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Les Epesses

In the Haut Bocage 10 kilometers from Les Herbiers is the village of Les Epesses,which has a history linked to the Chateau and Lords of Puy du Fou.
As early as 884 there was a church "Santa Maria of SPISIS", Latin word meaning “Spines” (thickets) or by analogy the name of the EPESSES, and of his inhabitants Spicéens.This church was built the site of the central nave of the current church, it was the property of the Benedictine Abbey of Vezelay.
In 1050, a priory always depending on these same Benedictine monks of Vézelay, was founded in the high borough of Epesses.

The history and the evolution of the village is strongly related to the chateau of Puy of Fou, located in the commune of Epesses, The first medieval castle was destroyed by the English during the 100 Year Wars.

In the XII and XIII centuries, near this castle, a commune called Borough-Bérard, which was composed of ploughmen, craftsmen, as well as servants and soldiers of the castle grew up, but the Lords of Puy of Fou wanted to move this population away so they built a great number of dwellings (about the year 1400) on the site of the current village of Les Epesses, close to the Chappel Saint Jean and the existing parish church, to house the inhabitants of Borough-Berard.
A new Renaissance castle was built 1600-1620 and together with the village flourished untill the Revolution. During the Wars of the Vendee the area saw much plundering and massacres and on 23rd January 1793 a colomn from 'Tureau's colonnes infernales' was sent from Cholet to lay waste to the area. The Chateau was burnt that year and only the left wing was saved from the fire, the church which was declared 'National goods' was sold and used as a warehouse so remained intact.
One of the last acts of the war took place in the woods behind Epesse and was to the advantage of the Vendeans. It was in November of 1799 when a priest (chapelain abbot) was discovered by the Revolutionary troops hiding in a hollow tree and executed. A stained glass window in the church of St. Hilaire de Montagne depicts the martyred priest.

Today  Epesses is still very much linked to the Chateau de Puy du Fou, as this has now become the world famous spectacular of "cinescenie" and "Le Grand Parc de Puy du Fou".
The remains of the Chateau, besides being the back drop  for the spectaculars, has been renovated and was the Ecomusee de la Vendee.The museum and its exhibits has now been incorporated into the Historial de la Vendee  at Les Lucs-sur-Boulogne it charters the history of the Vendee from prehistoric times, through medieval times, the Wars of Religion, the Wars of the Vendee up to modern times using modern technology in sound and vision to help portray the events.
Les Epesses is an excellent centre from which to discover the treasures of the Haut Bocage.

Restaurants les Epesses; La Cremaillere. 2 rue de la Libération, Tél : 02 51 57 30 01
                                      Comrest Restauration. le puy de Fou Tel.02 51 57 68 68.
La Breteche. Base de LoisirsTel.02 51 57 33 66.

CampingCamping La Breteche. Tel. 02 51 57 33 34.

Taxis; Taxis Herbretais. 28 rue Jeanne d'Arc Tel: 02 51 67 11 53

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Les Epesses Vendee
Les Epesses, Vendee.
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