How to find us
Pons is situated 20 km south of Saintes and 100 km north of Bordeaux, 5 km from the exit 36 of the motorway. The main "route national" serving Pons is the RN 137. The Pons-Avy aerodrome is also located nearby.
If you arrive at the Pons-Avy aerodrome (AIP), or come by train to the station in Pons we can arrange to come and collect you.
Pons is a medieval city in the Haute Saintogne area. It was built on the summit and the slopes of a steep rock formation whose shores are lapped by the river Seugne.
“Si roi de France ne puys, Sire de Pons voudrais être”
The city of Pons sits on a rocky promontory overlooking the valley of the Seugne. From the Neolithic, will occupy the site and take advantage of its strategic location. The Gauls establish an important oppidum, before the arrival of the Roman occupation. These range, for three centuries, living around the castrum built. This time, Pons guard behind his name. Because to cross the marshy valley, the Romans used a system of bridges on stilts, the "pundits", a term which came to designate the same name of the town. And if Bridges is now written Pons, its inhabitants are nonetheless remained the Pontois.
From the Xth century Pons has its castle. Included in the duchy of Aquitaine 1152, Saintonge rebelled against his overlord in 1179 The Duke Richard the Lionheart, then manages to quell the revolt, destroying the castle. Geoffroy III, the first of the long dynasty of the Lords of Pons, hastens to the reconstruction and the new tower was completed in 1187 Poste strategic frontier between Aquitaine and the Kingdom of France during the Hundred Years War. Pons save its heritage through appropriately from one to the other side. It was at the end of the fourteenth century, with Renaud VI sirerie that peaked after significant territorial extensions. In this era, when this goes, illustrating the power of the Lords of Pons: "If the King of France did puys, sire Pons would be." The Hundred Years' War ended in 1453 and activity we are seeing a resurgence in the city. But soon the religious wars raging and the city became Protestant stronghold, besieged in 1621, surrendered without resistance. And thus took final military role sirerie, coveted.
The prestigious dynasty Lords of Pons had died in 1586 The family of Albert succeeded him and rebuilt in the seventeenth century on the ruins of the old castle, a mansion that now houses the City Hall. Finally, the lordship up to the Lorraine-Marsan until the Revolution.
The medieval dungeon
It was completed in 1187 by Lord Geoffroy III following the destruction of 1st castle by Richard the Lionheart then Duke of Aquitaine, came to quell a revolt of his vassals of Saintonge. This tower 30 meters high, quadrangular (26m X 15m) and equipped with flat buttresses, is typical of so-called dungeons "novels of the West". It is the last vestige of the medieval fortress became Protestant up security after the Edict of Nantes. Besieged is no resistance as the city submits to the army of Louis XIII in 1621 while Richelieu ordered the demolition of the castle towers and ramparts were demolished except the dungeon which remains one of the best preserved Saintonge.
His coronation is a creation of the twentieth century as a result of a somewhat fanciful restoration because no battlements, turrets and battlements or existed.
Castle / City hall
After the turmoil of the religious wars and the dismantling of the castle, the long and powerful dynasty Pons went out and went to a branch of the Albert family. On the basis of the old castle, Henry 1st Albert built after 1621 a new mansion (now the Town Hall). His son, Albert Phoebus, Marshal of France at the court of Versailles, expanding the mansion and beautified by giving it a French garden on the site of the old court backfilled (current public garden). Originally, the town hall and library were one main building.
The missing part between the two buildings was destroyed by fire.
Saint Jacques de Compostelle
Four major roads lead to St Jacques de Compostela: Tours, Vézelay, Le Puy, Arles. Pons is located on Via Turonensis which led from Tours to Saint Jacques de Compostela. From the twelfth century, the town of Pons is renowned for its warm welcome and its security. At that time, this pilgrimage is at its peak and thousands of believers flock to the roads.
Numerous churches and reception sites scattered multiply this course offering hospitality to the devotees.
