14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Brittany
Bounded by the sea and defined by its traditional character, Brittany is a beautiful region in northeastern France. Quaint fishing villages are nestled in bays along the Atlantic coastline, while the verdant countryside is dotted with picturesque medieval villages and fairytale castles. The landscape varies from peaceful moors and pristine forests to secluded sandy beaches and dramatic seaside scenery. From its rocky promontories, the craggy northern coastline offers magnificent ocean views. Brittany is also a land of myths, legends, and fascinating history. The region has a Celtic influence with a dialect related to Gaelic, and the local cuisine is delicious. Crêperies serve "galettes" (savory buckwheat crepes) and dessert crepes with toppings such as caramel, chocolate sauce, and fresh seasonal strawberries. Bretons take pride in celebrating ancient customs, such as "pardons," a special type of pilgrimage when townspeople (dressed in period costumes) ask for forgiveness for their sins and attend a special mass and festival.
The quintessential Breton port of Saint-Malo boasts a magnificent location on a former island near the mainland. Still surrounded by its ancient walls, Saint-Malo has retained the ambience of a medieval fortified coastal town. During the Second World War, the historic center of Saint-Malo was largely destroyed, except for the old walls, but the town was rebuilt after the war in its original style, with narrow little streets and tall granite houses. Inside the walls near the handsome Porte Saint-Vincent, is the Place Châteaubriand. The Hôtel France et Châteaubriand (now a luxury hotel) occupies the site of the house where the writer and statesman Châteaubriand was born.
Nearby the Place Châteaubriand are steps leading up to the ramparts, which date back to the 12th century. A walk around the complete circuit takes between half an hour and an hour. From the projecting bastions of the ramparts are spectacular views of the town, the estuary (with the town of Dinard on the opposite bank), the sea, and the offshore islands. The views are best at high tide. Below the west side of the ramparts is Plage de Bon Secours, a sandy beach with a sea-water pool that is well-suited for swimming (there is even a diving board). The beach also has a splendid view of the Saint-Malo Bay and the town of Dinard in the distance.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Saint-Malo
With its handsome half-timbered houses and pleasant squares, Quimper is a picture-postcard historic town on the banks of the Odet River. Tourists will enjoy strolling the quaint cobblestone streets and pedestrian footbridges that are decorated with potted flowers. In the center of the town is the Place Saint-Corentin, named after the first bishop of Quimper. In this square is Quimper's awe-inspiring Gothic Cathedral, the Cathédrale St. Corentin, built between the 13th and 15th centuries. One of the cathedral's noteworthy features is its richly decorated west doorway. Between the cathedral's two high towers is the legendary figure of King Gradion watching over the town. The sanctuary is illuminated by splendid stained-glass windows from the 15th century. Facing the cathedral is the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which occupies an Italian-style palace. The museum displays works by French, Italian, Flemish, and Dutch painters, as well as pictures by Max Jacob and the Impressionist painters of Pont-Aven (the École de Pont-Aven). South of the cathedral, in the former Bishop's Palace, is the Musée Départemental Breton (Breton Museum), with a collection of regional folk art.
Quimper was the capital of the Duchy of Cornouaille during the early medieval period and now is the chief town of the département of Finistère in southwestern Brittany. One of the attractions of visiting Quimper is the surrounding countryside of Cornouaille. This gorgeous and rugged landscape boasts striking rocky peninsulas and spectacular sea views. There are also many attractive seaside resorts in the area, including Tréboul and the fishing port of Douarnenez. The Pointe du Raz is the most westerly point in Brittany and offers an amazing panoramic outlook from the tip of the promontory.
At the junction of the Erdre and Loire Rivers, the old Breton port of Nantes has played an important role in history. Nantes was the capital of the Duchy of Brittany during the Middle Ages, and it was here in 1598 that Henry IV signed the famous Edict of Nantes, which granted freedom of religious belief to Protestants. Thanks to its advantageous port location, Nantes became a prosperous commercial town from the 16th to the 19th century. Nantes has also been a university town since the 15th century. Today, Nantes is still a thriving center of higher education as well as France's sixth largest city.
