©Alexandre Lamoureux


A thousand years of history behind it, and a bright future ahead

Châteaugiron, standing at the gateway to Rennes, is part of France’s network of charming Small Towns of Character. The high towers of a medieval castle rise up proudly to the sky, guiding you towards the town centre. Many colourfully-painted half-timbered houses, built for merchants, still survive as reminders of the town’s prosperous history.

Discover Châteaugiron

Châteaugiron’spièce de résistanceis its castle, built in the 11th century to defend Brittany’s capital. The moat, the impressive 13th century keep and the clock tower are reminders of its military function. The castle’s living quarters, dating from the 14th century, were revamped in the 18th century to create the attractive building you see today. It continues to play a central role in the town, and is currently home to the town hall. The castle’s chapel, which has been magnificently restored, is now an arts centre, known as ‘The 3 CHAs’ (as in CHApelle, CHÂteau and CHÂteaugiron). Its tall windows provide plenty of light for the art exhibitions held there.

Half-timbered houses: the canvas on which the town was painted

In the Middle Ages, a great many houses were built below the castle towers. Trade flourished there, driven by the manufacture of sailcloth. A walk round the streets of the town centre will take you past these canvas merchants’ establishments. In Rue de la Madeleine, their ornate half-timbered houses are painted in a palette of bold colours, straight from the 15th and 16th centuries. Your path through history continues to the market hall, built in 1858.

Did you know

The toll of a distant bell

From the clock tower you can hear the regular tolling of Henriette, a magnificent old bell. She’s been marking out the pace of life in this medieval town ever since 1666.

Paths to discover nature

The word ‘canvas’ makes you think of hemp and flax, and also weaving, which are all associated with a good supply of water. And there is plenty of water here, domesticated in the Saint-Nicolas wash house and flowing free in La Glaume marsh, a protected natural zone in the very heart of the town. Going for a walk around this site brings you up close with nature. You’ll be in the company of dragonflies, grey herons and wagtails, and surrounded by irises and sedge.

Main points of interest

  • The castle (12th, 13th, 15th and 18th centuries)
  • The half-timbered houses (16th, 17th and 18th centuries)
  • The church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (19th century)
  • Saint-Nicolas priory (16th to 17th centuries)
  • The old market hall (19th century)
  • The mansions of Corne-du-Cerf, Cour-Beaulieu and Pince-Guerrière (15th to 16th centuries)
  • The Saint-Nicolas and La Roche wash houses
  • The lake
Official website of tourism in Brittany