The origins of Brou
Located in a transition region that joins the Beauce and Perche, Brou soon became a place of active trade. The Wednesday market, already established is mentioned before 1200. The city still surrounded by its moat underwent a transformation in the sixteenth century, houses with carved woodwork being built, and the church being enlarged. Without historical evidence, tradition ascribes this work to the generosity of Florimond Robertet, Secretary of State to both King Louis XII and King Francis I, the Baron of Brou from 1509 to 1527.
Brou has a rich past, of which only a few vestiges remain. The Guillaume Gouet Château and its fortifications have disappeared. Of the Saint Romain village, apart from the fortified enclosure, nothing remains except some walls of the church, no doubt from the 12th century. At Saint Romain Priory only a few walls of the chapel remain. The suburb of Saint-Jean, again apart from the walls, had a priory of which the chapel is still visible. There still remain the church of Saint-Lubin, the Saint-Marc chapel and a few half-timbered houses.
Brou’s coat of arms
Azure belt on a sable demi vol accompanied by three gold stars, one in chief and two in base, having towers as a crest, an oak branch on one side and bay leaves on the other, as heraldic ornaments, such were the arms of Florimond Robertet. In 1913, the City Council adopted this coat of arms, which now forms part of the City Council’s seal.
The Church of Saint-Lubin
It is likely that the construction of the church of Saint-Lubin goes back to the twelfth century, like most churches in the region. It has a Romanesque apse. It was enlarged in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with an aisle and a transept. In 1620, the Abbot Bourdoise, clerical reformer and local son, built the vestry. In 1813, the steeple was struck by lightning, causing a fire. The wooden spire, 30 metres high, was replaced with a square tower in1822.
The oak furniture dates from the late eighteenth century.
There are numerous statues and pictures, including a multi-coloured wooden statue attributed to Roscoet. A large painting in the south chapel illustrates the institution of the Rosary (1623). Note the beautiful keystone with its double arches in the chapel of the Holy Sacrament
Place de la Nation
This is situated on the former site of the castle (or fort) mentioned in charters of the second half of the eleventh century.
The town of Brou, located in the Perche Gouet, would have fallen within the domain of Clovis granted in the seventh century to the abbey of Saint-Père in the valley of Chartres. In the ninth century, a bishop would have granted its defence and enjoyment to armed men who helped him to repel Vikings who attacked Chartres.
These overlords fortified the sites in the eleventh century, by means of a fort and its courtyard built on the site of the present Place de la Nation and the Jules Verne School. These were then surrounded by ditches, access being allowed by gates and bridges.
It was in this period that the five sites of Brou, Alluyes, The Bazoche-Gouet, Authon du Perche and Montmirail were brought together under the authority of the lord William Gouet. Was it he who built the Castle at Brou €
In 1589, the soldiers of Henry of Navarre, later King Henry IV, laid siege to Brou, which was in the hands of the League. This is where the castle would have been bombarded. The town capitulated and was made to pay a ransom.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the castle became first the Place de le Basse Cour and then the Place de la Nation.
La Chapelle Saint-Marc
This has the remains of an apse, restored in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Now abandoned, it serves as the local Intercommunity Tourist Office for the Perche-Gouet region.
The wooden framed house (Historical Monument)
The wooden house features some fine specimens of the flora of the fifteenth century. On the pillars and a projection can be seen sculptures of vines with branches, leaves of burdock and thistles with occasional pine cones and a few bunches of grapes.
This house also features a large Gothic doorway with a pointed arch ornamented with fine coils and leaves and a delicately carved running frieze. On top of the portal, a shield, damaged but still visible, is supported by two porcupines.
La Maison de l’Isle ou Grande Maison
Located on the Chateaudun road, this building has remained the property of the Delorme family for over two centuries, including Pierre Delorme (1622-1695), lawyer and bailiff of Brou. Successive restorations have been undertaken since the eighteenth century.
La Place des Halles
At first a wooden hall, constructed before 1368, this building was 50m long, 25m wide and 17m high, more than twice the size of the current Hall. From the late twelfth century, Wednesday has always been market day in Brou. The Hall provides a covered market for cereals, meat products and woven materials made in the region.
In 1846 a stone building was erected with more modest dimensions. From the beginning of the century to 1940, the market for calves, important event in the local area, made Brou famous for its Hall.
Today, the market is always held on Wednesday, in the Hall, and dominates the town centre. In winter, the Hall is home to the Sunday morning market, which moves up to the Matrassière Square on sunny days.
No. 1 Rue des Changes (Historical Monument)
The Credit Agricole bank occupies the remains of a house in Brou restored in recent years under the supervision of the Bâtiments de France. It has an interesting frontage with motifs that include a pilgrim and a Saint-Jacques shell.
Rue des Changes
The present name of la "Grande Rue", according to 18th century legal archives, came into force from 1836.
L’Hotel de Ville (Town Hall)
On the initiative of Mr. Baudin, first mayor of the 3rd Republic, plans for the construction of the building were entrusted to Vaillant, architect, in 1884. In January 1885, the City Council approved the draft. The first stone was laid on May 2, 1886 by Mr. Hubert. One year later, the Town Hall was inaugurated.
In the City Council Chamber there is a painting entitled "The Fair", a copy by Roppart in the style of Rubens, and a sculpture called "The departure of the swallows" by Felix Charpentier. The original plaster work, dated 1893, was given in 1925 to the town of Brou by the sculptor’s widow. Brou also owes to the same artist the war memorial, dated 1921.
Brou has several washhouses built in the late nineteenth century.
There are four public ones; two of them, on Rue Saint-Jean and the Mill promenade, respectively, are fed by the Saint-Jean and Saint-Nicolas fountains, and the other two are located on the Ozanne: on the road to Vaugelan and the rue des Lavoirs.
The houses along the river have the distinction of having a private washhouse.
Operation Heart of the Village
An operation called Heart of the Village has enabled the town of Brou to develop several central areas. The aim of this project has been to improve people’s living environment in a spirit of sustainable development. Water is the central thread of this development.
Matrassière Square, decorated with plants, has been enhanced with a cascading fountain, This parking area is now a recreation area with new street furniture and the start of a walk "Follow the water".
Starting from the first fountain, it goes imaginatively along a covered passageway over luminous slabs of blue resin that give the effect of a stream. The "Water Passageway" is a great place to relax among varied and colourful plants, listening to the sound of a waterfall mural created with enamel from Briare. The creation of this passage assists pedestrians to progress towards Dauphin Square, where jets of water lead the walkers to the river Ozanne flowing down below.
"The Water Passageway"
Situated between the streets of the Hotel de Ville and La Chevalerie, the covered walkway is in line with the overall renovation of the town centre and offers new services.
Housed in a former car dealer’s premises acquired by the town in 2002, the water passageway has helped open up Matrassière Square and encourage travel on foot in the town centre. Designed around the theme of water, this walkway is also a place where pedestrians can relax.
Upstairs, the passage takes on a different aspect. Indeed, a social area and other services are provided. There are two conditions of use: for users, it enables them to centralize their activities in a specific place, whereas speakers can more easily make contacts and exchanges. Accessible to disabled people, this area brings together the various activities required in Brou with regard to employment, welfare and administration.