Visitors may begin a tour of Nantes at the breathtaking Château des Ducs de Bretagne, surrounded by parkland and a medieval moat filled with water. This enormous Château Ducal was founded in the 15th century by Francois II, one of the last Breton rulers. The castle is open to the public, and visitors may explore the interior of the royal palace, the courtyard, battlements, and the Nantes History Museum that is housed in the building. The Château des Ducs also has a gift shop and a café-restaurant with outdoor patio seating that is pleasant on warm days. Access to the castle's ramparts, moat, and gardens is free. After touring the Château Ducal, visitors should continue west of the castle to the atmospheric historic quarter of Nantes known as the Bouffay district. In this medieval quarter of half-timbered houses, tourists may wander through the maze of winding streets and shop at gourmet food boutiques. In the center of Nantes is the Place Royale, a lovely 18th-century square, and nearby are the elegant thoroughfares of Rue Crébillon and Cours Cambronne.
The old capital of Brittany, Rennes is still the region's economic and cultural center as well as a university town. After a fire in 1720, much of the town had to be rebuilt and more reconstruction was necessary after WWII. Rennes is now a modern city with streets laid out at right angles. Visitors can begin a walking tour at the Place de la Mairie to admire the elegant Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) built in 1734. West of the Place de la Mairie is the Eglise Saint-Sauveur, a lovely church built from the 17th to the 18th centuries. Enter the church to admire the interior and especially take note of its fine pulpit. Then continue east of the Town Hall to see the Place du Parlement de Bretagne encircled by beautiful 18th-century houses. Further northeast is the Romanesque abbey church of Notre-Dame en Saint-Melaine built between the 11th and 13th centuries. The only part of the original abbey that remains is the cloister, resplendent with its elaborately sculpted facade. Several blocks away is the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre with an interesting blend of architectural styles. The most remarkable feature of the interior is the exquisite gilded altar piece in one of the chapels. Tourists should take time to stroll the narrow cobblestone streets around the cathedral where there are perfectly preserved historic houses such as the Hôtel de Blossac at 6 Rue du Chapitre.
Off the southwest coast of Brittany, Belle-Île-en-Mer is the largest of the Breton islands but is still only 17 kilometers long and ten kilometers wide. The island's name translates to "Beautiful Island in the Sea," fitting of its gorgeous natural setting. The Benedictine Abbey in Quimperlé occupied Belle-Île-en-Mer since 1029 and in the 14th century built a fort to guard against pirate invasions. In 1661, King Louis XIV became the owner of the island and between 1761 and 1763, the island was occupied by the English. The island has four villages. The quaint village of Bangor, on the wildest part of the island, was founded in the 6th century by British monks. Locmaria is a rural township on the highest part of the island surrounded by farmland; the village's church dates back to the 11th century. Sauzon is a quaint fishing village with narrow streets and a thriving marina in its well-sheltered harbor.
The most important village on Belle-Île-en-Mer is Le Palais. This village is the hub of the island and the main tourist attraction, with its impressive military architecture and pleasant treelined walkways. Above the harbor is a citadel built in 1549 that now houses a museum focused on the history of Belle-Île-en-Mer. From Le Palais, there is a route running southwest across the island to the rugged Côte Sauvage coastline. Southeast of Le Palais is the Plage des Grands Sables, the island's most beautiful beach. To arrive at Belle-Île-en-Mer, tourists can take a ferry boat from Quiberon and Locmariaquer (April-September); from Le Croisic and Turballe (July-August); from Vannes and Port Navalo (April-October). The ferry boat ride takes less than an hour from Quiberon, approximately one hour from Port Navalo, and two hours from Vannes. Private taxi boats run year-round from Quiberon to Belle-Île-en-Mer and the ride takes about 30 minutes.
6 Morbihan Megalithic Sites
A peaceful, protected bay in southern Brittany, the Golfe du Morbihan is connected with the Atlantic Ocean only by a narrow channel. This area boasts a pleasant temperate climate and gorgeous scenery. The bay is filled with numerous small islands; the two largest islands Île aux Moines and Île d'Arz are popular summer vacation destinations-many tourists take a boat trip from Vannes. The Île aux Moines (Monks' Island) once belonged to a monastery and offers a serene natural setting, with many areas for scenic walks.
