Clisson, a corner of Tuscany in the Pays de la Loire

Clisson is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in the Pays de la Loire region in western France.

It is situated at the confluence of the Sèvre Nantaise and the Moine 27 km southeast of Nantes (reachable by rail).

The town and the celebrated family of Clisson (the most famous members are Olivier IV de Clisson and Jeanne de Clisson) take their name from their stronghold. Clisson has its imposing ruins, parts of which date from the thirteenth century. The town and castle, the château de Clisson, were destroyed in 1792 and 1793 during the War in the Vendée.

Afterwards, the sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot bought the castle, and the town was rebuilt in the early part of the 19th century with Tuscany architecture. There are picturesque parks on the banks of the rivers. The Moine is crossed by an old gothic bridge and by a fine modern viaduct.

Clisson’s (short) history

At Clisson were born Olivier V of Clisson, and the last Duke of Brittany, François II, father of Anne of Brittany. In the fourteenth century the « Marches de Bretagne » are the border between Brittany and France. The Clisson covered market reflects the economic dynamism of the time. It is one of the largest and oldest in France.

After the Revolution, Clisson became in the 19th century a landscape inspired by Italy. F-F Lemot sculptor of Napoleon settles in near Clisson he realizes a neoclassical landscape inspired by central Italy. The decoration of tiles and bricks offered by Clisson is  a genuine Italian surprise in western France.

The Church of Notre Dame de Clisson

It was built in the old Collegiate Church. It was reformed in the nineteenth century in the Italian style. As you can see, its bell tower is a Tuscan style, and a Basilica of Rome inspires its main buildings.

Les Halles de Clisson (Medieval Market)

This is where the Clisson market is held. It has been registered as a historical monument in 1923. According to recent reports, it’s from the 14th Century. But there is little information about this market before the eighteenth century.

What is known is that it was a prosperous place, and the lords of Clisson helped make it prosperous. They charged taxes on the sale of certain goods.

During the Vendée War, the city was burned and almost completely devastated.It is said that the city’s own extinguished the fire of Les Halles to have a refuge within the city. Several restoration works have been done to preserve the elements that give authenticity to this monument.