Vitré Castle and Museum
Formerly part of the Marches of Brittany fortifications that surrounded the Breton border, Vitré Castle overlooks the Vilaine River and the city’s historic centre. It is one of the city’s most important monuments. Discover the castle and visit the museum.
“How many times have I shuddered before this great, dark castle, where the nostalgic shadow of the baron lives on?”
VITRÉ CASTLE: WITNESS TO CENTURIES OF HISTORY
Built beginning in the 11th century, the castle defended the entrance to the Duchy of Brittany. Successive barons expanded the fortress. Converted into a prison during the 19th century, it was again altered and restored after being classified as a Historic Monument in 1872. It is now the site of Vitré City Hall and the museum. Walk along the curtain walls and observe the triangular layout and semi-circular towers.
Take in panoramic views of the city from the top.
MUSEUM OF ART AND THE CITY’S HISTORY
Located inside the castle, the museum benefits from a remarkable medieval setting. Climb the many steps to find a wealth of history well worth the effort! The museum tells part of Vitré’s history, which owes its survival to its merchants, who were international textile traders and world explorers.
Visit the towers and discover remarkable collector’s items that will take you back in time through the art and history of the 16th to the 20th century: an enamelled retable, monumental sculptures and treasures of gold religious artwork.
Finally, ask to visit the apothecary’s shop. Dating from the 18th century, it recalls a more austere era. After the collapse of the hemp trade, the apothecary’s shop was established to provide medical assistance to the destitute. You will find mysterious remedies including copper carbonate, toad oil, dragon’s blood and other mixtures worthy of period novels.