Noyal-sur-Vilaine is a town in Ille-et-Vilaine, in the Brittany region, about ten kilometers east of Rennes.
The vast territory of the town (30 km²) is the seat of a lordship from the eleventh century and a rich priory continues until the Revolution.
The essentially agricultural activity in a landscape of grove is completed from the 17th to the 19th century by the manufacture of sailcloths ("cores") made from hemp.
During the second half of the twentieth century, the town enjoys the growth of the conurbation of Rennes. An area of activity (logistics, agro-food) is developing near the expressway that extends the Vitré motorway to Rennes. The population has grown from 2,000 in the aftermath of the second war to nearly 6,000 today, mainly through the development of residential subdivisions.
Noyal-sur-Vilaine, however, has preserved a heritage historical and architectural quality, and has highlighted an environment that will seduce walkers and hikers. Endowed with numerous cultural and leisure facilities (museums, theater, sports areas), it is a stage of interest for anyone who stays in Brittany.
Many heritage sites and buildings await visitors.
A discovery walk of the city can begin with the Saint-Pierre church built in 1892 in place of an older building. Architect Arthur Regnault, who also designed some of the interior furniture, designed the church in an astonishing style, inspired by Flamboyant Gothic.
Still in the heart of the village, the former 12th century priory and the home of the former feudal castle of the 11th century have been renovated while preserving their historic elements, and now connected by a contemporary construction (glass and concrete based), form the cultural center of L'Intervalle. There is a theater, a media library and the music school of the city. The programming of shows and exhibitions is famous. Information on +33 2 99 04 13 23.
Outside the village, a detour and a visit are essential at the Domaine du Bois Orcan. The castle was built in the 15th century by Julien Thierry, finance minister of Anne de Bretagne. Totally restored, the castle and its park have regained their original splendor. The castle itself houses an important collection of furniture and objects from the Middle Ages, testifying to the art of living at the time of the Duchess Anne. The estate also has a carefully restored medieval garden, labeled Jardin Remarkable, both rich in its species and plants and in the serenity it gives off. Finally, the estate houses a museum, the Athanor, dedicated to the contemporary sculptor Etienne Martin (1913-1995), a major figure of twentieth-century art. More than 40 years of creation have been traced and a sculpture garden has been set up outside. Open every day except Monday from July 14 to early September, and on reservation out of season. Price: 5 to 8 euros. Information on +33 2 99 37 74 74.
The former railway station of the city, built in 1857 by the West Railway Company now dedicated to the practice of amateur theater, the former presbytery, rue du Stade, decorated with stained glass from the old church, are also interesting steps.
In the heart of the city, again, to see also the pavement of the chapel that adjoins the retirement home Saint-Alexis, made by the workshops Odorico, in 1938. This craftsman has signed many mosaics in Rennes.
At the hamlet of Les Forges, on the old road of Paris, stood formerly a post office of the eighteenth century and a manor of the sixteenth that belonged to Jeanne d'Acigné. There are some vestiges of the building on the exteriors of the current building.
The city's "pastureland" is finally honored and showcased in the "Eco-Hemp and Vegetable Fiber" space, opened in 2013, which is at the same time a resource, information and communication center. valorization of hemp and flax (their uses of yesteryear and those of today). Permanent and temporary exhibitions on the theme of plant fibers are presented. There is also a weaving area, workshops and a shop. Free entry. Information on +33 2 99 04 67 94.
It remains to enjoy then the natural environment of the city. Starting with the leisure park of Chêne Joli, which includes 11 hectares of walking trails, playgrounds for children of all ages, multi-sports fields and mounds for bi-cross and finally a planted natural area dotted with wetlands preserved for educational purposes.
To be seen also in the park, one of the largest bikes in the world, registered in the Guinness Book of Records in 1999, made on the occasion of the national meeting of cycle tourism that was held in the city.
Other natural areas to explore: the Janaie orchard, the green flow that connects the communal orchard to the city center via the Joli Oak Park, the square Duguay Trouin and the pond of the Bourde (accessible to fishermen), the casting Green Brocéliande, a natural wetland drawn by the layout of a stream reserved for pedestrians and cyclists between the college Jacques Brel and the SNCF gateway rue Monnoyeur.
Finally, note the pools of Mottais, Hourmel, and Petite Lande, classified areas remarkable and protected for their ecosystem (frogs, salamanders...).
Many hiking or mountain biking including a circuit designed specifically on the theme of heritage are possible in the territory. Documentation and information on +33 2 99 37 89 02.
For the sportsmen, again, the complex Paul-Ricard has synthetic grounds and tennis courts. For this last activity, join the local club on +33 2 99 04 01 30.