The museum of History and Archeology of Vannes!

And I come back to my capital city of Vannes to update this older post that needs a refresh on links and text. This was a rather unexpected visit as was thinking more of a castle in old town and turn out to be a very nice museum as well. Hope you enjoy the museum of History and Archeology of Vannes! in the Château Gaillard!

vannes chateau Gaillard mus hist archeo museum courtyard rue Noe aug18

The city has lots of offering and genuine architecture as it suffered no damage in the last two great wars in France. Wooden houses here go back to the 14C! originals!  However, in the all to see and do, there are things that are just a must to see. The Musée d’Histoire et Archeologie de Vannes or the Museum of History and Archeology in the wonderful Castle of Gaillard!. The former hotel of the Parliament of Brittany or Château-Gaillard, is a former mansion located  at Rue Noé . Built in the early 15C, Château-Gaillard has been hosting the city’s History and Archaeology Museum since 2000.


The museum of History and Archeology (musée d’histoire et d’archéologie) is house in  the wonderful historical Chateau Gaillard from the 15C in stones while the rest of the town at the time was in wood! The original owner of the lot was a Gaillard Tournemine so there goes the name of the castle. In 1457 it was the auditorium of the Parliament of Brittany! and home of the President. The castle has four levels and all connected by a stair in stone. The street level room opens to the garden connecting  it with the Hôtel de Roscanvec ,and has two monumental chimneys. First floor (2nd US) has wooden decorations, and the 2nd floor (3rd US) has the library of the Societé Polymathique du Morbihan (SPM)  where it has installed the collections of its museum here in 1912. The SPM is the current owners and the management is handle by the city of Vannes.  Wonderful arts in a medieval setting!!


A bit of history I like

The Gaillard castle is built on land originally owned by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. Built in 1410 by Jean de Malestroit, Bishop of Saint-Brieuc between 1406 and 1419 and Nantes between 1419 and 1443, Chancellor of duke Jean V since 1408, this medieval mansion passes through several families before being redeemed in 1457 by the Duke of Brittany. It is in this sovereign Court that the Duke’s vassals vote taxes. In 1485, duke François II entrusted the role of States in litigation to a Court of Justice, Parliament of Brittany. The Castle then serves as an audience in Parliament as well as a home to the President. The Castle will remain the seat of the administration of Parliament until 1535, three years after the signing of the Treaty of Union of Brittany to France, voted by the States of Brittany in 1532.  In 1912, the Société polymatique du Morbihan bought the Château-Gaillard and entrusted it to the city of Vannes in 2000 in order to create a Museum of History and Archaeology that allows the preservation and presentation to the public of its collections. The former castle of the Parliament of Brittany consists of two houses with mullioned windows, served by a spiral staircase located in a polygonal stone tower. At the rear, another, narrower, screw staircase serves the various levels. This building is adorned with Renaissance paintings and woodworks and a coffered ceiling. The roof is supported by a hull boat frame.

The Museum of History and Archaeology presents permanent collections of archaeology. The museum database lists 74 pieces classified as historical monuments in the Museum.  By visiting the Museum, you discover other architectural treasures. In the room of the apparat, the monumental chimney captures the gaze but it is also necessary to look up to admire the painted woodwork of the 15C. In the next room, one enters the bedroom to the decors of the 17C. And, after a spiral staircase in stone, one reaches the jewel: the room of the fathers of the desert. This 17C work room is decorated with 57 painted wood panels and nine canvases, on the theme of hermits and the life of Christ. From an anonymous author, the works are inspired by the engravings of the Sadeler brothers and compose a unique ensemble in Brittany.


The Société polymatique du Morbihan ( Morbihan polymatic society), a scholarly society created in 1826. These scholars were among the first in France to embark, around 1860, in a new science, developed in Egypt: Archaeology. Their museum thus contains unique pieces in the world, discovered especially in the major Neolithic sites of Morbihan such as in Carnac, Locmariaquer, Arzon, Gavrinis, but also Gallo-Roman remains discovered in Vannes. The curiosity of the polymers was limitless: nearly 40,000 pieces compose their collections. The city proposes, through 400 objects, a panorama of these treasures. Fossils, minerals, herbals, seashells, exotic birds, Oceania adorns, Carthaginian funeral urts or the last wolf of Vannes!  All wonderful for the visitor to enjoy, a must in Vannes!




The city of Vannes on its museum and the one above (see post on the other one)

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on the museum

There you go folks, all updated for you and me. Its a treasure to be seen, a must when visiting Vannes or nearby areas. it is our favorite museum here, and we go in in several occasions  and by it every week. The Chateau Gaillard is wonderful as it is and when you add the Museum of History and Archeology is a combination to come see now.

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

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