The fourth largest conurbation in Brittany and nestled on the region's south coast, Vannes is the capital of the Morbihan département. It is also the biggest of the host cities for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and among the most enchanting, offering a harmonious meeting point between land and sea with a medieval flavour.
Vannes has spread outwards from its historic centre, which was built at the junction between three different hills: Mene, situated inside the town walls; Boismoreau, in the Saint-Patern neighbourhood; and Garenne, home to the local prefecture and the prefecture gardens, as well as Garenne park and the headquarters of the departmental council of Morbihan.
To the south, Vannes looks out onto the Gulf of Morbihan, which means 'little sea' in Breton. A natural harbour, the gulf is peppered with around 40 islands, some of which – including the Ile d'Arz and Ile aux Moines – have their own permanent communities. The constantly changing scenery makes this delightful tableau of land and sea a unique destination.
Founded in 1998 following a merger between Veloce Vannetais and FC Vannes, Vannes Olympique Club – or Vannes OC – enjoyed their closest brush with glory when they stunned everyone by reaching French League Cup final in 2009. They also progressed to the French Cup quarter-finals in 2007, while their best ever championship performance was a tenth-place finish in Ligue 2. However, they have struggled in recent years and now compete in France's fifth division.