Archive for May 20th, 2022

May 20, 2022

The Ramparts of Vannes !!!

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 writing again on the ramparts of the old town a wonderful place to visit while in Vannes, I say a must. And see my other posts on the ramparts of Vannes!

The first enclosure of Vannes (ramparts) was built in the 3C, the small ancient Roman town, then called Daroritum protected itself behind its walls from the Germanic threat. It was on the hill of Mené, surrounded by swamps, that the town found the best site to fortify. The ancient enclosure surrounds about 5 hectares. The perimeter of these first ramparts was less than 1 km. The Château de la Motte (the castle is partially demolished in 1867 and this will allow the construction of a new street to the train station, the rue Billault) was built on the northern wall between the 5C and 6C. Throughout history, it was successively the home of the counts of Vannes and then of the kings and dukes of Brittany. In the 12C, the ramparts underwent major repairs because they were badly damaged during the repeated assaults of the Plantagenets. In the 13C, the Château de la Motte was partly destroyed by an earthquake and ceded to the bishop of the town. Restored, it will become the episcopal mansion of La Motte. It will be necessary to wait until the 14C for the ancient walls of Vannes to be enlarged ; the walled city then integrates the southern suburbs to go from 5 to 13 hectares. Duke Jean IV of Brittany had the Château de l’Hermine (see post) built at the same time. Despite the integration of Brittany into the Kingdom of France during the 16C, the ramparts of Vannes continued to be maintained until the 17C. They were even reinforced during the religious wars of the 16C and then during the first decades of the 17C, because Vannes remained a city in a strategic geographical position for the kingdom. At the end of the 17C, the search for circulation is privileged, and two additional gates are pierced in the ramparts.

Vannes ramparts walls of Vannes Aug12

The ramparts of Vannes remain, despite these late destructions, among the best preserved in Brittany; more than three quarters of the fortified enclosure still remains. A policy of conservation and enhancement of the city’s ramparts and gates has been in place since the beginning of the 20C. The entire eastern part of the ramparts is enhanced by a pleasant French landscaped public garden. The Jardin des Remparts (see post) is a must when visiting Vannes. Indeed, this French-style garden , open since the 1950s, largely contributes to the enhancement of the fortified heritage of the city. Each year, 30,000 flowers would be needed to decorate the garden of the ramparts, You can see a wonderful carrousel here by the Avenue de Lattre de Tassigny.

vannes courtine de la juliette to garenne garden and tour connetable dec19

vannes old carrousel tour connetable back dec11

For several centuries, the layout of the ramparts remained the same. Five gates then give access to the intramural, these were Saint-Patern, but also Saint-Jean, du Bali, Saint-Salomon, and Mariolle. Then, from 1370 to 1395, the enclosure was extended to the south by decision of Duke Jean IV. In particular, he planned the expansion and construction of the Château de l’Hermine. The work ended with the construction of the western walls near the Cordeliers convent. The new enclosure opens to the south of two gates, the Calmont and Gréguennic. Later, around the middle of the 15C, the enclosure was equipped with towers such as the Tower of the Executioner, but also the Powder Tower, and the Joliette Tower. Then, at the time of the wars of religion, the city reinforced its enclosure with several bastions: Gréguennic, Brozillay, Haute-Folie then La Garenne. At the same time, the future Saint-Vincent gate was created. This additional opening to the south is strategic, it makes it possible to serve the port district. Then, the city evolves again with in particular the installation of the Parliament of Brittany between 1675 and 1689. As a result, from 1650 to the French revolution, new developments are planned. Poterne gate, but also Saint-Jean gate , as well as a restoration of the Saint-Vincent gate. It was also during this period that certain parts of the ramparts were considered obsolete. Thus, the moats are filled in and the fragmented fortifications are broken up to be sold to individuals. At the end of the 18C and during the 19C, some sections of walls and doors were demolished, (look up several of these gates in my posts).


A walk around the fortified city allows you to discover many magnificently preserved elements: the Constable’s tower , first half of the 15C, originally, the tower was to serve as accommodation for the constable, commander of the armies of the Duke of Brittany , the Hermine castle or Lagorce hotel,located between the port and the garden of the ramparts, the castle is integrated into the ramparts which border the closed city. This vast building built at the end of the 18C is at the heart of a new cultural project.The tower and the prison gate, the Garenne spur, the bastions of Haute -Folie and Gréguennic, or the Poudrière, Joliette, Bourreau and Saint-Vincent towers. The lavoirs or washhouses of La Garenne are a former public washhouse , Le Marle, “the river of Vannes” ensures its water supply before mixing with the waters of the gulf. In the heyday, the washerwomen used to come here to wash their clothes. (again look up my posts on many of these).


The Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on the jardin des remparts of Vannes:

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on things to do/see in Vannes:

The city of Vannes on its ramparts walls:

There you go folks, two wonderful gates/towers along the beautiful ramparts of Vannes a must to visit when in town. Hope you enjoy this more detail post on the ramparts marvelous architectural/historical gems.

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

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May 20, 2022

More streets of Vannes!!!

As I have mentioned several times, have many posts on my capital city of Vannes in my blog, A cornupia of wonderful places to see and things to do, feel free to browse, This time will do a new post with older pictures on the streets of Vannes,it is superbe to walk its medieval streets, and we love it, going km after km sightseeing on foot. We by now know Vannes by heart but it never amazes me to see so much beauty in its architecture and history untouched by the times. Let me tell you again more streets of Vannes.  Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Place du Général de Gaulle is the street of the préfecture government building where the main body of employees are but not the one the public go to, This is just opposite the ramparts where I have several posts, The préfecture building is exactly at 10, Place du Général de Gaulle. The square was created during the construction of the Hôtel de Préfecture in 1863. It was formed according to old plans on the site of part of the gendarmerie barracks, formerly the Jacobins convent, and rue du Roulage, street opened in 1776. It is concomitant with the opening in 1863 of the rue Alain Le Grand, its outlet on the Garenne. Archaeological excavations, undertaken in 1999, during the renovation of the square, have brought to light vestiges of the Gallo-Roman era. By 15, place du General de Gaulle you have a nice above ground parking,


An anecdote here is that Charles de Gaulle came here from a day visit to Rennes in 1944, when Brittany was not yet completely liberated from the Nazis who still held the pockets of Lorient and Saint-Nazaire, Charles de Gaulle, head of the Provisional Government of the French Republic made another trip to Brittany from July 20 to 23, 1945. This trip included the following stops: Saint-Brieuc, Morlaix, Brest, Quimper, Lorient, Auray, Vannes and finally Saint-Nazaire, a little over two months after the definitive liberation of the Morbihan. He was accompanied by four ministers: Raoul Dautry, Minister of Reconstruction and Urban Planning, René Mayer, Minister of Transport and Public Works, Louis Jacquinot, Minister of the Navy, and finally René Pléven, Minister of Finance.

Some spots we have been and nice enough to post here are the bagel local specialists,Le Bagel Ouest at 15 Place du Général de Gaulle , and nice quant bookstore of Archipel des Mots, at 21 Place du Général de Gaulle.

The rue Alain le Grand created through the former garden of the Saint-Nicolas hospital, now the Claret garden, according to the plan of Marius Charier drawn up in 1861, to open up the new préfecture. Connecting street between the prefecture and the Garenne gardens.  One nice example here is at 5 Rue Alain le Grand, This building was built between 1894 and 1906. It has a metal frame (Baltard type construction) and a T-shaped plan. of limestone (tuffeau), bricks, cast iron. Beautiful illustration of industrial art.(see post).


The rue de la Monnaie is a very old street where the mint was located from 1237 to 1488 and which from the cathedral descends to Place Lucien Laroche, Some interesting half timbered houses here are :

At 5 rue de la Monnaie house rebuilt in the first part of the 20C on the site of an old half-timbered house of which there is a declaration made in 1677 for Guillaume Guitton, Sieur de Sourville and Dame Marguerite Billy, his wife, acquired by his parents in 1661. The house was built in alignment with the street on an old plot, and forms an L-shaped plan.


At 3 rue de la Monnaie house built in the 16C. There is a declaration made in 1677 for Paul de Tredazo, knight, lord of Keriscouet and where it is mentioned that it was formerly called Maison Gueho, probably from the name of its previous owners. On the second square floor, the elements of old framework , crossbowman, leg and blocket are still visible indicating that the building had only one square floor originally and that it was raised in ancient times. , perhaps in the 17C, during the exile of the Parliament of Brittany to Vannes, caused great housing needs. In addition, the simple and modest fireplace on this same floor is a type of 15-16C attic floor fireplace as well as the wood used for the realization of this second square floor are of less strong section; which tends to prove an elevation of the house. The staircase has been redone on the site of the old staircase which was screw according to an oral information. The house was plastered in the 19C. The building is the subject of an enlargement at the rear in the rear courtyard on the first floor only. The ground floor has been modified. The exterior entrance steps to the house bear a date of 1889 which is not yet explained: it may be a reused stone. The main half-timbered body, gabled and corbelled, is double in depth, consisting of two rooms per level. Single-span house on a masonry base with 2 square floors and an attic floor with basement. The frame has regular posts with side reliefs and a spandrel cross of Saint-André. The front door of the house is on the side and gives access to a corridor in place on about half of the building and at the bottom of which the staircase starts.

