Discovering the heritage of Vannes

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Unmissable monuments in Vannes

From its battlements to its timber frame houses, and from its Cathedral to the seaside villas in Conleau, the diversity of the heritage of Vannes offers you a journey through two thousand years of art and history.

The Vannes' battlements, witnesses of 1,500 years of history, are a major feature in the townscape.
At the end of the 3rd century, when the Roman Empire was crumbling, Vannes, which was called Darioritum, was allowed to reinforce its defences. A castrum (fortified site) was built in the west of the Gallo-Roman town on the Mené hill. The triangular plan of the defence walls protected an area of about 5 hectares.
During the Early Middle Ages the castrum became the heart of the medieval town. Restored during the 13th century, Jean IV, Duke of Brittany extended the walls between 1370 and 1390, doubling the area of the walled town. The Hermine castle was built on the south-west side of the new battlements, near the site of the Calmont gate.
Machicoulis, gun loops and towers were added to the defence system during the 15th century.
At the end of the 16th century the medieval battlements were reinforced with bastions because of the requirements of modern artillery. The last defence structure to be built in Vannes was the Garenne fortification, erected between 1626 and 1628 by the architect Augereau.

Listed monument since: 2nd May, 1912
This is one of the oldest ways into the walled town. During the Middle Ages it was called the Saint-Patern gate, the name of the area it leads to. Used as a prison during the 18th century, like the "Tour du Connétable", it gradually became referred to as the Prison Gate.
Machicoulis, then gun ports were added to the gate and its towers during the 14th century and at the beginning of the 15th century.
It is a remarkable example of fortified gate, controlled by a double drawbridge system, one for the cart gate, and the other for pedestrians.

"TOUR DU CONNETABLE" (Constable's Tower)
Listed monument on: 28th May, 1927
The "Tour du Connétable" was erected in the middle of the 15th century on the eastern edge of the town walls, facing the Garenne plateau. This tower has five floors, reached by twin spiral staircases. Although the tower has artillery casemates in its lower room, its main function was residential, as can be seen by the layout of the upper rooms. Each room has large windows and benefits from a fireplace.
Built for the "Connétable" (the Constable, leader of the Duke's army), the tower was probably part of a project for a residence that was never finished, as indicated by the masonry stubs visible inside the town walls. Belonging to the town since 1975, it is open to public for guided tours. 

Listed monument since: 28th July, 1928
Among the six town gates still visible, the Saint-Vincent Gate that opens towards the harbour is doubtless the most splendid. The Saint-Vincent Gate was built between 1620 and 1624 in the southern walls of the town, facing the harbour. A century later, ravaged by the sea, it was restored by Engineer Duchemin, who kept the old Baroque-style frontage.
The current statue of Saint Vincent Ferrier, the city's patron saint, was placed in the upper alcove in 1891. The "blason" (emblem) with the town's coat of arms was fitted on the central part of the gate on the same year.
During the 17th/18th centuries, there was a bridge with two branches in front of the gate on the harbour side. Build from white stone, this Y-shaped bridge led to both sides of the channel. It was demolished when Gambetta square was built in 1835.

Site of the ancient town of Darioritum, this is the oldest area of Vannes. The ground contains many vestiges of the Forum, the Thermae, and villas.
During the Early Middle Ages, the town centre migrated to the neighbouring Méné hill, around the Cathedral. The first church dedicated to Saint Patern was probably built during the 7th century in the old town.
The Saint Patern parish covered all the rural part of the town during the 11th century. During the Middle Ages and the modern era a very active area developed around the church: tanners and craftsmen, etc. who lived in the timber-frame houses that you can admire in the "Rue de la Fontaine" or the "Rue Saint-Patern". Inns welcomed travellers coming from Nantes or Rennes.
The outstanding Morbihan "Prefecture" building (County Hall) was erected here in the artisans' area between 1863 and 1865.

