Hôtel de Ville
|• Mayor||Patrice PINEAU|
|• Land1||12.09 km2 (4.67 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||870/km2 (2,300/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||79329 / 79100|
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
It is on the River Thouet. Its inhabitants are known as Thouarsais.
Although there is evidence of human habitation here 5,000 years ago, it is only in the seventh century that the town appears in the historical record. In the 760s, Thouars found itself in Aquitaine, the most robust fortress in the entire region according to contemporary chroniclers. This was a violent decade as Duke Waïfre, struggling to preserve the independence of Aquitaine, fought against the expansionist ambitions of the French King, Pepin the Short. In 762, accompanied by his son, the future Charlemagne, appeared outside Thouars. He destroyed the Gallo-Roman town and torched the castle.
In the ninth century the first of a line of viscounts took charge of Thouars: he and his successors would control the fiefdom for more than five centuries until the end of the fourteenth century. The earliest of these Viscounts of Thouars for whom information survives is Geoffrey I, known as the founder of the Thouars dynasty. Located at the south of Anjou and at the frontier with Aquitaine, the Viscountcy of Thouars became a rich fiefdom with a strategic location extending from Upper Poitou all the way to the coast.
In the Medieval Ages, Guy of Thouars married Constance of Brittany to become Duke of Brittany jure uxeris, and after the death of Constance, Regent of Brittany for her daughter Alix of Thouars. Thouars was the birthplace of the medieval general Louis de La Trémoille. In 1619 his heir Henri de La Trémoille married Marie de la Tour d'Auvergne, sister of Turenne. She razed the old gothic château-fort to build the present château.
The chateau was designed by Jacques Lemercier and completed in the brief space of three years, 1635–1638. Its main façade is more than 110 m. The Trémouilles were dispossessed at the Revolution and the château became a barracks and later a prison. It has been restored for its present use as a middle school.
Thouars was the birthplace of:
- Louis II de La Trémoille (1460–1525), general
- Charlotte Stanley, Countess of Derby (1599-1664)
- Jean-Hugues Anglade (born 1955), actor
Thouars is also the final resting place of:
Thouars is twinned with:
- - Diepholz, Germany
- - Port-Gentil, Gabon
- - Hannut, Belgium
- Helensburgh, Scotland, UK
- - Slavicin, Czech Republic