The Marais Poitevin’s most urban town, Niort is perched on two hilltops along the Sèvre Niortaise river.

Henry II (King of England) and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine built a castle in Niort in the 12th century, their son Richard “The Lion Heart” made later additions.

Puy-Leonard Donjon de Niort

All that remains of that ancient castle is the twin-towered Donjon de Niort, which now houses an archaeological museum with artifacts from the Bronze Age through the medieval era.

Other cultural attractions are the Musée du Pilori, which presents exhibitions of contemporary art and the Musée Bernard d’Agesci, which displays fine arts and natural history collections.