Inhabited since prehistoric times, Morbihan is filled with fascinating megalithic sites, unique stone structures that are the most ancient found anywhere in the world. These monuments are evidence of a prehistoric culture of which almost nothing is known. A numerous collection of megaliths is in Locmariaquer, which has several amazing sacred sites. "Le Grand Menhir" was the largest stone monument ever erected in prehistoric Europe; this 20-meter-long, 280-ton stone structure was created around 4,500 BC. Other monuments in Locmariaquer include the "Table des Marchands," a 140-meter-long stone burial chamber with enigmatic engravings, and the "Tumulus d'Er-Grah," a massive Neolithic monument from 5000 BC that was constructed in the form of a trapezoidal cave.
On the Île de Gavrinis is one of Brittany's most impressive megalithic sites, the "Cairn de Gavrinis," a Neolithic stone burial chamber. Built around 3500 BC, the pyramid-shaped chamber is intricately decorated and covered with a grassy mound of earth. Engravings depict patterns and symbols such as swirl designs, axe heads, and horned animals. To arrive at the Island of Gavrinis, visitors may take a ferry boat from Larmor-Baden. Visits to the "Cairn de Gavrinis" are available by reservation only.
Carnac, just outside of Morbihan Bay on the Quiberon Bay (13 kilometers from Locmariaquer), has an extraordinary amount of megalithic monuments from the Neolithic period around 3500 BC. The name of the town comes from the Celtic word "carn," meaning a stone monument. The "Circuit des Alignements" begins on the west side of Carnac. This circuit includes the mysterious monuments of Ménec, Kermario, and Kerlescan-freestanding, circles and rows of stones up to six meters high. Some of the rows include hundreds of stones and extend for 200 meters to 300 meters in length. The Tumulus Saint-Michel megalithic monument contains a number of tomb chambers and is topped by a small chapel. Carnac also has a Musée de la Prehistoire with a collection of material illustrating the development of humans between 450,000 BC and AD 800.
7 Château Josselin
With its picturesque canals and quaint half-timbered houses, the medieval village of Josselin is a must-see tourist attraction in the Morbihan area of Brittany. Apart from the town's medieval charm, the highlight of Josselin is the Château de Josselin, which is a perfect example of feudal architecture. The castle was built in the 11th century and has been inhabited throughout the centuries by generations of the Rohan family. The town of Josselin takes its name from the son of the Viscount who built the château. Standing on the banks of the Oust River, this majestic castle dominates the landscape with its soaring walls and turreted towers. The castle's sumptuous facade exemplifies the Flamboyant Gothic style of the Breton Renaissance.
Tourists may take a guided tour of Château de Josselin to admire the lavish interior. The sitting and dining rooms feature monumental fireplaces, and the library contains more than 3,000 antique books. Formal French gardens surround the château. Visitors will delight in wandering the perfectly manicured tree-lined lawns and beautiful rose garden with 40 different species. A Medieval Festival is held in the gardens every year on July 14th (Bastille Day). The château also has a Doll Museum, which displays dolls dating back to the 17th century.
East of Rennes on the left bank of the Vilaine River, the town of Vitré has a magical Old World ambience complete with ancient town walls and towers. In 1999, Vitré was awarded France's title of "Ville d'Art et d'Histoire" ("Town of Art and History") because it is one of the few medieval towns in Europe that has remained so well intact. The most picturesque street is Rue de la Baudrairie, once the quarter of the "baudroyeurs" (saddlers). Vitré has a noteworthy Gothic church, the Eglise Notre-Dame built in the 15th and 16th centuries. The interior features an exquisite triptych consisting of 32 panels of Limoges enamel.
A must-see attraction in Vitré is the Château de Vitré, a massive castle built around 1080 by the Baron of Vitré. In a spectacular location on the spur of a hill, the Château de Vitré is one of the most beautiful fortresses in Brittany. The castle is open to the public and houses a museum of medieval history. At the foot of the castle is the old town with its narrow lanes and half-timbered houses. About seven kilometers southeast of Vitré is the 14th-century Château des Rochers (rebuilt in the 17th century). Madame de Sévigné stayed here between 1644 and 1690, and in 1689, her son commissioned royal gardener Le Nôtre to create the formal French gardens. This château is open for visits and displays the celebrated letters of Madame de Sévigné.
