is a commune
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...
in the Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine is a department of France, located in the region of Brittany in the northwest of the country.- History :Ille-et-Vilaine is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...
department in Brittany in north-western France.
Vitré, a sub-prefecture until 1926, is the seat of a canton of around 17,000 inhabitants (2006). It lies on the edge of Brittany, near Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...
, Maine, and Anjou
Anjou is a former county , duchy and province centred on the city of Angers in the lower Loire Valley of western France. It corresponds largely to the present-day département of Maine-et-Loire...
. The town has been designated a ville d'art et d'histoire
, a town of artistic and historic significance, by the Ministry of Culture
The Minister of Culture is, in the Government of France, the cabinet member in charge of national museums and monuments; promoting and protecting the arts in France and abroad; and managing the national archives and regional "maisons de culture"...
in recognition of its rich cultural inheritance. Vitré is the 37th French city with the most historic buildings and has 14% of the historical monuments of the department.
"If I was not King of France, I want to be bourgeois from Vitré!" Henry IV
Henry IV , Henri-Quatre, was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France....
, King of France, surprised by the richness of the city in 1598.
"The good fortune to see a Gothic city entire, complete, homogeneous, a few of which still remain, Nuremberg in Bavaria and Vittoria in Spain, can readily form an idea; or even smaller specimens, provided that they are well preserved, Vitré in Brittany, Nordhausen in Prussia." Victor Hugo
Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....
in The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is a novel by Victor Hugo published in 1831. The French title refers to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, on which the story is centered.-Background:...
, Book third, Chapter 2, A bird's eye view of Paris, 1831
The city is located on the slopes of the Vilaine
The Vilaine is a river in Brittany, in the west of France. The river's source is in the Mayenne département , and flows out in the Atlantic Ocean at Pénestin in the Morbihan département . It is 218 km long...
river, along an east-west geographic depression which the national railway on the Paris-Rennes route follows.
Vitré commune is home to 90,000 inhabitants spread throughout seven cantons: Vitré-East, Vitré-West, Argentré-du-Plessis, Châteaubourg, La Guerche-de-Bretagne, Janzé and Retiers.
The land area of Vitré: 37.19 km² (14.4 sq mi). The average altitude of Vitré is approximately 89 m. The highest point, 127 m, is found in the "Ménardières" zone, at Pierre and Marie Curie Street. The lowest point, 67 m, is close to the firm S.V.A.'s location under the viaduct of the ring-road.
Since 1 October 2010, Vitré has withdrawn from the arrondissement of Rennes and joined the arrondissement of Fougères.
Vitré has an oceanic climate slightly degraded (type Cfb according to Koppen Classification). The city is located in climate zone Breton "South East", which includes the portion south and east of the Vilaine.
The winters are wet and mild on average, but occasionally, the annual minimum temperature can be largely negative with some severe frosts.
The days without thawing remain infrequent. The summers are relatively dry, moderately warm and sunny.
The annual maximum temperatures exceed several times a year over 30 °C and few years when this threshold is not reached.
The city has about 1,850 hours of sunshine each year (nearly 2,000 hours in 2003 and 2010). It is located in a region with relatively high relief, well exposed to winds from SW, consequently more humid with annual rainfall heights between 800 and 1000 mm (≈ 900 mm in 2001 and 2002, between 600 and 800 mm between 2003 and 2006).
At temperatures, it is little differentiated from Rennes basin in the valleys of about 12.5 °C. It becomes rather on the hills with an average annual temperature lowered to 10 °C and a certain rigor in winter with high wind exposure. On average, there are 130 rainy days per year, 70 days of fog, 15 stormy days, 9 days and 6 days of snow and hail.
Some continentality that the amplitude of temperature is greater than on the west coast of Brittany, with greater extremes (- 15 °C on 19 January 1985 and 39.5 °C on 8 May 2003 ).
Summer thunderstorms can be very violent as that of July 16, 2003 where 76 mm of water per square meter were found, which caused flooding and significant damage due to hail and gusty winds.
