The imperial district of Pontivy was built under Napoleon.

A point of history

In 1802, following almost ten years of civil war in the West between royalists and republicans, Napoleon Bonaparte, then first consul of the Republic, ordered the creation of two new cities: Napoleonville (Pontivy) and Napoléon-Vendée (Roche-sur-Yon). Shortly after, Napoleon Ier, then Emperor, jointly launched the construction of the Breton canals to counter the English maritime blockade. At the center of this system, Napoléonville connects Lorient thanks to the Channeled Blavet, and being at the center of canal from Nantes to Brest, also connects these last two.

Napoleonic architecture

This is why you will find in Pontivy a succession of Napoleonic complexes that have been completely preserved for almost two centuries:

The canal

Yohann Hamonic

First, the canal towpaths. They will allow you to explore the city from side to side in peaceful tranquility. Reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, you can explore the historic city center in complete safety, from the medieval-Renaissance district to the Napoleonic district.

Urban plan

The streets of the Napoleonic district are in total contrast to the streets of the medieval-renaissance district. You will feel like you are changing cities. Large, wide and straight streets, designed for better circulation, organize the new town.

Yohann Hamonic

Walk the streets of Napoléonville in the footsteps of the Emperors, Napoleon I and Napoleon III. Its architecture will surely make you think of Baron Haussmann's Parisian district.

Administrative buildings

Yohann Hamonic

La Place Aristide Briand (la Plaine), former Place Napoléon, is the beating heart of Napoléonville. La Plaine, symbol of Napoleonic power, is embraced by: the town hall and the sub-prefecture, the old court, the old cavalry barracks and the 19th century mansions.e century.

Imperial Church

Behind the town hall and the sub-prefecture, a green setting appears in the city center: Square Langlier. This park houses in its center the imperial church of Saint-Joseph, a gift from Emperor Napoleon III, following his visit to Napoleonville in August 1858. The first stone of this church was laid by Princess Élisa Napoléone Baciocchi, Napoleon's cousin III, and niece of Napoleon Ier.


Last step, the Napoleonville station. Built during the Second Empire of Napoleon III, this station was the railway hub of Central Brittany, connecting the north coast and the south coast of the Breton peninsula. The current reception hall contains a treasure: the old exterior pediment of the station, the inscription “Napoléonville” is still present.

Finally, the “rue Nationale”, formerly “rue Impériale”, the true backbone of the city of Pontivy, connects the new town to the old town. This street stretches over 1 kilometer in length!

Continue your stroll through the Napoleonic district by participating in a guided tour. Young or old, pressed for time, there is something for everyone and all tastes!

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