9 Île d'Ouessant (Ushant Island)
Northwest of Brest, the Île d'Ouessant is a rugged island with spectacular scenery including treacherous cliffs and rocky promontories beaten by wild waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Only seven kilometers long and four kilometers across, this small island has a foreboding and otherworldly feel. Along the island's coastline is a ring of lighthouses, essential to the boats traveling by the island at night time. The most noteworthy lighthouse is the Phare de Créac'h on the northwest coast, which is passed by about 30,000 ships every year. This location marks the entrance to the English Channel. Nature is the main attraction of visiting Île d'Ouessant, especially along the island's coastal paths. Île d'Ouessant is known for its indigenous sheep and the island also has about 400 different species of birds. The best beaches lie around the island's main village, Lampaul. To arrive at Île d'Ouessant, tourists can take a ferry boat from Brest or Le Conquet.
10 Côte d'Emeraude (Emerald Coast)
This gorgeous stretch of coastline runs along the north coast of Brittany from Saint-Malo and Dinard to Cap Fréhel. The Côte d'Emeraude includes many lovely seaside resorts: Dinard (a stylish beach resort), Paramé, Servan-sur-Mer, Rothéneuf, Saint-Briac, Saint-Lunaire, Lancieux, Saint-Jacut, Saint-Cast, and Cancale (known for its oyster beds), all linked by a coastal road. The most striking feature of the Emerald Coast is the Cap Fréhel, which reaches a height of 72 meters above the sea, offering exceptional views of the coast. Cap Fréhel can also be reached from Dinard by boat. Inland from the coast are the towns of Dinan (an interesting medieval town), Fougères, and Combourg, which has a château that was the family home of the famous 19th-century writer and statesman René de Chateaubriand.
11 Côte de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast)
Named for the pink color of the rocky coastline, this spectacular seaside route runs between Perros-Guirec and the port of Ploumanac'h. The Côte de Granit Rose is famous for its incredible rock formations, the Rochers de Ploumanac'h. These imposing weather-beaten rock structures are found between the beaches of Trestraou and Saint-Guirec. Some of the formations are as high as 20 meters, and many seem to take on the shape of recognizable figures such as a witch, Napoleon's hat, and a rabbit. One of the highlights of this coastal area is Perros-Guirec, a popular seaside resort in Brittany and favorite destination among Breton families. Perros-Guirec has three sandy beaches with kids' clubs as well as opportunities for sporting activities during summer. Trébeurden is another pleasant seaside resort that attracts many beach lovers in summer. The town of Ploumanac'h also has a beautiful natural harbor that is a pleasant area to take a walk. Bird watchers will appreciate the Pink Granite Coast because of its diverse avian life. Brittany's largest bird sanctuary lies nearby on the Sept-Îles (Seven Islands) archipelago. Regular boat trips run from Perros-Guirec to Sept-Îles.
Well-known among gourmands for its oysters, Cancale is a tiny fishing village on the Baie de Saint-Michel. For hundreds of years, the splendid shellfish have been cultivated here in shallow oyster beds. At low tide, it is possible to see the beds spread out in the bay. Farmers produce more than 15,000 tons of oysters annually. Cancale is known for its typical Breton cuisine, especially the culinary specialties made with oysters and other seafood. Tourists can sample the fresh local oysters at Cancale's restaurants; the best restaurants are around the La Houle port. Above the port in the old town of Cancale is the Église St. Méen, devoted to the 6th-century Welsh saint. The church houses the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires and every year hosts Cancale's "Les Reposoirs" festival on August 15th to celebrate the Virgin Mary, the protector of sailors.
Cancale offers many opportunities to enjoy nature, especially scenic walks around the coast. The Sentier des Douaniers nature trail is a pedestrian pathway that follows the coastline in two parts. The northern part of the hiking trail runs from l'Anse du Guesclin to la Pointe du Grouin with typical northern Breton scenery, and the temperate eastern part runs from the Pointe du Grouin to the Port de La Houle with more Mediterranean vegetation. Along the way, the hiking trail provides spectacular views of the Bay of Saint-Michel. Cancale also has pristine sandy beaches that draw many vacationers during the summertime.
