Coordinates: 46°27′58″N 0°48′22″W / 46.466°N 0.8061°W / 46.466; -0.8061
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Fontenay-le-Comte Town Hall
Fontenay-le-Comte Town Hall
Coat of arms of Fontenay-le-Comte
Location of Fontenay-le-Comte
Fontenay-le-Comte is located in France
Fontenay-le-Comte is located in Pays de la Loire
Coordinates: 46°27′58″N 0°48′22″W / 46.466°N 0.8061°W / 46.466; -0.8061
RegionPays de la Loire
IntercommunalityPays de Fontenay-Vendée
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Ludovic Hocbon[1]
34.05 km2 (13.15 sq mi)
 • Urban
67.4 km2 (26.0 sq mi)
 • Metro
587.4 km2 (226.8 sq mi)
 • Density400/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density250/km2 (640/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density70/km2 (180/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
85092 /85200
Elevation2–68 m (6.6–223.1 ft)
(avg. 24 m or 79 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Fontenay-le-Comte (IPA: [fɔ̃tənɛ kɔ̃t]; Poitevin: Funtenaes or Fintenè) is a commune and subprefecture in the Vendée department in the Pays de la Loire region of Western France. In 2018, it had a population of 13,302, while its functional area had a population of 41,273.[3]


The river Vendée flows through the town. The town has an area of 34 km2 (13 sq mi).


Fontenay was in existence as early as the time of the Gauls. The affix of comte is said to have been applied to it when it was taken by King Louis IX from the family of Lusignan and given to his brother Alphonse, count of Poitou, under whom it became capital of Bas-Poitou. Ceded to the Plantagenets by the Treaty of Brétigny, in 1360 it was retaken in 1372 by Duguesclin. It suffered repeated capture during the Religious Wars of the 16th century, was dismantled in 1621 and was occupied both by the Republicans and the Royalist Vendeans during the Revolt in the Vendée (1793). From 1790 to 1806 it was capital of the Vendée department.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1968 12,939—    
1975 15,275+2.40%
1982 15,295+0.02%
1990 14,456−0.70%
1999 13,792−0.52%
2007 14,464+0.60%
2012 14,044−0.59%
2017 13,226−1.19%
Source: INSEE[4]


At Maison Laval on rue Rabelais, a townhouse built at the end of the 18th Century, Emperor Napoleon 1st and his wife, Joséphine, spent the night of 7–8 August 1808. On their way from Rochefort to Nantes, they had stopped off in the Bas-Poitou capital of Fontenay-le-Comte where they were the guests of Mayor Laval who, to give them a dignified welcome, had prepared a triumphal arch over the Pont Neuf bridge. That night, the Emperor learned of the defeat of General Dupont at Bailem. The General's surrender, which seriously compromised the French army's position in Spain, threw the Emperor into a deep rage. If word is to be believed, the Emperor smashed an earthenware vase placed in front of him.


  • François Rabelais (c. 1493?–1553) was a Franciscan friar at Fontenay-le-Comte, where he studied Greek and Latin, as well as science, philology, and law.
  • Georges Simenon (1903–1989) the Belgian writer, author of the Maigret series and other books, stayed at the Chateau de Terreneuve during the war. Several stories are based in the Vendée, and at least one in Fontenay. There is a Simenon tour.

Fontenay-le-Comte was the birthplace of:

Main sights[edit]

Twin towns - sister cities[edit]

Fontenay-le-Comte is twinned with:[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French)., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 13 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b c Comparateur de territoire, INSEE, retrieved 20 June 2022.
  4. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  5. ^ "Jumelages". (in French). Fontenay-le-Comte. Retrieved 2019-11-16.

External links[edit]