Listed monument. Spire: 11th June, 1946; the entire church: 17th July, 2005
Saint-Patern's church attested as being from the 11th century and dedicated to the first known bishop of Vannes. During the Middle Ages it was a big step on the Tro Breiz Tour of Brittany. At the beginning of the 18th century the building was in poor condition, reconstruction was decided upon after the bell tower collapsed in May 1726 following a severe storm. The project was entrusted to the Vannes architect Olivier Delourme, who drafted the plans for the building and directed the first phase of work (chancel, transept, nave), in 1727-1728.
The nave was extended by two spans at the end of the 18th century and work was started on the bell tower and porch, the church was finished around 1820.
Visitors are generally captivated by the richness of the furnishings in this otherwise austere shrine. Each side chapel, each arm of the transept and the chancel, all contain a Retable (altarpiece), the oldest one dates back to the 1690s (Retable de saint Isidore, in the southern transept).

The first written records of the Christian faith in Vannes date from the 5th century. In about 465, a provincial council, chaired by the bishop Perpetuus from Tours, met "in the Church in Vannes". Paternus, one of the six priests, is identified as being the first known bishop of Vannes. The Saint Patern form of worship seems to have developed during the 7th century. The return of the relics of Saint Patern to Vannes Cathedral in the 12th century, after they were transferred to the Berry area during the Norman invasions, was the impetus for renewed religious devotion to the town's first bishop. The relics were exposed in Saint-Patern's church, which became a step in the "Tro Breiz".
The "Tro Breiz" started in the Middle Ages. Alone or in groups, the pilgrim went on a tour of Brittany, praying at the tombs of the seven founding saints of the oldest Breton dioceses: Saint Brieuc, Saint Malo, Saint Samson in Dol-de-Bretagne, Saint Corentin in Quimper, Saint Pol, Saint Tugdual in Tréguier, Saint Patern in Vannes.
Discontinued at the end of the Middle Ages, the "Tro Breiz" has recently regained some popularity and pilgrims, hikers and enthusiasts of Breton history are again seeking out the old pilgrim pathways.

The gate and three doors were listed as historic monuments on: 25th January, 1929
In the Middle Ages, in the west of France, "Cohue" was the word used for market place. Located in the heart of the walled town, the "cohue" in Vannes was, in the Middle Ages, a possession of the Duke of Brittany, one of the main lords of the town. Dated in the 13th century, it was just composed of a central nave (the present central section) and sheltered the town's merchants.
The Duke's courtrooms were installed on the first floor during the 15th century.
Major renovation work was carried out in the 17th century on the upper room, which had been used since 1552 for the "Présidial", a Royal court of justice. The Brittany parliament met here during its exile from 1675 to 1689. The side chambers were also covered during this period. Today, the "Cohue" houses the permanent collections and exhibitions of the Vannes Fine Art Museum.

Listed monument since: 30th October, 1906
Saint Peter's Cathedral is an essential monument in the walled town, and dominates its surroundings from its site at the top of the Méné hill. The reconstruction of the Roman cathedral was conducted during the 15th century. The old cathedral had become too dilapidated and too small for the pilgrimage that had developed around the tomb of Saint Vincent Ferrier, who died in Vannes in 1419 and was buried under the chancel of the cathedral.
The wide, a single chamber nave with its two side chapels built between the powerful buttresses, the western frontage and the transept, were erected between 1450 and 1520. The northern tower from the Roman frontage was kept. A few years later, the Holy Sacrament chapel, a Renaissance architectural masterpiece, was built in the north of the cathedral.
During the Counter-Reformation, the church was provided with fresh religious furniture, such as the Baroque altarpiece dedicated to Saint-Vincent. The building's arched roof and the new chancel were built during the second half of the 18th century.
The poor condition of the building necessitated the reconstruction of the western frontage during the 19th century. This has been done in the neo-Gothic style favoured by disciples of Viollet Le Duc.

