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Pays nantais (Traditional province, Brittany, France)

Bro Naoned

Last modified: 2021-06-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: pays nantais |
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[Flag]         [Flag]

Flag of Pays nantais, two versions
Left, image by Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, 12 January 2000
Right, image by Raphaël Vinet, 28 October 2002

See also:

Presentation of Pays nantais

Pays nantais (Bro Naoned in Breton), located in the south-east of Brittany, matches the department of Loire-Atlantique. Nantes was the capital of the Duchy of Brittany.

Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, 12 January 2000

Flag of Pays nantais

The first version of the flag of Pays nantais, designed by Philippe Rault, is partially based on the flag of Nantes. The vessel is the symbol of the town, the ermine spots represent Brittany and the blue wave symbolizes river Loire, which waters the town.

Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, 12 January 2000

A subsequent version of the flag of Pays nantais, designed by Raphaël Vinet, has river Loire represented by a green wave. The municipal arms of Nantes indeed show a vessel with ermine sails sailing on a green sea.

Ivan Sache, 28 October 2002

Traditional districts

Pays d'Ancenis


Flag of Pays d'Ancenis - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 February 2016

Pays d'Ancenis is named for its main town, Ancenis (Ankiniz; lit., Long island).

The flag of Pays d'Ancenis was designed by Raphaël Vinet (Kreabreizh), Wilfrid Anezo et Olivier Traccucci (cultural association Hentoù Breizh).
The flag was adopted on 30 April 2014 and presented on 29 June 2014 in Ancenis by members of Hentoù Breizh.

The flag is quartered by a black cross, recalling the naval ensign of the Duchy of Brittany and highlighting Ancenis as a significant port on river Loire. Brittany is represented by the five ermine spots placed 3 and 2 in the second and third quarters of the flag.
The first and fourth quarters are derived from the arms of Ancenis, "Gules three cinquefoils ermine". The green wavy stripe in base represents rivers Loire and Erdre, as well as the Ancenis forest.
[Ouest France, 29 June 2014]

The arms of Ancenis were ascribed in the Armorial Général (1696; image). The arms are canting, a cinquefoil with rounded-off petals being (rarely) called in French heraldry angène (Jouffroy d'Eschavannes, 1844), aka angemme or angenin (Encylopédie de Diderot et d'Alembert). This "flower" would be the namesake of Ancenis, once known as Ancenius (but see above).
[Les drapeaux bretons de 1188 à nos jour [rau98]]

Ivan Sache, 20 February 2016

Pays de Guérande


Flag of Pays de Guérande - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 September 2020

Pays de Guérande is limited in the south by river Loire and includes the whole seashore north of the river. In a strategic location controlling land and sea access to west from Nantes, Pays de Guérande matches the southern part of the Gislard diocese established by King Nominoe.

The flag of Pays de Guérande, which was inaugurated on 28 June 2016 in Gué,rande (photo), is based on the Kroazh-Du, the white flag with a black cross, considered as the first Breton national flag. The ermine spots are a symbol of Brittany.
The red and white colors represent Pays nantais, whose arms had a red chief. The nave represents sea and river navigation, recalling also the arms of Saint-Nazaire. Tue fourth quarter represents Nantes and Guérande.
[Hentoù Breizh, 2 July 2016]


M. Bodlore-Penlaez' flag proposal for Pays de Guérande - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 September 2012

Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez designed in 2006 a flag for Pays de Guérande Country, the original design being modified in 2007 by Herle Audrain.
The flag is white with a blue border, a black saltire, a black ermine spot in the first, third and fourth quarters, and, in the middle, a yellow disk cut in base by a white triangle and surrounded by 13 yellow triangles.
The flag was inspired by the flag of Guérande. The cross is replaced by a saltire to represent a saltern; the lower quarter, forming a white triangle, represents a salt heap (locally called mulon) drying in the sun. The blue border symbolizes the sea and the marshes. This design has not made its way to an actual flag yet.

