Guérande Medieval Town

Guérande, France

Guérande is a medieval town located in the department of Loire-Atlantique. Since 2004, the medieval town of Guérande has been a member of a national network of 120 towns, the Villes et Pays d'Art et d'Histoire (Towns and Regions of Art and History).

City walls

Guérande is a rare example of a medieval city which has preserved its rampart in its entirety. It is also one of the best preserved in France. Very little has been re-engineered since its main construction phase (in the 15th century), while little has been 'restored' in the 19th century. The wall includes at present 10 towers, four doors and a poterne (opened to the 19th century), connected by a curtain, on a 1.434-kilometre-long. After the sack of Guérande by the troops of Louis of Spain in 1342 during the War of Succession of Brittany, the city began to build a rampart in the following year of 1343. These works would last for more than a century and a half.

La porte Saint-Michel is the main gate. Originally, the gate was occupied by the Captain of the city, who was the representative of the authority of the Duke of Brittany in Guerande. After Brittany's unification with the Kingdom of France in 1532, the Captain of the City ceded his authority to a French Governor. During the French Revolution, however, the populace of Guérande would remove its last Governor, eventually placing a prison in the Gate of Saint Michel. The building was not suited to this function, so the municipality eventually settled the functions of city hall here. Even then, the building would become too small too fast. The city hall eventually was resited elsewhere and this building became a museum to the Friends de Guérande, established in 1928. The museum contains a collection of helmets and traditional costumes, an archaeological collection and the Treasury of the Collegiate Church.

Saint Aubin's Church

Saint Aubin's Church became a collegiate church in the 9th century following the foundation of a chapter of canons attributed to King Salomon. It was rebuilt in about 1200, and the Romanesque pillars in the nave are evidence of that work.

Very badly damaged during the Breton Wars of Succession, the Collegiate Church was restored in time for the signing of the first peace treaty in 1365. Various building projects succeeded one another until the 18th century, improving and adding new features: choir and chevet (15th–16th centuries), Baroque altarpieces and stalls (17th century). But hardly had this work been completed, than the church found itself in the midst of the French Revolution. It suffered little damage, other than to the windows. However, the Revolution led to major structural changes, since, in 1792, the status of Collegiate Church was abolished and the canons exiled to Spain.

In 1840, following the creation of the National Historical Monuments commission, the church's true value was realised and it was listed. The works undertaken by the architect Bourgerel were overly ambitious and caused the collapse of the west front in 1876. It was Eugène Boismen who was charged with reconstructing it in the original style.


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User Reviews

Davina Tapie (8 months ago)
It's always lovely to visit this medieval town. There is a great variety of shops and places to eat and drink. The Collegial in the centre of the town is magnificent. During the summer months, art students give free guided tours. Well worth the visit.
Laura Deniz MOREAU (9 months ago)
Lovely place to visit. Lots of interesting shops. Do buy some salt if you visit.
Tuan Vu (9 months ago)
This fortified city is amazing. The surrounding salt marshes are worth a visit.
S.A.POWER STELIOS (12 months ago)
Beautiful place!!! You need to visit it.
jacqueline myerscough (2 years ago)
Loved this, medievil town, quaint shops, narrow streets, festival time, had to pay though to walk on rampants and only during day allowed
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