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02 - THIERACHE
60 fortified churches stand tall at the heart of villages in the rolling hedge-trimmed countryside of the Thiérache. You can follow the Fortified Churches trail to discover these reminders of wars that raged in the Thiérache in the 16th and 17th centuries.
This extraordinary heritage is a direct consequence of the geographical location of the Thiérache which has always been a frontier land, a local crossroads between Champagne and Picardy and a national one between the German Empire and the kingdom of France. The Thiérache bears the scars of many wars (Hundred years war, Thirty Years war, the Fronde, Franco-Spanish wars, etc.).
At that time the region was a strategic highway between the kingdom of France and the Spanish provinces who fought long and hard against each other. The Thiérache villages turned their churches into fortresses. Weary of the constant pillage and destruction wrought by the soldiers, the villagers converted and fortified their churches. This activity took place in stages and defensive systems varied from one building to another: keeps, guardrooms, shelters, turrets, bartizans and arrow slits can all be found!
Details available at local Tourist Information offices
Guided tours on request
Unaccompanied tours: no charge
Guided tours: details available at Tourist Information offices
Vervins and Vervinois tourist office
Place du Général de Gaulle
Tel. : +33 3 23 98 11 98
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Guise and its region tourist office
2 rue Chantraine
Tel. : +33 3 23 60 45 71
E-mail : email@example.com
Hirson tourist office
Place Victor Hugo
Tel. : +33 3 23 58 03 91
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Portes de la Thiérache tourist information center
320 rue des Verseaux
Tel. : +33 3 23 98 50 39
E-mail : email@example.com
Fortified churches of the Thiérache
Your must-see site
The Thiérache must-see sites