Pontivy is a town in Morbihan, Brittany, 48 km north of Vannes and 50 km south of Saint-Brieuc.
A small locality inland, the commune takes off in the 15th century when the fortified castle of Jean II de Rohan is built. Then manufacturers and merchants of canvases make the city a prosperous city.
During the Revolution, Pontivy remains acquired in the republic while its surroundings are bastions of the chouannerie.
Under the first empire, Napoleon wanted to make Pontivy a strong commercial and military place. It develops its urbanization (creation of new districts and public buildings) and connects it to the Breton ports by channeling the Blavet river.
Pontivy even became Napoleonville in 1804 (until the Restoration) and became Napoleonville again under the Second Empire (until 1870).
The municipality now has about 15 000 inhabitants and its economy is based on the agro-food industry and tertiary services. Its preserved architectural and historical heritage as well as its natural environment and cultural vitality make it an interesting stage for visitors and tourists.
A visit of Pontivy will begin with the imposing medieval castle of the dukes of Rohan, decorated with two towers called in pepper and surrounded by moat. Damaged in 2014 by a storm, it can no longer be visited and renovations and safety measures have been initiated. However, interpretive panels allow the exterior to apprehend the history of the castle and its occupants. Brochure and information on +33 2 97 25 04 10.
It is logical to continue through the old town, its winding alleys and its half-timbered houses and timbered houses for some dating back to the Middle Ages.
Built in the 15th century, in the Gothic style, the Notre-Dame-de-Joie basilica, whose gate and tower are inscribed, was first dedicated to Saint Ivy (who gave the city its name). Note the stained glass window which recalls the passage to the rank of basilica of the church in 1950.
To the south of the medieval heart, the visitor discovers "Napoleonville", a new town created at the initiative of Napoleon Bonaparte according to a checkerboard plan whose square Aristide Briand constitutes the functional and symbolic center. The buildings of the civil and judicial powers were erected there: sub-prefecture, palace of Justice, town hall.
Without forgetting the Saint-Joseph church, neo-gothic style, which Napoleon III financed via a personal gift... which proved inadequate (no bell tower, no decoration on the pillars). On the other hand, contemporary stained glass windows of good quality were installed later.
Several themed routes have been designed to discover Pontivy (heritage, banks of the Blavet and the canal, parks and gardens: we think of the centenary trees of the Lenglier square). Brochures and information on +33 2 97 25 04 10.
Many hiking possibilities (on foot, mountain bike or even on horseback), some including the heart of the city or using the towpaths or old Roman roads) allow to enjoy the exceptional natural environment Water, hedges, wooded valleys). The routes are marked, varied difficulty, and 3 to 40 km long! Note for the cyclists that specific circuits have been thought connecting the numerous chapels of the vicinity of the municipality or borrowing the banks of the channel of Nantes to Brest. All information on +33 2 97 25 04 10.
In a different style, to combine sport and idleness, the open-air swimming pool "La Plage" offers in July and August a 50 m open-air pool. Prices: 2,50 and 3,50 euros. Information on +33 2 97 25 01 05.
In mid-January, the bird fair held at the Safire Halles is considered one of the most important in Europe.
Over two weeks, in February, the festival Gamineries is intended for the young public (theater, puppets...).
The second weekend of April, at the Palais des congrès, final of the contest Kan ar Bobl (traditional Breton music).
The first weekend of June, Napoleonville in Fête. Costumed parades and folklore shows in the Napoleon district.
In July and August, the festival De l'Art in the Chapels offers exhibitions of contemporary artists in about twenty chapels of Pontivy and its surroundings. The visit includes the discovery of the site. Free entry. Program and map available at +33 2 97 25 04 10.
The 3rd weekend of September, the festival En Voie d'Expression program shows music, street theater, but also video projections and animations and exhibitions (urban arts, sculpture).
Finally, to discover the local products, a covered market takes place every Saturday morning under the market and every Monday morning in the Rue De Gaulle.