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Ploermel, Brittany: International FECC Carnival City of 2008
Ploermel, Brittany: International FECC Carnival City of 2008
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Secrets of Merlin's Enchanted Forest of Broceliande

Learn the secrets of Merlin, who still lives in the forests of Brittany. Visit Idylls of the King

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Andierre Pierre
President Ploermel Carnaval committee
The Gorseinon and Llwchwr District of Wales has been officially twinned with Ploermel in Brittany since 1993.
"They also exalted the institution of courtesy, a code of morals and ideals for gentlemen and ladies. Directed toward an audience of nobles and upperclassmen, they glorified the aristocratic way of life (Lunt 127). This spirit was preserved in the re-workings of writers throughout history. He composed and sang love songs for her, and was always scrupulous to defend her honor (Dijkstra 60)." Essays about Arthur's Knights
french-news.com  France's largest English-Language newspaper is located in the Moribihan.



means cheers
 in the Breton language
Morbihan department
Only 40 minutes drive from Ploermel is the Morbihan coastline. Plenty of wonderful beaches, coves and fishing ports are on offer here. There is many a Breton restaurant serving its world famous seafood. Carnac has the world heritage site of 3000 megaliths and scores of sandy beaches.

The district of Morbihan is Breton for 'little sea' it is one of the five departments or counties which make up the region of Brittany or Breton. Between the waterfront and ancient woodlands of the Brocéliande are the historic castles or chateau's built to withstand armies and centuries.

The district of Morbihan is named after its Gulf : a natural masterpiece, considered by many as one of the most beautiful bays in the world. This "little sea" (literal translation of Mor-bihan) is a genuine paradise for windsurfers, kayakers, and sailors.

The land of King Morvan covers a culturally and historically rich area. The namesake ruler was a ninth-century Breton king who faced the troops of Louis le Débonnaire, an ally of Charlemagne.

Many Brits have chosen to retire amidst the charm, beauty and quiet natural setting of the Morbihan department.

The islands off the Morbihahn coast Belle-Ill-en-Mer, Ille de Groix, & Houat et Hoëdic can be accessed by speedboat or ferry from Quiberon or the Lorient
The mythical forest of Brocéliande
The Paimpont of Broceliande forest (bro-say-le-aund)  with its wide and varied range of landscapes is set in the heart of the ancient massif that once covered the entire region of Brittany. The forest's legendary sites (Valley of No Return, Merlin's Grave, Fountain of Barenton and the Golden Tree) still resonate with Arthurian legend and offer countless walks. [more]


Ploërmel, a land of legends in touch with nature
Ploermel is a haven for lovers of the great outdoors.

The Lac au Duc is a rural gem. The largest natural lake in Brittany is only a kilometer from the downtown center and is a centre of outdoor activity in Ploermel, with sailing, swimming, fishing, safe beaches for families, golf, bike trail, and the famous trail of the hydrangeas. Sunsets at dusk can be spectacular.

The growing town of Ploermel is the best place to come for provisions if you are staying in one of the many self-catered holiday units in the area. While here it is worthwhile to spend a few hours to visit the medieval attractions such as The cloister of the Carmelite sisters, the vestiges of the fortifications, the old residences of the centre town, the old marketplace, the Saint-Armel Church (northern gate, interior), as well as the famous. Astronomical Clock.

Check with the tourist office about seeing the Old Borough of Taupont with the St-Golven Church (XIIe - XVIe) or a visit to " La Maison du Cidre " (the House of Cider), offering cider tastings. Your kids could be left at the  cinema or bowling complexes.


A short distance is
Josselin castle which tells tales of several glorious chapters from yesteryear while today hosting a more sedate but charming collection of over 500 17th & 18th century dolls. The castle or chateau is the most striking fairytale like structure on the popular along the Brest-Nantes canal as well as the star attraction for a town known far and wide for its charm. Josselin has been designated a 'Petit Cité of Character' with many restaurants,  cafes and bars along the canal and overlooking the 'Basilica de Notre Dame' in the town square. Brave souls can climb to the top of the church steeple for a fantastic view.



Béatrice le Marre, Mayor of Ploermel and Henry van der Kroon, International President of the Federation of International Carnival Cities [FECC] pause and reflect on the just concluded passing of the Children's Carnival Parade held the Wednesday before the amazing Ploermel night Carnaval night parade The 82nd 2008 Ploermel parade was reinforced by eight FECC parade units from Belgium, Holland, Germany, Slovenia and Portugal. A crisis in a shortage of hotel rooms for the record number of nearly 500 participants was averted by locating performing groups for the Carnival in the district capital of Morbihan, the City of Vannes. 

