Vannes won’t settle for any neat categorisation! Overlooking the Gulf of Morbihan, two-and-a-half hours from Paris, this is a mediaeval town with a quirky sense of humour, a marina with a slightly rebellious streak. Picturesque, cultured and gourmet. Its extraordinary heritage is universally acknowledged, as its lively atmosphere all year round. As for the rest… good luck trying to define it!
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This fortified and preserved town harbours a wealth of architectural heritage. Ramparts, gardens in bloom, its almost entirely pedestrianised centre, cobbled streets lined with intriguing granite sculptures and half-timbered houses, no wonder visitors flock here, for its easy-going pace of life and a coffee on Place Henri IV of course! Either side of the summer months is the best time to come.
Artistic M.U.R.murs !
Five centuries later, the streets are still a showcase for eye-catching urban art. Sensible and discreet you say? The Vannes we know gives free expression to public murals, not least the M.U.R., as well as street art frescoes, from the Palais des Arts to the port’s left bank. BREF is a hive of artistic activity, a community venue with studios, gallery space, a bar, concerts and DJ sets, while the Hangar is poised to open behind the station. There’s always a photo exhibition to go and see at the Kiosque, while the Cohue museum, with its contemporary art collections, always has a surprise in store – don’t miss the luminous paintings by Geneviève Asse, who was born in Vannes.
Feel energised all year round
As the light and colours change with each new season, so our tastes and whims change too. From autumn to spring, Vannes can be savoured through an active, inventive cuisine that packs a flavoursome punch! At its outdoor and indoor markets, from Place des Lices to Place du Poids Public, you can indulge in the best surf ’n’ turf lunches on the go. Chez Marcelle is open year-round for fresh oysters from the gulf, while at Nuages de Gégé you can tuck into street food-style buckwheat or cream-filled choux buns. Equally tempting are the local fashion and home design concept stores, as well as the village feel of Saint-Patern, the town’s oldest and most popular neighbourhood with restaurants, café terraces, nightclubs and shops galore!
Vannes is a mediaeval town with a quirky sense of humour, a marina with a slightly rebellious streak.
Did you know?
The Danielo Rotunda is unique in France!
Attached to Saint-Pierre Cathedral, the round chapel on its northern side, also called the “Rotonde du Saint-sacrement”, is one of the very first examples of the Renaissance style on French soil. Quite simply unique.
Time for a sea change
All year round you’ll find something going on in the town’s bustling port. Its bars and café terraces aside, walking along its quays will already feel like a refreshing change. Cast your gaze out towards the Conleau peninsula, with a natural seawater pool, bathed in a seaside resort atmosphere. Set your sights even further by climbing aboard a ferry boat with your bike, and explore the Séné peninsula or Saint-Armel, along the gulf, to your heart’s content. In no time at all, you’ll disembark amidst a scenic backdrop of open-air cafés and little fisherman’s huts… A peaceful change of scene at a bargain price!
The historic Saint-Patern quarter and church (18th century)
The port area
The walled town: the half-timbered houses and mansions, the cathedral of Saint-Pierre and its rich furnishings, ‘La Cohue’ (a medieval hall housing the Museum of Fine Arts)
The museum of history and archaeology (Château-Gaillard)
How to get there / move there
Getting to Vannes
Eurostar will get you to Paris from London in 2 hours 16 minutes, then, with 11 trains a day, Vannes is 2 hours 30 minutes from Paris by TGV, France’s inter-city high-speed rail service. There are regular connections with France’s major towns and cities.
Vannes is 450 km from Paris (5hrs) on the A11 ‘Océane’ motorway, and 110 km from Nantes and Rennes by dual carriageway. From the ferry ports, it is about 2 hours’ drive from St Malo and 2 hours 30 minutes from Roscoff.
For travellers on a budget, coach services are operated by Flixbus and BlaBlaBus, departing from many towns and cities.
Travelling in and around Vannes
Vannes is a great city to explore on foot, by bus or by bike. From the station to the city centre is a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute bus ride (service operated by Kiceo. Vélocéo self-service electric bikes can be rented by the day.
For the islands of the Gulf of Morbihan, the ferry terminal is 10 minutes by bus from the city centre.
New: With the City Pass Golfe du Morbihan Vannes, you can access the Kiceo bus network and 30 must-see sites, all at an unbeatable price. Choose between a 24H, 48H or 72H option.
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