Vannes, Brittany’s Royal Seaside City

Mar 28, 2014 by

Brittany, or Breizh as it is known in its native language, is the beautiful Celtic region of France, rich in history and a unique cultural legacy.  One of the most visited cities in Brittany is the seaside town of Vannes.   Founded over 2000 years ago, Vannes is situated on the Gulf of Morbihan–mor bihan means “little sea” in Breton– at the mouth of two rivers, the Marle and the Vincin, in Brittany.  It is a thriving market and tourist town, one of the busiest in southern Brittany.

Vannes takes its name from the Veneti, a seafaring Celtic people who lived in the region before the Roman invasions in the 1st century BCE.  Julius Caesar’s naval fleet attacked the Veneti in 56 BC at the nearby town of Locmariaquer; all the Veneti were either slaughtered or sold into slavery.   The Romans named the area (which was the chief town of the Veneti) Darioritum;  after the fall of the Roman empire in the 5th century , the town was renamed Venetis, then called Vennes for a long period ( pronounced “jwened” and spelt “Gwened” in Breton), before finally settling on its current appellation, Vannes. 

 

 

 

 

 

Vannes was the preferred residence of the Dukes of Brittany during the Middle Ages and became the Prefecture (County town) of Morbihan in 1791.   The Chateau de l’Hermine, also known as the Hotel Lagorce, was built in 1785 on the ruins of the original 14th century Chateau built by Duke John V, or Yann V in Breton, which formed part of the city walls of Vannes.    The original fortress was the seat of the Dukes of Brittany, and the present building is now a cultural museum.

 

Vannes is the birthplace of Claude-Michel Schönberg, actor, singer, songwriter, and musical theater composer, who created the idea and wrote the music for the Tony award-winning musical, Les Misérables, a huge international success, as well as The Pirate Queen, a musical about the life of Grace O’Malley, the Irish pirate, which was a huge box office flop.

 

 

To learn more about Vannes and the lovely Celtic land of Brittany, try any of the following sources:

Discovering Vannes

Morbihan Guide

Mairie de Vannes (Facebook)

TripAdvisor: Vannes

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Top 5 Celtic Food Gifts Under $25

Dec 4, 2013 by

  • Top 5 Celtic Food Gifts Under $25

  • Looking for a Celtic food stocking stuffer or gift under $25? 

Click the blue links to find treats to satisfy any Celtic gourmand, without putting a dent in your holiday budget

 

1.  Scottish smoked salmon  St. James Scottish Reserve Gravelox- Unsliced Seasoned Smoked Salmon, Cured with Brandy, Fresh Chopped Dill, Salt & Sugar–smoked salmon with capers, cream cheese and cucumber slices are a New Year’s Eve tradition at our home–simple dee-vine!
2.  Irish Breakfast tea  Bewley’s Irish Breakfast Tea in decorative tin,  30 loose tea bags, no tags or strings.   Bewley’s is an old Irish company that has won numerous awards for its wonderful tea blends.  Their Breakfast Tea  is a deep golden brew that is a long-time favorite of mine.
3. Welsh Sea Salt Jar     Halen Môn Mon Pure Welsh Silver Finishing Sea Salt from Isle of Anglesey, Wales White, crunchy flaky crystals add an extra something to almost any food. Described by Henry Harris (former Head Chef at Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor Restaurant) as ‘…tasting of the cleanest oceans’, Halen Môn is a Soil Association Certified Product.
4. Cornish Gingerbread  Furniss Cornish gingerbreads in traditional old tube. These cookies are made to an original recipe from the company’s founder, John Cooper Furniss, dating back to 1886.   Crunchy, spicy and very, very tasty, it’s a gingerholic’s dream.
5.Breton Crepes  Gavottes Crispy Lace Crepes From France covered in Milk Chocolate–delicate, thin Breton lace crepes by Loc Maria are a fine crispy biscuit that has been made following a French traditional recipe handed down since 1920.  These crepes are covered in a fine layer of gourmet milk chocolate.They are perfect with coffee or tea.

5 Foods For Celts

5 Foods For Celts

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Mar 22, 2013 by

Saint-Malo ,Breton: Sant-Maloù) is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. Saint-Malo had a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and even with the local Breton authorities. From 1490–1493, Saint-Malo declared itself to be an independent republic, taking the motto “not French, not Breton, but Malouins”.

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