Vannes (French pronunciation: [van] ; Breton: Gwened) is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France. It was founded over 2,000 years ago.[3]

Montage of Vannes Top left: View of Ramparts Garden of Vannes and Gaillard Castle Museum; Top right: Saint Peters Cathedral; Middle left: Vieux lavoirs, old washing place; Center: Connetable Tower; Middle right: Intra Muros narrow street; Bottom left: Saint Paterne Church; Bottom right: Conleau Pier
Montage of Vannes
Top left: View of Ramparts Garden of Vannes and Gaillard Castle Museum; Top right: Saint Peters Cathedral; Middle left: Vieux lavoirs, old washing place; Center: Connetable Tower; Middle right: Intra Muros narrow street; Bottom left: Saint Paterne Church; Bottom right: Conleau Pier
Flag of Vannes
Coat of arms of Vannes
Location of Vannes
Vannes is located in France
Vannes is located in Brittany
Coordinates: 47°39′21″N 2°45′37″W / 47.6559°N 2.7603°W / 47.6559; -2.7603
CantonVannes-1, 2 and 3
IntercommunalityGolfe du Morbihan - Vannes Agglomération
 • Mayor (2020–2026) David Robo[1]
32.3 km2 (12.5 sq mi)
 • Density1,700/km2 (4,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
56260 /56000
Elevation0–56 m (0–184 ft)
(avg. 22 m or 72 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

History edit

Celtic Era edit

The name Vannes comes from the Veneti, a seafaring Celtic people who lived in the south-western part of Armorica in Gaul before the Roman invasions. The region seems to have been involved in a cross channel trade for thousands of years, probably using hide boats and perhaps Ferriby Boats.[4] Wheat that apparently was grown in the Middle East was part of this trade.[5] At about 150 BC the evidence of trade (such as Gallo-Belgic coins) with the Thames estuary area of Great Britain dramatically increased.[6]

Roman Era edit

The Veneti were defeated by Julius Caesar's fleet in 56 BC in front of Locmariaquer; many of the Veneti were then either slaughtered or sold into slavery. The Romans settled a town called Darioritum in a location previously belonging to the Veneti.

The Britons arrive edit

From the 5th to the 7th century, the remaining Gauls were displaced or assimilated by waves of immigrant Britons fleeing the Saxon invasions of Britain. Under the Breton name Gwened (also derived from the Veneti), the town was the center of an independent principality or kingdom variously called Bro-Wened ("Vannes") or Bro-Ereg ("land of Gwereg"), the latter for a prominent member of its dynasty, which claimed descent from Caradog Strongarm. The diocese of Vannes was erected in the 5th century. The Council of Vannes was held there in 461. The realm annexed Cornouaille for a time in the early 6th century but was permanently joined with Domnonia under its king and Saint Judicaël around 635.

Breton War of Succession edit

In 1342, Vannes was besieged four times between forces from both sides of the Breton War of Succession. The city's defending commander, Olivier IV de Clisson, was captured by the English but finally released. The French eventually executed him since they suspected him of being a traitor since the ransom was unusually low.

18th century edit

In 1759, Vannes was used as the staging point for a planned French invasion of Britain. A large army was assembled there, but it was never able to sail after the French naval defeat at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in November 1759.

In 1795, during the French Revolution, French forces based in Vannes successfully repelled a planned British-Royalist invasion through Quiberon.

Geography edit

Vannes, located on the Gulf of Morbihan at the mouth of two rivers, the Marle and the Vincin, is around 100 kilometres (62 miles) northwest of Nantes and 450 km (280 miles) south west of Paris. Vannes is a market town linked to the sea.

Climate edit

Climate data for Vannes / 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1998–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.7
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 9.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.5
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 3.6
Record low °C (°F) −7.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 99.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 14.0 10.0 11.2 10.7 10.3 6.5 8.5 7.9 7.7 13.2 12.7 12.6 125.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 74.6 102.2 151.5 189.9 203.9 252.3 246.3 218.5 207.6 116.5 91.8 84.4 1,939.4
Source: Meteociel[7]

Transport edit

The Vannes railway station offers connections to Quimper, Rennes, Nantes, Paris and several regional destinations.
With the fast train TGV, the journey takes:
– 30 minutes to Lorient,
– 1 hour to Nantes or Rennes,
– 2.5 to 4 hours to Paris.
The Transport express régional or TER is a slower train to join railway stations in the close neighborhood, such as Auray or Questembert.
There is no direct line from Vannes to Saint-Brieuc (118 km away in the north of Brittany), so the train from Vannes to Saint Brieuc goes via Rennes, which doubles the travel time and cost: it takes 2 to 3 hours to go from Vannes to Saint Brieuc by train.

Two highways, in the north of Vannes, provide fast connections by car:
– N165: west to Lorient (58 km) and Quimper (122 km), south east to Nantes (111 km)
– N166: north east to Rennes (113 km)
+ a network of small roads connects Vannes to smaller cities. There is no highway from Vannes to Saint-Brieuc, so the way to northern Brittany consists of small roads. The lack of highway or railway between Vannes and Saint-Brieuc (118 km north) cuts the communications between northern and southern Brittany, and limits Brittany economic performance.

Vannes has a small airfield in the village of Monterblanc, called Vannes-Meucon airport, or "Vannes – Golfe du Morbihan airport". It used to be a military airport, but it is now dedicated to general aviation aircraft. It belongs to Vannes Agglomeration community, the group of cities gathered around Vannes, and the main users of this airfield are Vannes flying club, the local ultralight aviation club, and Vannes school of skydiving.