At the mouth of the Moros River, Concarneau is France's third largest fishing port. This historic "closed city" (walled city) was a 14th-century stronghold enclosed by massive granite walls and towers. The defenses were enlarged by Vauban in the 17th century. This fortified town transports visitors back in time. While ambling through ancient narrow streets past old stone buildings and houses adorned with colorful geraniums, visitors are immersed in the town's inviting ambience. There are plenty of lively restaurants and shops to discover. During summertime, Concarneau is a popular seaside destination thanks to its beautiful sandy beaches. Another attraction in Concarneau is the Musée de la Pêche (Fisheries Museum) that occupies a former Arsenal building. The museum illustrates the history of the port and displays the various species of fish in an aquarium.
In August, Concarneau hosts the Filets Bleus festival. This traditional Breton festival gives town residents a chance to dress up in period costumes and allows tourist to learn about the local culture. The festival includes a parade, dancing, and games that are unique to the region.
About 16 kilometers east of Concarneau, this charming artists' village takes its name from the river running through town. The riverside is lined with shady trees and quaint old mills, inviting visitors to take a leisurely stroll. Pont-Aven was discovered in the 1860s by American painters but is most famous for its association with post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin and the Pont-Aven art movement. Gauguin arrived in Pont-Aven in 1886 and later met artist Émile Bernard. Gauguin and Bernard started a new style of painting focused on color and symbolism, known as the "École de Pont-Aven" (Pont-Aven School). The village's Musée des Beaux-Arts displays many paintings of the École de Pont-Aven and hosts temporary exhibitions by accomplished contemporary artists. For those who want to take in the scenes of Gauguin's paintings, there is a map (available at the tourist office) of the local sites painted by Gauguin. Pont-Aven is also well known for its excellent cuisine and its lively summer festival.
Other Places of Interest
North of Cornouaille and the Pointe du Raz, the craggy Crozon Peninsula is distinguished by its rocky promontories that offer some of the most splendid views in Brittany. The peninsula is dotted with numerous seaside resorts including Camaret, Morgat, and Roscanvel. The most dramatic location, the Pointe de Penhir rises to a height of 70 meters above the sea, boasting exceptional coastal views, particularly of the isolated crags known as the Tas de Pois. Nearby is a memorial to Bretons who fell in the Second World War. To the north is the Pointe des Espagnols, with a view of Brest. Between the Pointe de Penhir and Cap de la Chèvre is the Pointe de Dinan, which offers a stunning view of the monumental rock known as the "Château."
Dinan is one of the prettiest towns in Brittany and is well worth visiting. Located between Dinard and Saint-Malo, the town is perched on a hill above the left bank of the Rance River where the river widens into a fjord-like inlet. Still surrounded by its old walls, Dinan has a well-preserved medieval character. The old town boasts attractive 15th- and 16th-century houses (particularly on the Rue du Jerzual) and the Château d'Anne de Bretagne. This castle, with its massive 14th-century dungeon and 34-meter-high tower, recalls the austere ambience of the Middle Ages. The castle now houses a historical museum. The Eglise Saint-Sauveur is an exquisite church built between the 12th and 16th centuries. A pleasant excursion from Dinan is a boat trip down the river to Dinard or Saint-Malo.
Facing the town of Saint-Malo, Dinard is located on the other side of the Rance estuary. Dinard ranks along with La Baule as one of the most stylish Breton seaside resorts. To the north of the old town is the Grande Plage, a fabulous beach with 500 meters of sandy shores. On the Promenade du Clair-de-Lune (Moonlight Promenade) is the Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea), with a wonderful aquarium. Dinard retains its nostalgic charm, seen in the traditional seaside villas, beach huts, and yacht clubs. The natural setting is also gorgeous. Mimosas and camellias flourish here under the influence of the Gulf Stream.
La Baule is one of France's top Atlantic Coast seaside resorts along with Biarritz. Hugging a bay on the estuary of the Loire between Nantes and Belle-Île island, La Baule has several miles of fine sandy beaches. Beside the beach, a lovely seafront boulevard is lined with large modern hotels that are packed during high season. Apart from sunbathing and swimming, the area is popular for sailing and wind surfing. Near La Baule is the smaller seaside resort of La Baule-les-Pins, and to the east is the Parc des Dryades botanical garden.
An interesting sight about six kilometers away from La Baule is Guérande. Surrounded by 2,000 hectares of salt marshes, Guérande is renowned for its hand-harvested artisan salt (which is sold all over the world). This historic town is still surrounded by its medieval walls and has a church dating from the 12th century. At the town's old gates, the Porte Saint-Michel houses a museum of local history.
