Vitré Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Vitré

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    VITRE CASTLE

    by balhannah Written Aug 30, 2011

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    Heading into town, this Castle dominated the left hand side of the road. We rounded some bends on a narrow road, coming out into an open area where we could park our car and enter the castle. No luck in visiting the Castle, we were too early!

    So, I will tell you a little about the Castle..........
    Baron Robert 1st decided to build the castle on the rocky shale outcrop around 1060. During the first half of the 13th century, there were towers connected by defensive walls. In the late 14th and early 15th century, quite a few more changes were made, one of them being and underground defensive system.
    In the 16th century, it was a place of refuge during the French Wars of Religion. The castle became a Huguenot stronghold and stood against a five month siege by the Duke of Mercur. In the 17th century, the Castle was crumbling and abandoned, fire destroyed some parts and the St. Laurent Tower fell.
    The Castle was repaired, and then used by the Army and as a Prison.

    Luckily, in 1820, the lovely Vitre Caste was purchased by the town of Vitre for 8500 francs. Declared a Historical Monument, restoration began and now this beautiful Castle is here for all of us to see.

    The Castle museum is open from 10.30 am closing for lunch, and then re-opening from 2pm - 5.30pm or 6.30pm, depending on the month of your visit.

    ADMISSION IN 2011 .....Adults....4 euros

    1st sighting of Vitre Castle Vitre Castle Vitre Castle Vitre Castle Vitre Castle
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    Château de Vitré

    by grayfo Updated Dec 23, 2014

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    The castle is one of the best in Brittany, the first stone castle on this site dates from the end of the 11th century and replace an earlier one built of wood. The castle was rebuilt during the first half of the 13t h century in to its present triangular form although further alterations and extensions have followed. The castle was bought by the town in 1820 and is now home to the town hall and a museum.

    email musees@mairie-vitre.fr

    July 1990

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    PORTE D'EMBAS & RUE DE LA BAUDRAIRIE

    by balhannah Written Aug 30, 2011

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    Both of these streets have a high number of timber-framed houses dating from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. These buildings developed not in width but in depth and most frequently around a courtyard.

    For example......................
    A shop on the ground floor, place of production and sale, opening on to the street by a stall,
    The "noble" first floor, containing the living quarters,
    A second floor for the wealthier abodes,
    The attics that stored the most varied of produce.

    This is why you need to walk like I did, it gave me time to admire and wonder how some of these "crooked" buildings are still standing.
    I was there early morning, so it was nice and quiet, I was about the only one in the narrow lanes. The problem with being early was....The Castle wasn't open yet!
    Parking was easy to get too. I imagine as the day wore on, it would be quite busy, as it is an interesting area to have a look around.

    Take a walk here in Vitre Narrow alley ways
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    FORMER BOURIENNE CROSS-ROADS

    by balhannah Updated Aug 30, 2011

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    The rue d'Embas and rue de la Baudrairie have many timber-framed houses dating from the 15th-17th centuries when houses developed in height. If you have a look at them, I notice the base is small, and each layer going upwards, overhangs making these homes look top heavy.
    In this street, there were Porch houses, although the porches have disappeared now.
    The intersection of the rue d'Embas, rue de la Baudrairie and rue de la Poterie was called the Bourienne crossroads. Once, there were two wooden halls here. One, from the 13th century, enabled the sale of meat to be controlled and taxed, and from the 14th to the 17th century, an open hall enabled the sale of bread, then meat. These halls were destroyed toward 1809 and 1817 respectively.
    Two other halls stood at the Gatesel crossroads: the fish hall and the corn hall.
    The rue Garengeot was laid out between 1856 and 1862.

