Vannes montage.png
Montage of Vannes
Vannes is located in France
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Morbihan
Arrondissement Vannes
Intercommunality Pays de Vannes
Mayor François Goulard
Elevation 0–56 m (0–184 ft)
(avg. 22 m/72 ft)
Land area1 32.3 km2 (12.5 sq mi)
Population2 51,759  (1999)
 - Density 1,602 /km2 (4,150 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 56260/ 56000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Coordinates: 47°39′21″N 2°45′37″W / 47.6559°N 2.7603°W / 47.6559; -2.7603

Vannes (French pronunciation: [van]; Breton: Gwened) is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France. It was founded over 2000 years ago.[1]



Vannes is located on the Gulf of Morbihan at the mouth of two rivers, the Marle and the Vincin. It is around 100 km northwest of Nantes 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, a seafaring Celtic people who lived in the south-western part of Armorica in Gaul before the Roman invasions. The Veneti were defeated by Julius Caesar's fleet in 56 BC in front of Locmariaquer; 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.

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.

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 following 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.


Inhabitants of Vannes are called Vannetais.

Historical population of Vannes
1911 1936 1954 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2008
23,748 24,068 25,089 30,411 36,576 40,359 42,178 45,644 51,759 52,983
From the year 1962 on: population without double counting—residents of multiple communes (e.g. students and military personnel) are counted only once.

Breton language

The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on 12 October 2007.

In 2008, 7.71% of the children attended the bilingual schools in primary education.[2]


The Gare de 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,
– 3.5 to 4 hours to Paris.
The TER (Transport Express Regional) is a slower train to join railway stations in the close neighborhood, as Auray or Questembert.
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, 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'. 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

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)
    • 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, 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 Sebastien Roch, a novel from Octave Mirbeau published in 1890, Sebastien is sent to a school in Vannes, Saint-François-Xavier, where he is victim of sexual abuse.
  • In Sir Nigel, a novel from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 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 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 (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 (1414–1450), duke of Brittany
  • Louis-Marie Autissier (1772–1830), painter
  • Louise Bourgoin (1981-), actress
  • Gabriel Fabre (1774–1858), general of the First French Empire
  • Pierre de La Gorce (1846–1934), historian
  • Paul César Helleu (1859–1927), painter
  • Emile Jourdan (1860–1931), painter of Pont-Aven School
  • 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 (1903–1992), physicist
  • Colonel Remy (alias Gilbert Renault) (1904–1984), secret agent of the French Resistance
  • Alain Resnais (born 1922), film director
  • Yves Coppens (born 1934), paleontologist
  • Serge Latouche (born 1940), economist
  • Jacques Ramouillet (born 1941), mountaineer
  • Claude-Michel Schönberg, (born 1944), singer and song writer
  • Bernard Poignant (born 1945), French politician
  • Hélène de Fougerolles (born 1973), actress
  • Mathieu Berson (born 1980), footballer
  • Louise Bourgoin (born 1981), actress
  • Joris Marveaux footballer
  • Sylvain Marveaux footballer
Panorama of the old town
  • Yann Kermorgant footballer

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Vannes is twinned with:

  • Belgium Mons, Belgium (since 1952)
  • Germany Cuxhaven, Germany (since 1963)
  • United Kingdom Fareham, United Kingdom (since 1967)

Vannes also has partnerships (‘partenariats’) with:

See also



  1. ^ History of Vannes Official website of the city
  2. ^ (French) Ofis ar Brezhoneg: Enseignement bilingue

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vannes — (Gwened) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vannes OC — Vannes Olympique Club Vannes Olympique Club …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Vannes — Gwened Escudo …   Wikipedia Español

  • VANNES — Chef lieu du Morbihan, Vannes (en breton Gwened) est l’ancien Darioritum de l’époque gallo romaine et la capitale des Vénètes, au moins à cette époque. Le lieu apparaît occupé dès l’époque préhistorique. On a retrouvé des restes néolithiques à… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Vannes —   [van], Stadt in Frankreich, Verwaltungssitz des Départements Morbihan, an der Südküste der Bretagne, im Innern des Golfs von Morbihan, 45 600 Einwohner; Bischofssitz; Museen; metallurgische, Metall verarbeitende (u. a. Drahtzieherei), Textil ,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Vannes — (spr. Wann), 1) Arrondissement im französischen Departement Morbihan, 36 QM., 129,800 Ew. u. 2) Hauptstadt desselben u. des Departements, an einem Kanäle (Verbindung mit dem Meerbusen Morbihan des Atlantischen Oceans), kleiner Hafen; Sitz der… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Vannes — (spr. wann ), Hauptstadt des franz. Depart. Morbihan, 5 km nördlich vom Meerbusen Morbihan, an der Orléansbahn, besteht aus der alten untern und der modernen obern Stadt, hat Reste der alten Stadtmauern, eine Kathedrale (13.–18. Jahrh.) mit… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Vannes — (spr. wann), Hauptstadt des franz. Dep. Morbihan, am Meerbusen von Morbihan, (1901) 23.375 E., archäol. Museum, alte Befestigungswerke …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Vannes — (Wann), Hauptst. des frz. Depart. Morbihan, ist Bischofssitz, hat 12000 E., kleinen Hafen, Fischerei, einigen Seehandel …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Vannes — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Vanne (homonymie). 47° 39′ 21″ N 2° 45′ 37″ W …   Wikipédia en Français

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