Vire travel guide

Photo of Vire

Visit Vire (Normandy, France)

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The town of Vire is on a rocky promontory above the Vire river, in the south-west of the Calvados department of Lower Normandy, about half way between Caen (north-east of Vire) and Mont-Saint-Michel (to the south-west).

Since 2016 the town has been part of the commune called Vire-Normandie.

The town suffered quite heavily during bombardments at the end of the Second World War, and much rebuilding and renovation took place in the decade that followed the end of the war, so much of what we see today is a reconstruction.

Explore Vire

While it is true that Vire is not one of the most visited destinations in Normandy, the town has a pleasant center and there are few historical monuments of interest to see here.

The most important historical monument in Vire is the 'porte horloge' - a substantial 13th century medieval gateway (and once the main entrance through the defences of the town), surmounted by a 15th century clocktower that dominates the centre of the town.

Another important remnant from the days when the town was fortified can be seen at the remains of the original castle donjon, next to the Place Nationale, and there are also a couple of other towers that remain from the original fortifications (Tour Saint-Sauveur, Tour aux Raines, Tour de Coulonces...)


You can also see the Church of Notre-Dame in Vire. This church dates from the 13th - 16th centuries and includes elements from different periods, mostly in the gothic style.

The main church in Vire was once the church of St. Thomas. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the church was looted during the wars of religion, and again during the revolution, and also damaged again by allied bombing in June 1944.

The ruins of the church, mainly the entry and the lower part of the bell tower can be seen on the Place Saint-Thomas.

Attractions nearby

The region around Vire is known as the 'bocage-virois', and includes the waymarked tourist route called the 'Route des Gorges de la Vire', an attractive route through wooded valleys and granite cliffs along the valley of the River Vire a little to the north of the town.

Various attractive villages and hamlets warrant a visit near Vire - including Vassy, Le Bény-Bocage, and the historical pilgrimage site at Saint-Sever.

Be sure to pop into Vire tourist information office for details of these, and some nice walks through the bocage countryside, with quiet paths through the low wooded hills and alongside quiet waterways.

Note: Vire photo is copyright

You can find more travel ideas in the Calvados guide and the Normandy guide.

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... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Calvados

Address: Vire, Normandy, 14500, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 48.838611, longitude -0.889167

Plan your visit to Vire, Calvados

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Forêt de Saint-Sever: site of natural beauty (11 km)
  • Domjean: ville fleurie 4* (20 km)
  • Parc zoologique de Jurques: zoo or wildlife park (21 km)
  • Torigni-sur-Vire: village d'etape (23 km)
  • Roches de Ham: site of natural beauty (24 km)
  • Villedieu-les-Poeles: village d'etape (24 km)
  • Parc zoologique de Champrepus: zoo or wildlife park (32 km)
  • Villers-Bocage: village d'etape (32 km)
  • Rochers des Parcs: site of natural beauty (32 km)
  • Domfront: recommended detour (33 km)
  • Ducey: village d'etape (38 km)
  • Forêt de Cerisy: site of natural beauty (39 km)

Market days in Vire, France

Regular market(s) are held in Vire each Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Vire (Francais)