Vannes is a commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 in the Morbihan
Morbihan is a department in Brittany, situated in the northwest of France. It is named after the Morbihan , the enclosed sea that is the principal feature of the coastline.-History:...

 department in Brittany in north-western France. It was founded over 2000 years ago.


Vannes is located on the Gulf of Morbihan
Gulf of Morbihan
The Gulf of Morbihan is a natural harbour on the coast of the Département of Morbihan in the south of Brittany, France. This English name is taken from the French version: le golfe du Morbihan...

 at the mouth of two rivers, the Marle and the Vincin. It is around 100 km northwest of Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

 and 450 km south west of Paris. Vannes is a market town and often linked to the sea.


The name Vannes comes from the Veneti
Veneti may refer to:*Veneti , an ancient Celtic tribe described by classical sources as living in what is now Brittany, France*Adriatic Veneti, an ancient historical people of northeastern Italy, who spoke an Indo-European language related to the Italic languages*Vistula Veneti, an ancient...

, a seafaring Celtic people who lived in the south-western part of Armorica
Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany peninsula and the territory between the Seine and Loire rivers, extending inland to an indeterminate point and down the Atlantic coast...

 in Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 before the Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 invasions. The Veneti were defeated by Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

's fleet in 56 BC in front of Locmariaquer
Locmariaquer is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.It lies south of Auray by road.-Coat of arms:This coat of arms was created 30 years ago by the local artist Jean-Baptiste Corlobé...

; all the Veneti were then either slaughtered or sold into slavery. The Romans settled a town called Darioritum (the romanized Gaulish name of Vannes) in a location previously belonging to the Veneti
Veneti may refer to:*Veneti , an ancient Celtic tribe described by classical sources as living in what is now Brittany, France*Adriatic Veneti, an ancient historical people of northeastern Italy, who spoke an Indo-European language related to the Italic languages*Vistula Veneti, an ancient...


The diocese of Vannes was erected in the 5th century. The Council of Vannes was held there in 461.

The first historical ruler of Vannes was Waroch
Waroch was an early Breton ruler of the Vannetais. Waroch gave his name to the traditional Breton province of Broërec . However, it is possible that there were several successive local leaders with this name....


In 1759 Vannes was used as the staging point for a planned French invasion of Britain
Planned French Invasion of Britain (1759)
A French invasion of Great Britain was planned to take place in 1759 during the Seven Years' War, but due to various factors including naval defeats at the Battle of Lagos and the Battle of Quiberon Bay was never launched. The French planned to land 100,000 French soldiers in Britain to end British...

. A large army was assembled there, but it was never able to sail following the French naval defeat at the Battle of Quiberon Bay
Battle of Quiberon Bay
The naval Battle of Quiberon Bay took place on 20 November 1759 during the Seven Years' War in Quiberon Bay, off the coast of France near St. Nazaire...

 in November 1759.

In 1795, during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, French forces based in Vannes successfully repelled a planned British-Royalist invasion
Invasion of France (1795)
The invasion of France in 1795 or the Battle of Quiberon was a major landing on the Quiberon peninsula by émigré, counter-revolutionary troops in support of the Chouannerie and Vendée Revolt, beginning on 23 June and finally definitively repulsed on 21 July...



Inhabitants of Vannes are called Vannetais.

Breton language

The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg
Ya d'ar brezhoneg
Ya d'ar brezhoneg is a campaign launched by the Ofis ar Brezhoneg in order to stimulate the use of the Breton language in daily life in Brittany, western France. In the first phase, started on 5 October 2001, civil society was targeted. Over 560 enterprises and organisations have signed the...

 on 12 October 2007.

In 2008, 7.71% of the children attended the bilingual schools in primary education.



The Gare de Vannes
Gare de Vannes
Vannes is a railway station in Vannes, Brittany, France. The station was opened on 21 September 1862 is located on the Savenay - Landerneau railway line...

 railway station offers connections to Quimper
Quimper is a commune and capital of the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France.-Administration:Quimper is the prefecture of the Finistère department.-Geography:...

, Rennes
Rennes is a city in the east of Brittany in northwestern France. Rennes is the capital of the region of Brittany, as well as the Ille-et-Vilaine department.-History:...

, Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

, Paris and several regional destinations.

With the fast train TGV
The TGV is France's high-speed rail service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF, the French national rail operator....

