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The town hall in Ploërmel
The town hall in Ploërmel
Coat of arms of Ploërmel
Coat of arms
Ploërmel is located in France
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Country France
Region Brittany
Department Morbihan
Arrondissement Vannes
Canton Ploërmel
Intercommunality Ploërmel
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Patrick Le Diffon
Area1 50.81 km2 (19.62 sq mi)
Population (2009)2 9,064
 • Density 180/km2 (460/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 56165 / 56800
Elevation 19–106 m (62–348 ft)
(avg. 75 m or 246 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Church Saint-Armel

Ploërmel (Breton: Ploermael, Gallo language : Pieurmè) is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.

Character of the town

The town is both modern and romantically mediaeval, and has easy access to most parts of Brittany. Ploërmel is set on the edge of the magical Broceliande forest, which legend proclaims is the home of Merlin the Magician, amongst other fantastical characters.[1]


In 1351, during the Breton War of Succession (part of the Hundred Years' War), the town was occupied by the Montfortist faction, supported by the English. The rival French-supported Blois faction controlled nearby Josselin. Two groups of approximately 30 English and French knights staged a tournament at a spot between the two towns, to show their prowess and make money by capturing opponents.[citation needed]The Franco-Breton team eventually won after killing or capturing the Anglo-Breton force. This was later known as the Combat of the Thirty.

In 1944, 10 Resistance fighters were killed by German soldiers. 31 inhabitants were killed, 125 wounded, by the American air raid on the railway station on June 12, during the Normandy landings.[2]

On 10 December 2006, the city unveiled an statue of Pope John Paul II. It was a gift by Russo-Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, and has sparked controversy over the separation of Church and State.[3]

The town gave its name to a monastic order, the Brothers of Ploërmel.[4] The Doctor Who actor Tom Baker was a monk of the order for a while in Jersey.[5]

In 2008 from May 24 till 1 June 2008 the City of Ploërmel became the first City in France to host the International Federation of Carnival Cities Congress.[6] The Ploërmel Carnival is the largest in central Brittany and is held on Saturdays at the beginning and end of May.


Inhabitants of Ploërmel are called Ploërmelais.

Breton language

In 2008, just 2.62% of the town's children received either Breton-medium or bilingual education.[7]

Twin towns

Cultural references

Ploërmel was one of the favourite places of the South African-born British female composer, Priaulx Rainier. She evoked the place in her work for winds and percussion, Ploërmel (1973).

See also


External links