Visit Vitre (Brittany, France)
Vitré is a historic town in central Brittany, about 25 kilometres east of Rennes in the Ille et Vilaine department and an hour and a half from the Brittany coast to the north.
Perhaps the finest medieval town in Brittany, Vitré has a very attractive and extensive well maintained old-town centre with lots of narrow streets lined with medieval cottages.
The old town has a very large number of lovely colombage (half-timbered) houses, and is one of the few places in France where you can see a complete gothic style town. There are also numerous cafes and bars where you can take a pause in your explorations.
The town is a listed Artistic and Heritage town and has many 15th and 16th century buildings remaining much as they were in the days when it was one of the most powerful towns in Brittany. A significant part of the original ramparts of the town is also still intact.
Vitre is also endowed with a 13th century castle and the attractive 13th century Church of Notre-Dame, quickly recognisable because of its decorated spire.
The castle, an imposing building with many towers inset in the high walls and reached across a drawbridge, surely competes with Chateau de Jumilhac in the Dordogne for being the castle with the most pointed turrets!
Vitre castle contains a museum with a range of sculptures and artworks from the region.
The Chateau is unusual in that, with its attached buildings, it has been built in a triangular pattern. This is because of the shape of the raised rocky area it was built on. From the same period you can also see parts of the original ramparts that once protected Vitré.
The Mairie of Vitré is housed in one of the buildings in the Chateau complex - wander into the triangular courtyard to see the lovely building.
Vitré really is a pleasure to explore with its medieval centre, particularly the streets of Rue de la Beaudrairie (street of people who worked with leather), the Rue de la Poterie and the Rue du Chateau. In the rue de la Poterie you can see several rare examples of houses with medieval porches at street level.
Market day is Monday for Vitré and is held on the square in front of the church of Notre Dame.
At nightfall Vitré is illuminated and in 2000 won an award for its nighttime illuminations.
A short distance outside Vitre, the Château des Rochers-Sévigné and its associated garden are also well worth visiting.
Note: Vitré is twinned with Lymington (Hampshire, England)
Photos of Vitre
Click any picture to start the gallery
Tourist classifications for Vitre
Vitre has received the following tourist classifications: recommended detour town (plus beau detour); historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); listed town of Art and History
Address: Vitré, Rennes, Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany, 35500 || GPS: latitude 48.123, longitude -1.212
Map of Vitre & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Vitre, France
- Juvigne - ville fleurie 4* (18km)
- Jardin des fontaines et parc de l’Athanor - remarkable garden (23km)
- Jardins de la Pellerine - remarkable garden (25km)
- Fougeres - town of art and history (25km)
- Parc et jardin de Clivoy - remarkable garden (28km)
- Cesson-Sevigne - ville fleurie 4* (29km)
- Parc floral de Haute-Bretagne - remarkable garden (33km)
- Laval - town of art and history (33km)
- Saint-Brice-en-Cogles - village d'etape (34km)
- Rennes - town of art and history (35km)
Market days in Vitre: Regular market(s) are held in Vitre each Monday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Vitre (Francais)