Listed monument since: 3rd January, 1913
Located at the top of the "Rue Noé", this town house dating from the beginning of the 15th century has kept its original layout. Built by Jean of Malestroit, Duke Jean V's chancellor, the dwelling reflects the social status of its builder.
The house comprises four floors, and is composed of two joined buildings that were built at different times. On the front, a tower used as the main entrance contains a spiral staircase that leads to all the floors. The second floor houses the "Cabinet des Pères du désert" created during the 17th century and decorated with paintings in the Flemish style. Château-Gaillard now houses the Vannes History Museum's prehistoric, Gallo-Roman and medieval collections.

Listed monument since: 29th September, 1975
Attached to the town’s grammar school, which was run by the Jesuits at that time, it was built between 1661 and 1685 according to plans drawn up by Bother Charles de Turmel, architect in the Society of Jesus. It is very typical of the Jesuit time style, inspired by Italian baroque models. Built in white stone on a granite base, its two floors are topped with a high pediment, embellished with the Jesuit’s monogram: IHS (Jesus Hominum Salvator).
The austere and simple architectural layout of this church underlines a desire to return to the fundamental values of Christianity: single nave, a discrete transept and a small chancel.
The interior decoration was also designed to be simple. There is, however, a monumental altarpiece in the chancel, created in 1684 by the sculptor and architect Jean Boffrand.
Saint-Yves’ chapel is closed to the public.

Vannes enjoyed a major period of architectural renewal during the 17th century. The use of stone construction, which had not previously been popular, developed, encouraged by the temporary installation of the parliament of Brittany in Vannes. Several town houses were built in granite and white stone in the walled town.
Hôtel de Francheville
Listed monument (bartizan and its roof) since: 25th January, 1929
Sited on the corner of the “Place du Poids-Public” and the “Place des Lices” squares, it dates from the last quarter of the 17th century. Built with four floors, in tuffeau and granite it has an elegant corner bartizan with a curved roof.
This surprising feature offers views over both squares and gives the building the distinctive character of a residence worthy of a noble Vannes family.

Hôtel Senant
The Hôtel Senant is built on a large site in the Rue de la Bienfaisance, overlooked by the Cathedral. The 30-metre frontage was partially damaged when the vertical relief features aligned on the windows were destroyed. The house consists of a ground floor, first floor and a second floor in the attic with skylights protected by triangular pediments in white stone. The date 1680 is engraved on one of them. Through the porch, you can just make out a small courtyard and a garden that is protected from the street.

Hôtel de Roscanvec
This residence was built on the site of an older building around 1680 by Jean de la Landelle, lord of Roscanvec, councillor in the Vannes Présidial. The house seems to bring a breath of fresh air to the narrow Rue des Halles with its crowded medieval buildings. It copies town houses in major cities with its layout which is parallel to the street, between a courtyard and a rear garden, hidden from view. The house remained in the hands of the Roscanvec family until the Revolution, and was extensively modified in the 18th century.

The frontage and roof were listed as historical monuments on: 29th October, 1975
The impressive Prefecture building was inaugurated on 23 August 1865, under the reign of Napoleon III. Built on the site of the former Jacobin convent, this majestic construction was built in the Louis XIII style, like many public buildings during the Second Empire.
Its U-shaped layout, designed by the County architect Amé, encloses a courtyard separated from the square by high railings. The design, comprising a central building with two right angles wings; is divided into three functional spaces. The main building behind the courtyard houses the meeting rooms and the Prefect’s private lodgings. The right wing is used for the Conseil General (County Council) offices and the ancillary rooms and archives are in the left wing. The pavilion roof punctuates the frontage of the main building, which is decorated with a wide pediment. The sculptured ornamentation of the pediment is evocative of the Empire (Imperial eagle) and Breton history, with portraits of Nominoé, Count of Vannes (819-851) and Alain Barbe-Torte (936-952), two iconic figures from Early Middle Age Brittany. The Prefecture is surrounded by a five-hectare park. Most of this park consists in an English style garden designed in 1862 by Varé, a Paris architect and landscape gardener, who designed the Bois de Boulogne. A 5,000-sq.m French style garden was redesigned in 1975 under the windows of the archive wing. This park is not open to the public.

