What to visit in Mont-de-Marsan: discover the must-see attractions of the Landes capital!

Published on 08/11/2022

A former 12th century fortified town that has become the capital of the Landes, Mont-de-Marsan is a town of art and history that deserves more than a simple diversions. What to visit in Mont-de-Marsan, what to do, where to go and where to walk? This is what we will discover in this article.


In the heart of the Landes, at the confluence of two rivers, the Midou and the Douze, Mont-de-Marsan (32,000 inhabitants) is one of the most touristic cities in the South-West. A must-see during your camping holiday in the Landes!

Founded in 1133 by Pierre de Marsan, the current prefecture of the Landes was the main fortified town of the Landes. It once housed a medieval fortress built around the "Bourg Vieux" and a castle located on the site of the current Theatre, known as "le Castelnau".

From this period, the ancient fortified town of Landes has kept part of its ramparts, about ten metres high, built between the 12th and 13th centuries, and the Lacataye Keep, the town's major defensive building. Several Romanesque fortified houses, the medieval covered passages of the Rue des Arceaux and the old river port built on the left bank of the Midouze still bear witness to the rich historical past of the city of Montpellier.

But what makes this Gascony city so original are the numerous sculptures that decorate the streets and squares of the historic centre, the parks and gardens, which earned it the nickname "Capital of Sculpture".


Housed in a group of medieval buildings from the 14th century, under the belvedere of the Lacataye keep, the museum houses more than 2,000 figurative sculptures (from 1850 to the present day) based on the work of two sculptors born in Mont-de-Marsan: Charles Despiau and Robert Wlérick. Other graphic works have progressively enriched the collections, which now include more than 11,000 paintings, engravings and drawings. The visit continues in the sculpture garden, where several monumental works are on display.


Classified as one of the "100 most beautiful markets in France", the Saint-Roch market is held twice a week on the eponymous square. You will find all the products that the Landes region has to offer for a fine palate. A short digestive walk is then necessary on the banks of the Midouze, along the cale de l'abreuvoir, to discover the river heritage of the old port area.


Mont-de-Marsan is also a town with a sense of celebration and every year it organises the famous Madeleine festival. During the third week of July, more than 400,000 festayres dressed in blue and white flood into the town. Bullfights mingle with Landes races in the Plumaçon bullring, while float parades, joyful bandas and bodegas enliven the streets of the city centre.


Created in 1978, the Mont-de-Marsan animal park offers an original walk that is very popular with families. In the shade of large oak trees, you can see llamas, deer, ponies, Patagonian hares and many other animals. A great place to go with your children. And what's more, it's free!


Well known to the inhabitants of Montois, this park was formerly called "La Pépinière". It now bears the name of a novelist and poet from the Landes region at the beginning of the 20th century. Located in the loop of the Douze, the 6-hectare park is organised around a Japanese garden, a hydrangea garden and a fern garden, with nearly 80 different species of trees.

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