1. The first stone of the Récollets convent
The town of Pontivy still preserves the memory of a monastery in its place names: the "île des Récollets", the former convent garden, is one example. The Récollets settled in Pontivy in 1632, in a monastery occupied since 1458 by the Cordeliers. In 1664, they began rebuilding their convent. The foundation stone of the work has been preserved, despite the total destruction of the monastery - probably in 1806. Some wooden statues from the former Récollets church can still be seen today in the parish church of Notre-Dame-de-Joie.
2. Waterways in Pontivy before the 19th century
In the past, the Blavet was an essential economic route for Pontivy, providing an essential source of water for the town's inhabitants and enabling activities such as fisheries, tanneries and mills to be set up along its banks. But the Blavet was also a source of danger: drowning and flooding were frequent. The local community began to take this into account in the second half of the 18th century.e This was followed in the 19th century by a number of works (dredging the river, building quays, repairing roads close to the watercourse, etc.) which unfortunately never led to a definitive solution to the problem.
3. The Outreleau suburb
Like ovens and presses, under the Ancien Régime, wheat mills were a commercial monopoly of the seigneur: all the inhabitants of his fiefdom had to bring their grain to be ground. The miller was therefore a key figure in the town. In fact, he was the only inhabitant who, along with a few tanners, lived comfortably on the right bank of the Blavet. The rest of the population is made up of
more than modest condition. Because of its location, this district was called "Tréleau" or "Outreleau". The presence of the river Blavet led to the installation of mills and tanneries, making this the hard-working district of Pontivy.
4. The Carhaix gateway
Pontivy was, probably from the 12the It was surrounded by ramparts, which were themselves interrupted by gates. Probably rebuilt between 1714 and 1717 and now part of the hospital buildings, the Carhaix gate, along with the castle ramparts and a few scattered sections of fortifications, is the only vestige of this ancient urban wall. From the 13the In the 19th century, the expansion of the town outside its walls led to the creation of "false towns". The ramparts, already damaged by the sieges suffered by the town in 1342, 1488 and 1589, were deliberately destroyed from the 17th century onwards.e century to integrate the suburbs into the city.
5. The hospital
Like all "hôtel-dieu" under the Ancien Régime, the Pontivy hospital was once intended to accommodate the elderly, the poor and the sick, as well as travellers passing through, pregnant women and abandoned children. The current buildings are a juxtaposition of constructions from different periods. Only the outer walls of the chapel and the Carhaix gate predate the 19th century.e century. For a long time, the hospital was run by the Hospitaller Sisters of Saint Thomas de Villeneuve, a congregation founded in Lamballe in 1661. Until the French Revolution, the hospital in Pontivy received substantial financial support from the Lords of Rohan.
6. The house of the seneschal of the viscount of Rohan
Dated 1577, this house is exactly the same period as the Hôtel de Roscoët in Place du Martray (see panel 12). Both houses feature characteristic Renaissance decoration which, as with the majority of ashlar houses in Pontivy, is mainly concentrated around the openings (doors and windows). As on the façade of the Hôtel de Roscoët, the coat of arms above the entrance door has been removed: it probably originally bore the owner's coat of arms. The house underwent a remarkable restoration between 2000 and 2006.
7. The chapel of Saint-Ivy or of the congregation
At the end of the 18the In the 17th century, the Pontivy craftsmen's congregation decided to rebuild the chapel dedicated to Saint Ivy, which it had been using until then. The date 1770 can still be seen on the façade. Unfortunately, some of the decoration has been lost: statues in the round once placed in niches, various ornaments cut away, etc. The small turret to the left of the chapel contains the spiral staircase providing access to the upper floors, in particular the two tiers of galleries and the square bell tower that crowns the façade.
8. The parish church or basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Joie
Rebuilt in the early 16th centurye built in the 18th century on the site of an earlier church, Notre-Dame-de-Joie underwent major alterations at the end of the 18th century.e century, thanks in particular to the generosity of the Dukes of Rohan, and at the end of the 19e The church was rebuilt in the 19th century to accommodate the growing number of worshippers. It has nevertheless retained some of its original parts, in particular the entrance tower - with the exception of the spire - whose western façade bears the date 1533.
