Once upon a period, Clisson could have been the last frontier of the Kingdom of Brittany. Now under a half-hour train ride away from Nantes, the town is easily among the best day trips from the Western French city where the Ducal Palace can nonetheless be enjoyed. Here’s your ultimate help guide to the very best things you can do in Clisson, as well as items to know prior to going!
An abundance of quaint shuttered cafés overlook a ruinous ch^ateau along with a sparkling river. Clisson is a nice French town within the Pays en Loire. Lying alongside the place where the Sèvre Nantaise river meets the Moine River, and set over both sides of the trickling water, this time-warp of the Loire-Atlantique is the best spot to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of busy todays lifestyles.
Why you need to visit Clisson on your next French trip
Quaint and a little off the beaten path, though still close enough to Nantes to be an easy excursion in the vibrant city, Clisson is the type of town where you’ll discover an enjoyable pace of life and plenty of history. Take time to stroll within the medieval bridge, sip on a glass of vino while overlooking the crumbling ruins from the ch^ateau, or explore the traditional Italianate estate that can be found around the fringes of town.
For people who enjoy their travels served with a side of history, there’s lots of historic houses to be discovered, a sensational church with painted frescoes, and a winding street you’ll love to stroll along. Otherwise, the 15th-century market hall is among the best-preserved covered markets in France.
A very brief history of Clisson
The story of Clisson dates as far back as Antiquity, though the settlement didn't rise to the true prominence before the Dark ages. In those days, Clisson would have been at the intersection of three important and ancient Provinces, Anjou, Poitou, and Brittany, with Clisson itself being part of the Duchy from the latter.
During this era, Clisson what food was in the advantage of the Brittany Duchy and was an epicentre of power. Notable people to have lived in the town include Constable Francis II, father of Anne of Brittany (the woman whose statue now sits close to the ramparts of the Ducal Palace in Nantes) and the brothers Frederick and Cacault Lemot, who brought an Italian feel to the town within the 19th-century.
10+ Best Things to do in Clisson
Clisson City Gate (Porte en Ville)
Once upon a period, the primary way in and out of the medieval city would have been its grand gateway. Today, the granite entryway may be the that survives of three entrances and also the Porte en Ville are available at Place Lemot, where you’ll also find parking facilities and public toilets.
Ch^ateau de Clisson
If you are making it your mission to enjoy just one of Clisson’s many attractions, allow it to be the crumbling ruins of the once-grand Ch^ateau. Open to visit for just a few euros (or free if you’re already using the Nantes pass- detailed information here), this Ch^ateau could be spied from all over the town, including from both medieval bridges.
The good reputation for Clisson Ch^ateau dates all the way to the 11th-century, though many additions were made with time, including within the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries. Now, the Ch^ateau is open every day of the week with the exception of Tuesday.
Domaine en Garenne Lemot & La Villa Lemot & La Maison du Jardinier
It may well surprise you, but there’s Italianate architecture to be admired due to a former mansion house on the fringes of town. Leave behind the Ch^ateau and cross the medieval bridge. Wander with the boutiques and brasseries that line sleep issues of the river and head to the right.
Carry on across an additional bridge and you’ll soon get to the gates towards the impressive and grandiose Domaine en Garenne Lemot. Now an expansive parkland of 13 hectares full of secret grottoes and hidden follies, the crown jewel of the estate is a Palladian like mansion encompassed by swathes of forest that is otherwise known as La Villa Lemot.
Constructed in an Italianate neo-Palladian style, the Villa is similar to the ones from Italy and features a row of collonades marking the doorway to the building which overlooks the forest Sèvre. Nearby ‘La Maison du Jardinier’ (gardener’s house) is really a replica of farms present in Tuscany and Umbria and it is the very first from the Italianate buildings found throughout the Nantes vineyard region. Today, the farm is also home to public toilets.
Les Halles of Clisson
Dating completely back to the 14th-century, the wooden marketplace is situated steps away from the Clisson Ch^ateau and it is a timber-framed structure in the heart of town. During the War within the Vendée, the marketplace housed troops.
Unfortunately, Les Hall can also be in which a devastating fire that destroyed much of the city was started during the 18th-century. Although the wooden beams and stone structure was largely rebuilt following the war, visit on market day and you’ll soon discover traditional vendors selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to locally caught fish. Nearby, the tourism office offers free Clisson travel advice and maps from the town and nearby region.