    The cross-roads Houses in these streets Look up!
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    See the Castle Perimeter and Enter

    by hquittner Written Jul 26, 2007

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    The late 14C Castle and town ramparts are built on a high spur of land with castle occupying the west end.(The castle was bought by the town in the 19C and the town hall and tourist office are within the grounds.) The castle is triangular with a point to the North and the entry on the South face via a drawbridge over a moat and between two massive gatehouse towers which open into the triangular courtyard. The south wall faces a parking lot which once was the forecourt. The wall extends to the left (West) to the SW corner occupied by a massive conical topped St.-Laurent Tower (4 stories high containing the town museum closed on the day of our visit). To the right it extends to another massive tower. As you procede through the gatehouse look up at the space (now bridged by girders) which was the "murder-hole" to trap unwary trespassers who could be sealed in the area. On entering the courtyatd turn back and see the building that covers the entry gate.

    Entry to Castle (Tour St. Laurent to left) The Top of Tour St.-Laurent South East Corner Tower Rear View of Gate Tower Building
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    Scan the Inner Courtyard

    by hquittner Written Jul 26, 2007

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    Facing the entry passage allow your eye to travel left (Southeast) past the original chapel entrance and the Renaissance loggia, which continues on the Northwest wall. Behind this the flying flags indicate the official town buildings and functions. Next comes the Tour de l'Oratoire and a sentry walk leading to the Tour de l'Argenterie which contains the main castle museum, and ultimately at the South back to the Tour St.-Laurent. Also note the large well before the North wall.

    Old and New Chapel and Renaissance Loggia Northwest Wall and Town Hall Tour de l'Oratoire and Well in Front Tour de l'Argenterie Sentry Walk between North Towers
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    WALK & GET LOST!

    by balhannah Written Aug 31, 2011

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    This is the best way to see Vitre. The "old town" is not that huge, and it is easy to walk around. I just went where-ever my nose took me, and I think I covered nearly every street in the old town. I saw wonderful old houses, amazing architecture and old style shops. It was a great experience, and one you should have if you come here. Forget about following the map!

    Vitre Vitre Vitre Vitre
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    Visit the Castle Museums

    by hquittner Written Jul 26, 2007

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    The castle museum is mostly in the Tour de l'Argenterie, which retains much of its original decorative structures and various wall hanging including many fine tapestries. Most interesting are doorways and mantelpieces. The origninal circulat stairs take you from one level to another (too dark to photograph) and up to the highest level where the structure of the dome can be seen darkly. (These and the "peepholes" are the most exciting things for children). Across the sentry walk one enters the Tour de l'Oratoire where a marvellous tryptich is housed consisting of 32 Limoges enamel panels of scenes from the Life of Christ. Many diagrams of the Castle are on exhibit here.

    Renaissance Doorway Top of Renaissance Mantelpiece 16C Tapestry 16C Limoges Panels Lookouts from the Top of the Tower
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    Walk the Town

    by hquittner Written Jul 26, 2007

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    There are many interesting walks mapped out in Vitre by the tourist office. We decided to explore the walled town and ramparts, but the weather did not allow us. Persistent heavy rain forced us to get no further than the church of Notre Dame, seeing only some old houses before that. The 15 & 16C church had a curious pulpit on the South, outside near the entry. Inside we saw a fine stained glass window showing a sort of "Tree of Jesse" with Jesus's ancestors, with a Madonna and Child at the top and a sleeper below.

    View of Old Town from Castle Tower Old Town Street The Outside Pulpit The
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    NOTRE DAME CHURCH

    by balhannah Written Aug 31, 2011

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    The multi-gabled, gothic Notre Dame Church was reconstructed between 1440 & 1580 in the style of the 15th & 16th centuries. The church has 7 gables, decorated with pinnacles. The idea of all the gables, is to let more light in, as, unlike many other Churches, it doesn't have any tall windows. Check out the external pulpit and its two doors that are finely sculpted. Also check out the Renaissance stained-glass window representing Christ's entry into Jerusalem in the right aisle in the 3rd bay.

    .

    Notre Dame church @ Vitre
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    SAINT MARTIN

    by balhannah Updated Aug 31, 2011

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    Saint-Martin, built in 1883, is a lovely neo-Romanesque church that stands out in town.

    There was an 'old' St. Martin, but it became too small, and the one I saw today, is the new one. Built in local "schist stone,' it has tall steeples and is very impressive to view.

