The most wonderful way to see a city in my opinion is to walk. We can come to it on any means but once in the city do walk; I get ask for public transportation all the time including the metro/subway/tube but this is awful, underground you dont see nothing. Do walk in any city. Josselin is no different, its a wonderful medieval look city all around, with beautiful wooden house or maison en bois, old medieval,renaissance, flamboyant gothic, all over.
The streets of place Notre Dame, place Saint martin, rue olivier de Clisson, rue des trente, rue beaumanoir, rue Glatinier, are marvels to dwell on for hours
therefore walk Josselin, no trains, buses, or trams just arrive on your car ,park outside inner city and walk!!!!
the Chateau de Josselin, still in private hands of the family of Rohan-Chabot, who occupied the first floor, been the street level floor open to the public for 8€ for adults. There are wonderful gardens,and a nice puppet museum or Musée des Poupées on rue des Trente entrance. For me it is the castle, a wonderfully kept and maintained property which shows why the owners still live there. There were actually 9 towers most destroyed because the original Rohan were protestants calvinists and when they lost to king Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu in return destroyed them. The remaining tower or tour isolée or isolated tower was once used as a prison and still remain detach from the castle. You visit the castle by going right in from of the chapel at Place de la Congrégation, and then go thru a door that makes pass over the levy bridge of old into the castle property proper.
Impressive dining room or salle à manger that is still use by the family on some special occasions, it is 16 meters long by 9 meters wide and was last renovated in 1880. You past into the antichamber or receiving room of today, where there is a bust of the leader of the calvinists Henri de Rohan, ,and then you go to the Grand Salon, beautifully decorated with portraits and last the bibliothéque or library with about 3000 books from the 17C to early 20C not sure if in use today. The castle was visited by Queen Elizabeth II of UK who had tea with the Rohan-Chabot here. The branch of th Rohan Chabot is the only remaining branch of the Rohan family in France. In order to keep the name Rohan and not Chabot upon marriage, the king Louis XIV ask them to convert to Catholism which they are today. A MUST TO VISIT!!!
open to public from 1st weekend in April to May every day from 14-17h30
june 1st to July 13 and all september every day from 14h-18H
july 14 to August 31st every day from 11h to 18h
the weekend of october, and all saints day from 14h to 17h30
closed to the public in november, end of march to next year; the visits are by guide only about 45 minutes.
The musée des Poupées is entered by the 3 rue des trente, same schedules as castle. it is in the old stables of the castle where the museum is now. email info
it was built in the 12C, and succeeded all the major events in Josselin of the family of chevalier Olivier de Clisson, and Marguerite de Rohan, therefore the story of the Rohan family in the castle. The tombs of the two are in a chapel in the basilica now; there will be the traditional pilgrimage here in honor of Notre Dame de Roncier on Sept 7-8 2012 starting with a mass from 19h to 20H30. A wonderful place to visit in a nice quaint district of town, near our favorite restaurant.
a canal in the best tradition of French canals, this one another engineering marble linking the navigable waters from Nantes out to Brest. A must see right in city center
city site above
The basilica was originally built in the 11th century in the roman style, but most of what we see today is a subsequent reconstruction in gothic style - as seen in the gargoyles in particular. Be sure to climb the stairs (there are more than 100 steps) inside the tower for the best view across the rooftops of the town.
The castle is in the centre of the town of Josselin. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the chateau is that the Rohan family have owned the chateau for more than 500 years, including twice being ordered to demolish large parts of the castle, and having persistently rebuilt the chateau after each major event.
Although there has been a castle here since the first half of the 11th century (1008, to be exact) the original castle was destroyed by King Henry II in 1168, when the English were trying to claim Brittany as their territory. Construction of the current castle started around 1173.
To bad when we arrived here it was 12pm, so the chateau is closed, and it say that the garden is a 'French style' garden and an 'English style' garden.
For more information of this chateau and the open hour, can visit the chateau website.
If you wander around the old medieval town with its half-timbered buildings, you'll soon come across the Notre Dame du Roncier which dominates the centre of Josselin.
Notre-Dame-du-Roncier is built on the spot where, in the ninth century, a peasant supposedly found a statue of the Virgin under a bramble bush. The statue was burnt during the Revolution, but an important pardon is held each year on September 8.
The style of this church represents the flamboyant architecture of the 15th century, and parts date from the 12th century.
