We only had a morning in Vannes but I loved it! Vannes has a very long history as it was apparently settled by Celtic people, the Veneti, who used the sheltered river port to trade. The Romans conquered in c.56BC and established the town of Darioritum.
Next there was an influx of Celts from Wales and Cornwall in, I think, c.400sAD, after the collapse of the Roman Empire, and by c.900sAD the Duchy of Brittany had been established with Vannes as the favoured headquarters. The town has always been a trading port, and still has a commercial port, a passenger port, and a marina – probably the old port area.
The main gate into the town, the Porte St Vincent Ferrer, is named after a Spanish Missionary monk who died in the city in 1419 and became the Patron Saint of the town. His figure is in the niche at the top of the gate which leads into fascinating Mediaeval streets beyond.
The city was walled and the Gate and Tower of Calmont was part of the Mediaeval foritifications.
The Chateau de l’Hermine is built into the walls. This was the site of a castle which, between the 14C and 16C was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. In 1785 the Mansion Lagorce was built on the ruins of the castle, but it is still known as the Chateau de l’Hermine.
The Prison Gate into the city is one of the original gates and in the Middle Ages was called the Porte St Patern as it led to that district of the city. The gate used to have two towers, but only one has been restored. The Gate itself has two entrances – one for carts and another for pedestrians.
There was a service in St Peter’s Cathedral so we couldn’t visit – instead I include a photograph by the wonderful Médéric Mieusement.
And lowering the tone completely, our visit ended in the market! I loved this town and could easily spend a month or more living there and photographs its corners.