At 10 rue de la Monnaie house built at the beginning of the 20C (dated by the current cadastre as 1920) on the site of a garden or passage visible on the cadastre of 1844 and adjoining the house erected at the bottom of a much older plot. The reform of 1677 attached to this file corresponds to the building which was built in the rue de la Monnaie and which was demolished during its enlargement.

Some of the nice business we have stop by are the coffee grounder Brûlerie D’Alré at 11 rue de la Monnaie, and the always reliable L’Occitane en Provence, at 10 rue de la Monnaie.

The rue du Port was mentioned from the 14C, whose houses then housed merchants in the activity linked to the port. In the second half of the 17C, the arrival of the Parliament of Brittany in Vannes led to the reconstruction, for the nobility, but also for wealthy merchants, of some of the old houses. The irregular layout of this street in its southern part is rectified during the alignment plan of 1840 ; it will only be applied to two houses in the center of the street and to the house located at the southern end. The houses occupy the west side of the street, the east side being bordered by the Promenade de la Rabine. Most of the houses are established on crossing plots of medieval origin between rue du Port and rue du Drézen.

vannes rue du port 14C houses feb15

There is a nice example at 28 rue du Port,house built at the end of the 16C or the beginning of the 17C, Originally with a single corbelled floor, it was raised by one floor in the 17C, then by a third in the 18C. Half-timbered house originally gabled on the street, with a deep plan, with one room per floor. The wooden spiral staircase remains laterally on the north side. It forms together with its neighbors, n° 30 and 32, which have not been raised.

Some of my favorites here at the La Créperie du Port at 32 rue du Port, (see above) ,This pretty creperie is located in a house of four centuries of existence with original decoration. One of the two rooms, upstairs, has a period fireplace. Exposed stones and original beams complete the picture. and my in town favorite pizzeria Don Camilo Pizzeria, at 20 rue du Port, There is a nice underground parking at 9 rue du Port my favorite in the Le Port area(see posts).

The city of Vannes on its heritage

A nice phone book of streets of Vannes, very useful indeed :

There you go folks, I told you walking is best anywhere and in Vannes city of older days it is heavens.  The streets of the city are full of history and with great looking architecture as evidence by my many posts on Vannes in my blog. Hope you enjoy these streets as I

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

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May 20, 2022

Le Port area of Vannes!!!

Looking at my vault of pictures found several not in my blog yet on this beautiful lively area of my capital city. I took it upon getting you some basic information as plenty already in my other posts on Le Port area of Vannes with new blog pictures and tell you more about this magical area. Hope you enjoy it as I.


By now, you have read several posts on Vannes, or Gwened (Breton language) capital city of my beautiful Morbihan (Breton language for petite mer or small sea) dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne or Breizh (Breton language) of my belle France (Bro C’hall in Breton). However, take a look at the pictures, they are new in my blog and tell more of the story of this wonderful Le Port area we come every week.

As said, have plenty of history elsewhere in my blog on Vannes, and Le Port area so this is for the pictorial of this pretty area of my capital city.

The Le Port is a lively and urban district of Vannes, covering an area of 1.5 km². It has many corners of greenery such as the Parc de la Garenne, the Butte de Kérino and the Jardin de Limur.(see posts). The place Gambetta, of hemispherical plan, marks the end of the port of Vannes and puts it in contact with the historic center by the Porte Saint-Vincent.



The port of Vannes is a commercial port, a passenger port and a Marina located north of the Gulf of Morbihan along a 1 200 meters channel that leads the boats from the commercial port of Pont-Vert to the afloat basin at the foot of the Porte Saint-Vincent, entrance gate of the old town of Vannes.  

vannes le port canal boats marina jun19

The Marina has a capacity to host 280 boats on pontoons. It can accommodate 34 boats on dead body. The port of Vannes has a visitor area for your stopovers with 60 places available.

Vannes le port city center from passage n canal 31mar12

The passeport escales port of call on Vannes

The city of Vannes on its heritage

The Gulf of Morbihan Tourist Office on Vannes

There you go folks, a dandy in my Vannes. The Le Port area is the happening place day or night and you would do well to stop by. Hope you enjoy the post as I telling you about my wonderful spots.

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

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