МАРШРУТ N°1 — оранжевый
THE MEDIEVAL TOWN CENTRE AND ITS ARCHITECTONICAL TREASURES THIS WALK COMPLETELY INSIDE THE RAMPARTS LETS YOU BREATHE THE ATMOSPHERE OF THE DIFFERENT HISTORIC EPOCHS FROM THE MIDDLE AGES UNTIL TODAY. YOU DISCOVER VANNES, HOW IT HAS BEEN THROUGHOUT DIFFERENT TIMES IN HISTORY.
1 Town Gate St Vincent Ferrier
The gate of St. Vincent built in the beginning of the 17th century and rebuilt after its destruction in the 18th century, is the most central of Vannes’ town gates. Since 1840 it is surrounded by buildings on its right and left hand side. These town houses form a semicircle around the popular place Gambetta with its cafes. Under the statue of St. Vincent, we can see the city arms with the Hermine, symbol of Brittany, crowned with three towers. These towers symbolize the fortified town and are surrounded by two greyhounds. The dogs have been given as a present from the Bretons to the French King Francois II in 1532 when he stayed in Vannes.
2 Place des Lices
This place has already been created in the 14th century and conserved his original form until today. Nowadays this former venue for tournaments is the market square of Vannes (Wednesdays and Saturdays). The Duke of Brittany was living in the Castle of l’Hermine not far away from the place « des Lices ».
3 The house of “Vannes et sa femme”
On the corner of a half-timbered house sits the figurehead of Vannes et sa femme (Vannes and his wife). Before becoming a popular motive for snapshots they might have been a simple company label but nowadays nobody really knows anymore. They have been called « Vannes et sa femme » by the inhabitants of Vannes since the 19th century. A little bit higher on the building, just under the roof can be observed a statue of Francis of Assisi.
4 Château Gaillard
This town residence has been built in the first half of the 15th century by Jean de Malestroit, who was the bishop of Nantes and chancellor of Duke Jean V. at this time. Today it accomodates the museum of archaeology and town history. The four-storied building is amongst others remarkable for its windows and stair tower. Since 1912 it is in possession of the polymathic society of Morbihan.
5 Rue des Halles / Rue St Salomon
These two streets lined with half-timbered houses on both sides are lying in the heart of the town. The houses are interesting examples for housing in the Middle Ages and display a large variety of colours and building materials. Worth seeing is especially the house number 13 in the street « Saint Salomon « decorated with wooden lion heads. In consequence of this its also called the lion’s house.
5 The town hall
Approaching the town hall the atmosphere changes. You are no longer in the medieval city, the Streets become larger, there are sidewalks and according to town planning principles of the 19th century the buildings are placed in straight rows. The town hall was build between 1881 and 1886 and is a smaller copy of the Parisian town hall. The richly decorated facade symbolizes the prestige and the place of Vannes at that time.
This can also been seen inside the building with its impressive front stairs and the coloured Windows showing the wedding of Anne de Bretagne with the French King Charles VIII in 1491.
6 Place Henri IV
You access this place by « Rue E.Burgault ». It is lined with half-timbered houses, whose construction was given up in the 17th century in favour of stone houses.
8 The cathedral St Pierre
The cathedral that shows a large variety of different styles has been rebuilt throughout the 12th century on the ruins of the former edifice. The oldest part is the Romanesque belfry from the 13th century whereas the neo-Gothic facade was erected in the 14th century. The central nave and the sanctuary are from the 15th century and the transept was completed in the 16th century. The Renaissance chapel of the holy sacrament has been added in 1536/7. Here one finds the grave of the Spanish monk « St Vincent Ferrier », who died in 1419 in Vannes and was canonised in 1456.
9 La Cohue, the Museum of Fine Arts
In the Middle Ages the Breton word « Cohue » meant market place. This edifice from the 13th century accommodated many tradesmen with their market stands on the ground floor. During the exile of the Breton parliament (1675-1689) the first floor was used as an assembly hall for the latter. Later in the 19th century the town’s theatre was based here and since 1986 it is the Museum of Fine Arts who exhibits its exposition in this historic edifice. Passing by the Rue St Gwénael, right next to the cathedral you reach the quarter of Saint Patern after a short walk.
