Pioneers of Saint-Pierre Woods

The city of Poitiers bought the Bois de Saint-Pierre in 1967. Marcel Guillot, Rémy Marchadier and Christophe Pyeatt have spent their careers there and supported the creation and development of the place.

J I already knew the Bois de Saint-Pierre when I was a child. It belonged to the Marot family, industrialists from Niort. In the summer, an Air Force general rented the castle, one could see the plane circling above: that was the attraction for the kids! Marcel Guillot, 88, not only grew up and always lived nearby, but he spent most of his career there until he became head of the park and garden section until he retired.

We shot down
beats it
to create zoo
and the center is

When Father Marot died, he was abandoned, then the family sold the town of Poitiers. The house was covered with vegetation, the alleys were blocked … If he also remembers this sad state, it is because he removed them by hand, the thorns that had invaded everything. I worked in Poitiers, the department head insisted that I be at the Bois de Saint-Pierre. It did not matter to me to go and bury myself there, I accepted a one-year trial … and I stayed there for 31 years.
It was in October 1967 that the municipality acquired the site. Rémy Marchadier, who arrived at the Air Center in 1973 until her retirement in 2010, adds: Vertadier municipality had received help from the Youth and Sports Secretariat, because at that time there was a huge need for leisure centers. At Bois de Saint-Pierre, the goal has always been twofold: childcare and leisure for the general public.

A redeemed field
to dig the pond

Marcel Guillot was involved in all the sites to transform the site: There were no machines at that time. We renovated the house to put in a caretaker. Very soon we had to arrange the zoo. We cleared the whole area by knocking down the trees with acorns and we continued with the air center. Before the permanent buildings, I knew the barracks behind the castle: it was the fair that no longer served Blossac because she had gone to Les Arnes.
Marcel Guillot will never forget the excavation of the pond at the bottom of the site following an idea from Claude Dasriaux, the engineer responsible for Poitiers’ green areas: The town bought a field and a backhoe came to dig. We lost our hand. Trucks delivered clay to turf, and I almost stayed there when I was under a truck …

A treasure for the city

Christophe Pyeatt worked with Marcel Guillot and succeeded him and also spent 31 years on the site from 1990 to 2021. Among the most significant moments he remembers the two great storms of 2000 and 2013, it was a disaster … He knows every nook and cranny: Our mission was to maintain the 102 hectares of playgrounds, behind the swimming pool, the pond … The rest is managed by the National Office of Forestry. When I started, we were a team of twelve. Subsequently, the equipment and the organization were shared with the city center: in the end, there were two of us. But the Bois de Saint-Pierre is a treasure for the city.
If they were in charge of green spaces, their counterpart in charge of entertainment, catering and accommodation was Rémy Marchadier. I spent my entire career there. represented 37 half a year of life and I lived it all with passion.

The kitchen at the castle

Before the 1970s, children and teenagers in Poitiers went to the Château de Beauvoir, Vouneuil-sous-Biard. In 1971-1972, 6-14 year olds were sent to the Bois de Saint-Pierre in tents during the day. The cooking took place at the castle! It was Daniel Brousseau, the teacher at the Perrault school, who took care of it. In parallel, the permanent buildings were erected. The Ar Center was opened on 1 July 1973.
Just when he, fresh owner of Capes, was appointed professor of sports and athletics at Ronsard College in September. While waiting for the return, Daniel Brousseau recruited me as in charge of the animators. The center was allowed to accommodate 300 children: it was colossal! Until 1980, he taught during the school year and took care of the center during all short vacations and one month during the summer. We worked with three teams from City’s canteens: Andersen, Tony-Lain and Bellejouanne. He remembers the big Christmas celebration, the creation of the pony club and the pond, then, after 1977, the swimming pool, by Mayor Jacques Santrot’s decision.

420 children in the center
spare time

The year 1980 marked a turning point: Rémy Marchadier was fired from teaching to be a full-time employee of the Bois de Saint-Pierre under the leadership of the management association, which was responsible for it at the time he was in service of the housing center, with 84 beds. The idea was to be able to stay open all the time. We welcomed athletes: the cyclists from the Tour Poitou-Charentes, the tracks in the Charles-Martel Challenge, the battalion in Joinville with the Army’s senior athletes … And from 1987, the classes that came to the Futuroscope: we had too many requests!
In the 1980s, the leisure center welcomed 420 children, after the city in 1983 bought a large building belonging to France’s scouts and scouts. In the 1990s, the project developed: instead of continuing to offer services with accommodation, the center chose to create a Maison de la nature in this structure, to accommodate discovery classes in accommodation with accommodation and activities around sports and nature.

An American shovel to collect garbage

We gradually had fewer children in leisure centers: the meetinghouses were opened, their centers came by minibus during the day to the Bois de Saint-Pierre. In the 2000s, we stopped the 14-16-year-olds: Previously, there were up to 150 in July. Every Saturday morning we made an “American shovel”: the 100 children lined up started from the bottom of the plain and picked up the rubbish. The concept of environmental conservation was part of the idea from the start: Claude Dasriaux had wanted to leave 170 hectares of wild without infrastructure, and Michel Allain, Jacques Santrot’s assistant, said that if we approved structures and vehicles further away, Bois de Saint -Pierre would be become a desert in fifty years.
Fifty-five years later, the Bois de Saint-Pierre is still there and the municipality wants to set aside € 7M for them to make it a resource center for nature.


In seven sections, throughout the summer, the Center Presse strolls through the Bois de Saint-Pierre: from mini golf to the zoo, from the forest to the pond, from the site’s origins in 1967 to the projects that the municipality has launched. for its future.

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