Listed monument since: 29th December, 1992
Inaugurated on 11 July 1886, it was designed in the form of a Neo-Renaissance “chateau” by Amand Charier, its architect. Enhanced by its spacious site on the former market square, the four floors of its high white stone frontage underline the symmetry of its style. Columns and pilasters harmonise with the windows. The exterior of this symbol of municipal power is lavishly decorated with sculptures. Its campanile dominates the landscape like a belfry. Inside the building, a grand staircase set in a vast hall leads to the reception hall on the first floor. This remarkable space is illuminated by a stained glass window representing the marriage of Anne of Brittany with King Charles VIII in 1491, while an overhead glazed window decorated with the town’s emblem spreads a soft light onto the marble of the stairs and banisters.

The first fish market hall, backing onto the buildings in the Rue Saint-Vincent, was built in 1821 in the Place de la Poissonnerie square, where an outdoor fish market had been held since the end of the Middle Ages. As the Gulf’s fishermen wanted a bigger building with better sanitary conditions, a new hall was built in 1880 by the architect E. de Lamarzelle. It was build of granite, and is 35-metres-long band 13-metres-wide. Inside the building, 18 cast iron pillars, some decorated with scallops, hold up a metal roof structure.
Fishermen no longer hawk their catches on the harbour quays, but the hall still bustles with daily activity that is even more intense on market days (Wednesdays and Saturdays).

The Garenne washhouse was built on the river Marle below the battlements, and is in one of the most photographed sites in Vannes. Despite its ancient appearance, it was built between 1817 and 1821. It is composed of a gallery with a slate roof, following the curve of the river, and a first floor with a timber-frame frontage. The numerous washerwomen in Vannes worked under this gallery. The large number of chimneystacks show where the laundries were located.
The Garenne washhouse has been owned by the town since 1928. It currently houses Vannes’ Heritage initiatives department.

Vannes has a large number of timber-frame houses. The oldest ones date back to the 15th century, but are rare. Due to the care taken with their decoration, particularly the corbelling, the most spectacular are those dating from the 16th century. These can be found in the Rue Saint-Salomon for example, or in the Saint-Patern area. At this time, the ground floors were occupied by shops. A sign sculpted in the image of the shop owner, traditionally called “Vannes et sa femme” (Vannes and his wife), still survives on the corner of the Rue Noé.
The framework of a house is made up of vertical supports that are borne by horizontal pieces of wood called truss beams. Diagonal pieces of wood assembled in chevrons form cross-braces that ensure the stability of the house structure. The space between the wooden pieces is filled with cob, a mixture of earth and straw.

“VANNES ET SA FEMME” (Vannes and his wife)
This granite sculpture decorates the frontage of a timber-frame house dating from the early 16th century. Two figures, whose true identity has not been established for certain, smile down on passers by. It is probably a shop sign, whose meaning has now been forgotten.

Seaside holidays became a modern leisure activity at the end of the 19th century. The owners of Conleau provided the island with seaside facilities in 1878: a seawater swimming pool flanked by beach huts, a restaurant, a grand hotel and chalets. Even a casino was planned. From 1879 a causeway road linked the island to the mainland, encouraging the growth of this small seaside resort.
The former island has now become one of Vannes' areas. The old villas, whose architecture was inspired by Swiss chalets that were very fashionable at the time, can still be seen. The pool is now council-owned, and is a very popular bathing place for young people in Vannes. A haven for leisure boating, Conleau is also the ferry port for the Arz Island.

Listed monument (frontage, roof and metal structure) since: 30th May, 2000
Opposite the Prefecture, this building attracts attention by its eclectic appearance and the wide range of materials used on its frontage. Remarkable decorative materials include a mix of bricks, white stone, cast iron pillars and enamelled ceramics. It is a former wholesale ironmonger, that was called the “Petit-Fers” (small ironmongery) establishment for a long period, and was built around 1894.
The building has two floors: a huge space used as a shop on the ground floor, with appartments located in the roof space.

