Vannes: Porte Saint Vincent!

Well, here I go again. Do not know why not written a post on this fabolous gate of my dear Vannes in the Morbihan breton dept 56 of my adopted Bretagne. So many posts ,and brief mentions but with such an important icon of Vannes ,it deserves a post of its own. Therefore, here is my rendition on the Porte Saint Vincent!

The ramparts of the city of Vannes were, in the last century, first pierced with 3, then 4, then 6 gates, namely: the so-called Saint-Patern gate, then the Prison gate; de Notre-Dame, rue Notre-Dame, then rue de la Préfecture; de Saint-Salomon, demolished in 1790; the North Gate, opened in the 17C, and the Poterne Gate, which was opened around the same time. Another door remains to be noted, it is the one which received the name of Saint-Vincent.


In 1418, Jean V, Duke of Brittany, brought in from Spain a renowned preacher to put the inhabitants of Vannes back on the right path to the Church: it was Vincent Ferrier, originally from Valencia (see post). A true cult was dedicated to him after his canonization in 1455. The Saint-Vincent gate, the Place Valencia square , rue Saint Vincent , a Church, and in a chapel to his glory in the Saint-Pierre Cathedral still bear witness to the strong imprint he left in the city. On April 5, 1419, Vincent Ferrier died in the house which today bears the number 17  Place Valencia. On the south side of Saint-Pierre Cathedral, one of the five chapels is the one dedicated to Saint Vincent Ferrier and which, since 1456, has contained his holy relics.


More on the St Pierre Cathedral and the Chapel of Saint VincentCathedrale St Pierre on the Chapel of Saint Vincent

The successive tides of the gulf damaged the base of the gate and its structure showed serious deterioration at the beginning of the 18C. The gate was repaired in 1727. The gate was completely taken over in 1747 and work had it retained the original façade, but removes the roof and the upper room. In the central niche, a statue dating from 1891 of Saint Vincent Ferrier recalls the importance of this preacher in the history of Vannes. The arms of the city are carved in granite on the same date. The original stone or marble statue of the saint, placed in 1624, made in Nantes by the Vannes painter Guillaume Lemarchand and replaced during the French revolution by that of a sans-culotte, has disappeared. What you see now is a duplicata. He is the Patron Saint of the city of Vannes and of the Comunity of Valencia, Spain. His native house there now a museum is at Pouet de San Vicent, 1. Valencia


The Porte Saint-Vincent gate is a city gate pierced between the end of the 16C and the beginning of the 17C. It is the main entrance to the old town of Vannes. Integrated into the ramparts of the city, the gate located to the north of the port and Place Gambetta was originally intended to allow port workers access to the walled city. For nearly two centuries, access to the gate was via a bridge (also called Saint-Vincent) which will be replaced by a semi-hemispherical square: the Place du Morbihan, current Place Gambetta.


It was under the League, between the end of the 16C and the beginning of the 17C, that an opening was pierced to the south of the ramparts for communication with the port. It is the Kraër-Calmont gate, named after the two districts of the city located respectively to the south-west and south-east of the city. The gate replaces fortifications from the 14C and 16C. The last vestiges of these fortifications; the bastion, gate and tower of Gréguennic, still exist today behind the left part of Place Gambetta. Between 1620 and 1624, at the expense of the work of the bridge and the Kaër-Calmont gate. Once the work was completed, the gate was renamed Porte Saint-Vincent in homage to the preacher Saint Vincent Ferrier.


The Porte Saint-Vincent is a gate in cut stone of granite architecture with three spans framed by columns and three levels. On the lower level, the carriage door is framed by two narrow bays, one blind, the other open by a pedestrian door. Two niches open on the second level in the side bays, framing the arms of the city. The third level consists of a median niche framed by volutes.

There is a bit more on it on the city of Vannes, porte Saint Vincent in French: City of Vannes on Porte Saint Vincent

Upon arriving at Vannes by boat or car, coach/bus and want to go to the old town, the most magnificent entrance is by this gate from Le Port marina. We have have gone in from any angle but still the Porte Saint Vincent is the most beautiful way to see old Vannes. Hope you enjoy it

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

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