Archive for May 2nd, 2019

May 2, 2019

Château de l’Hermine at Vannes!

Well, heck yes Vannes has its castles too, they are all over us !!! All beautiful and this one with enough history for a book but I will keep it short, promise. Again, I have mentioned it in bits in previous posts, but darn, do not know why not done a single post on it, very nice and cultural looking today.

Therefore, let me tell you a whole lot more on the Castle of the Hermine by the ramparts of Vannes!Oh yes that is Château de l’Hermine.

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The Château de l’Hermine  (later Hôtel Lagorce but still call by locals Hermine ) at 12 Rue Alexandre le Pontois in Vannes, was a small castle built in the ramparts  Vannes . The castle was the main residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the end of the 14C and the 15C. Ruined and then dismantled in the 17C, it was replaced during the 18C by a special hotel, the Hôtel Lagorce which took the name of its owner. It is however commonly known as the Château de L’Hermine, the memory of the ancient fortress of the Dukes being well anchored in the memories of the local Vannetais.  The Château de l’Hermine was a defensive and residential building, intended by Duke Jean IV of Brittany, who wished to benefit from a residence in a city which had been favorable to him during the War of Succession of Brittany

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A bit of history I like

The construction of this Castle of the Hermine (ermine) ranged between 1380 and 1385, the construction site continuing until the middle of the 15C. The services of the Hotel du Duke found place in the farmyard such as the chamber of accounts, the workshop of the Mint, the House of the Oven, the game of Palm (tennis) as well as the ducal stables built in the years 1440. The construction of the Moulin des Lices, and the Chapel of the Lices  between 1420 and 1425, completes the ensemble.

King François I of France stayed at the castle for the vote of the States for the Union of the Duchy in 1532. The passage of the Duchy into the French mantle in 1532 left it without maintenance. Under king Louis XIII, the abandoned Castle threatened ruin and at the request of the bourgeois of Vannes ,king Louis XIV made a donation to the city in 1697. Under this donation, the city repaired its walls, rebuilt the bridge of St. Vincent, built the docks of Calmont, and provided some materials to the Hôtel-Dieu and the retreat house for men in 1750. The Lagorce purchase it in 1784, built a large hotel, and reputable restaurant under the Consulate , which he sold to Mr. Castelot  in 1802. This castle  restored and raised, was acquired in 1874, the stones of the Castle were used for the construction of the port of Vannes and the repairs of the buildings of which the city was responsible.

The current Castle of the Hermine dates from 1785 and has nothing to do with the medieval castle of the Hermine which resembled more to a fortress than to a leisure Castle. The remains of the Castle-two towers already well-arched-were completely destroyed in 1798. Acquired by the State in 1876 to install the Artillery School of the 11th Army Corps, the castle undergoes modifications. From 1926 to 1974, the Château de l’Hermine hosted the General Treasury of the Morbihan Department. In 1976, it became the property of the city of Vannes which assigned it to the School of Law of Morbihan and then to various associative and cultural activities including the Cultural Institute of Brittany. In recent years, the Law School has joined the University of Brittany campus and the City/Town Hall has arranged two large exhibition halls on the ground floor of the Castle.

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A bit of a description of the Château de l’Hermine

The fortress is an adjunct to large outbuildings where it creates a park, the terrain stretched from the Garenne to the pond or lake of the Duke (Duc).  It is a small castle for a Prince, which consists of a single body of dwelling and forces small towers and there are besides two big towers by the outside. In neoclassical style, the elongated built castle is built on a elevated terrain, the level of the basement on the garden being counteracted by a terrace. The ordered elevation of the facades is underlined horizontally by size-defining stone headbands; the vertical rhythm, accentuated by the individualization of the roofs, is drawn by pilasters with bosses limiting pavilions and central body. The elevation in the 19C altered the initial neoclassical structure of elevations. The Château de l’Hermine had as its dependence a farmyard, which extended northwards to the Constable Tower(tour du Connetable); There were buildings there to house the people of arms and the troops of the Duke, and stables to receive the horses. Next to it was the field of maneuvering, which kept up to the present day the meaningful name of Place of the Lices, and which was then more, wide than it is today. There was finally a miniature park, which stretched from the city to the pond or lake of the Duke.