For the most part, these storms from the south of Brittany and in particular the Loire-Atlantique and took charge of Vitre. In the past, notorious storms have devastated parts of the city with the storm Lothar on 26 December 1999 or when the storm 15 October 1987 where a cow had the same flight.
At the end of 14th century the city housed between 4-5,000 inhabitants, at a time when Rennes
Rennes is a city in the east of Brittany in northwestern France. Rennes is the capital of the region of Brittany, as well as the Ille-et-Vilaine department.-History:...
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....
had some around 13-14,000. in 1560, Vitré's population is estimated by Arthur de Borderie at 7,800 inhabitants, matching that of the towns of Vannes
Vannes is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France. It was founded over 2000 years ago.-Geography:Vannes is located on the Gulf of Morbihan at the mouth of two rivers, the Marle and the Vincin. It is around 100 km northwest of Nantes and 450 km south west...
At the time of the birth of Madame de Sévigné
Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné was a French aristocrat, remembered for her letter-writing. Most of her letters, celebrated for their wit and vividness, were addressed to her daughter.-Life:...
, about 1620, the city counted 7,500 inhabitants. The population reached 14,000 inhabitants in 1762. This population was contained within the medieval boundaries of the city, which was a third the size of the modern Vitré. This made for a population density at the time of nearly 30,000 inhabitants per km².
In 1789, on the eve of the French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...
, Vitré's population reached 10,850 inhabitants. In the post-revolution period there was a significant drop in population, to 8,904 inhabitants by 1861. By 1911 a moderate increase brought the figure to 10,613. The First World War and its subsequent economic trials would reduce the population to 8,506. By 1999 the population again had reached 18th century levels, with 15,313 inhabitants and 16,691 in 2007. The three cantons of Vitré (Vitré-west, Vitré-East and Argentré-du-Plessis) counted 44,623 inhabitants in 1999. The greater Vitré-Community counts 55,464 inhabitants, including the canton of Châteaubourg
Châteaubourg is the name of 2 communes in France:* Châteaubourg, Ardèche* Châteaubourg, Ille-et-Vilaine...
Inhabitants of Vitré are called Vitréens
The site of Vitré was occupied in Gallo-Roman times. The name Vitré
comes from the Gallo-Roman name "Victor" or "Victrix", after the owner of a farm in the region. The year 1000 marked the formal birth of Vitré, when the duke of Brittany
The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval tribal and feudal state covering the northwestern peninsula of Europe,bordered by the Alantic Ocean on the west and the English Channel to the north with less definitive borders of the Loire River to the south and Normandy to the east...
Geoffrey I of Rennes was duke of Brittany, from 992 to his death. He was son of Duke Conan I and Ermengarde of Anjou, whose parents were Geoffrey I of Anjou and Adele of Meaux....
bestowed feudal powers upon Riwallon Le Vicaire, who was charged with keeping this strategic area as a buffer zone known as the "Marches of Brittany". A parallel can be drawn with the "Welsh Marches".
A small wooden motte-and-bailey
A motte-and-bailey is a form of castle, with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade...
castle, on a feudal mound, was built on the Sainte-Croix hill. The castle was burned down on several occasions, and eventually was bequeathed to the Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...
monks of Marmoutiers
Marmoutier Abbey, also known as the Abbey of Marmoutier , was an early monastery outside Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France. In its later days it followed the Benedictine order as an influential monastery with many dependencies....
. A stone castle was built in 1070 by Robert Ier on the current site, on a rocky outcrop dominating the Vilaine's river valley. Certain parts of the original stone castle are still visible today.
In the 13th century, the castle was enlarged and equipped with robust towers and curtain walls. The castle integrated into the triangular outcrop of rock on which it was built a structure in the style of the castles of Philip II August
Philip II Augustus was the King of France from 1180 until his death. A member of the House of Capet, Philip Augustus was born at Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, the son of Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne...
