Vannes, France Hotels, Resorts & Hotel Accommodations

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VANNES 

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SOFITEL THALASSA QUIBERON POINTE DE GOULVARS Vannes, France 10802 BOOK IT
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Vannes is a town and commune located in the Morbihan département, in Brittany, in the west of France. It was founded over 2000 years ago. read full wikipedia reference about Vannes, France

Thanks to its position at the head of the Golfe de Morbihan, VANNES , 20 km east of Auray, is southern Brittany's major tourist town. Modern Vannes is such a large and thriving community that the small size of the old walled town at its core, Vieux Vannes , may well come as a surprise. Its focal point, the old gateway of the Porte St-Vincent , commands a busy little square at the northern end of the long canalized port that provides access to the gulf itself. Once inside the ramparts, the old centre of chaotic streets - crammed around the cathedral, and enclosed by gardens and a tiny stream - is largely pedestrianized, in refreshing contrast to the somewhat complicated road system beyond.

The new town centre of Vannes is place de la République - the focus was shifted outside the medieval city in the nineteenth-century craze for urbanization. The grandest of the public buildings here, guarded by a pair of sleek and dignified bronze lions, is the Hôtel de Ville at the top of rue Thiers. By day, however, the streets of the old city, with their overhanging, witch-hatted houses and busy commercial life, are the chief source of pleasure. Place Henri-IV in particular is stunning, as are the views from it down the narrow side streets.

La Cohue , which fills a block between rue des Halles and place du Cathédrale, recently became the Musée de Vannes (June-Sept daily 10am-6pm; rest of year Mon & Wed-Sat 10am-noon & 2-6pm, Sun 2-6pm; 26F/?3.96), having served at various times over the past 750 years as high court and assembly room, prison, revolutionary tribunal, theatre and marketplace. Upstairs it still houses the dull collection of what was the local Beaux-Arts museum, while the main gallery downstairs is the venue for different temporary exhibitions.

Opposite La Cohue the Cathédrale St-Pierre is a rather forbidding place, with a stern main altar almost imprisoned by four solemn grey pillars. The light - purple through new stained glass - illuminates the desiccated finger of the Blessed Pierre Rogue, who was guillotined on the main square in 1796. For a small fee, in summer you can examine the assorted treasures in the chapterhouse, which include a twelfth-century wedding chest, brightly decorated with enigmatic scenes of romantic chivalry.

West of the cathedral and housed in the sombre fifteenth-century Château Gaillard on rue Noé, the Musée Archéologique is said to have one of the world's finest collections of prehistoric artefacts (April-June & Sept-Oct Mon-Sat 9.30am-noon & 2-6pm; July & Aug Mon-Sat 9.30am-6pm; rest of year Mon-Sat 2-6pm). But much like the displays at Carnac, it's all pretty lifeless - some elegant stone axes, more recent Oceanic exhibits by way of context, but nothing very illuminating.

Vannes' modern aquarium (daily: June-Aug 9am-8pm; rest of year 9am-noon & 1.30-7pm), in the Parc du Golfe 500 metres south of place Gambetta, claims to have the best collection of tropical fish in Europe. Certainly it holds some pretty extraordinary specimens, including four-eyed fish from Venezuela that can see simultaneously above and below the water, and are also divided into four sexes for good measure; cave fish from Mexico that by contrast have no eyes at all; and arowana from Guyana, which jump two metres out of the water to catch birds. A Nile crocodile found in the Paris sewers in 1984 shares its tank with a group of piranhas.

  

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