Sainte-Anne d'Auray, Brittany: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Sainte-Anne d'Auray in Morbihan

Visit Sainte-Anne d'Auray (Brittany, France)

PHOTO GALLERY MAP & PLACES TO VISIT

Situated a few kilometres from Auray in southern Brittany, Sainte-Anne-d'Auray is usually mentioned only as a small footnote in travel articles about its larger neighbour. I only discovered the town because I happened to be staying in a hotel in Sainte Anne d'Auray when visiting the region, but found it very interesting and recommend that you visit when in this part of Brittany.

Sainte-Anne d'Auray pilgrimage town

An important pilgrimage town, it was from 1623 - 1625 that the current focus of Sainte-Anne-d'Auray was set in motion, when Sainte Anne (the mother of the Virgin Mary) 'appeared' to a local peasant, Yves Nicolazic.

During these apparitions Saint Anne told Yves where to find a statue of her - the statue was then found on the site of an ancient 6th century chapel.  Following this discovery and the ensuing influx of pilgrims Yves built a chapel and Sainte Anne d'Auray soon became the biggest pilgrim destination in the region.

basilica and monument

Explore Sainte Anne d'Auray

As a consequence the entire town centre was turned over to monuments related to this miracle and the needs of the pilgrims, and there is a fascinating collection of buildings related to the event for visitors to discover.

Central to the complex is a large church with attached cloisters, and you can also see a fountain and a couple of statues, and several grand monuments - all set in extensive gardens - make for a very unusual 'town centre' in Sainte-Anne d'Auray which is well worth a visit.

Not much remains of the original small chapel in Sainte-Anne d'Auray as it was replaced by a basilica in 1865. The basilica has an impressive bell tower which is 75 metres high. The attractive 'scala sancta' (saint's stairway) was originally in front of the chapel but was moved stone by stone to its new position when the basilica was built.

In total each year more than 800 000 pilgrims visit the sanctuary, in particular every year on the 26th July thousands of pilgrims visit the town and its church.

Apart from the sanctuary and monuments there are a few creperies and a couple of gift shops elsewhere in Sainte-Anne-d'Auray, but little in the way of other sights to detain you.

sanctuary

Attractions nearby

The region around Sainte-Anne d'Auray has an interesting variety of places and attractions for visitors, including the port town at Saint-Goustan (part of Auray), the standing stones of Carnac, the lovely historical town of Vannes and of course the beaches and islands of the Morbihan coast.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Morbihan guide and the Brittany guide.

See also:

Map of Sainte-Anne d'Auray and places to visit

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Address: Sainte-Anne-d'Auray, Auray, Lorient, Morbihan, Brittany, 56400, France || GPS: latitude 47.704167, longitude -2.952778

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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Source - Vincin (Rivière de Conleau): site of natural beauty (8km)
  • Jardins de Kerambar’h: remarkable garden (10km)
  • Étang de Toulvern: site of natural beauty (12km)
  • Pont du Vincin: site of natural beauty (13km)
  • Saint-Philibert (Morbihan): site of natural beauty (13km)
  • Moulin à marée de Campen: site of natural beauty (14km)
  • Vincin: site of natural beauty (14km)
  • Megaliths of Locmariaquer: national monument (15km)
  • Embouchure - Vincin
    (Rivière de Conleau): site of natural beauty (15km)
  • Presqu'île de Conleau: site of natural beauty (16km)

The French version of this page is at Sainte-Anne d'Auray (Francais)