Le Folgoët is worth visiting to admire its famous church. In this small medieval village is the important pilgrimage church, the Basilique Notre-Dame du Folgoët. Built between the 14th and 15th centuries, the church features an ornate north tower that is considered one of the finest in Brittany. Notable features of the interior are the Chapelle de la Croix and a splendid 15th-century granite rood screen surrounding the crucifix.
Surrounded by agricultural land, the medieval town of Fougères (50 kilometers northeast of Rennes) was once a fortified town. The town is dominated by its massive castle built between the 11th and 15th century. The castle still has 13 towers around a circuit of protective walls. The courtyard of the castle is now used as an open-air theater. Other noteworthy attractions in Fougères include the 15th-century Eglise Saint-Sulpice (Church of Saint-Sulpice) that has an exquisite interior and the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) that dates from the 14th century. In a typical 16th-century half-timbered house adjoining the Town Hall is the Musée Emmanuel de la Villéon, which displays the work of the Impressionist painter who was born in Fougères. The town of Fougères is also a center of shoe manufacturing, and has an interesting Musée de la Chaussure (Shoe Museum).
This quaint medieval village is listed as one of the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" (Most Beautiful Villages in France) and earned the title of "Breton Petite Cité de Caractère" (Small Breton City of Character). The village has wonderful medieval architecture as well as grand 18th-century houses. In the west Finistère area, this lovely village occupies a spot that has been sacred since the Middle Ages. Locronan is an important destination for a special type of Breton pardons (traditional pilgrimage festivals) called a "troménie" (meaning "walk around a sacred place"). The Grande Troménie pardon is held here every six years. Near Locronan, just eight kilometers away, is another important pilgrimage destination, the Chapelle Sainte-Anne-la-Palud. The chapel boasts a painted granite statue in veneration of Saint Anne, who was executed in 1548. Just outside the village of Sainte-Anne-la-Palud is an expansive and well-sheltered sandy beach, which is known for its breathtaking sunsets.
Ile de Bréhat
An escape to an enchanting world, the idyllic Île de Bréhat lies off the coast of Paimpol. This tiny island, only three-and-a-half kilometers long, is completely free of cars. The Île de Bréhat, which encompasses two small islets, boasts gorgeous natural scenery including many wildflowers and spectacular red granite cliffs. To arrive at Bréhat island, visitors may take a ferry boat from the Pointe de l'Arcouest in Paimpol on the Pink Granite Coastline. Ferries run regularly from Paimpol, and the ride is an easy ten-minute journey.
Perched above the Arz River, the village of Rochefort-en-Terre is listed as one of France's "Plus Beaux Villages" (Most Beautiful Villages) and as a result attracts many visitors.
Rochefort-en-Terre has an impressive château that dates back to the 12th century and in 1907 was purchased by Alfred Klotz, the French-American painter. Only the facade of the old château remains, the rest of the building was completely renovated by Klotz. The château is open for visits from May to September. Visitors can tour the building and see a collection of Klotz's paintings. After visiting the château, tourists should take time to wander around the village through the atmospheric narrow streets. There are many artists' ateliers and workshops as well as lovely houses featuring balconies and window sills bursting with pretty geraniums. Another award bestowed on Rochefort-en-Terre is France's 4-star distinction as a "Village Fleuris" ("Flowering Village") because of the colorful flowers that decorate the town.
Roscoff and Île de Batz
Roscoff has the most typically British character of Brittany's ports. Located on a scenic peninsula, Roscoff is a pleasant seaside resort. The village boasts a picturesque harbor, lovely shipowners' houses, and an ornately decorated Gothic church. Across from Roscoff is the Île de Batz, a tiny Breton island with a mild climate and peaceful environment, perfect for relaxation. During the summertime, ferries run regularly from Roscoff to the Île de Batz.
Vannes lies between Nantes and Brest on the Gulf of Morbihan. The interesting old part of the town grew up within the ancient walls and around the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. Dating back to the 13th century, the cathedral has an Italian Renaissance style rotunda-shaped chapel that contains exceptional 17th-century tapestries and a valuable treasury. From the Promenade de la Garenne, there is a great view of the cathedral and the Tour du Connétable, a tower built in the 14th and 15th centuries. The 15th-century Château Gaillard now houses a museum focused on the history of Vannes.