My visit to Napoleonville or Pontivy!!!

Again, need to update this one close by and many family visits. There is so much around here to tell and Pontivy is one of them. And yes it used to be call briefly Napoleonville for you know who! Let me tell you about my earlier visit to it.

I have my day off as bridge or pont here due to the Holiday of Ascension so enjoy the ride into inland Morbihan. Pontivy for a while was called Napoleonville due to Napoleon I affinity for the town. It is just up the alley from our house on road D768.  One of my sons worked here for a while so we were in the area driving around and decided to pay a visit.

We walk around the town reminicent of the places we have been, doing some shopping in bakery  Inside Intermarché supermarket , and apéro drink in Le Rivoli bar cafe on Rue Nationale.


We had a wonderful lunch at resto Le Martray, pl du Martray on 32 rue du Pont, just so good we book for next weekend again. Fish in crustacean sauce, bavette or steak in poivre sauce, half bottle of muscadet white wine, ile flottante dessert, coffees, and apero like porto red all for about 21 euros per person, and the service like at home. Webpage:

pontivy le martray resto pl du martray apr13

We walked along the Blavet river on the quai d’Arcole especially and came into city on the back of the Imperial Church of St Joseph (église Impériale de Saint Joseph); (see post) néo gothic from 1860, It was built while visiting by Napoléon III under an imperial subvention, the crowning arrow was not finished so square top on the belltower seen today. In our timing it was closed but it is open  every day from 14h to 19h except Tuesdays and dates of events.

We, then, walked over to the other one, Church or Basilica (since 1959)  of Our Lady of Joy (église  Basilique Notre Dame de la Joie) , (see post) this is a nice one and again was open at Place Bourdonnay-du-Clézio . Built in the style neo gothic flamboyant,the statues of  Notre-Dame de la Joie, sculpture in a trunk of oak wood and of  Notre-Dame de la Délivrance, revered by the pregnant women are two wonderful sights to see inside. Nearby the latter one, you find a small Chapelle of Saint Ivy or congrégation of the chapel of St Ivy ;member artisians were many here since 1734; chapel rebuilt in 1776 and place at Place du Marché au Blé.  Completely restored from 1984-1989.

There is a very interesting monument by the Basilica ND de la Joie,on the small park with a fountain. This is Le Monument de la Fédération Bretonne Angevin setup in 1896 here in honor of the volunteers of 1790 who fought for the French Republic  with the motto, « Ni Bretons, ni Angevins, mais Français. » or Not Breton, Not Angevins, but French.

A bit of history I like

Well our famous Napoléon Ier wanted to give this time more notoriety in central Brittany, at the time with only 3000 inhabitants . The idea during peace a center of great commerce and during war a military important stronghold.  From the year brumaire XII or November 9, 1804 it received the name of Napoléonville.  All is arranged to make this a model city with new architecture whereby the first stone was put on August 12 1807 in his presence.  It had large avenues and beautiful gardens,and many streets were name on imperial figures . An imperial high school or secondary school was created in 1808 , the the 3rd high school in Brittany after those of Rennes and Nantes This school recruits from the area of Morbihan and  Finistére .  The district of the cavalry was finished in 1811, the house of detention in 1813,the mayor’s office in 1834, the department government building in  1839 , and the justice building in 1846.  With the monumental buildings which responds to the huge bourgeoises mansions.

It is in his speech to the nation of 1806 Napoléon Ier, written upon his order talks about Pontivy/Napoleonville here translated:

“In Morbihan, Napoléonville (Pontivy. It is in Pontivy, in a green and rural site that Bonaparte would have liked to install the administrative heart of Brittany. The beginning of the XIXth century thus saw being built, to the south of the small medieval city. remained intact, a modern city, tertiary and military which was to take as name Napoleonville. The fall of the empire was going to muddy the waters by reducing the project, but there remains a large rectangular place, wide rectilinear avenues intersecting at right angles, huge buildings, beautiful barracks, and … the Nantes-Brest canal)”

The source is the official History of the Consulate and Empire, the entire text to the Nation is here:

The town asked to be called Bourbonville after the first Restauration  1814-1815, and takes the name of Pontivy after the return of king Louis XVIII ,later it comes back to be called Napoléonville under Napoléon III. From  1870 the town regained the current name of Pontivy. Which of course in Breton is Pondi.

The tourist office of Pontivy community or agglo area on its heritage:

The tourist office of Bretagne on Pontivy

The city of Pontivy on its heritage:

We came back home to relax as tomorrow is another weekend. Wonderful Pontivy needs to be visit more , me think. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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