Маршрут N°2 — синий
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TOWN’S FORTIFICATIONS SEEN FROM THE INSIDE. TOWN GATE SAINT VINCENT, TOWN GATE CALMONT, TOWN GATE POTERNE, THE WASHHOUSES (LAVOIRS), CONNÉTABLE TOWER, THE GALLO-ROMAN TOWN WALL, TOWN GATE PRISON, TOWN GATE ST JEAN. TODAY THREE QUARTERS OF VANNES’ FORMER FORTIFICATIONS ARE WELL CONSERVED. NOT ALL PARTS CAN BE VISITED BUT ON THIS CIRCUIT YOU WILL DISCOVER THE MOST IMPORTANT AND INTERESTING PARTS OF IT.
1 Town Gate St Vincent
See circuit n°1 After the gate you turn right into the « passage de la Tour Trompette ». This narrow alleyway leads you to the recently refurbished gate “Porte Calmont”.
2 Town Gate Calmont
This town gate has been erected throughout the expansion of the Southern part of the town wall in the 14th century. It has a tower and two entries, one for carriages and the other one for pedestrians. These entries could be closed by draw-bridges. During a walk in the gardens one notices an impressive building, which has been built on the ruins of the former Caste of l’Hermine. This building is today in possession of the city of Vannes.
3 Town Gate Poterne
This town gate (17th century) has no défensive use. From the 17th century on some of the parts of the town wall have been sold or rented out. In the following the new owners built their residences for here. A virgin with child serves as decoration of the Town Gate Poterne.
4 The washhouses
The washhouses were built between 1817 and 1821 and are today one of the most well known monuments of Vannes. The laundresses found shelter under its wooden galleries whilst washing the laundry of the town in the Marle. The washhouses have been refurbished in 2006. Arriving here, you are in front of the bastion de la Garenne (17th century), the youngest element of the fortifications. The adjacent gardens “à la française” are nowadays used as open-air tribune during the numerous processions in the summer months.
5 Connétable Tower
The tower was erected in the 15th century and has been used as fortification as well as private residence. It carries its name in honour of Arthur de Richemont who has been Duke of Brittany from 1457 until 1458. On its upper parts figure numerous machicolations. (merci de changer sur le plan par Connétable Tower).
6 The Gallo-Roman town wall
Behind the tower of Joliette (15th century) you can access this oldest part of the ramparts, which has already been erected in the 3rd century.
7 Town Gate Prison
Despite the loss of one of its towers this gate is the most impressive one. It has been built between the 13th and the 15th century and is one of the most important elements of the town’s fortifications. In the beginning it was called “Porte St. Patern”. The name changed when it was also used as a prison as in the 18th century.
8 Town Gate St Jean
This gate (17th century) is completely Embedded in the town’s constructions. In former times it had big wooden double wing doors. East from it lies the Bourreau Tower (15th century)
МАРШРУТ N°3 — зеленый
A 15 MINUTES WALK FROM THE TOURIST OFFICE THE DISTRICT OF ST PATERN
DISCOVER THE OLDEST AND MOST POPULAR QUARTER OF VANNES! RUE DE LA FONTAINE, CHURCH OF SAINT PATERN, RUE SAINT PATERN, PLACE CABELLO, THE PREFECTURE.
St. Patern is the oldest part of Vannes. It is located at the same place as the first Roman settlements from the 1st century B.C. The discovery of this quarter with its many halftimbered houses looks like to a journey through history, with its street names evoking the different crafts of its former population e.g. Rue du Four (baker) or Rue de la Tannerie (tanner). In the 19th century it changed into a place of entertainment for the soldiers of the garrisons based in the town. With its numerous bars and restaurants it is still today very popular. Furthermore there are two interesting buildings to visit in St. Patern:
1 The church of St Patern
Overlooking the quarter from a little hill, the church is named after the first bishop of Vannes who lived and worked here in the 5th century. Reconstructed in the 18th century Saint Patern constitutes still today one of the stations of the Breton pilgrimage named Tro Breizh (tour of Brittany). Its interior is decorated with a couple of very beautiful retables.
2 The prefecture
The prestigious building that was inaugurated in 1865 is surrounded by a big u-shaped park. Its gable is decorated with two important Breton personalities: Nominoë and Anlain Barbetorte and a relief shows the imperial eagle and the scene of the arrival of the railway in 1862.