The 6 must-see sites!
Les Muséales - Museum of French Emigration to Canada - Normandy
The Muséales are a cultural complex with three permanent spaces: the Museum of French Emigration in Canada, the Museum of Trade and Commerce and the Antoine Cano House.
At Museum of French Emigration in Canada, you will discover the journey of the French and in particular the Percherons in the Canada of Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain. Why did they leave and under what conditions? What legacy and footprints did they leave in contemporary North America? Starting with the pioneers (Tremblay, Gagnon, Drouin, Cloutier, Guyon and many others), you will cross the Atlantic to reach the shores of the St. Lawrence and discover life in New France, encounters with the First Nations, life in the colony, the foundations of Quebec and Montreal...
The Antoine Cano house tells a contemporary story of a Frenchman who, like his Percheron ancestors, worked hard in the fur trade in order to climb the social ladder in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. The interior of his reconstructed Canadian house evokes his singular journey as a contemporary migrant.
The churches of Tourouvre and Autheuil
The history of the church of Saint-Aubin in Tourouvre begins mainly from the 15th century.e The church was built in the 19th century, but the loopholes in the bell tower remind us that it was a fortified church and that it still has some very old parts, probably from the Romanesque period. Like many churches in the Perche region, it is steeped in the culture of wood. The village of Tourouvre owes its name to the proximity of the Perche-Trappe forest, which was its main resource.
In this church you can find the entire history of the village, from the lords of Tourouvre and the fire of August 13, 1944, through the emigration to New France. Numerous plaques mention the names of Canadian families, originally from the Perche, whose ancestors were baptised in this church. The staircase leading up to the bell tower has a flight of stairs made by Jean Guyon, whose surname has changed over the centuries to Dion and whose lineage is among the leading French families in America. Admirable are also the famous stained glass windows given by Honoré Mercier, then Prime Minister of Canada, during his visit to Tourouvre in 1891. One commemorates the embarkation of his ancestor Julien Mercier in 1647 and the other the return of his descendant to the land of his ancestors. The church has hardly changed since the 17the century...
2.5 km from Tourouvre, the small village d'Autheuil has the oldest Romanesque testimony of the Perche. The construction of the church Notre-Dame d'Autheuil dates from the beginning of the 12th century.e As soon as you cross the threshold, the silence and purity of the place are revealed. At the back of the apse, a beautiful medieval virgin, holding the Child Jesus, welcomes you. The capitals of the pillars are decorated with many different motifs: foliage, monsters' heads and other characters. It was classified as a historical monument in 1875! It was undoubtedly in this church that Robert Giffard, whose parents lived in "Le Moncel" in the parish of Autheuil, was baptised. The same man who became the leader of the Percheron emigration to New France and founded Beauport.
The stronghold of Brouage
Built at the end of the 16the century, the The fortified town of Brouage has been successively a commercial, a military and an oyster port. Nowadays, the citadel is one of the "Most Beautiful Villages of France" and is a surprising place. Following in the footsteps of Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec City and a native of this citadel, a trip back in time and emotions are guaranteed as you stroll between the Royal Forge, the Food Hall, the Saint-Luc Powder House and the Saint-Pierre Church.
The city is a remarkable place that combines historical discovery and walk. You can discover an exceptional marshland landscape from its ramparts.
The church of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul in Brouage
The church in Brouage is still a place of worship today, but it is also the centre of the town's memorial of the origins of New France. An exhibition entitled "Once upon a time... in New France" retraces the establishment of the first settlements and the first attempts to evangelise this then unknown territory.memorial of the origins of New France. An exhibition entitled "Once upon a time... in New France" retraces the establishment of the first settlements and the first attempts to evangelise this then unknown territory.
Nine stained glass windows also bear witness to the special ties of friendship between France and Canada. Designed by Nicolas Sollogoub, they were donated by the Province of New Brunswick, the City and the Province of Quebec.
The medieval town of Verneuil-sur-Avre
The medieval town of Verneuil-sur-Avre is listed as one of the "100 Most Beautiful Detours in France". The town has an exceptional heritage: ditches and remnants of ramparts, canals, timber-framed, turreted and chequered houses, churches and abbeys, private mansions, etc.
Among French emigrants to Canada in 17the century, a certain Paul Bertrand dit Saint-Arnaud was born in Verneuil-sur-Avre in 1661. His family has over 25,000 descendants in North America.
The church of the Madeleine in Verneuil-sur-Avre
The original church, built in 12e has been constantly embellished over the centuries. The imposing 56-metre-high bell tower, which stands against the nave, is an exceptional building, a true jewel of the flamboyant Gothic style. This church hosted the baptism of Paul Bertrand known as Saint-Arnaud in 1661.