, the journey takes:

– 30 minutes to Lorient,

– 1 hour to Nantes or Rennes,

– 3.5 to 4 hours to Paris.

Ter is a prefix or suffix designating the third instance of a thing, thus following bis and preceding quater.Ter can also refer to:* River Ter, in Essex;* Ter , the debut album of American rock band Sweet Water...

 (Transport Express Regional) is a slower train to join railway stations in the close neighborhood, as Auray
Auray is a commune located in the Morbihan department of Brittany in France. Inhabitants of Auray are called Alréens.-Geography:The city is surrounded by the communes of Crac'h to the south and west, Brech to the north and Pluneret to the east. It is crossed by the Loch, a small coastal river...

 or Questembert
Questembert is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.It is located approximately from Vannes.-Demographics:Inhabitants of Questembert are called Questembertois.It was 7,404 as of the estimation of 2005....


There is no direct railway from Vannes to Saint Brieuc (70 miles 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: drive west to Lorient (35 miles) and Quimper (75 miles), south east to Nantes (70 miles)

– N166: drive north east to Rennes (70 miles)

+ 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 (70 miles north) cuts the communications between northern and southern Brittany, and limits Brittany economic performance.


Vannes has a small airfield in the village of Monterblanc
Monterblanc is a commune in the Morbihan department of Brittany in north-western France.-Demographics:Inhabitants of Monterblanc are called in French Monterblancais.-References:* * -External links:* * *...

, called Vannes-Meucon airport, or "Vannes – Golfe du Morbihan airport". It used to be a military airport, but it is now dedicated to business and tourism aircrafts. 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:
– Transport du Pays de Vannes, proposes short travels starting from Vannes Place de la Liberation 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 city has a public bicycle rental program, called Velocea, based on the same idea as Paris Velib'
' is a large-scale public bicycle sharing system in Paris, France. Launched on 15 July 2007, the system has expanded to encompass over 20,000 bicycles and 1,202 bicycle stations, located across Paris and in some surrounding municipalities...

Hundreds of bicycles are available in 20 automated rental stations each with 10 to fifteen bikes/spaces.
Each Velocea service station is equipped with an automatic rental terminal and stands for bicycles.
The bicycles are robust and heavy (lbs 40), and the user can take a bike in any station, and let it in any station, for a cost as: free the first 30 minutes, 1 euro the second 30 minutes, 2 euros per hour.

Monuments and sights

  • Cathedral of St Peter
    Vannes Cathedral
    Vannes Cathedral or St. Peter's Cathedral, Vannes , which also carries the title Basilica, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Vannes, Brittany, France. It is the seat of the Bishops of Vannes....

    , gothic cathedral
  • Church of St Patern
    Saint Padarn is the eponymous founder of St Padarn's Church. Llanbadarn Fawr, near present day Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales, in the early 6th century...

    , 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)
    • 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 date XV century in front of Château Gaillard
  • The harbour

In fiction

  • In the last of the Three Musketeers novels of Alexandre Dumas
    Alexandre Dumas, père
    Alexandre Dumas, , born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie was a French writer, best known for his historical novels of high adventure which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world...

    , The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, published in 1847, the musketeer Aramis
    C. René d'Aramis de Vannes is a fictional character in the novels The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père...

     appears as bishop of Vannes before becoming General of the Society of Jesus.
  • In Sebastien Roch
    Sébastien Roch
    Sébastien Roch is a novel written by the French journalist, novelist and playwright Octave Mirbeau, and published by Charpentier in 1890. Last French edition : L'Age d'Homme, 2011....

    , a novel from Octave Mirbeau
    Octave Mirbeau
    Octave Mirbeau was a French journalist, art critic, travel writer, pamphleteer, novelist, and playwright, who achieved celebrity in Europe and great success among the public, while still appealing to the literary and artistic avant-garde...

     published in 1890, Sebastien is sent to a school in Vannes, Saint-François-Xavier, where he is victim of sexual abuse.
  • In Sir Nigel
    Sir Nigel
    Sir Nigel is a historical novel set during the Hundred Years' War, by the British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Written in 1906, it is a fore-runner to Doyle's earlier novel The White Company, and describes the early life of that book's hero Sir Nigel Loring in the service of King Edward III at...