1930s HOUSES
The interwar period was a time of urban growth for Vannes, which saw the creation of private housing estates such as the Rue de Metz (Gy estate), Rue Paul Doumer (Rochard estate), Rue Paul Helleu (Jointo estate), Rue Olivier de Clisson (Martine estate).
The houses built in these estates were designed according to various architectural models published in many different catalogues or architectural magazines.
Often with an L-shaped layout, the house has a decorated frontage, combined with the inevitable gable end. The latter is sometimes aligned with a garage, a symbol of the owner’s modern outlook.
The frontage on the street side is often highlighted by a coloured cement coating, various cornice mouldings, ceramic tiles or mosaics. The range of decorative styles, the forged and cast ironwork on the balconies and front doors are heavily inspired by the Art Deco movement, made famous by the Exposition Universell of 1925.
This architecture that turns its back completely on traditional architecture can be found in many French towns' buildings, dating from the same period.

Four new churches were inaugurated in Vannes during the ten-year period from 1959 to 1968: Saint-Pie X in 1959, Saint-Guen in 1967, Notre Dame de Lourdes and Saint-Vincent in 1968.
Here are two examples:
Saint-Pie X (1959) The Vannes architect Guy Caubert de Cléry was entrusted with the project for the construction of a new church in the Madeleine area. He based his design on the Riese's Church (Italy), the birthplace of Pope Pious X, and used reinforced concrete as the building material. The brilliant whiteness, the 44-metre spire and the narrow claustra give an impression of grace. The windows and stained glass in the southern gate, made from shattered glass slabs, were designed by André Mériel Bussy and created by Lorin, master glassworker in Chartres.
Saint-Guen (1966-1967) Built on the southern edge of the new Ménimur urban area, this church is dedicated to Saint Guénaël. It draws the attention of visitors, firstly by its high pyramidal roof structure, then by its circular spire separated from the rest of the building. Inside, the absence of pillars allows good visibility for the entire congregation united in a single space. The architects, Eric Kasper and Jacques Maisonneuve, have created a modern and original place of worship, using the familiar regional combination of granite and wood, illuminated by light from the coloured windows.
The remains of the demolished chapel of the former Saint Guen Priory (attached to the abbey at Saint-Gildas de Rhuys) have been erected near the church.

Located on the inland edge of the Gulf, Vannes and its harbour are built on an estuarine site. Maritime trade was one of the town’s sources of wealth until the 19th century. Due to the river silting-up, the town had to change continually and extend its harbour facilities. Vannes was already a maritime trading centre in the Gallo-Roman era. Several hypotheses place the ancient port in the vicinity of the Prefecture, at the base of the Boismoreau hill where the ancient town was built.
The gradual retreat of the sea pushed the port southwards. At the end of the 14th century it was probably located between the Place de la Poissonnerie and the bottom of Rue Thiers. The extension of the battlements brought the walled town closer to the harbour, which was reached via the Gréguennic gate. 15th century sources cite “le vieil port es douves de la ville, un quay au vin”(the old port and moat in the town, a wine quay) near the moat and the Gréguennic barbican.
During the 17th century the port was still south of the walled town, and maritime trade was at its zenith. The Saint-Vincent gate was built in the town walls in 1624. The quays were extended on both sides of the channel during the 18th and 19th centuries. The shipyards were very busy. Shipbuilders in Vannes were famous for the “Chasse-marée” ships, specially designed for coastal trade.
In 1712, the Council decided to create a tree-shaded promenade on the right bank in order to make the town more attractive. The Rabine (Breton for tree-lined path) was extended during later centuries, as the quays were developed.
The wish to improve the looks of the town and ease traffic led to the creation of the square Place Gambetta in about 1830/1840. Buildings were constructed around a hemicycle layout. This project was directed successively by the architects Brunet-Debaines and Marius Charrier.
However, the major project at the beginning of the 19th century was the cutting through the Kérino hillock. This operation, unique in Brittany, was undertaken in order to straighten the harbour's access channel so that maritime trade could continue. Maritime trade was, however, abandoned at the end of the century. The harbour turned to the transport of goods and the first tourists to the islands in the Gulf.
Nowadays, the port harbours leisure boats in its tidal basin, that was fitted out in 1976. The port will undergo more changes in the near future, with the implementation of a renovation and extension project decided by the town council in 2003 (creation of an underground car park, a new harbour master's office, improvements of the quays, etc.). Boatyards are still present downstream, using the latest technologies, and building of large offshore racing yachts.