. During this period, the "Vieil Bourg" including the church of Nôtre-Dame, developed on the eastern side of Vitré. The city was encircled by fortified ramparts and ditches. It was at this time that the "walled city" took its current form. The Baron directed the construction of the "privileged boroughs" around the walled city. These boroughs defined the linear layout of the streets of Vitré's present neighborhoods. Since the 13th century, Vitré has joined together all of the elements of the traditional medieval city: a fortified castle, religious buildings, churches, colleges, and suburbs.
In the 15th century, the castle was modified to keep up with developments in artillery design. It was decommissioned from a military post to become a comfortable residence for Jeanne of Laval-Châtillon and her son Anne de Montmorency
Anne de Montmorency, duc de Montmorency, Honorary Knight of the Garter was a French soldier, statesman and diplomat. He became Marshal of France and Constable of France.-Early life:...
. At the same time, many half-timbered houses and private mansions were built inside the city. These medieval districts are characterized by their sturdy frame construction and their sinuous and dark streets, as well as by a network of lanes. From a defense perspective, these narrow streets were a confusing obstacle to taking the city. The frontages of the houses are made either of half-timbering or stone. The corbellings (projection of the higher floors over the street) helped saved space. They shielded pedestrians from bad weather, and they channeled rainwater into the central gutters, helping preserve the wooden facades.
The names of the Vitré's streets often originated from the trade guilds in the area: for example, "Baudrairie Street" was a gathering-place for "baudroyors" (leatherworkers), and there is also a "Street of Pottery".
The historical center of the city is the Place du Marchix or Market Square near the Convent of the Benedictines. The current Place of the Castle was the forecourt of the castle. The Place de Notre-Dame formerly hosted a "Market of Fabrics." Vitré, a prosperous city since the 15th century, had a brotherhood for promoting the international trade of textiles, founded in 1472.
Vitré was a city with an economy among the most flourishing of any city in the Duchy of Brittany. Its peak came in the 16th century when the brotherhoods of the Merchants of Overseas sold their hemp fabric throughout Europe. The merchants built large private mansions, producing the Renaissance elements that now punctuate the closed city. Henry IV
Henry IV , Henri-Quatre, was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France....
passed through Vitré in 1598. He was struck by the opulence of these middle-class men, vitréens, and he exclaimed: "If I were not King of France, I would like to be a middle-class man of Vitré! ".
During the Wars of Religion, at the end of 16th century, the Protestant city was besieged for five months by the troops of the League under the command of the duke of Mercœur, governor of Brittany
This page is a list of royal governors of Brittany during the Ancien Regime.*Nominoe, 9th century*Enguerrand VII, Lord of Coucy from 1380*Jean de Laval, husband of Françoise de Foix, 16th century*Louis III de Bourbon, Duke of Montpensier 1569-1582...
. During the 17th century, the barons of Vitré deserted the town for the Court of Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...
. The city lost its notoriety and became a quiet place.
This situation lasted through 18th century and until the arrival of the railroad in the middle of the 19th century. In addition, the end of the 18th century was marked by the Chouannerie
The Chouannerie was a royalist uprising in twelve of the western departements of France, particularly in the provinces of Brittany and Maine, against the French Revolution, the First French Republic, and even, with its headquarters in London rather than France, for a time, under the Empire...
, the end of the seigniory of Vitré and the beginning of a new and important period for the city, its role as a sub-prefecture.
The 19th and 20th centuries
To prepare for the arrival of the railroads, the city decided to destroy the southern fortifications of the city to open up the closed city and to improve visibility. The Door "d'En-Haut" (1835), "Gâtesel" (1839) and "d'En-Bas" were destroyed to make way for developments in the south of the closed city.
Vitré has been a railway hub since the first lines were opened on April 15, 1857 on the Paris-Brest line. The construction of the station was carried out in 1855 in the form of a small neo-gothic manor house in the downtown area, just south of the closed city. The city was literally cut in two by this important railway influence. However, in spite
of these industrial developments, the city developed little and remained a small market town within an agricultural area. Moreover, it lost its statute of sub-prefecture in 1926.