"Ploermel is the entrance to the forest of Merlin the magician."  said Béatrice le Marre. This recently elected Mayor of Ploermel (2008-2014), has a photogenic smile and also like her predecessor, shares a global perspective of her small of City of 12,000. Mayor Le Marre should know, she has spent most of her career as a schoolteacher in a village on the edge of the Paimpont of Broceliande forest The forest is a priceless patrimony of Brittany and is the home to the characters whose stories have fueled the imagination of France, Britain, and the world since before the Celts settled these lands in the name of Jesus Christ.

 "Fantasy is all around especially during the Carnaval and then throughout the summer. In the summer visitors can find lots of drama and story-telling. Story telling is very vivid here. The oral tradition of transmitting stories from generation to generation was passed on to me by my grandmother."
the Mayor told us just after the annual Children's parade but before the Carnaval spectacle and parade on the last weekend in May.

 "My friends you are peace makers. When friends enjoy themselves they don't have time for war. And you are all here peace makers."
---Mayor Paul Anselin to FECC delegates


Office de Tourisme de Ploërmel Terres de Légendes
5 rue du val - BP 106 - 56804 PLOERMEL Cedex
Tel. : / Fax :

The Foret de Paimpont is a maze of walking trails, cycle routes and bridle paths, maps of which can be easily obtained from the Ploermel tourist information centre.

 Ploermel weather
is generally mild

After the May Carnaval the biggest annual regional event in Ploermel is the Music Festival on Summer Solstice [June 21st]-- a popular day of music throughout France

The new Asterix 33 - French cover


Comics are very popular in France and the biggest star is Asterix who is internationally known and translated into 16 languages.  He is a druid who helps defend his Breton village from attacks by Romans while highlighting stereotypes and French chauvinism. He has also been known to incite crowd reactions at the Ploermel Carnaval

"It is very rural here, everyone knows you." she said. "In Ploermel you have the advantages of the facilities of the city yet your are very close to nature. It is very peaceful."

About the Ploermel Carnaval she says: "When I was small there were more floats, more competitions and rivalries. People are quiet here, they do not express their feelings, but during the Carnaval it is the most important time for people to come out of themselves and enjoy. ...We need to always feel that we are striving to improve the Carnaval." said the Mayor whose recent race included a debate on how to best improve the cultural climate of the town.

Ploermel, holds its  Carnaval in May and thus was able to make its 2008 82-year old Carnaval an International Carnival by inviting  affiliated FECC Carnival Groups to perform at the Friday Carnival Spectacular  and last Saturday in May Carnaval night parade. The 2008 results were spectacular but Ploermel is hoping the aftermath will fuel imaginations and volunteer efforts for many years to come for new generations who wish to revel in the joy of a brilliant cultural performance before a large audience.

Mayor Le Marre presided over the largest and oldest annual international congress of Carnival Cities, less than 60 days after defeating the conservative 78 year old Mayor in March of 2008. Mr Paul Anselin, who had been Mayor since 1977, stewarded his City to be the metro center for the many villages and settlements that make up the Broceliande forest community. At prior FECC congresses the Mayor had impressed delegates with his vision of Carnaval, telling them; "My friends you are peace makers. When friends enjoy themselves they don't

[The 2005 Mayor of Ploermel said this at the 25th Congress in Malta where he also promised a shorter mass.] >>more

 have time for war. And you are all here peace makers."


Mayor Le Marre acknowledges the good job here predecessor has done as we overlook a city center both modern and medieval with well manicured floral displays, pleasing streetscape which fills in the space between beautiful imposing church, the planetary museum in the old chapel and the City Hall. From a distance these three centuries old buildings are the tallest in the forest's only city among dozens of small villages. Ploermel is the first major central city entering the peninsula of Brittany and  is just 2 hours drive from Paris, 1 hour from the North Coast monument of St. Michaels and a half hour from the beautiful Morbihan bay and its many islands.

Ploermel is proud to present the Carnaval of the Morbihund département (county) which is the most popular with visitors of the 5 regions which make up the peninsula of Brittany. The Moribund's largest City and capital is Vannes  which has an impressive walled ancient old town and access to a sea with more islands than any country west of Croatia or Greece where just inland is Carnac, one of the world's most important megalithic sites.

In recent years, the merry month of May has defined the Ploermel Carnaval season. The Carnaval day parade happens on the first Saturday in May. Then during the last week, as school is closing there is a children's parade, where you can witness sword play between Darth Vador from Star Wars fame and a Knight from King Arthur's Round Table.

