Vitré is a commune of the Ile-et-Vilaine department found in Brittany, of northwestern France. Lying on the edge of Britanny's border close to Normandy. It is located on the banks of the Vilaine river. The town was most recently designated as a Ville d'Art et Histoire. Meaning it is recognized as a prominent town of art and history. This was bestowed by the Ministry of Culture due to the town's cultural richness. Vitrè is considered 37th on the list of towns that have historic buildings. It has a population of 16 834 people and is only 320 kilometers away from Paris.
Things to do & Places to see in Vitré, France
1. La Château de Vitré
The château of Vitré is a medieval castle built in the 11th century. It was originally a lot smaller but got expanded over the centuries. A rocky terrain in the Villaine area was chosen as the site to build the wonderful castle on. The castle was built in a defensive manner allowing the leader's enemy's to feel intimidated if they thought of invading, by dominating the Vilaine valley. Today the 11th century roman-styled entrance is still intact and used as the main entrance. It was only in the 13th century that the castle was renovated and reshaped into the triangular form we can see today. This design was implemented to help the castle follow and integrate with the natural shape of the rocky terrain it sat upon. In the 15th century the castle was altered once again to improve the comfort for those residing inside it. However it was later abandoned in the 17th century, and began to waste away. It was only used again in the 19th century again when part of it became a prison. The prison then became a barracks for the 70th regiment in the late 1800s. It was bought by the town of Vitré in 1820 for a total of 8500 Francs. It was then in 1872 that the castle became one of the very first in France to be classified as a historical monument.
La Château de Vitré is a awe-inspiring monument to behold. It really captures the medieval genre of the 11th century, something that most people have only read in books or seen in movies. Here in Vitré you have the opportunity of being able to experience it in person. There are guided tours available to the public at €4 per person, but you can experience the courtyard of the castle for free.
2. Church of Notre Dame in Vitré
The church of Notre Dame in Vitré is one of the cities most famous attractions. It lies just a few steps away from the castle. The Church of Our Lady was built in 1472 and displays a brilliant example of gothic architecture from that period. Whilst the castle is considered to be the breathtaking monument of the town, the church is the most magnificent. The church incorporates many beautiful stain-glass windows into its walls. These windows date back to the 15th century, and are truly intriguing. The nave of the church is extremely high, with the temple being an attraction that draws many tourists. The facades and spires of the building contribute immensely to the gothic look of the building. The vast contrast between the castle and the church is extremely noticeable. The diversity of architecture also adds to the historic and artistic value of the town.
3. The Maison des Cultures du Monde
The Maison des Cultures du Monde in Vitré is a house of cultures from around the world. The idea was conceived in 1982, when the French ministry of culture became aware of the importance of culture, and how as people we could learn immensely by learning about foreign cultures. They realized that through the process of appreciation, understanding and education the people of France could become a lot more advanced in their ways. The idea was to create a space for dialogue and interaction between the many different cultures, allowing one to broaden their minds and understanding of the world. Thus they opened up a centre that would be the reception of the necessary dialogue and education between cultures, that was needed. The house has been around for around 30 years and continues to explore the differences between cultures from around the world. The centre or house is host to changing exhibitions, conferences and serves a centre of resources. As a much more modern attraction this would be great addition to your destination list. It allows you to explore the world without leaving Vitré.
As a tourist in the Vitré region it could only be fascinating not only learning about the french culture but also those from around the world. Thus making this destination a definite must see for all Vitré visitors.
How Do I Get Here From Paris?
Vitré is a mere 320 kilometers away from Paris and is highly accessible by train. The average travel time from Paris to Vitré is around four hours, however this is just dependent on the train you take and what time you are traveling. As there is the option of taking a direct train ride to Vitré or stopping off at different places. An average one way trip costs around 54€ but there is the opportunity to get a cheaper ticket if you book in advance. There are only two trains from Paris to Vitré a day.
If you wish to travel by car the trip will take an average of 4 hours if you take the A11 or A81 national route. To rent a car will cost around 200€-600€ for a total of three days. Obviously traveling by car allows for a different type of travel that can be customized according to your preferences. You would have the opportunity of exploring other little villages or cities along the way by creating detours.
There is another option of travel. You can take a bus from Paris to the city of Rennes and then catch a train from Rennes to Vitré. This would cost around 40€ but would be take longer than taking two trains.