Vitré did not suffer massive destruction during the two World Wars, and preserved its historical inheritance, with the exception of Fougères
Fougères is a commune and a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany, in north-western France.-Sights:Fougères' major monument is a medieval stronghold built atop a granite ledge, which was part of the ultimately unsuccessful defence system of the Duchy of Brittany against...
, which underwent a terrible bombardment in June 1944, destroying a good part of it. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Vitré experienced an economic boom along with the rest of France.
From 1950 on, Vitré grew extensively. During "the thirty glorious years", Vitré experienced massive rural migration, like many other towns of France.
This migration triggered new building developments, including modern six-story buildings in the "Maison Rouge" district. The city has considerably developed and extended with industrial areas and suburbs. The population of Vitré expanded from 9,611 inhabitants in 1954 to around 17,000 today, an increase of 80% over half a century. Inner-city areas are protected to conserve the town's rich heritage of art and architecture. In 1999, Vitré obtained the label "Town of Art and History" because of its rich cultural inheritance. The town's monuments attract many tourists each year.
The heritage of the town of Vitré is a tremendous wealth. This is one of the cities of Brittany that has best preserved its original appearance with its houses with porch or timber-framed (the third city after of Rennes and Vannes in Brittany), its ramparts, its religious heritage, old streets, etc.. Vitré is a perfect example of a town of 500 years ago.
- Château de Vitré
The Château de Vitré is a medieval castle in the town of Vitré, in the Ille-et-Vilaine département of France.The first castle in Vitré was built of wood on a feudal motte around the year 1000 on the Sainte-Croix hill...
- Remparts, Claviers' Tower, Bridole's Tower
- Rochers-Sévigné Castle
- Château-Marie (17th century)
- Hôtel Ringues de la Troussanais (Renaissance)
- Medieval streets (Beaudrairie, Poterie, d'Embas, etc.) and places (Marchix, Station, Château, Notre-Dame, etc.)
- Saint-Nicolas Chapel (near Castle of Vitré)
- Notre-Dame Church (14th century) gothic
- Tower of the ancient Saint-Martin's Church (15th century)
- Saint-Martin Church (19th century)
- Sainte-Croix Church (17th-19th century)
- Protestant Church
- Convent of Bénédictins (Tribunal)
- Convent of Augustins (17th century)
- Chapels, calvaries situated in the city and countryside
- Menhir "La Pierre Blanche" (Beauvais Road to Pocé-les-Bois)
- Hôtel Sévigné-Nétumières (18th Century)
- The Station (19th century)
- Old barracks of 70e régiment d'infanterie
- The Grand Park
Vitré was the birthplace of:
- François Dollier de Casson
François Dollier de Casson was born in France into a wealthy bourgeois and military family. He began his adult life in the army which he left after three years to continue his studies and become a priest....
second founder of Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...
- Pierre Landais
Pierre Landais was a Breton politician who became the principal adviser and chief minister to Francis II, Duke of Brittany. Francis left Landais in control of the affairs of the duchy, producing resentment among local barons, who finally secured the overthrow of Landais' régime...
, Breton politician (15th century)
- Jacques Collebaut, composer
- Tancrède Abraham, painter
- Edouard Frain de La Gaulayrie, curator of Vitré and historian.
- Bertrand d'Argentré
Bertrand d'Argentré was a Breton jurist and historian.Argentraeus was born the son of Pierre d'Argentré, seneschal of Rennes, and the nephew of historian Pierre Le Baud. After studies of law in Bourges, he was named seneschal of Vitré in 1541 and seneschal of Rennes in 1547...