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2012

Pays de la Mée


Flag of Pays de la Mée - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 February 2016

Pays de la Mée was probably named for old Celtic mediolanon, "the place in the middle", reflecting its geographical location in the center of Pays Nantais. Its main towns are Châteaubriant and Derval (An Derv; lit., The Oak).

The flag of Pays de la Mée was designed by Raphaël Vinet (Kreabreizh) for the cultural association Hentoù Breizh, in partnership with Philippe Jouët, co-author, with Kilian Delorme, of the Atlas historique des pays et terroirs de Bretagne.
The flag was presented on 10 February 2016 in Châteaubriant by members of Hentoù Breizh. The flag is offered for sale by the association, in three sizes (30 x 45 cm, 60 x 90 cm, 1 x 1.50 m).
The flag is quartered by a black cross, recalling the traditional flag of the Duchy of Brittany. Brittany is also represented by the five ermine spots placed 3 and 2 in the second and third quarters of the flag.

The first quarter of the flag is red, filled with yellow semicircles arranged in horizontal rows, recalling the first arms of the lords of Châteaubriant, "Gules papilloné or", The unusual papilloné design (French, papelonné) is described by Viton de Saint-Allais (1816) and Duhout d'Agicourt (1899) as "looking like fish scales". The authors of the flag of Pays de la Mée refer to peacock feathers. Ogée (Dictionnaire de Bretagne, 1780) reports that King Louis IX (St. Louis) granted the change of the papilloné design, or semy of pine cones also used by the lords, for a semy of fleurs-de-lis or, to lord Chotard of Châteaubriant, who had saved his life during the Battle of Al Mansurah (1250, part of the 7th Crusade). The modern arms of the town of Châteaubriant (description) feature an escutcheon "Gules semé of fleurs-de-lis or" on a shield divided per pale France ("Azure three fleurs-de-lis or") and Brittany ("Ermine plain").
The fourth quarter is white with two horizontal red stripes, recalling the old arms of the lords of Derval, "Argent two fesses gules". The modern arms of the town of Derval (presnetation), designed by Michel de Pressensé, adopted on 28 February 1965 by the Municipal Council and registered on 10 September 1969, are "Quarterly Brittany and Derval ancient, on the model of the arms granted in 1332 by Duke John III of Brittany to the lord of Derval.
[Agence Bretagne Presse, 14 February 2016; Ouest-France, 11 February 2016; L'Éclaireur, 17 February 2016]

Ivan Sache, 20 February 2016

Pays de Retz

[Flag]         [Flag]

Flag of Pays de Retz, current and earlier versions - Images by Raphaël Vinet, 22 April 2002

Pays de Retz covers the area located between the southern (left) bank of the Loire river and the north of the Breton-Vendean marsh. Its historical capital is Machecoul (7,341 inhabitants in 2015). Relatively flat, the area includes large marshy depressions, such as Lake Grand Lieu (3,500 ha in summer, 9,000 ha in winter). The Atlantic coast of Pays de Retz; made of schistose cliffs, is nicknamed Côte de Jade (Jade Coast).
The name of Retz is associated with Gilles de Retz (1404-1440), better known as Gilles de Rais (or Rays), brother-in-arms of Joan of Arc, Marshal of France at the age of 25, and later satanic and pedophilic serial killer, finally sentenced to death, hung and burned in Nantes. He is the model of Charles Perrault's Barbe-Bleue (Bluebeard). The ruins of the castle in which he committed most of his crimes are still standing in Tiffauges. He was lord of a territory larger than Pays de Retz but including most of it.

Ivan Sache, 27 February 2001

Before the 10th century, the Pays de Retz was included in the territory of the celtic tribe of the Pictes or Pictones, who gave the name of Poitou. The area was later incorporated into the County of Poitou. In the 11th century, Brittany was given a small area around Rez (Ratiatum), later called the Pays de Rez (pagus ratiatensis), later Pays de Retz.
Time afer time, the Bretons increased the territory of Pays de Retz. The Pays became a County, then a Duchy-Peery, with changing borders, as it was the case for most feudal states in the Middle Ages.