    All that is left of the "old" St. Martin, is the 16th century tower.

    St. Martin St. Martin in the distance
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    RAILWAY STATION

    by balhannah Updated Aug 31, 2011

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    The Vitre Railway station, I thought was a nice looking, different building. It was built in the 1850's in Neo-Gothic style, blending in with the rest of the city. With alternating courses of brick and limestone, the white and red colours stand out, and that is why I noticed the building and took the photo, it is different to the norm!

    Railway station
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    church of Saint Martin

    by gwened Written Nov 9, 2014

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    This is an imposing Church coming into town by car you are facing it on the D777 bd des Rochers. Catholic site here
    http://egliseinfo.catholique.fr/communaute/rn%2F35%2Fsaint-martin-de-vitre-centre#lieu:35/vitre/saint-martin-de-tours
    http://paroissedevitre35.cef.fr/

    From the old one done by 1470 the new Church was done in the Latin Cross, choir and transept covering the vault,and dome with transept in cross, the nave is of neo gothic style and has large arcades. The Church of Saint-Martin was built between 1868 ( first stone bénédiction) ,and 1895 (consécration). The sculptures of the chapters done between 1892- 1893, the stained glass from the 20C, and monumental paintings done from 1956-1957.

    Church Saint Martin steps of Saint Martin the tympan front door of St Martin side back of St Martin arriving Vitr�� bd des Rochers
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    Church Notre Dame,exteriors

    by gwened Written Nov 9, 2014

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    My favorite in town, richly done in architecture outside much in the historical center of Vitré.

    It is Inside the old enclosure city of Vitré before the ramparts were open,it was the Church of the rich overseas merchants, done in flamboyant gothic style in the 15C and 16C. Although there was a Church here as far back as 1060 done by Robert I.

    Great look on the seven arches that can be seen from rue Notre-Dame and gives the best look of the Church from an architecture point of view,and one of the best examples of arches done in fortified towns like Vitré. The four arches on the right were done between 1480 and 1500,and the three on the left were added in between 1530 and 1540.

    The western facade of the Church goes back to 1550. It is less work than that of the South side showing a decoration more in the Renaissance style. The part north is really empty of décorations it originally led to the cloister of the prieury of Bénédictines before ceding to the Mauristes in the 17C, to the northeast you have the back or chevet of Notre-Dame.

    An octagonal Spire with each panel presents at its base a skylight and is perforated hexalobes, quinte-sheets, Quad and trilobes, hooks lining the edges. This composition is substituted for a low roof four sided, built after the belfry and Spire original were stormed in 1704. An array stored inside the building, to know this Coronation of frame and slate more in keeping with the tradition of Haute-Bretagne. On the other hand, each side of the door bell tower a dial, recalling that without the municipal belfry the Bell Tower of Notre-Dame was until the 18C the Town Hall clock

    The beauty is Inside see interiors. see more in Mayor's office
    http://www.mairie-vitre.com/Eglise-Notre-Dame.html

    Church Notre Dame decorative side of Notre Dame entrance to church Notre Dame belltower of Notre Dame
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    Church Notre Dame,interiors

    by gwened Written Nov 9, 2014

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    wonderful interiors, clean well kept and nicely positioned, a marvel for the eyes , needs to be seen.see my exteriors tip here too.

    Church of Notre-Dame de Vitré offers a most unusual plan for a Breton Church. The nave is there deploys over six spans and is located between two collateral serving six chapels to the North, five in the South and a sacristy. The development of the nave is stopped by the powerful pillars bearing the crossing of the transept extended part and on the other by two arms, each with an Eastern apse. A deep choir, form rectangular and off to the right, extended the building to the East.

    The transept, while flamboyant Gothic, betrays a spatial organization inherited a roman church. Five doors give access to the church: one, in the center of the western façade, two South side of the building at the level of the third (the middle gate) Chapel and transept (upper gate), one in the north transept and the last in the costal North of the choir of monks. The latter two served under the ancien régime the Priory of the Benedictine monks. The southern access enshrined the pre-eminent role of the facade facing the city . Nowadays, the altar where to celebrate the offices still occupies the last span of previous nave of the transept crossing.

