The Castle of Vitré!

On a cloudy foggy day in my beloved Morbihan breton, I like to come back to my region of Brittany. Again, written general posts on the city of Vitré and its wonders, but feel once again a single post on the castle is merited and worth the visit by all those passing by.

In our quest to take advantage of living here and with so much history and architecture around we took it upon ourselves to see as much as possible of my new region and it has been a blast! Let me tell you a bit more on the Castle of Vitré!


The Vitré castle is a powerful castle located at the western end of the fortified town of Vitré, in Ille-et-Vilaine,dept 35 of Brittany and on the marches of Brittany. The Vitré castle occupies the end of a schist spur overlooking the north of the Valley of the Vilaine and to the south a swampy brook, disappeared in the 18C to make way for the royal road from Paris to Rennes. The renovation of the castle c. 1420,  had another purpose, the affirmation of the seigneurial power, shaken by the arrival of the English in Maine ,because the castle then was the refuge of the counts of Laval, especially when the English took Laval in 1427.


A bit of history I like

Around the year 1000AD, a first wooden castle mentioned between 1066 and 1076 was built on a clod castrale by Baron Riwallon of Vitré at the present site of the Church of St. Croix. This castle whose shape is unknown was burned on many occasions. It was abandoned for the benefit of a new stone castle built by Baron Robert I of Vitré at the end of the 11C on a new defensive site, a vast rocky headland of schist that dominates about thirty meters above the Vilaine river. This castle still has a Romanesque-style porch. The reconstruction of the castle in its current, triangular form and the fortification of the city in the first half of the 13C was traditionally attributed to Baron Andre III.

The Parliament of Brittany took refuge on three occasions (1564, 1582 and 1583) during the plague epidemics in Rennes. With the families of the Rieux and Coligny, owners of the castle between 1547 and 1605, Vitré houses the Protestant cult and became for a few years a Huguenot bastion. One of the major elements of the French revolution in Vitré was the accidental fire that destroyed the Seigneurial house in 1795. At the beginning of the 19C, a departmental prison was built in the place of the Seigneurial house and occupied the entire northern part, including the Madeleine tower. The prison became garrisoned upon the arrival of the 70th Infantry Regiment from 1867 to 1877. The castle was bought by the State in the 19C. Today, the Vitré City/town Hall is installed inside the castle enclosure, in a building rebuilt in 1912 according to the plans of the medieval Logis.

A bit on the architecture details I like

The entrance facade to the east is preceded by a large esplanade called Place du Château (castle square). The entrance Châtelet dating from the 15C is composed of two towers in pepper-pots ,the north tower in rubble and south tower paired, topped by a gallery of machicolations Breton Sandstone and a double fortified floor. The tower of the Oratory, also called the Chapel Tower, takes its name from the Renaissance apsidiole which adorns its facade the coat of arms of the Comte de Laval surrounded by the collar of the Order of St. Michael appear intertwined with those of his wives, Charlotte of Aragon, Anne de Montmorency and Antoinette de Daillon. Around the inner courtyard are distributed the seigneurial buildings, which became those of the City/Town Hall. The tower of the Oratory exhibits a triptych altarpiece consisting of 32 enamel plates of Limoges tracing the life of Christ and the Virgin.



The St. Lawrence Tower was the home of the governor. The four floors of this imposing tower are such that it acts as a dungeon. Built in the 15C on the site of a 13C tower, it collapsed in 1835 and was rebuilt around 1870.  The museum presents a collection of paintings depicting the history of Vitré and the evolution of French religious goldsmith from the 17C to the 20C. The Saint-Laurent tower houses, among others, sculptures from the 15-16C from Vitré’s houses, a Renaissance fireplace dating back to 1583, tapestries from Flanders from the 16C and Aubusson from the 17C, and the tomb of Guy X of Laval.


There, and now some webpages to help you plan your trip here which I say is a must to see in Brittany


City of Vitré on heritage

Tourist office of Vitré on the Castle

Official Castle of Vitré

Now you are all set to visit this enchanting castle right in city center Vitré on the frontiers of Brittany, and worth the detour. It was a very nice visit by us there, and sure worth a return.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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