The Chouans of Auray and Bretagne!!!

I like to update this older post in my blog about an important event in the history of France often overlooked by the victors. I came to live in the Morbihan breton in June 2011 if you have been reading my blog coming from Versailles. While here , well , I have heard but never really into it as reading official publications. Here talking with natives and having these monuments close by came to learn about the other history hidden from the general public by the French Republic=France. This is an episode that could have change the history of France and maybe even Europe. Let me tell you a bit about the Chouans of Auray , Morbihan, and Bretagne.

Let’s be a bit historical on our travels. I like to mentioned a bit about the Chouans, the folks of the country of Brittany in France. These folks were not in agreement to go the way of the French revolution,and were Royals and Catholics. They were led amongst others by General Cadoudal, a native son of Auray, where I lived nearby in Brec’h when move into this region on a village next door.

The Chouannerie was in effect a civil war between Republicans (those for the French revolution) and Loyalists troops in the areas of the west of France such as Brittany, but also by others in Maine, Anjou, and Normandy.  It was linked to the war of the Vendée ,and many times the two are known as the Wars of the West. Wars rage from 1791 until 1800, from guerrilla warfare to frontal attacks all over the region. Uprisings took effect in 1815 and 1832 all subdued by the Republicans.

In Brittany by 1791, the Marquis de La Rouerie (already distinguished in the American Revolution as Colonel Armand with Gen Washington) with the support of the count of Artois ( king Louis XVI  brother and later King Charles X)  created the clandestine Breton association or Association Bretonne that puts together a group having the Catholic dioceses as the principal objective the defense of the Monarchy, against Republicanism, the conservation of property ,and the establishement of laws and customs belonging to Brittany.  The war had in the Royal and Catholic army of Vannes led by General Cadoudal  that dominates in the Morbihan (today dept 56 of Brittany where I live), was formed of peasants for the most part,and after much battles and fronts led by many, the 25 February of 1795 Gen Georges Cadoudal goes to Paris and meets with Napoleon I  on March 4th (Palais de Tuileries), Cadoudal was offered many goodies but he refuse them all and decides to continue the fight first from exile in London. On May 10, Cadoudal is received by the Count of Artois in London ; that names him General in charge of the Catholic and Royal army of Brittany; ten days later he is met by William Pitt (prime minister) that offered to land 30000 men at Calais and Brittany and 30000 more if he raises an army of 60K men .Cadoudal comes over by May 10th and lands in the Morbihan. The victory of Napoleon at Morango stops William Pitt to send the troops may even if peace is signed between England and France the war of the Chouans do not. In 1803 Cadoudal lands in Dieppe after gaining Paris to try to capture Napoleon he is betrayed and captured ,  and he finally is executed in 1804 at the place de Gréves (today pl Hotel de Ville) refusing all honors or pardons. Ironically the men to chase these chouans was Lazare Hoche, the general of the king and later Napoleon who is a native of Versailles, now buried there, and the famous Pl Hoche named after him in the city.

The family home in the village of  Kerleano next to Auray, is still hold by descendants of the General, and he is buried in a Chapel next to it, now entoured by a wonderful tree park,it is a place of pilgrimages by all Bretons. Yes heroes last for the people, Georges Cadoudal, was born in Kerleano commune de Brech January 1 1771 and died guillotined on June 25 1804 in Paris, a chouan General. Later he was posthumously name Marshal of France. If he had suceed in taken down Napoleon history would have been a lot different! and me think better. To visit his tomb and park you need a car from the Auray train station that you arrive from Paris Montparnasse. The house is in private hands of the family and is not visited but you can see fairly well from outside. Today the Breton language is taught in schools as an elective and already taken by more than 700K students.




The city of Auray on heritage trails see the Mausolée de Cadoudal in French with more information :

The Morbihan dept 56 tourist board on the Cadoudal history:

A Royalist webpage Vendéen and Chouans on the anniversary of Gen Cadoudal with video:

This area is close to my home, and I past by it everyday to work, I am sure more stories will surface.  You can make it by car off N165 direction sortie 34 go by two round abouts circles and you will see the sign on your right, the site is well posted after that on each turn.  Enjoy this bit of history very hidden from the main stream of France but real and must be known if you are into history as I. Remember, Cadoudal of Auray at Kerleano! 

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

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