Ramparts of Vannes: Porte St Jean et Tour Poudriére!!!

So you know Vannes is my capital city and administrative center for us. It was as well for 9 years my place of work, just outside city limits, and we go there every week at least once! Therefore, I have written plenty about Vannes in my blog; but as often the case there are some missing parts.. I like to remedy that in addition of writing on the ramparts of the old town , do a bit more on the gates and towers that make up this rampart of Vannes.

So, then, le me tell you a bit more on the Porte St Jean and the tour Poudriére or St John gate and gun powder tower of Vannes!

The Tour Poudrière is closer to the end of the ramparts. The gun Powder Tower was redeveloped in the second half of the 15C on the basis of an old 12C tower. This tower equipped with artillery casemates was used at the end of the Middle Ages as a reserve of gun powder, which earned it its name of Poudrière. Part of the curtain wall between the Joliette and Poudrière towers is the only section to be permanently accessible to the public, the entrance being on rue des Vierges by the Place Lucien Laroche.

vannes Tour Poudriere ramparts apr21

To the north of the walled town there was a door in the Middle Ages called the “Porte du Mené” which gave access to this suburb. Some remains of this ancient passage, condemned in 1358 during the War of the Succession in Brittany , can still be seen in a private garden.  The story goes that to facilitate the access of carts of goods from Rennes and Nantes in the intramural and avoid the great embarrassment of the Prison gate (see post), it was decided to open two gates in the enclosure, the Poterne gate (today you can come to the old town by here with a car! ) to the east and the Saint-Jean gate to the north but a little lower than the old so-called Mené gate. This new access was opened in 1688, following the principle of gates with large wooden leaves. The gate replaces here a large staircase mentioned in the report of the work drawn up in 1685. It is preceded by a bridge which spans the moat of the wall. Its name “Porte Saint-Jean” comes from a chapel destroyed in 1856 which was located at the top of the rue Brizeux adjoining the cathedral.  We can see by this gate St Jean the defensive system of the ramparts in the 15C by corbelled machicolation on the curtain. These overhanging orifices made it possible to drop stones on the attackers. The base of the wall is profiled in an inverted Y at the same time to reinforce the stability in the event of actions of undermining, but also so that the projectiles released from the machicolations rebound towards the enemies. The top of the St Jean gate has a stone plaque placed in 1912, according to an old desire of the States of Brittany to see the coat of arms of France placed above this gate, surrounded by coat of arms of the Duke of Chaulnes, Governor of Brittany, of Lavardin de Beaumanoir, Lieutenant General in Rennes, of the Count of Lannion, Governor of Vannes, and finally, that of the city of Vannes.

vannes porte st jean rue brizeux ramparts jul18

The city of Vannes on its ramparts with detail map picturehttps://www.mairie-vannes.fr/vannesdecouverte/histoire-et-patrimoine/qr-patrimoine/les-remparts-en-detail/

There you go folks a dandy of old wonderful architecture, monuments to protect and leave for future generations, wonderful Vannes. These have little information as single entity but needed to tell you more of them as they are an integral part of the ramparts of Vannes. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit my Vannes.

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

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