    , a novel from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    Arthur Conan Doyle
    Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

     published in 1906, Nigel is made seneschal of the Castle of Vannes after a battle in Brittany. He doesn't 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
    Jean-François Parot
    Jean-François Parot is a French diplomat and writer of historical mysteries, born in Paris.-Background and professional career:...

     has written series of crime fictions printed up to 2010 taking place in the eighteenth 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. Nicolas Le Floch novels have been adapted as television series.

Notable people

Vannes was the birthplace of:
  • Albinus of Angers
    Albinus of Angers
    Saint Albinus of Angers was a French abbot and bishop. Born to a noble Gallo-Roman family at Vannes, Brittany, St. Albinus was a monk and afterwards Abbot of Tintillac . His reputation spread during the twenty-five years in which he served as abbot. In 529, St...

     (born 469), Roman Catholic saint
  • Saint Emilion (Emilianus) (?-767), monk and Roman Catholic saint, he gave his name to one of the main red wine areas of Bordeaux
  • Francis I
    Francis I, Duke of Brittany
    Francis I , was duke of Brittany, count of Montfort and titular earl of Richmond, from 1442 to his death. He was son of Duke John VI and Joan of France.He first married, at Nantes in 1431, Yolande of Anjou Francis I (in Breton Fransez I, in French François I) (Vannes/Gwened, May 14, 1414 –...

     (1414–1450), duke of Brittany
    Duke of Brittany
    The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval tribal and feudal state covering the northwestern peninsula of Europe,bordered by the Alantic Ocean on the west and the English Channel to the north with less definitive borders of the Loire River to the south and Normandy to the east...

  • Louis-Marie Autissier
    Louis-Marie Autissier
    Louis-Marie Autissier , was a French-born Belgian portrait miniature painter. According to Marjorie E. Wieseman, curator of European painting, at the Cincinnati Art Museum, "Autissier's success as a miniaturist was in large measure due to his talent as a colourist and his meticulous detailing of...

     (1772–1830), painter
  • Louise Bourgoin
    Louise Bourgoin
    Louise Bourgoin, born Ariane Bourgoin, is a French actress and television presenter.- Early life and career :She was born on November 28, 1981 in Vannes. As her parents, both secondary level teachers, were encouraging her to pursue a stable career, Bourgoin studied for five years at the École des...

     (1981-), actress
  • Gabriel Fabre (1774–1858), general of the First French Empire
    First French Empire
    The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

  • Pierre de La Gorce
    Pierre de La Gorce
    Pierre de La Gorce was a French magistrate, lawyer and historian, as well as a member of the Académie française....

     (1846–1934), historian
  • Paul César Helleu
    Paul César Helleu
    Paul César Helleu was a French artist best known for his portraits of many of the most famous and beautiful women of his time including the Duchess of Marlborough, the Countess of Greffulhe, the Marchesa Casati and Belle da Costa Greene.-Biography:He was born in Vannes, Brittany, France...

     (1859–1927), painter
  • Emile Jourdan (1860–1931), painter of Pont-Aven School
    Pont-Aven School
    Pont-Aven School is a term occupied by works of art iconographically due to Pont-Aven and its surroundings. Originally the term was focusing works of the artists' colony emerging there since the 1850s, and some decades later the work of the group of painters gathering around the artist Paul...

  • Delly (alias Frédéric Petitjean de la Rosière) (1876–1949), novel writer with his sister Jeanne-Marie
  • Alain de Goué (1879–1918), historian
  • Alphonse Barbé (1885–1983), journalist and anarchist
  • Louis Martin-Chauffier (1894–1980), writer, journalist and member of the French Resistance
  • Yves Rocard
    Yves Rocard
    Yves-André Rocard was a French physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb for France.After obtaining a double doctorate in mathematics and physics he was awarded the professorship in electronic physics at the École normale supérieure in Paris.As a member of a Resistance group during the Second...

     (1903–1992), physicist
  • Colonel Remy (alias Gilbert Renault) (1904–1984), secret agent of the French Resistance
    French Resistance
    The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II...

  • Alain Resnais
    Alain Resnais
    Alain Resnais is a French film director whose career has extended over more than six decades. After training as a film editor in the mid-1940s, he went on to direct a number of short films which included Nuit et Brouillard , an influential documentary about the Nazi concentration camps.He began...

