Saint-Maixent-l'ÉcoleBordered by the Sèvre Niortaise


Saint-Maixent-l’École has a rich heritage born from the development of the abbey founded in the 5th century. More recently, it owes its influence to the military school created in 1877. Nestled on the banks of the Sèvre Niortaise, Saint-Maixent-l’École offers a colorful walk to the rhythm of water and history.

Why the name "Saint-Maixent-l'Ecole"?

In 459, the monk Agapit founded a monastery near Lake Vauclair, a lake that has since disappeared. A small town called Saint Saturnin is developing all around. Around 480, Adjutor moved to the monastery and took the name of Maixent. Abbot in 500, Maixent was venerated as a saint after his death and the town took his name. With the establishment of the military school, the town then took the name of Saint-Maixent-l’École on July 28, 1926.

Dive into the heart of history through architecture

Around the abbey still proudly stand the half-timbered houses and mansions built in the 16th century. They have escaped the many tumultuous episodes that Saint-Maixent has known and are like open-air history books. Place du marché, it is impossible not to fall in love with this house on an arcaded gallery built in 1470. A little further on, admire the Hôtel Balizy, built in 1530 in a Renaissance style. He welcomed Catherine de Medici or the Duke of Sully.
Direction the quay of the tanneries. In the 11th century, many tanneries will develop: the Sèvre is used to clean skins and leather work becomes an important activity.
In the 16th century, it was home to the flourishing fabric, leather and mustard industries before the Counter-Reformation forced many Protestants into exile for New France.
Another century, another story, with the creation of the military school which became the National School for Non-Commissioned Officers in 1963. Its location transformed the town with the construction of numerous buildings and even its name, Saint-Maixent became Saint-Maixent-l’École.

The abbey and the abbey church

This imposing and majestic heritage will take you on a journey to the heart of its history. Push the door of the building and discover the crypt and the tombs.
The abbey is a fascinating story made up of secrets and twists. Built in 940 on the site of the cell of Saint Maixent, it has been damaged many times throughout history: earthquakes, fires, wars of religion. It was rebuilt by the order of the Benedictines of Saint-Maur in the 17th century, in Gothic style. Today some rooms such as the cloister or the chapter house are used for exhibitions or cultural events.

Saint-Léger church

The church was built at the end of the 7th century to house the remains of Saint Léger, abbot of Saint-Maixent from 656 to 662 and assassinated in 678. The remains of the partly demolished church are classified as Historic Monuments in 1879. You can admire the barrel vaulting and the richly decorated capitals which are part of the Romanesque style.

The crypt can only be visited during our guided tours of the city.


By royal decision, the market has been held on Saturday mornings since 1469. The market square hosted two halls, which have now disappeared. At the end of the 19th century, a so-called Baltard-style hall was built with Parisian-style glass and metal architecture.