, historian of Brittany
- Jacquet of Mantua
Jacquet of Mantua was a French composer of the Renaissance, who spent almost his entire life in Italy...
or Jacques Colebault, Renaissance composer
- Pierre-Olivier Malherbe
Pierre-Olivier Malherbe was a French explorer from the city of Vitré.Pierre-Olivier Malherbe went on 27-year world tour, and returned to France in 1609. He has a claim to being the first French circumnavigator...
, European explorer
- Claude-Étienne Savary
Claude-Étienne Savary was an orientalist, pioneer of Egyptology and translator of the Qur'an....
, translator of the Koran
- Arthur Le Moyne de La Borderie
Arthur Le Moyne de La Borderie, was a Breton historian, regarded as a father of Brittany's historiography.-Life:He came from La Borderie, which was an estate in the commune of Étrelles....
, historian of Brittany
- Auguste Pavie
Auguste Jean-Marie Pavie was a French colonial civil servant, explorer and diplomat who was instrumental in establishing French control over Laos in the last two decades of the 19th century...
et Charles Rabot
Charles Rabot was a French geographer, glaciologist, traveler, journalist, lecturer, translator, and explorer. He was also the first person to climb Kebnekaise, the tallest mountain in Sweden, which he accomplished in 1883.He led his first expedition to Spitsbergen in 1882 on the ship Petit Paris...
, explorers, the first: Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...
, the second: Kola
Kola can refer to:*Kola nut, a genus of about 125 species of trees**Inca Kola, a cola soft drink made in Peru**Kola Real, a Peruvian soft drink**Kola Inglesa , a Peruvian soft drink...
Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway. It is located north of mainland Europe, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The group of islands range from 74° to 81° north latitude , and from 10° to 35° east longitude. Spitsbergen is the...
- Morvan Marchal
Morvan Marchal , is the Breton name of Maurice Marchal, an architect and a militant Breton nationalist. He is best known for having designed the national flag of Brittany.-Biography:...
, Breton nationalist, creator of the modern flag of Brittany
- René Alexandre
- Pierre Méhaignerie
Pierre Méhaignerie is a French politician. He is presently deputy of the Ille-et-Vilaine's 5th constituency and mayor of Vitré...
, deputy-mayor of Vitré, former minister and European deputy
- Monsters of Death, 28 September 1991
- Vitre Jazz Festival, March 2006
Located east of Brittany, the city of Vitré is crossed by the expressway which prolongs motorway A 11, while the motorway of the Estuaries. As in the whole of the Ille-et-Vilaine
, the communes of the country of Vitré are accessible by these expressways. Vitré is unusual in that urban transportation is zero-fare for all routes.
Helmstedt is a city located at the eastern edge of the German state of Lower Saxony. It is the capital of the District of Helmstedt. Helmstedt has 26,000 inhabitants . In former times the city was also called Helmstädt....
Lymington is a port on the west bank of the Lymington River on the Solent, in the New Forest district of Hampshire, England. It is to the east of the South East Dorset conurbation, and faces Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight which is connected to it by a car ferry, operated by Wightlink. The town...
(United Kingdom) 1981
Terrebonne is an off-island suburb of Montreal, in western Quebec, Canada. It is located on the north shores of the Rivière des Mille-Îles and of the Rivière des Prairies, North of Montreal and Laval....
Djenné is an Urban Commune and town in the Inland Niger Delta region of central Mali. In the 2009 census the commune had a population of 32,944. Administratively it is part of the Mopti Region....
- Villajoyosa (Spain) 1989
Greece is a town in Monroe County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 United States census, the town had a total population of 96,095. The town motto is "Discover the Promise."...
(United States of America) 1990
- Środa Wielkopolska
Środa Wielkopolska is a town in central Poland, about southeast of Poznań, with 22,001 inhabitants .-Overview:It is situated in Greater Poland Voivodeship, having previously been in the former Poznań Voivodeship...
Tălmaciu is a town in Sibiu County, in central Romania, 20 km south of the county capital Sibiu. It lies on the east end of the Mărginimea Sibiului area.-Geography:...