     (born 1922), film director
  • Yves Coppens
    Yves Coppens
    Yves Coppens is a French anthropologist. He graduated from the University of Rennes. He has studied ancient hominids and has had multiple published works on this topic, and has also produced a film....

     (born 1934), paleontologist
  • Serge Latouche
    Serge Latouche
    Serge Latouche is a French emeritus professor at the University of Paris-Sud and a critic of the consumer society.-Books:...

     (born 1940), economist
  • Jacques Ramouillet (born 1941), mountaineer
  • Claude-Michel Schönberg
    Claude-Michel Schönberg
    Claude-Michel Schönberg is a French record producer, actor, singer, songwriter, and musical theatre composer, best known for his collaborations with the lyricist Alain Boublil.These include the musicals:...

    , (born 1944), singer and song writer
  • Bernard Poignant
    Bernard Poignant
    Bernard Poignant is a French politician and Member of the European Parliament for the west of France...

     (born 1945), French politician
    Politics of France
    France is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, in which the President of France is head of state and the Prime Minister of France is the head of government, and there is a pluriform, multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is...

  • Hélène de Fougerolles
    Hélène de Fougerolles
    Hélène Christine Rigoine de Fougerolles is a French actress. She is the daughter of Alain Rigoine de Fougerolles and Anne Saumay de Laval. Initially planning to become a beautician, she began to study acting at age 15. She later attended acting classes in Paris and briefly at the Actors Studio...

     (born 1973), actress
  • Mathieu Berson
    Mathieu Berson
    Mathieu Berson is a French footballer who most recently played for Toulouse FC as a midfielder.-Career:...

     (born 1980), footballer
  • Louise Bourgoin
    Louise Bourgoin
    Louise Bourgoin, born Ariane Bourgoin, is a French actress and television presenter.- Early life and career :She was born on November 28, 1981 in Vannes. As her parents, both secondary level teachers, were encouraging her to pursue a stable career, Bourgoin studied for five years at the École des...

     (born 1981), actress
  • Joris Marveaux
    Joris Marveaux
    Joris Marveaux is a French footballer currently playing for Ligue 1 club Montpellier. His younger brother, Sylvain Marveaux, plays for Newcastle United in the Premier League.-External links:...

  • Sylvain Marveaux
    Sylvain Marveaux
    Sylvain Marveaux is a French football player who currently plays for English club Newcastle United in the Premier League. He can play a variety of positions in the midfield, but is mostly utilized as a left-sided midfielder or an attacking midfielder. Marveaux is a former French under-21...


  • Yann Kermorgant
    Yann Kermorgant
    Yann Kermorgant is a French footballer who plays for Charlton Athletic. He was born in Vannes, Brittany.-Early career:...


Twin towns – Sister cities

Vannes is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

Mons is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour , Jemappes, Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles,...

, Belgium (since 1952) Cuxhaven, Germany (since 1963) Fareham
The market town of Fareham lies in the south east of Hampshire, England, between the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth, roughly in the centre of the South Hampshire conurbation.It gives its name to the borough comprising the town and the surrounding area...

, United Kingdom (since 1967)

Vannes also has partnerships (‘partenariats’) with: Barouéli
Barouéli is a town and commune and seat of the Cercle of Barouéli in the Ségou Region of southern-central Mali. As of 1998 the commune had a population of 32,739.-Situation:Barouéli is directly south of Ségou Cercle, and directly north of Koulikoro Cercle....

, Mali Wałbrzych, Poland

See also

  • Veneti (Gaul)
    Veneti (Gaul)
    The Veneti were a seafaring Celtic people who lived in the Brittany peninsula , which in Roman times formed part of an area called Armorica...

  • Saint Meriasek
    Saint Meriasek
    Saint Meriasek was a 4th century Breton saint. The legends of his life are known through Beunans Meriasek, a Cornish language play completed in 1504, and a few other sources...

  • Operation Dingson
    Operation Dingson
    Operation Dingson was an operation in the Second World War, conducted by about 178 Free French paratroops of the 4th Special Air Service , commanded by Colonel Pierre-Louis Bourgoin, who jumped into German occupied France near Vannes, Morbihan, Southern Brittany, in Plumelec, on the night of 5...

  • Communes of the Morbihan department

External links

Official web site of the city French Ministry of Culture list for Vannes
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