St. Jacques was one of the twelve apostles of Christ. Jacques Maggiore responsible for the Evangelization of the Iberian Peninsula at 1st century, was beheaded in Jerusalem by the Roman Emperor of Palestine. According to legend, his body was placed in a stone boat, which, guided by God's hand, crossed the Mediterranean to wash up on the beaches of Galicia in northwestern Spain now.
Was attributed to St Jacques many miracles.
The New Hospital - World Heritage
A Pons, Hospice of Saint Nicolas was quickly overwhelmed and no longer able to accommodate the poor, sick, orphaned pilgrims of St Jacques. Geoffroy III, lord of Pons decided to support him by boosting the construction of a 2nd property called "new hospital" outside of town. Itself will be buried at the site in 1192 Located on the old road to Bordeaux, Hospice Pons is the last copy of its kind to survive. His plan is emblematic: they are together the care of body and soul. Indeed, an archway connects the ribs churches in the East (destroyed) and the patient's room to the west. It was under this porch protecting from the sun or rain, once surmounted by a tower, the poor receive a portion of blessed bread and orphans were filed. Many graffiti have been engraved. To the left of the portal ward, on one of the capitals of an eye you guess the famous eel guardian of the city. Managed by an independent community of ecclesiastical authority, he worked until the XVIIIth century.
Inspired medieval medicinal gardens garden complete this exceptional site. You will discover hundreds of plants with many therapeutic properties. These are divided into 4 squares: square fevers, vulnerary, moods of women.
Peaceful River Seugne hosted the first men and their herds. The fertile land around it favored the establishment of a Gallic oppidum whose archaeological excavations have shown the importance. And well before the arrival of the Romans who built the city and its first flight.
These bridges of great strategic importance, allowed the opening to Cognac and Angouleme and gave that name to our city, Pontem for the Romans, today Pons.
The economic life is organized around the Seugne with fisheries, tanneries, numerous mills, 14 to be exact, the last of which went out of business there just a few years.
Church Saint Vivien
Although collateral, topped with turrets have been added to XIIIth century St Vivien retains all the characteristics of Romanesque Saintonge 2 cords divide its facade horizontal registers, 2 gates blind frame the central portal five arches. Adorned with the typical blind arcade of twin openings you see on other buildings in the area, it was interrupted by the opening of a Gothic bay in the XVI century. Its originality lies in four half-columns that divide the facade vertically rare provision in Saintonge.
The public garden
Here lay the main courtyard. Stripped of its military attributes, since 1621, it will be graded in the seventeenth century by Lord Caesar Phoebus Albert and receiving in 1665 a French garden inspired by Le Nôtre. The garden you see here today is the result of a landscaped reshuffle replacing that of 1885 and owes nothing to the famous architect of the XVIIth century. Walk along the top of the wall to enjoy the view over the valley of the Seugne and admire the magnificent staircase XVIIth sup> century. Nearby you will find the spiral staircase of an old turret defense vestige of the castle destroyed in 1621.
The staircase César Phoebus Albret
César Phoebus Albret built this monumental staircase to more easily reach the gardens and orchards. The architect performs an architectural masterpiece because of topographical constraints. He designed it so that the rise as the descent of 142 steps is worthy of a real walk
Church Saint Martin
The former Saint Martin of which only a few stones was once built near the cemetery church of the same name. It was long the most important religious building. Although many times destroyed and rebuilt (especially during the wars of religion) the term followed all buildings. The present church of St. Martin will be inaugurated in 1834.
Square Agrippa d’Aubigné
Make a stop in the square dedicated to the poet of the sixteenth th sup> century (1552-1630). Some to recall the work of the author was born in a village near here. Known for his work (The Tragic, Universal history ...) and his military exploits made alongside Protestants, he was also the grandfather of the very Catholic Marquise de Maintenon, famous mistress of King Louis XIV. Then cross the street Pasteur.
© SARL Hôtel de Bordeaux 1990 - 2019
updated: Wednesday Feb 13th 2019