On the banks of the river Rance
The name of the town comes from the establishment of a convent of nuns in the Middle Ages, which grew into a veritable municipality, and earned the nickname 'city of nuns,' which stuck, as la Ville es Nonais.
Until the 19th century it belonged to the neighbouring town of Saint-Suliac. In 1850 it was detached and gained its own town hall. The village is home to a beautiful church that still has its traditional parish enclosure.
In the 16th century, the town was on the river route that carried wine, cereals, flax and hemp, and later, apples and cider, downstream to the ports.
In 1897, a new unloading wharf was built at Port Saint-Jean to facilitate the landing and boarding of passengers and goods in the immediate vicinity of the 15th century Vauboeuf feudal mansion.
A bridge connecting the communities
The town is on the river Rance and its large hamlet, Port Saint-Jean, developed at a natural narrowing of the river bringing the two banks closer together. Crossing the river used to be by ferry, belonging to the Knights Hospitallers of Jerusalem. Later, a first bridge brought together the two banks, and today a second structure carries the N176 main road.
Local wildlife and environment
The proximity of the river Rance gives a strong identity to this place, sandwiched between the sea and the Breton countryside.
In the maritime estuary of the river Rance, the mudflats and reed beds are among the richest landscapes in the region in ecological terms. Overlooked by the imposing rocky outcrop of Mont-Garrot, 73 meters high, the Anse du Vigneux bay is home to a protected grassland area where migratory birds find excellent wintering provisions. There is also a mediaeval wall, uncovered at low tide.
Boating, fishing and watching local wildlife in the largest grassland area in the estuary, are all possible from Vigneux or Port Saint-Jean with their nautical air, turned towards the sea as they are.
The banks of the river Rance and the Grande Tour hiking trail of Saint-Malo country make La Ville Es Nonais an interesting starting point for lots of different walks.
584 hectares - 1,184 inhabitants - Locals known as Nonaisiens & Nonaisiennes