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Vannes montage.png
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
Drapeau de Vannes.svg
COA fr Vannes 56.svg
Coat of arms
Location of Vannes
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Bretagne region location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 47°39′21″N2°45′37″W / 47.6559°N 2.7603°W / 47.6559; -2.7603 Coordinates: 47°39′21″N2°45′37″W / 47.6559°N 2.7603°W / 47.6559; -2.7603
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Morbihan
Arrondissement Vannes
Canton Vannes-1, 2 and 3
Intercommunality Golfe du Morbihan - Vannes Agglomération
  Mayor (20202026) David Robo [1]
32.3 km2 (12.5 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018) [2]
  Density1,700/km2 (4,300/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+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.

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



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]

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. 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.

In 1342, Vannes was besieged four times between forces from both sides of the Breton War of Succession. The city's defending commander, Olivier V 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.

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.


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 data for Vannes / 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1998–present
Record high °C (°F)16.7
Average high °C (°F)9.5
Daily mean °C (°F)6.5
Average low °C (°F)3.6
Record low °C (°F)−7.4
Average precipitation mm (inches)99.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 74.6102.2151.5189.9203.9252.3246.3218.5207.6116.591.884.41,939.4
Source: Meteociel [7]


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]


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

City walls of Vannes Bretagne les remparts de Vannes.jpg
City walls of Vannes
"Vannes and his wife" Bustes Vannes et sa femme.jpg
"Vannes and his wife"


Breton language

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

Notable people

Australian actor and writer Jeremy Callaghan lives in Vannes. [13]


The local football team is Vannes OC, members of the Championnat de France de Ligue 2 for the 2009–10 season.

The Rugby Club Vannes is the rugby union team and competed in Pro D2 for the 2015–16 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

Vannes is twinned with: [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Sieges of Vannes (1342)

The sieges of Vannes of 1342 were a series of four sieges of the town of Vannes that occurred throughout 1342. Two rival claimants to the Duchy of Brittany, John of Montfort and Charles of Blois, competed for Vannes throughout this civil war from 1341 to 1365. The successive sieges ruined Vannes and its surrounding countryside. Vannes was eventually sold off in a truce between England and France, signed in January 1343 in Malestroit. Saved by an appeal of Pope Clement VI, Vannes remained in the hands of its own rulers, but ultimately resided under English control from September 1343 till the end of the war in 1365.


  1. "Maires du Morbihan" (PDF). Préfecture du Morbihan. 7 July 2020.
  2. "Populations légales 2018". INSEE. 28 December 2020.
  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.