During July & August, you can climb the bell tower free of charge to enjoy splendid views over the castle and river [access by seperate door at the foot of the tower].
The centre of Josselin is part pedestrianised. There are some wonderful half timbered houses remarkably well preserved from the 17th C., that retain the character of the place. Each of the important buildings or locations has an interpretive plaque giving information (in French).
The town has been awarded a special status as one of Brittany's 'Petite cité de caractère et ville fleurie' - that is a small town of character, and three stars for their flower displays.
There are a choice of several pavement cafes and restaurants. A full list of eateries can be found on the town website listed below. There is also info on some of the more historic buildings.
Right in the centre of Josselin is the Basilique Notre Dame du Roncier (Our Lady of the Brambles Church). This is a very large and impressive building. If you go around the back of the church you will find a wisteria covered enterance to the bell tower (July & August).
Sometimes a couple of students are there to hand you an info sheet on the church/tower and sometimes not. The major European languages are covered.
You then climb the steps up past the massive church bell and out onto the roof of the tower where the most fantastic views of Josselin and the countryside beyond are to be had. It's certainly the best view of the town side of Chateau Josselin.
This is a geat place to bring your camaera on a clear day.
There is no rush, you can stay as long as you like. If you feel generous, you can give the students some coins, but there is no charge to visit the tower.
Josselin has an excellent Tourist Information Office located within one of the finest of the medieval half timbered buildings in the Town.
They stock an excellent collection of leaflets on all there is to see and do in the southern Morbiham area, including details of boat trips along the coast and in the Gulf of Morbihan.
They will also have details of local fetes and festivals, which are well worth visiting if they cooincide with your trip, as they are an important part of the culture of Brittany.
The staff are very helpful and will go out of their way to get the information you need, even if it is not to hand.
Most of the major towns of Brittany have a market day, and Josselin's is on a Saturday morning.
This is possibly one of the best markets in Brittany, and is not just a great place for tourists to visit, it is also where many of the local residents will come themselves to buy their own provisions.
It’s best to arrive fairly early and park on the outskirts of town as many of the central streets are closed to accommodate the market. Those streets that are not closed can still become very congested. It's all over by lunch time, so its no good arriving at 11:30!
On the day we went to the market we bought some lovely dried and fresh flower arrangements that were being sold by the vendor almost as quick as he could make them up. There is a massive selection of stalls here are some of those I remember: fresh fruit, fresh vegetables; fresh shellfish; fresh fish; cooked chickens; sausages; leather goods; pottery; live chickens; olives; plants; clothes; wooden craft items; wine; cider; bread, cheese; flowers.
Just before lunch time it's best to grab a table at one of the pavement cafes/restaurants as once the church tower strikes 12 everyone downs tools and they are in very short supply!
The Duchess's collection of dolls, housed in the Musée des Poupées, behind the castle, is one of the largest in France. If you are into this sort of thing, then it's one not to be missed.
You can either visit seperately to the chataeau, or buy a combined ticket for both attractions.
château and doll museum open April & May Wed, Sat, Sun & hols 2–6pm; June & Sept daily 2–6pm; July & Aug daily 10am–6pm; each €5.50, combined ticket €10.
The Nantes-Brest canal undoubtedly adds to the charm of the Town. It is also known as the River Oust, as the canal and river are one and the same at this point in its course.
The Canal from Nantes to Brest runs through Josselin from east to west and offers you the opportunity to take a boat ride or to walk or cycle along the canal path. A pleasant 15 minute stroll west along the towpath besides the Oust leads to the Ile de Beaufort, and island stretching between the river and the lock that allows canal boats to pass. This makes for a beautiful picnic spot, with grassy banks shaded by willow trees.
If you want, you can hire cycles at the bike shop in Josselin.
The three majestic towers of this château overlook the river Oust and dominate the town of Josselin. Originally built in the early 11th century, it was completely destroyed by King Henry II of England. The building of a replacement started in 1173, but parts of that have undergone some changes over the centuries. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the castle became derelict and it was only in 1835 that the Duke of Rohan undertook its restoration. The Rohan family still own the château today and live on the first floor. The castle can only be visited by guided tour of the ground floor rooms.
Tours in English 11am & 2:30pm in July & Aug, 2:30pm only in Sept.
We exploring this historical city by walking in the narrow streets lined with half-timbered medieval houses. And something surprising me that many shops own by English people....