Overlooking the Gulf of Morbihan, Vannes is a marvellous medieval fortified town whose historical centre and ramparts are still perfectly preserved.
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This marvellous medieval town, overlooking the Gulf of Morbihan, is one of the most beautiful in Brittany. You will be enchanted by its authentic medieval atmosphere, with its walls and fortified gates, its winding streets and cobbled squares. But above all, you will be surprised by its liveliness and cheerfulness, which can be found in the many cafés, bistros and markets in the old town, as well as at the small harbour.

Vannes is an excellent base from which to explore the region and the many islands in the gulf, which can be reached by boat.

Things to do in Vannes

Vannes is not only the capital of Morbihan, it is also a marina, a medieval city, rich in art and history. Its colourful old town enchants visitors with its picturesque corners, mighty ramparts and flower-filled gardens.

The remparts

14 Rue des Vierges, 56000 Vannes, Francia

The medieval city of Vannes is characterised by its imposing city walls. The medieval ramparts, some of which are perfectly preserved, are surrounded by lush flower gardens. As in Saint Malo, the walkways are walkable here and you can enjoy wonderful panoramic views.

At the foot of the ramparts is a huge garden, 15 hectares perfectly maintained, where you can admire 30,000 flowers arranged in French-style flower beds. The perfect place for a stroll.

Saint-Pierre Cathedral

222 Rue des Chanoines, 56000 Vannes, Francia

In Gothic style, the Saint-Pierre cathedral is built on the remains of an ancient Romanesque cathedral.

A religious site of great importance in the Middle Ages, since it houses the relics of Saint Vincent Ferrier, the cathedral is one of the largest churches in Brittany, at 110 m in length.

Vannes et sa Femme

33 Rue des Halles, 56000 Vannes, Francia

One of the undisputed symbols of the city is the Vannes couple. On the corner of rue du Bienheureux-Pierre-René-Rogue and rue Noé, two painted busts represent a couple of citizens, who appear to welcome customers to their shop. The sculpture is thought to have belonged to the sign of an old shop.

Today, the mysterious couple has become one of the most photographed places in Vannes and perfectly embodies the medieval spirit of this charming town.

Half-timbered houses

4Pl. Henri IV, 56000 Vannes, Francia

The Vannes couple is just one of the extraordinary details that can be seen on the façades of the town centre. The town boasts no less than 170 half-timbered houses: most are concentrated around the cathedral, but some are also found in the suburb of Saint-Patern and on the banks of the harbour. From the paintings, it is thought that around 900 existed in the 15th century.

The best place to admire the most beautiful half-timbered houses in Vannes is Place Henri IV, which is entirely surrounded by them. You can lose yourself in gazing at the small, beautifully carved details and photographing the pastel colours that characterise them.

There are two other streets that are particularly important for their medieval houses: Rue des Halles and Rue Saint Salomon . You will take a trip back in time. The most unusual house is located at No. 13 rue Saint Salomon, the Maison aux Lions: it is easily recognised by its four front pillars adorned with sculptures of animals, including a bear and a lion.

Gaillard Castle

52 Rue Noé, 56000 Vannes, Francia

The former Vannes Castle, once the seat of the Breton Parliament, now houses the Museum of History and Archaeology, dedicated to the history of the Morbihan.

The museum exhibits a large collection of prehistoric objects, mainly from excavations around the megaliths of Carnac, the Rhuys peninsula and Locmariaquer.

Covered market of Vannes

64 Pl. des Lices, 56000 Vannes, Francia

The large covered market in Vannes consists of two halls, which offer an incredible variety of culinary delicacies from all over the region: fish and shellfish, salted butter caramel, fruit and vegetables, charcuterie, cheese.

One room is entirely dedicated to seafood: depending on the fishing season, you will find scallops, crabs, sea bass, sea bream and, of course, oysters from the Gulf of Morbihan. The fish market hosts permanent traders: they are open all year round, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. .

The market also offers the possibility of sampling some freshly prepared dishes for lunch in the tasting area.

Saint-Patern medieval quarter

72 Pl. Sainte-Catherine, 56000 Vannes, Francia

Less busy than the ramparts district, the medieval quarter located just beyond the city walls is just as charming.

Surrounded by the church of Saint-Patern, the district of the same name is actually the oldest settlement in Vannes. Strolling along rue Saint-Patern and rue de la Fontaine, you can admire a series of old half-timbered houses in medieval style, which make the area charming.

This district is particularly lively, with many shops, boutiques and restaurants. Every Thursday evening in summer, concerts are held in the small square in front of the prefecture.

Vannes Harbour

8Quai Bernard Moitessier, 56000 Vannes, Francia

The harbour of Vannes is particularly picturesque, with sailboats moored at the piers, swaying with the lapping of the sea.

Framing the marina is the prestigious Porte Saint Vincent, the name of the city’s patron saint, depicted in the upper niche. Beneath the statue, the coat of arms of the city of Vannes depicts the ermine, the symbol of Brittany, crowned by 3 towers indicating the fortified city: the ermine is framed by 2 greyhounds offered by the Bretons to the King of France, François I, during his passage through Vannes in 1532.

The Conleau Peninsula

9Presqu'île de Conleau, 56000 Vannes, Francia

Just 5 kilometres from the centre of Vannes, there is a small strip of land in the Gulf of Morbihan, connected by a dam. The Conleau peninsula is the southernmost district of Vannes. At 500 metres long and 100 metres wide, at the confluence of the Vincin and the Marle, it is the perfect place to rest and take a dip in the clear waters of its natural pool.

Here you will find an equipped beach, cabins, restaurants and a large hotel: all the conditions for a relaxing stay.


In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

How to get to Vannes

Vannes, the pearl of the Morbihan, can be reached by plane by landing in nearby Nantes, or arriving from Paris Orly Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport or Paris Beauvais Airport.

By car

Vannes is approximately 450 km from Paris and can be reached in 5 hours by car following the A11 motorway. If, on the other hand, you are arriving from Nantes, you will have to allow 110 km, about 1½ hours, 2 hours from Brest and 1 hour and 20 minutes to Quimper.

By train

For those travelling by train, the Paris-Vannes TGV connection is certainly the fastest: in 2 hours and 30 minutes, you can reach Paris, with 6/7 trains available per day.

There are also direct connections to Lille and Bordeaux and regional connections to Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.

By bus

Bus travel is obviously the longest: Blablabus and Flixbus provide regular routes throughout France and Europe. Both companies stop in Vannes at Avenue Favrel and Lincy.

Where to stay in Vannes

Lying on the Gulf of Morbihan, Vannes is the perfect place to use as a base for exploring this fascinating part of Brittany.

Those wishing to experience the medieval atmosphere will choose accommodation in the historic centre of Vannes, shaped like a medieval fortress surrounded by walls and entirely pedestrianised: here there are different solutions for every budget.

Another interesting area is the one that runs along the marina, the right place to enjoy seafood cuisine and savour seafaring charm a stone’s throw from the centre. On the other hand, the Conleau peninsula is perfect for those seeking tranquillity, relaxation and a few hours at the beach.

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Vannes Weather

What's the weather at Vannes? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Vannes for the next few days.

Monday 24
Tuesday 25
Wednesday 26
Thursday 27
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Where is located Vannes

The Breton town of Vannes is set on the picturesque Gulf of Morbihan, dotted with many small islands that can be reached by ferry.

Location around