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Stories from the wonderful history of Vannes and the Château de l’Hermine.

The Castle was the scene of a considerable event of the reign of Duke Jean IV: the arrest of Olivier V de Clisson, a mighty Breton Lord and Constable of France, descended from the barons of Clisson and hero of the War of Succession of Brittany. Companion of the Duke, he changed camp in 1369, joining the enemy party, that of the Duchess Jeanne de Penthièvre. In 1370 he bought the County of Porhoët, in 1380 he was appointed Constable of France, in 1484 he paid the ransom of the count of Penthièvre Jean de Blois and offered him his daughter in marriage, thus becoming the stepfather of a possible Duke of Brittany. Becoming a dangerous rival in the eyes of Duke Jean IV, he decided to eliminate him. The occasion was presented in 1387, following the States of Brittany held in Vannes. As he entered the Tower of the Dungeon, the armed soldiers of Jean IV seized him and was shackled on his feet. The Duke instructed Jean de Bazvalan, Captain of the Castle, to execute the prisoner. Alarmed, however, of the consequences of this execution and following the advice of the master of the Castle who had not followed the orders of his sovereign, he spared the Constable. The two men reconciled a few years later.  The Constables ‘ Tower, which is in a courting of the first enclosure of the ramparts, and which has nothing to do with one of the towers of the Château de l’Hermine, would bear this name in memory of Olivier V de Clisson.

In 1455, Duke Pierre II and his wife, blessed Françoise d’Amboise, could not have any offspring. With the health problems of Pierre II arises the question of his succession. To prevent the throne of Brittany from falling into foreign hands, the Duke decided to marry his niece, Marguerite de Bretagne, daughter of his elder brother François I, to his cousin, François de Bretagne, Count of Etampes. To seal this Union, the Duke summoned the States of Brittany to Vannes, which met in 1455, in the upper room of the La Cohue(see previous post). Gather together the main Breton Lords, as well as the bishops, the Abbots and the representatives of the cities. They all endorse the marriage Union desired by Pierre II. Banquets and dances followed at the Château de l’Hermine!.

It was at the Château de l’Hermine that Duke Jean V remained when he received at Vannes in 1418 Saint Vincent Ferrier and that he saw him preach in the place des Lices. This is where the pious Duchess Jeanne de France died in 1433. This is where the Dukes François I and Isabeau of Scotland, Pierre II and the Blessed Françoise D’Amboise often stayed.  In 1463, the nine Carmelite nuns from Liège, to found a house in Bondon, were taken to the Château de l’Hermine by Blessed Françoise d’Amboise and presented to the Duke. They were housed in the superior apartments of the Castle of the Hermine, and erected an oratory to sing their offices of the day and night. They came out to settle in the Bondon.  Under Duke François II, Chancellor Chauvin, pursued by the Dutch, was imprisoned at the Château de l’Hermine and died of misery in 1483.  Abandoned to the Captains where Governors of Vannes, to serve them as a dwelling, the Castle was visited in 1518 and 1532 by King François I.

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A webpage on a bit more of the Chateau de l’Hermine

City of Vannes on Chateau de l’Hermine

A very nice place and very much into the history of Brittany and France, another gem to see while walking around the Le Port area of Vannes or walking down from the Hôtel de Ville city/town hall). Enjoy it

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

 

May 2, 2019

Garenne park, garden of Vannes!

So can’t get away from Vannes, my capital city of the Morbihan dept 56 of my pretty Brittany. I worked just outside in an old castle ruins of 1504 where we are HQ world, but do not seen to tell you enough of this Vannes; intact without damages for centuries original!

I have giving you some tidbits on the parks and garden along the ramparts of old Vannes, but feel not enough ,therefore ,here is a blog post on them, enjoy it as we do.