Born in Valencia in Spain in 1350, he entered the Dominican Order at the age of 17.
As a priest and master of theology, he played an active role in the Great Schism that tore the Christian world apart between 1378 and 1417. An ally of Pedro de Luna, Cardinal of Aragon, Vincent Ferrier backed the Avignon pope against the Roman pope. When Pedro de la Luna was elected Pope in Avignon (antipope Benoit XIII), he became his confessor. But in 1416 he abandoned Benoît’s cause and recognized the Roman pope in order to promote Church unity.
Vincent Ferrier was also an evangelist. From 1399, he travelled in Europe (Italy, France, Switzerland, etc.). Large crowds gathered to hear this exceptional speaker and his terrifying sermons about the Last Judgement.
Vincent Ferrier arrived in Brittany in 1418 when he was 68. He came after a request from Duke Jean V who wanted the Dominican evangelist to educate the Breton people whose religion mixed Christianity with popular beliefs inherited from paganism. His tour of Brittany took place in a relatively prosperous region, due to the neutrality of Jean V in the French-English war that was then ravaging the kingdom of France, but the population was still suffering from plagues and famines.
Vincent Ferrier travelled around the Duchy for nearly two years before going back to Vannes, exhausted and sick, where he died in 1419. He is buried in St Peter’s Cathedral. His canonisation procedure, actively requested by the Dukes of Brittany, was opened in 1451. Pope Calixte III proclaimed the order of canonisation in 1455.

Historical monuments in Vannes

Vannes has a rich heritage of about sixty protected historical monuments.

Buildings are protected as historic monuments because they are considered to be of public interest from the historical point of view or that of the history of art.

A monument can be classed as a historical monument by a decision from the Culture Minister.

It can be listed as a historical monument by an order from the Regional Prefect when “the building is of sufficient historical or artistic interest to render its preservation desirable, without justifying its immediate classification”.

Classification also applies to furniture (either furniture in the strict sense or furnishings considered as being included in the building) that are of historical interest.

Sixty buildings  in Vannes – of which twenty-three are owned by the Town Council - and three sites are protected as historical monuments, either completely or partially, listed or classified.

The Prison Gate (15th century) is the oldest classified monument in Vannes (classification order dated 2nd May, 1912). Saint-Patern’s Church (18th century) is the most recent building to be protected by a listing order on 26th July, 2005 (extension of the protection).

The religious heritage

  • Saint-Peter’s Cathedral, Place Saint Pierre (Cl. HM: 1906)
  • Saint-Patern’s Church, Rue de la Fontaine (Listed HM: 1946 and 2005)
  • Saint-Yves’ Chapel, Place Maurice Marchais (Listed HM: 1929)
  • Notre-Dame du Rohic’s Chapel, Le Rohic (Listed HM: 1929)
  • the former gate of the former Saint-Guen Chapel, Saint-Guen (Listed HM: 1939)
  • Ursulines’ Chapel, Rue Thiers (Cl. HM: 1988
  • the Cathedral’s Calvary cross (Listed. HM: 1929)
  • Rohic Calvary (Listed HM: 1929)

The fortified heritage

Nearly all the battlements (tours, bastions et curtain walls) were protected between 1912 (Prison Gate) and 1958 (Gréguennic Bastion, Saint-François Tower and the adjoining curtain wall).

They are classed as historic monuments, with the exception of the following five structures that are listed as historic monuments: -the curtain wall and the site adjoining Poterne Gate, Trompette Tower and curtain wall, Gréguennic Bastion, Saint-François Tower and the curtain wall, Notre Dame Gate and the curtain wall).

