Pontivy Sights and Landmarks Guide, France
The small town of Pontivy, is situated on the Nantes-Brest canal next to Rennes and Nantes. Being crossed by the Blavet River, it is a simple town with not so many touristic sights but still it has that charm, peace and beauty that people would like to discover when going there. It was founded in the 7th century by a monk, called Ivy who built a bridge on the Blavet River.
It is considered an attractive touristic destination for both its medieval and modern parts.
Pontivy Sights – The Medieval Centre
It owes its medieval face to the Rohan family who built a magnificent, fortified castle that is definitely visited by those who want to better understand the way they lived and the local customs of that time.
Among the Pontivy Sights, the medieval centre can be remarked mainly for the Rohan Castle, its winding streets and the Martray Square. The Thread street and the Bridge street have charming half-timbered houses that have been built during the 16th and the 17th centuries.
The military architecture of the Middle Ages is best preserved in the Rohan Castle, which is one of the most impressive from the Brittany castles, a beautiful place reminding of the importance of the Rohan dynasty. Thus, it is considered a very interesting and unique castle that shows the French craftsmanship.
The castle, built between 1479-1485 is a big structure of almost 90 meters height and 75 meters length with four great tours, important channels and sculptures that allow the excessive water to be evacuated. There is also a gallery inside, (opened to visitors during summer time), having an entire collection of original statues from the church Saint Lauren, among which tourists can admire those of Virgin Mary, Saint Maurice standing on a horse, Saint Catherine or Saint Germain
“Basilica of the Notre-Dame-de-la-Joie” can be also enumerated on the Pontivy Sights list as an incredible church built in ogival style also called gothic architectural design that impresses visitors with its finely sculpted grapes leaves on the west part of the tour. The figures of Notre-Dame de la Joie and of Notre-Dame de la Delivrance that used to be venerated by the ancient women were greatly cut in the trunk of an oak and exhibited now together with other statues in the church.
Pontivy Sights – The Napoleonic Side of the Town
The small town of Pontivy, once called Napoleonville or Bourbonville, has a part that was constructed during the Napoleon era in a more regimented design with “Place Aristide-Briand” standing for its centre. There are straight roads of the 18th century with many distinguishable town houses, “The Town Hall” being the best known and visited. The Napoleonic side of the town lies around the Plaine that was once a parade location.
Being a rigorous urban area with wide straight roads, it is the perfect location for the Mill Museum that exhibits many windmills and it is situated on the isle of the Recollets.
In this part of the town you can also visit the Toulbouhou sailing centre; you can walk on the sign marked footpaths, or do some horse-riding and mountain-biking.
In the surrounding area there are the Sainte-Tréphine Chapel and the Saint-Mériadec Church in Stival and the chapel “Notre-Dame-de-La-Houssaye”, which was started in the 15th century and was finished in the 18th century revealing the Flemish artists influence. On the inside walls you can see some scenes borrowed from the theatrical tradition while the great and impressive painting of Christ carrying his cross is to be seen on the front wall.
“The Saints Joseph Church” has lovely modern stained-glass windows being an attractive touristic place.
With its two faces, medieval and contemporary, the attractive and peaceful town of Pontivy reveals beautiful and interesting touristic places to its visitors.
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