Fontaine where the old cattle market was held.On our way up, we will see the church of Saint Sulpice, a magnificent example of Gothic architecture. Fuente: Above the entrance door, look at the gargoyle "The Satyr" and in the sculpture of the "FairyMelusine".
This is depicted in the stained-glass windows with long blonde hair, and was turned into a snake-womanfor killing her father who mistreated her mother. She hid her secret by taking refuge in a castle´s underground passage.At the back of the medieval quarter, the Rue des Tanneurs leads to a footbridge over the river and there are three ways up:By theDuchess Anne de Bretagne staircase. It leads to the end of the Ruelle des Quatre-vents, the scene described by Balzac in his novel "Les Chouans".Take the pathon your right through the "fougerarium" or botanical garden with its great diversity of ferns.Crossing the Porte de Notre Damego up the Rue de Pinterie.
This street was destroyed by Allied bombing during the Landing. The houses were rebuilt in a historical style. In the middle distance on our right is an old bastion of the city wall with a magnificent panoramic view. The first street on our right, Rue du Beffroi, shortens the way.
Norte Dame Gate, Castle, rue de la Pintería, 83 35300 Fougères, France.
Public Garden (upper town), rue Prte Saint-Léonard, 2B, 35300, Fougères, France.
THE LARGEST FEUDAL CASTLE IN EUROPE!
The largest fortress in medieval Europe was built on a rock shaped by the meander of the River Nançon and protected by three walled sections. Authentic military architecture, the Castleof Fougèresis the perfect prototype of a feudal castle.Set up at an important commercial crossroads, it was built to defend the border of the Duchy of Brittany against its powerful neighbouring enemies and to prevent possible incursions. To the north, Normandy depended on the King of England, who was eager for territorial expansion, and to the east, the Kingdom of France determined to establish his dominion over the whole national territory.
Fougères was therefore a crucial component of the duchy´s borderdefensesystem and a key player on the political chessboard.The first wooden castle was built in a narrow valley surrounded by hills. The feudal lords selected its location on a rocky outcrop because of its height and for being surrounded by marshes fed by the river that filled its moat. It is interesting to see some of the mills still working on the river as it passes by the castle.The first castle of the XI century was destroyed and reduced to ashes by the attack of Henry II of Plantagenet. It was then decided to rebuild it in stone and to surround it with a slate wall obtained from the neighbouring hills, a cheaper and less laborious material than the granite used for the base of the walls and towers.
The castle was reinforced with imposing towers for defensive and deterrent purposes.The large interior space housed people from the suburbs in the event of an attack. Inside, the reception room, the chambers and the chapel showed the power and wealth of its lords.The union of the duchy with the crown of France put an end to five hundred years of battles and tensions. The border then lost its strategic interest, as did the fortress of Fougères.The castle eventually became a prison, a recreative garden, a museum and, during the Industrial Revolution, a shoe factory.The fortress was designed to last over time.
A thousand years of history are treasured here, that you will be able to discover by visiting the castle, which is open every day of the year except January.
High season from 9 h to 19 hLow season from 10 h to 12 h and from 14 h to 17 h
Entrance fee 9 € Address:Rue de la Pinterie, 83, 35300 Fourèges. France.
A pictorial technique that attempts to deceive the eye by playing with the architectural environment, perspective, shading and other optical feigning effects to achieve a substitution of reality or an intensified reality”.Fougères is a historic city but also a city of art. This visual effect can be found on the walls of some of the houses in the city centre, attracting our attention and achieving the effect of "eye-deceiving", as the name suggests. The result is totally successful and at the same time gives a new dimension to urban art.Let´s take a look at the examples that fill the streets with colour and why not... with joy and fantasy:Rue du Tribunal. In this street we find a display of realism and symbolism in the mural depicting a sloping street.
This is the Rue de la Pinterie, the main street linking the lower and upper part of the town. Every detail of the fresco is taken from the architectural and heritage landscape of Fougères. There is a reproduction of only remaining house with a porch in the town.The Emmanuel Villéon Museum, located in Rue Nationale, is dedicated to the last impressionist painter born in Fougères. The windows are replicas of those of the market square Jean Guéhenno, and the fountain attached to the wall on the lower right side is decorated with motifs copied from the large window of the city hall and refers to the industrial past of the town.
The landscape at the top of the fresco is a reproduction of one of Emmanuel Villéon´s paintings.Rue des Prés. A metaphor alludes to a breath of air inviting you to take a stroll. We discover a window open to the forest painted by a local artist with great realism.Rue de Verdun. A fresco depicts the door of a carpentry workshop and another 23 represent the coat of arms of the city.Place de la République. Behind the cinema, a huge fresco recreates the railway station which used to be there until recently, next to the industrial remains of Fougères. Duration of the visit: approximately 1 hour.
Mural rue du Tribunal, 35300 Fougères, France.
Emmanuel de Villéon Museum.
51 rue Nationale, 35300 Fougères, France.
Rue des Prés, 35300 Fougères, France.
Rut de Verdun, 35300 Fougères, France.
Place de la République,
35300 Fougères, France.
A BREAK WITH HISTORY AND ART
The Val Nançon Gardenare practically at the base of the castle. A haven of peace where you can contemplate the city skyline preceded by its medieval walls and where you can rest and recharge your batteries after visiting the castle.The gardens extend in a deep valley along the river Nançon, which at the beginning of the last century was an industrial estate later occupied by family orchards and converted today into a beautiful 2-hectare field offering different environments which we discover while we walk along: a botanical garden, a French-style gardenand an English-style garden, andthe Priests´ Yard called sobecause of its proximity to the ruins of an old abbey.
Flowering hillsides and shimmering lawns welcomeus on this pleasant walk.But let´s focus on the origins of this industrial style place. Due to its proximity to the forest and the river, an industrial estate was established here which began with a production of stilts. Starting with wood and continuing with the braided "chausson" slippers, hence the shoe workers were called "chaussonniers". Leather appeared later and the river contributes to the tanners´ activity.
From handcrafted production, it changed later toindustrial, hence themajor shoe factories were set up.Another major industry that existed in the current gardens of Val Nançon was the production of glass. The establishment of this activity is explained by the presence of its main materials: sand from its soil, soda obtained from ferns and wood from its forests for melting at high temperature.During WorldWar II, the city was bombed and its industry destroyed, becoming later a tourist town.
In 1970,industry returned, but by then, the river valley had been taken over by orchards and gardens.During our stroll through the fields, the contemporary sculpture "The Work in the Life” stands out. It is a semi-sphere made up of sixteen metal arches between which eight glass panels are fitted, evoking different cultures of the world with their pictorial compositions. Placed over a water mirror, its reflection forms the other half of the sphere.The Chinese proverb "Under the sky the great peace"is calligraphed on the glass dome. Water, light and sky modify the perception of the work at every moment.
A walkway provides access to the interior of the sphere so we can stand at the heart of the world´s cultures. The idea for this work was born after an event aimed at encouraging children and young people from abroad to meet on the theme: Earth and Peace. The municipality then decided to launch a competition for the creation of a work symbolizing culture and peace.
Jardins du Val NançonBoulevard Jacques Faucheux
Open from 8 h to 22 h
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