France Travel Planner Logo   Josselin, Bretagne, France
This tiny town on the River Oust is best known for its château and romantic history.


Josselin, with fewer than 3000 inhabitants, is a quiet town with a long history. Its famous château has been razed and rebuilt several times. Since the 15th century it has been owned by the Rohan family, who still reside there.

Château de Josselin, Brittany
Château de Josselin.

Guided tours are offered in season, allowing the visitor to see the interior of the château as well as its ornate inner façade, which is in sharp contrast to the fortress-like view from the river, the view presented to enemies. Carvings of animals and other designs, as well as stylized letters for the Rohan motto A Plus, make for an interesting façade.

Nearby is the Musée des Poupées, or Doll Museum, with over 500 dolls from the Rohan collection. A combined ticket with the château offers a discounted fee.

In the center of the village is the beautiful church, Basilique Notre-Dame-du-Roncier, or Our Lady of the Brambles. Legend has it that a farmer found a statue of the Virgen in a bramble bush on this spot in 808. It became a site of pilgrimage, and the legend further says that the farmer's daughter was cured of her blindness.

The church is Gothic, with wonderful gargoyles. It contains the tombs of Eudon 1er de Porhoet, the son of Josselin, and his wife, Anne de Leon, which date from the 11th century.

It is also possible to climb the Tower, for beautiful views of the Château de Josselin and the surrounding countryside.

Josselin, Brittany
Beautiful roses at the entrance to the tower of Notre-Dame-du-Roncier.

The center of Josselin reflects its long history. Founded in the 11th century by Guéthenoc, the Viscount of Porhoët and named for his son, the medieval city has preserved a number of beautiful half-timbered houses. A short walking tour will take you past several of these. The town enjoyed great prosperity in the 17th century, thanks to its talented craftsmen. And in the 19th century the Nantes-Brest Canal was built, bringing more commerce to the town.

Josselin sits in the middle of the Morbihan department, and the area offers many outdoor activities. Josselin is a bit off the beaten path, but only 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Rennes. For those interested in King Arthur, it's also just 55 kilometers (34 miles) west of the legendary forest of Brocéliande, said to contain the tomb of Merlin.

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Rohan motto, Josselin Château, Brittany, France

Above, Ornate carving on Château de Josselin, with A PLUS, the Rohan motto.

Below, Gargoyle on the Basilica of Our Lady of Brambles, Josselin, France.

Gargoyle, Our Lady of Brambles, Josselin, France

  Maison des Porches, Josselin
Above, Maison des Porches, Josselin. Note the carved uprights by the door.

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