Perched on a rocky promontory, above a meander of the Thouet, the town of Art and History of Thouars has a rich built heritage.
Overlooking the valley from the top of its long Louis XIII-style façade, the Castle of the Dukes of Trémoille, a listed Historic Monument, was built in the 17th century at the request of Marie de La Tour d'Auvergne, wife of Duke Henri III de La Trémoïlle. This imposing building, covered with freestone and slate, now houses a public college, the inside of which can be visited during the Heritage Days, on the third weekend in September. Adjoining the castle, the Holy Chapel of Our Lady, dating from the early 16th century, has a splendid Flamboyant Gothic façade with a Renaissance gallery.
The tour of the town carries on towards the Church of St. Medard, a beautiful building from the 12th and 15th centuries, remarkable for its western façade, in the Poitevin Romanesque style, and its north gate, adorned with a multilobed arch influenced by the Mozarabic style! Around Place Saint-Médard stand picturesque old half-timbered houses, including the House of Artists dating from the 15th century.
Other sites to see in the streets of the historic centre include: the 12th-century Prince of Wales Tower, a relic of the medieval fortifications, which was used as a grain storehouse then a prison for salt smugglers; the Porte au Prévost Tower, through which Du Guesclin's army passed in 1372; the Neo-Gothic Chapel of Joan of Arc, converted into an art centre; and the old Abbey of St. Laon, whose convent buildings now house Thouars Town Hall.
The Henri Barré Museum, based in the Neo-Gothic mansion of Doctor Barré, contains French and foreign earthenware, paintings from the 16th to the 19th century, furniture from the Empire, and many objects and documents relating to the history of the Thouars area.