There are 2 bus networks in Vannes: – Kicéo, proposes short travels starting from Vannes Place de la Republique on behalf of Vannes Agglomeration community,
– CAT, propose longer travel starting from the railway station on behalf of Morbihan.
So there are 2 central bus stations in Vannes: one on Place de la Libération, the other at the railway station.

Vannes has a public bicycle rental program, called Vélocéo based on the same idea as the Paris Vélib'. Hundreds of bicycles are available across 10 automated rental stations each with 10 to fifteen bikes/spaces.[8] Each Vélocéo service station is equipped with an automatic rental terminal and stands for bicycles. This replaces the Velocea service, which was discontinued in August 2017.[9]

Population edit

Inhabitants of Vannes are called Vannetais.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 9,131—    
1800 9,131+0.00%
1806 10,902+3.00%
1821 11,289+0.23%
1831 10,395−0.82%
1836 11,623+2.26%
1841 11,737+0.20%
1846 12,974+2.02%
1851 12,356−0.97%
1856 14,329+3.01%
1861 14,564+0.33%
1866 14,560−0.01%
1872 14,690+0.15%
1876 17,946+5.13%
1881 19,284+1.45%
1886 20,036+0.77%
1891 21,504+1.42%
1896 22,189+0.63%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 23,375+1.05%
1906 23,561+0.16%
1911 23,748+0.16%
1921 21,402−1.03%
1926 22,089+0.63%
1931 22,413+0.29%
1936 24,068+1.44%
1946 28,189+1.59%
1954 28,403+0.09%
1962 30,411+0.86%
1968 36,576+3.12%
1975 40,359+1.42%
1982 42,178+0.63%
1990 45,644+0.99%
1999 51,759+1.41%
2007 52,984+0.29%
2012 52,648−0.13%
2017 53,352+0.27%
Source: EHESS[10] and INSEE (1968–2017)[11]

Monuments and sights edit

City walls of Vannes
"Vannes and his wife"
  • Cathedral of St Peter, Gothic cathedral
  • Church of St Patern, classic church
  • Chapel of Saint-Yves, baroque church
  • Château Gaillard (medieval house now used as an archaeological museum)
  • Musée de la Cohue (fine arts museum)
  • Hôtel de Ville
  • Old city walls, which include :
    • Tour du Connétable (a large medieval tower part of the old city walls)
    • Château de l'Hermine (former castle, transformed into a palace in the 17th century, and a residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries)
    • Porte Calmont, medieval city gate
    • Porte Prison, medieval city gate
    • Porte Poterne, medieval city gate
    • Porte Saint-Jean, medieval city gate
  • Porte Saint-Vincent, 18th century city gate
  • Many timber-framed houses in the old town
  • "Vannes and his wife", a funny painted granite sculpture from the 15th century in front of Château Gaillard
  • The harbour

Education edit

Breton language edit

The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on 12 October 2007. In 2008, 7.71% of children attended the bilingual schools in primary education.[12]

In fiction edit

  • In the last of the Three Musketeers novels of Alexandre Dumas, The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, published in 1847, the musketeer Aramis appears as bishop of Vannes before becoming General of the Society of Jesus.
  • In Sébastien Roch, a novel by Octave Mirbeau published in 1890, Sebastien is sent to a school in Vannes, Saint-François-Xavier, where he is a victim of sexual abuse.
  • In Sir Nigel, a novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published in 1906, Nigel is made seneschal of the Castle of Vannes after a battle in Brittany. He does not remain in Vannes, since after winning in another battle, the Black Prince dubs him a knight and Nigel returns to England to wed the Lady Mary.
  • Jean-François Parot has written a series of crime fictions printed up to 2010 taking place in the 18th century, whose main character is Nicolas Le Floch, a Police Commissioner who was also educated in the school of Saint François-Xavier in Vannes, but he didn't share Sebastien Roch's misfortune. The Nicolas Le Floch novels have been adapted as a television series.
  • In The Secret of the Missing Boat, a children's book by Paul Berna published in 1966 as La Voile Rouge.
  • In "Charlemagne and Florent," a short story by Ranylt Richildis published in 2014 by Myths Inscribed.
  • Vannes is a major location in C.J. Adrien's novel The Oath of the Father, published in 2015, about the Viking raids in Brittany.

Notable people edit

Sport edit

The local football team is Vannes OC, who play in the 5th tier Championnat National 3 as of the 2023–24 season.

The Rugby Club Vannes is the rugby union team and competed in Pro D2 for the 2023–24 season.

Both teams play at the Stade de la Rabine built in 2001.

The town was the start line for stage 9 of the 2015 Tour de France.

Twin towns – sister cities edit

Vannes is twinned with:[14]

See also edit

Gallery edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Maires du Morbihan" (PDF). Préfecture du Morbihan. 7 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ History of Vannes Archived 24 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine Official website of the city
  4. ^ Cunliffe, Barry (2008). Britain and the continent: networks of interaction. A Companion to Roman Britain. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 1–11.
  5. ^ Balter, Michael. "DNA recovered from underwater British site may rewrite history of farming in Europe". Science News. Science. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  6. ^ Cunliffe, Barry (2008). Britain and the continent: networks of interaction." A Companion to Roman Britain. John Wiley & Sons. p. 528. ISBN 9780470998854.
  7. ^ "Normales et records pour Vannes-Sene (56)". Meteociel. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Vélocéo". Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Vélocéo. Premiers coups de pédales le 9 juin". Le Telegramme (in French). 25 May 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  10. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Vannes, EHESS (in French).
  11. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  12. ^ (in French) Ofis ar Brezhoneg: Enseignement bilingue
  13. ^ "Restoration of a classic French apartment". 18 October 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Relations internationales". (in French). Vannes. Retrieved 13 April 2021.

External links edit