    This is a full description of the chapels as per Church brochures.
    The stained glass of the manorial Chapel last chapel in the South aisle, on the floor of the old sacristy, it houses a fragment of an Annunciation dating from the end of the 15C. The Archangel Gabriel is placed in a kiosk flamboyant floor, before a background of ornate Damascus.
    The North window of the choir monks, It conceals his drum in a Crucifixion and two shields: one, on the left, Windows (the lion rampant destroys money), the other, right, of the family of Montmorency-Laval (of gold ), second branch of the House of Laval, who held the castle of Vitré from 1254 to 1547.
    The third South Chapel of Notre-Dame church serves as the setting to the canopy narrating Christ's entry to Jerusalem. dates from 1537. It's a stained glass square table finding surrounded by a renaissance (entablature, columns, capitals, curved pediment) flock putti, heads of cherubs, bucranes, ancient in medallions heads, all decorated with plant garlands
    The choir of glass contains a work by the master glassmaker René Nantes escaped in the assumption of the Virgin. It was installed in 1852 after was taken out the previously obstructed axial window.
    The apsidal Chapel overlooking the south transept window contains a composition too difficult to decrypt, theological content where the Virgin Mary intercede with Christ for repentant sinners such as Adam and Eve or St. Augustine presented by his mother Saint Monica.
    thumbnails fifteen mysteries of the Rosary inherited from medieval works with an array contained the donation of the Rosary to St. Dominic by the Virgin, type of figuration spreading from the Renaissance. This work, dating back to 1870, there also nine medallions illustrating the litany of the Virgin

    The stained glass windows of the Northern chapels
    First Chapel: Jesus is baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist in the presence of the Virgin, 1884.
    Second chapel: St. Michael slaying the dragon, stained glass dated 1884.
    Third Chapel: behaviour of cross, 1886 .
    Fourth chapel: the Virgin and St. Elizabeth, accompanied by their sons, Jesus and John the Baptist.
    Fifth Chapel: life of the Virgin in ten thumbnails.
    Sixth Chapel: the Sacred Heart between Saint-François de Sales and Saint-Augustin, work dated from 1885.

    The stained glass windows of the southern chapels
    First Chapel: the Resurrection of Christ, 1884.
    Second chapel: St.-Louis, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Elisabeth of Hungary, 1888.
    Fourth chapel: Adoration of the shepherds and arrival of the Magi, 1888
    Fifth Chapel: Presentation of Mary at the Temple, 19C

    The organ was donated in 1641 destroyed during the French revolution, and smaller new one done in 1881, was given away and there is one now a replica from 1971. There is a grand organ done from 1851 and still there.
    Painting Inside are
    The coronation of Cecilia: oil on canvas dating from 1646 hung on the reverse of the western façade, in collateral North.
    San Sebastian oil on canvas painted in 1640 by vitreous Jean Picart, sieur Bellemaison, table of the altarpiece in the third Chapel of collateral North.
    Christ on the cross between the Virgin and Saint John, accompanied by seven donors kneeling: oil on wood from the 15C once presented in the fifth Northern Chapel and stolen in 1969.
    Descent from the cross: dated 1626, she was painted by vitreous Mathurin Bonnecamp. Gracing the northern wall of the choir monks, at the centre of the altarpiece made by Laval Jean Martinet for the parish in 1624
    Sainte-Barbe protecting the church Notre-dame of lightning: dating back to 1769, this painting by Philippe Matozrec helps to understand the building at the end of the former regime. This artwork is hanged in the costal South of the choir monks.
    Virgin and child: table attributed to Jean Picart, dating from the 1640s, and preserved in the altarpiece of the first Southern Chapel.

    Furniture around go from the 15C onwards and the bells four of them, the main one weights 5 800 kg .

    awesome again needs to be seen.

    Church Notre Dame nave grand organ of Notre Dame chapel manorial chapel adoration of the shepards chapel of apse,the Virgin interceding
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