The civil heritage 

Public buildings

The Cohue (market hall) (gate and three doors – Listed HM: 1929)

the Town Hall (Listed HM: 1992)

the Prefecture (frontages and roof - Listed HM: 1975)

Timber-frame houses

20 timber-frame houses in Vannes were added to the supplementary list of historical monuments between 1929 and 1943. This list gives partial protection, concerning frontages and roofs.

House numbers 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, Rue Saint-Guenhaël

House number 32 Rue des Chanoines and 2 Rue Emile Burgault

House number 3 Rue des Chanoines

House numbers 1, 2 (frontages only) and 5, Place Henri IV

House number 10 Rue Saint-Salomon

House number 23 Rue des Halles

House at the corner of Rue Noé and Rue P. Rogues

House number 17 Place Valencia (frontage only)

House numbers 1 Rue Thiers and 2 Rue du Drezen

House number 2 Rue du Port

Hôtels particuliers (Town houses)

Château-Gaillard, Rue Noé (Cl. HM: 1913)

Hôtel de Francheville, Place du Poids Public (Bartizan – Listed. HM: 1929)

Hôtel and Jardins de Limur (gardens), Rue Thiers (Cl. HM: 1993)

Hôtel de Saint-Georges, Place Valencia (frontage, roof, wooden sculptures in the first floor, staircase: Listed HM: 1945


Staircase tower in the house at 11 Place des Lices (Listed HM:1931)

“Petit Fers” building, 3 Rue Alain le Grand (frontage, roof and metal structure – Listed HM: 2000)

classified sites


Jardin des remparts and Jardin de la Garenne (gardens),

Port quarter.

The protected zone

Created in 1964 and approved in 1982, the protected zone in Vannes extends over the entire walled town with the addition of a few zones in the port and Saint-Patern quarters, covering a total of about 18 hectares in all. In 2006 Vannes Council launched a procedure to update the regulations applying in the protected zone.

Protected zones were created by the "Malraux" law, dated 4 August 1962, to preserve historical town centres, and, more generally, urban areas of heritage interest.

The purpose of the protected zone

The protected zone is a qualitative urban development approach that has the purpose of conserving the ancient urban environment and architecture while at the same time allowing harmonious development with respect to contemporary urban purposes and in relation with the rest of the town.

The planning rules defined by the protected zone use special regulations and instructions to ensure that all interventions respect the existing urban fabric.

The roles of those responsible for the protected zone

The role of the “Bâtiments de France” (French historical buildings) architect is to guarantee that the rules are effectively applied in a manner that ensures quality. The Town Planning Department processes applications for permission and official declaration of works. In the protected zone, permission to conduct work is granted or refused by the Mayor on the recommendations given by the “Bâtiments de France” architect.

If you are planning to conduct work in the protected zone:

  • renovation or painting of a building’s exterior walls requires an official declaration of work but not planning permission. It still requires permission. Formal planning permission is, however, required for buildings listed as historical monuments.
  • modification or creation of a commercial frontage requires a declaration of work but not planning permission. It still requires permission. Formal planning permission is, however, required for buildings listed as historical monuments.
  • modification or creation of a shop sign – an application for permission must be made to the Town Planning Department.
  • interior modification and renovation work – an application for permission must be made to the Town Planning Department.
  • demolition of a building – an application for demolition permission must be made. The Town Planning Department can provide the necessary application form.
  • construction of a new building requires planning permission. The Town Planning Department can provide the necessary application form.



Place Maurice Marchais

Tél. : 02 97 01 60 00



Monday to Friday from 8h to 12h15 and from 13h15 to 18h.Saturday morning from 9h to 12h.



7 rue Joseph Le Brix

Tél. : 02 97 01 60 00


Ouverture :


Monday to Friday from 8h15 to 12h15 and from 13h15 to 17h.


Permanence of the state civil service, Saturday 9am to 12pm.Are given priority: the declarations of birth and death as well as passport applications (by appointment).


Saturday morning, home phone from 9h to 12h.