Pays de Retz
The area lies between the southern shore of the Loire estuary and the Marais breton (Breton marshlands), bordered to the west by the Baie de Bourgneuf (Bourgneuf Bay) and on the east by the Lac de Grand-Lieu (Grand-Lieu Lake) and a network of small rivers. Its main towns are Rezé (which was its capital and the see of a Catholic Diocese of Rezé from 510 to 851), Pornic, Paimbœuf and Machecoul (another historical capital city).
In the early 9th century the area formed part of Frankish territory, but was coveted by the Breton ruler Nominoe. Nominoe and his son Erispoe won a series of victories over the Franks between 843 and 851, resulting in the Treaty of Angers (851) between Charles the Bald and Erispoe, which gave "Ratense" or Pays de Retz to Brittany.
In subsequent centuries there was conflict between Brittany and Anjou over the area. The notorious medieval serial killer Baron Gilles de Rais was from the area, and murdered and raped a large number of local peasant children.
- René Cintre, Les Marches de Bretagne au Moyen Âge, éditions Jean Marie Pierre 1992
- Alain Gérard, Les Vendéens des origines à nos jours, Centre vendéen des recherches historiques, La Roche-sur-Yon 2001 (Histoire du Pays de Retz et des Ambilâtres à la fin de l'Antiquité)
- Dominique Biron, Elizabeth Brisson, Dominique et Joseph Péroys, "Contes de la Voisine. Seize contes populaires en parler du Pays de Retz", Séquences, 1990
- Le Patrimoine des communes de la Loire-Atlantique, éditions Flohic, 2001
- Gilles Perraudeau, "Contes populaires du Pays de Retz", éd. du Pays de Retz, 1982
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