L’'Eglise Notre Dame (Notre Dame Church) & Place Notre Dame
Like many French churches, the main ecclesiastical building in Clisson is dedicated to Notre Dame. Constructed on the site of the church of a collegiate church which was destroyed throughout the wars of Vendée, the church now on location was built at the end of the 19th-century and it is modelled after the church of Saint John and Saint Paul in Rome.
Free to go to and shut to the marketplace, step inside and you’ll soon discover pretty frescoes and a spacious interior. Nearby, among the prettiest (and admittedly one of the steepest) streets may be the pedestrian pathway that provides stunning views from the steeple.
L’'Eglise Saint Jacques (Church)
The other main church that Clisson provides is that of the Trinity Church, a pretty Romanesque chapel surrounded by a little garden on the outskirts from the French town. The roots of this church could be traced all the way back to the 10th or 1200's when the church would have been the worship place for Benedictine monks.
Unfortunately, this church is open on a a smaller amount regular basis compared to Notre Dame, though it can nonetheless be admired in the exterior. Elsewhere in Clisson, there are the ruins of a small chapel (Chapelle des Templiers) that are now accustomed to house exhibitions and concerts.
Le Pont Saint-Antoine (bridge)
Spanning over the Moine River, during Medieval times, this bridge could have been on the route between Nantes and Poitiers. Ancient and medieval, Le Pont Saint-André is a stunning Gothic structure dating completely back to the 15th-century, although it are available near to the point in which the River Moine meets the forest Sèvre Nantaise.
Le Pont en Vallée (bridge)
Dating all the way back to the center Ages, a brief history from the town’s main bridge has witnessed several renovations through the years. Originally constructed of wood, this now stone bridge traverses the River and links both sides of Clisson. Today, the impressive structure also offers among the best views from the Ch^ateau to be found any place in town.
Le Viaduc (the viaduct)
Modern when compared with most of the other structures and buildings anywhere, the Viaduct is striking and imposing. Boasting an impressive fifteen arches, the Clisson viaduct crosses the forest Moine, was constructed in 1840, and is Gothic in design.
Shop in small boutiques
Between independent clothes shops and a quaint bookstore on the very corner of the 14th-century timber-framed marketplace, there’s no shortage of cool and quirky shops in which to shop for souvenirs or get a gift (or two) for yourself. Truth be told, my favourite shop is that of La Très Petite Librairie, a tiny bookshop selling a variety of different tomes, books, and novels.
Go hiking within the Valley of Clisson
Thanks to the position in the middle of lush green woods, Clisson is a superb base by which to hike the wider region. Even those who are interested in other types of physical activity will be delighted to realize that there’s an array of sports available nearby; including (although not limited to) canoeing, kayaking, and climbing.
Le Moulin à Papier du Liveau (mill)
Lying alongside banks from the river, Clisson saw a revival in industry and do business with the making of a mill during the 19th-century on the banks of the Sèvre Nantaise. A 16th-century building updated within the Italianate style, today the former paper mill has become a museum. Check the detailed information based on how to visit here.
Where in which to stay Clisson
For this type of small town, there's a surprising number of places to stay in Clisson. Alternatively, you could always remain in nearby Nantes and find out Clisson in a day (Personally, i stayed at La Perouse Hotel during time in Nantes). However, for those searching for a luxurious experience, look no further than the four-star Best Western Plus Villa Saint Antoine H^otel & Spa, which boasts amenities for example a backyard swimming pool along with a hot tub.
How to visit Clisson as a day trip from Nantes
For those who are short promptly (like I had been), then it’s perfectly possible to go to this Italianate town as a day trip from Nantes. Take the fast train and you may easily get to the town from the city in just a quarter-hour. The ‘slower’ train from Nantes to Clisson takes under 30 minutes. As such, this quaint excursion remains among the best-kept strategies of Nantes.
Otherwise, if you prefer to go on a tour, then you can always experience Clisson included in this excursion from Nantes. Encompassing fantastic attractions such as a vineyard, the Ch^ateau de Clisson, and also the medieval town itself, this four-hour trip features a hotel pickup along with a wine tasting.