20 September 2019
The House of Milling, a site steeped in history
Just a few meters away from the Royal Abbey of Nieul-sur-l’Autise stands another treasure of the heritage in the Marais poitevin. The Small Town of Character from Vendée is the home of the House of Milling on the riverbank. As the last watermill built in 1728 and still in operation in Vendée, this bucolic and storied place offers a real time travel.
Open from March to November, the House of Milling consists of three buildings: a barn with a bread oven, the mill with the water wheel, and the house of the miller and his family, filled with ancient everyday objects. Fully renovated and redesigned in 2017, this place is both didactic and playful. The numerous explanatory panels located around and inside the buildings allow you to learn about mill operation and condition, as well as its surroundings.
Let’s follow Pompon, the cat during the whole visit
Built in the 18th century by the canons, the House of Milling benefited from the exemplary restoration which preserved its relaxed charm. The visit starts with the presentation of the baker’s activity in the mill. We follow Suzanne, the miller’s daughter who’s looking for her cat, Pompon. This is the main theme of the visit. Well-thought holograms guide us and explain the different modus operandi of the mill and life as it was before. Everything there is linked to water, the main element of the mill. The evolution of the visit is so natural and pleasant we don’t see time flying.
Gears of the House of Milling observed by Pompon, Suzanne’s cat.
The ten-step visit brings you from bread making by the baker, to the washerwomen and to the miller who explains to us how the mill works and the different steps of flour production. A non-guided visit allows you to discover the different places at your own pace. You take time to understand how the mill works, the grinders and the wheel, from the creation of the mill to the arrival of electricity which revolutionised its use.
Don’t leave without your locally made flour
This didactic, immersive and playful visit allows you to feel, touch and discover unusual objects. At the end of the visit, you can go through the shop and leave with flour produced on-site by the mill.
In addition to the non-guided visit, animations are held inside the buildings from spring to autumn. Commentated demonstrations, workshop on bread, pastry, painting, straw marquetry: the House of Milling is a true living space, filled with exchanges and sharing in the heart of Nieul-sur-l’Autise, a town stepped in history.
The interior of the Milling House in Nieul sur l’Autise.
And what about Suzanne? Has she found her cat? Well, we won’t let it out of the bag…
As a peculiar place in the heart of the Marais poitevin Regional Natural Park, the House of Milling is an opportunity to do an original and playful visit. Just a few kilometres away from the Green Venice and its canals, which are the perfect place for a boat ride, a hiking trip or a bike ride, the House of Milling will please everyone.