The Garenne Park or Garenne garden, or promenade de la Garenne (not to be confuse with the end note on the ramparts sometimes also call Garenne garden)  is a public park in Vannes. The garden is bounded to the north by the Jardin d’Accreditation of the Prefecture govt building (smaller), to the east by the rue de Saint-Tropez, to the south by  Rue Jehan-de-Bazvalan and to the west Reu Francis-Decker. Access to the Park is done by Francis-Decker, Jehan-de-Bazvalan and Alexandre-Le-Pontois streets. This Park is considered the oldest in the city

A bit of history I like

The Garenne is a salient that projects northwards to the hill of Calmont. The sea, which in the Middle Ages extended to the district of Saint-Patern, where it mixed with the waters of various streams, then bathed the steep flanks of this spur covered with thick vegetation of ajoncs and brushwood. The land belonged since the 12C to the Abbey of Saint-Gildas of Rhuys (see my other post on it), which had formed the partial endowment of its Priory of Saint-Guen. During the construction of the Hermine castle, around 1380, Duke Jean IV seized the Garenne to make it a part of the park of the Castle, an immense park since it stretched to the port.

After the Union of Brittany with France, it became the property of the Kings of France, which then left its use to the Captains and Governors of the city. After ceded, in 1569 a portion to the hospital Saint-Nicolas, then in 1635 the northern lands (now occupied by the Hotel de Préfecture and its gardens) to the Dominicans to establish a convent, only the top of the Garenne and its slopes to the city remain in the Royal domain.

After the revolt of the stamped paper (against king Louis XIV on raising taxes and also known as the Bonnet Rouges or Red Caps), the Parliament of Brittany was transferred to Vannes in 1674. The parliamentarians and their suites then demanded a set of landscaped walks. The project is abandoned several times for lack of means after some work was started. The development work resumed seriously in the middle of the 18C. The western monumental fence and staircase walls are built in 1749. In 1752, the work accelerated, the community decided to employ the needy in the development of the Garenne. The work thus insured the finished by December 3, 1753.

A bit on the laid out of the Garenne park-garden

Except for some improvements or refinements carried out later , particularly on the plateau which, originally, was a sloping plane descending by a uniform slope from the Hospice to the wall of the Prefecture park, the promenade de la Garenne or park or garden had, therefore, from 1753, the appearance and the provisions it presents today.

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The Garenne garden stretches over an area of about 27 000 m2. It is marked by a steep elevation of about 20 meters between its lowest part to the west and its highest part in the center of the plateau. The western part presents itself as a succession of terraces traversed by aisles and planted with large alignments of trees. The eastern part, corresponding to the plateau, is arranged as a large square of circular arms, surrounded by flowerbeds. There are two playgrounds.

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In the center of the park stands the Monument aux  Morts (mon to the fallen)  of the city. It is composed of a large column surmounted by a winged victory. Four lion heads flank the corners. The tomb of an anonymous resistant is dug at the foot of this column in 1945 and four stelae bearing the names of the victims of  WWII are inaugurated in 1947.

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The ramparts of Vannes are the fortifications erected between the 3C and 17C to protect the city of Vannes. Founded by the Romans at the end of the 1C BC, during the reign of Augustus, the Civitas Venetorum was forced to protect itself behind a castrum at the end of the 3C, even though a major crisis shook the Roman Empire. This first enclosure remains the only protection of the city for more than a millennium. It was at the time of Duke Jean IV, at the end of the 14C, that the city walls were rebuilt and extended southwards to protect the new neighborhoods. The Duke wanted  to make Vannes not only a place of residence but also a strong hold  on which he can rely in case of conflict. The area of the Intra-muros city is doubled and the Duke adds to the new enclosure his fortress of the Hermine castle.

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The garden of the ramparts, or Garenne the garden is bounded to the west by the ramparts of the old town, to the south by the rue de la Porte Poterne and to the east by the Marle river, and the rue Francis-Decker.

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At the beginning of the 20C, the space between the eastern portions of the ramparts of Vannes and the Marle river is occupied by washes and orchards. After WWII, the city gradually acquired these lands. Opened at the beginning of the1950, the French garden contributes to the development of the fortified heritage of the city.  The garden stretches over an area of about 15 000 m2 and requires the planting and maintenance of 30 000 flowers every year. A playground covers the northern part, on the side of the Porte Prison.

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The Garenne or ramparts garden is home to the “Côté Jardin” flower garden event every year in May since 2006. The Livr’à Vannes book fair is organized in the garden every year in June since 2008.

City of Vannes on the Garenne ramparts park garden

City of Vannes on Garenne park

Lovely to walk amongt history and beautiful architecture intact from as far back as the 14C! This is a must in Vannes, we go and past by just to see it every week. The Garenne whatever is a park, garden , walk or ramparts is awesome!

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

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