9. Place Anne de Bretagne
From 1665 to 1914, the centre of the Place Anne de Bretagne was occupied by the corn market, and the well used by the merchants at the time can still be seen. Until 1804, the cemetery was next to the church of Notre-Dame-de-Joie. It was then moved outside the walls to improve hygiene conditions in the heart of the town. The house at no. 14 has preserved a fine carved decoration from the 16th century.e In the 19th century, the decor of Renaissance half-timbered houses was characterised by grimacing faces, Greco-Roman tracery, bas-relief decoration and a pronounced horizontality.
10. Place du Martray
In Pontivy, the Place du Martray was for a long time the focal point of the town. Like most Breton squares bearing this name, it was close to the market halls and porch houses, and was home to a number of traders on fair and market days. From the 15the century to the 18e In the 19th century, the people of Pontivy would gather here to celebrate the end of Lent. The game of the quintaine required any man married in the previous twelve months to break three spears against a pole decorated with the Rohan coat of arms - the quintaine - and to do so from a cart pulled at high speed, to the laughter and applause of many spectators.
11. The house of the three pillars
Most of the Breton porch houses still standing today are preserved in Ille-et-Vilaine and Côtes-d'Armor. The house known as the Three Pillars is the only surviving example in Morbihan. Its Renaissance decoration dates it from the second half of the 16th century.e century. Built to protect goods from the elements, porch houses could, when adjoining, form veritable covered streets, as can still be seen today in Dinan, Vitré and La Guerche-de-Bretagne.
12. Hôtel de Roscoët
Built in 1578 for Jean de Roscoët and his wife, this mansion boasts a rich sculpted décor typical of the French Renaissance of the 16th century.e century. Traces of two coats of arms can still be seen today, probably burnt down during the Revolution. On the other hand, the inscription above the entrance door has been preserved, enabling the building to be dated with certainty. The name "watchtower" long given to the hotel because of the corner turret is incorrect: a watchtower is a small overhanging structure containing a single room used as a lookout, and is found mainly in military architecture.
13. Rue du Fil
Rue du Fil, like Place aux Fils (now Place Ruinet du Tailly) and Rue de la Cendre (used for bleaching fabrics), is a reminder of the cloth industry and trade that shaped the Pontivy economy during the Rohan era. The street still boasts some fine examples of half-timbered houses. Many of them are of mixed construction: stone on the ground floor, timber-framed on the first floor. The timbers used to prevent distortion of the façade are often in the shape of a Saint Andrew's cross, creating a certain uniformity throughout the town.
Planned as early as the First Empire, these covered market halls were completed in 1848, on land adjacent to the former seigniorial covered market halls destroyed in 1842. The architectural style was determined by the building's function, with the arcades opening up to the outside world. The theatre, located upstairs, was inaugurated in 1849.
15. La malpaudrie
Rebuilt or extensively restored in 1725, this house was originally a leper colony. After living for a time in harmony with the rest of the medieval population, lepers became veritable pariahs: considered civilly dead, accused of witchcraft, obliged to announce their arrival with a rattle, they were kept as far away from the towns as possible. The location of the building, on the boundary between the communes of Noyal and Pontivy in the 18e The question was settled in 1798 and the house was definitively considered to be in Pontivy.
16. The Château des Rohan
Most of it was built between 1485 and the beginning of the 16th century.e century, the Château des Rohan is typical of Breton military architecture from the end of the 15th century.e century. The irregular quadrilateral layout, flanked by round towers, is of the Philippian type (of the French king Philippe-Auguste, who was responsible for building the fortress of the Louvre in Paris at the end of the 12th century).e century). But only two towers - those on the main facade - remain here. The third (north-east) and fourth (south-east) towers were destroyed at two different periods in history. Until the archaeological digs in 2018, the presence of this fourth tower had been questioned.