The last weekend opens in the beautiful town square with the lovely City Hall acting as backdrop to a magnificent stage where the Carnaval groups put on their best moves to the delight of the townspeople. This year, the FECC, Federation of European Carnival Cities brought together more groups than ever before with three dance and acrobatic youth groups from Germany, a traditional band from Belgium, a medieval troupe from Ptuj, Slovenia, and 50 all-star performers from the many troupes that make up the famous Ovar, Portugal carnaval.  The Ploermel Carnaval night parade featured over twenty massive illuminated floats including some crowd pleasing animations and surprises. Many of the local groups featured both choreography and special songs supported by traditional local music.  Still the international groups stood out for their extravagant costumes, particularly the Brazilian samba dancers in the all-star troupe from Ovar Portugal who brought more skin and percussion than usual to the venerable parade. The evening parade begins with darkness around 10pm and finishes with fireworks well after midnight.

Ms. Le Marre sees much opportunity ahead for Ploermel, as the forest's only metro city center supporting the many villages connected to the  Broceliande forest as she points out the increasing amount of very good restaurants here and growing emphasis on the locally grown organic foods they require for their high standards.

When asked for her favorite  character from the many stories kept alive around Ploermel, the next generation new leader mentions Asterix, a more recent contribution to the popular culture from Brittany as the star of the most popular comic book series in France whose amusement park competes with Paris Disney. 

Madam Mayor Béatrice le Marre sees her village at the crossroads between France's enchanted forest and the world's oldest continuously inhabited settlement, Carnac and rightly say: "Everything is possible in Ploermel, just come to us."

How to get to Ploermel
Ploërmel is found in the north-west of France, in the centre of the Breton region. It lies in the north-east of the Morbihan department.
PLANE: There are three nearby main airports, Rennes , Brest  and Dinard . You can fly to the airports of Rennes ((ZFL)flybe, Aer Lingus), Lorient (Aer Arann), Brest (BES) (flybe, Ryanair) or to Dinard(DNR) (Ryanair, Aurigny).
High speed TGV from Paris stops in Renne at City Center. Reservations in advance for the Charles DeGaulle airport TGV train station are needed to avoid a stressful trip up and down tall staircases to the main Paris TGV station.
BOAT: If you take the ferry, the port of St Malo is the nearest although all the northern ports are within a reasonable driving distance.
ROAD: The N24 is the road to take if you are driving, and you will find the town easily from there.
Vannes: capital of the Morbihund
Morbihan Attractions
The capital is  a 2000 year old town overlooking the Morbihan Sea. Here between massive fortification and the striking gargoyles of Notre-Dame du Roncier is some of the interior's most popular outside eating  and drinking establishments.  Most of this castle was burnt down in 1488 but it still provides a striking entry to the old-town of this pretty town of 55,000 inhabitants.
 www.paimpont.fr  Explore these ancient woodlands on foot, or on a bike, or even a horse
lafermedumonde.combranfere.com discover the wild animals of Africa and how towns were built by the Romans
kid's park, with 400 animals from 5 continents by foot or mini-train
prehistoire.com at Malansac between Vannes & Redon 30 life -size scenes from the time of the dinosaurs

calm or white water rafting river hikes equipment for hire

Moriban's Plouharnel

plouharnel.fr Office de Tourism
Thanks for lunch!

Vannes is a beautiful mediaeval city of art and history, much of its long history is echoed in its well-preserved monuments and humbler buildings. Vannes, the  combines harmoniously the charm of its rampart and of its wood or stone constructions, with those of the sprays coming from the sea. Visit these tall striking ramparts of the old walled city to discover some lovely views of the colourful landscaped gardens surrounding them.

It was here that the Romans fought their fiercest Breton battle, eventually conquering the local Veneti tribe.

The ancient Breton Parliament used to hold sessions here, and the city has managed to keep alive the main vestiges of its rich history. In the 9th Century, the campaign for the unification of Brittany from Vannes began here and ended seven hundred years later when the documents establishing the union between Brittany and the rest of France were signed here.  

Vannes was fortunate to escape largely undamaged during World War II. The enormous Cathedrale St-Pierre, built in the 13th Century, is an eclectic mix of architecture from Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles.

Its quays are lined with seafood restaurants and sunny café terraces full of those indulging in "farniente" or taking life easy.

Harbour of the Morbihan Gulf, located right in the middle of "The Big West" area, is a busy bustling place offering the visitor much to see and do or just meander along the portside and admire all the sailing vessels. Here you may find passage to the many islands off Morbihan.