Located between La Rochelle and Rochefort, Surgères is above all known for its dairy activity and its good butter. We first engage in small pedestrian streets, before discovering its fabulous medieval walls and its imposing Romanesque church. Surgères is above all centuries of history, cradled by Hélène de Fonsèque, the famous muse of the poet Ronsard. But it's also a village spirit and its counter briefs, a lively market, romantic walks along the banks of the Gères, the doors of the castle which open for festivals... and of course, the taste of butter!
The opinion of the local counter
We like to take the time to stroll through the alleys of the city center to feel the soul of Surgères and stop there for a coffee on the terrace, in the sun, while the city comes alive. We take advantage of the village spirit that reigns on the market to fill our bag with good fresh products that we go to taste in the park of the castle during an improvised picnic.
Surgères and Santiago de Compostela
Did you know that Surgères was a stopover on the way to Santiago de Compostela ? Find the circuits that pass through Surgères and the different possibilities of pilgrim accommodation!
Walk in Surgères
The historic center of Surgères
In the heart of the town of Surgères, observe its medieval enclosure housing Notre-Dame church and the remains of the great seigniorial castle from the 600th century. More than XNUMX meters of walls surround this historic center, often destroyed and then rebuilt. Discover an exceptional architectural ensemble, steeped in history, surrounded by a superb park with hundred-year-old trees. The occasion, why not, of a picnic break in the park of the castle, in the shade of the chestnut trees. The walk in the park inside the ramparts is particularly pleasant and offers most of the monumental heritage of Surgères with the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame, the city gate, the Renaissance gate, the town hall, the Tour Hélène and the other stately homes.
2 discovery trail present the history and anecdotes of these buildings! Free booklet available at our local counters.
Town center and market
A walk in the alleys of the city center is essential for those who want to feel the soul of Surgères. Drink a coffee in the sun, on the terrace, on market days when the city comes alive. Lose yourself in the small streets to see the bourgeois houses or the Café Français which replaced the old Hospice on rue Bersot.
Stop at the market to stock up on fresh produce, goat's cheese and organic cakes, and on the outskirts of town, at the Ferme d'Aunis farmer's shop, where you can discover the local beer La Rieuse, bread organic, free-range chickens and other local products!
Ready for a family adventure? We invite you to discover Surgères via the Tèrra Aventura circuit. Puzzles to solve, following in the footsteps of Zabeth, for a fun and free discovery of the city!
Available since June 2018, the course is accessible throughout the year. All you have to do is download the free Tèrra Aventura application on your phone and go hunting for “Poï'z”!
At the crossroads of territories
To the north, the Marais Poitevin. To the south, the Saintonge and its treasures of Romanesque art. To the west, La Rochelle and Rochefort which formed the former province of Aunis. Surgères has always been a true crossroads of our regions. And it is precisely its excellent geographical position that made it see the light of day.
Surgeres and surroundings
Surgères and the surrounding villages benefit from a central location which makes it an ideal place to stay for discovering the flagship destinations of Charente-Maritime.
In this sector, you can discover the islands of Aix, Madame or Oléron on the coast and even approach the famous Fort Boyard by boat. On the land side, Rochefort, the arsenal city 25 km from Surgères, is an exciting stopover for discovering maritime history through its sites and heritage. You can also visit the charming villages on the banks of the Charente or even enjoy the major sites such as the Palmyre zoo.
A little further north, about thirty kilometers from Surgères is the city of La Rochelle, its port and its historic center, a place of maritime discovery rich in history!
Once upon a time in Surgères...
A shield against the Vikings
To defend Aunis, Saintonge and Poitou from the Vikings, the Count of Poitou had a first wooden fort built and installed a garrison there. This is how the town of Surgères was born. Three centuries later, Surgères becomes a small city. The lords of the town, who were among the "greats" of the parliament of Saintonge, built an imposing castle and the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame.
La Belle Hélène
The Renaissance period is very much associated with Hélène de Fonsèque, muse of Ronsard, the daughter of the lord of the place. The tower, the last vestige of the original medieval dwelling, was recently baptized “Tour Hélène” in her honour. It was at this time that Charles de Fonsèque raised the walls, built the castelet and the magnificent Renaissance gate that can still be admired today. Surgères then lost its importance during the wars of religion.
From the distillery… to the butter
The city experienced a certain boom until the end of the 1888th century, thanks to the vineyard and the distillery, unfortunately quickly damaged by phylloxera. The wine properties are sold to farmers and Surgères then turns to the dairy industry. In XNUMX, Eugène Biraud created the first dairy cooperative in Chaillé, in an old distillery. Farmers can thus transform their milk into butter and develop its marketing to Paris thanks to the rail link. The reputation of Surgères butter (Protected Designation of Origin (AOP)) still goes beyond the limits of our region.
A discovery tour of the medieval enclosure and small games for children is available free of charge at our local counters!