Hervé Rochard, 18 July 2003

The flag of Pays de Retz (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is white, quartered by a black cross. The canton is yellow with a white fmabriation and another black cross. The three other quarters are white, charged with five black ermine spots placed 3 + 2. The flag was designed by Raphaël Vinet, who improved an earlier, similar design.

The earlier flag of Pays de Retz, which was offered for sale in 1996 by Coop Breizh, in partnership with the Breton Vexillological Society, differed by the proportions (3:4), the number of ermine spots (three), and the addition of a thin black line in the white quarters.
The ermine spots recall that Pays de Retz belonged to the County of Nantes, and, therefore, to historical Brittany. The canton features the arms of Pays de Retz, said to date back to the 14th century.


Banner of arms of Pays de Retz - Image by Ivan Sache, 27 September 2002

The "Breton" flag stirred controversy in Pays de Retz, where the banner of arms of Pays de Retz is also used (photo). M. Lopez, President of the Society of Historians of Pays de Retz, claimed in Ouest-France that "this flag of Pays de Retz cannot represent our territory since it conceals its Poitou historical component", and, therefore, its composite Breton/Poitevin identity.

Ivan Sache, 27 September 2002

Pays du Vignoble nantais


Flag of Pays du Vignoble nantais - Image by Ivan Sache, 12 July 2015

Pays du Vignoble Nantais forms the south-easternmost part of historical Brittany. Located south of river Loire, the country is made of 30 municipalities grouped in the Syndicat mixte du SCoT et du Pays du Vignoble nantais, counting together some 135,000 inhabitants.

The territory is named for the vineyards that covers one quarter of its area. It is the cradle of the Muscadet dry white wine, produced from grapes of a single variety, the Melon de Bourgogne. Documented in neighboring Anjou in 1529, the Melon was introduced in the Nantes vineyards in 1635.
The Muscadet AOC - the oldest "appellation d'origine contrôlée" for French wines - was established by the Decree of 23 September 1937. The Muscadet AOC is subdivided into three regional sub-appellations:
- Muscadet Sèvre et Maine (1936), named for rivers Sèvre nantaise and Maine, mostly produced in Pays du Vignoble Nantaiss (6,900 ha; 23 villages). In 2011, the three municipalities of Clisson, Gorges and Le Pallet were allowed to add their name to the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation. The municipalities of Mouzillon-Tillières, Monnières-Saint-Fiacre, Château-Thébaud and Vallet have submitted an application to obtain the same grant.
- Muscadet Côteaux de la Loire (1936, 189 ha, 24 villages);
- Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu (1994), mostly produced near Lake Grandlieu (717 ha, 17 villages).

The flag of Pays du Vignoble nantais (photo, L'Hebdo de Sèvre et Maine, 22 May 2015), designed by Raphaël Vinet, was adopted on 4 April 2015 by the Collectif pour la Promotion du Pays du Vignoble nantais.
The flag was inaugurated on 24 May 2015, during the 4th Grande Tablée Bretonne, a festival organized in Nantes by the Comité des Vins Bretons (photos).

The flag is quartered by a black cross. The first and the fourth quarters are red, charged with a white lion's head crowned and langued in yellow and with a yellow, two-leaved bunch of grapes, respectively. The second and third quarters are white with five black ermine spots, placed 3 and 2.

The black cross cantonned with ermine spots, inspired by the flag of Nantes, recalls that the area historically belonged to Brittany. The ermine spot is also found on the coat of arms of 22 out of the 34 municipalities forming Pays du Vignoble nantais. The first quarter recalls the arms of the town of Clisson, the unofficial capital of Pays du Vignoble nantais. The fourth quarter recalls wine-growing; a bunch of grapes is also found on several local coats of arms. Here, the leaves are shaped like those of the Melon variety used to produce Muscadet wine.
[Agence Bretagne Presse]

Ivan Sache, 12 July 2015