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Ille-et-Vilaine (Department, France)

Last modified: 2023-08-26 by olivier touzeau
Keywords: ille-et-vilaine |
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Flag of Ille-et-Vilaine - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 19 March 2019

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Administrative data

Code: 35
Region: Bretagne
Traditional provinces: Brittany (traditional provinces of Dol, Rennes, and Saint-Malo)
Bordering departments: Côtes-d'Armor, Loire-Atlantique, Manche, Mayenne, Morbihan

Area: 6,775 km2
Population (2016): 1,051,779 inhabitants

Préfecture: Rennes
Sous-préfectures: Fougères, Redon, Saint-Malo
Subdivisions: 4 arrondissements, 27 cantons, 333 municipalitiess.

The department is named after rivers Ille (47 km) and Vilaine (225 km), the Ille flowing into the Vilaine near Rennes and Vilaine being a tributary to the Channel. Proposals of changing the name of the department to "Marche-de-Bretagne" or "Haute-Bretagne" have aborted.

Ivan Sache, 11 April 2019/P>

Flag of Ille-et-Vilaine

The flag of Ille-et-Vilaine is white with the logo of the Departmental Council (photo, photo, photo).

The General Council has modernized its logo in July 2008 (newsletter of the General Council No. 29).
Designed 22 years ago, the logo had to be modernized, keeping its main qualities - visibility, specific colours and reference to Brittany -, and adding "a new modernity, more fluidity and another wink to Brittany". The lines symbolizing the coasts of Brittany have been simplified. A stylized ampersand surmounted by an ermine spot highlights the Breton identity of the department. The name of the territory is put forward, with the name of the authority changed from "Conseil Général" to "Département".

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 19 March 2019

Flag of the former General Council

[Flag]         [Flag]

Former flags of the General Council of Ille-et-Vilaine - Images by Ivan Sache, 27 September 2009

The former flag of the General Council of Ille-et-Vilaine was white with the former logo of the General Council.
The logo features a very stylized map of Brittany in black (without the tip of Finistère!). The red disc shows the geographical location of the departement. CONSEIL GENERAL D'ILLE ET VILAINE is written below the logo.
The flag was also used without the writing (photo).

Ivan Sache, 29 September 2009

Haute Bretagne


Flag of Haute Bretagne - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 19 March 2019

In 2001, the Departmental Committee of Tourism of Ille-et-Vilaine decided at its Annual General Meeting to add the name of "Haute Bretagne" (Upper Brittany) to its name. Its officials felt that the name of Ille-et-Vilaine did not allow to identify the department, especially to locate it clearly in Brittany (the same argument had already been given in 1989 when the General Council wanted the name of the departement to become "Marche-de-Bretagne").
The officials of the Departmental Committee of Tourism of Ille-et-Vilaine led from then on campaigning so that the department of Ille-et-Vilaine also changes its name and becomes the department of Haute Bretagne. Formally launched in 2005. the proposal prompted an outcry throughout Brittany, especially in Loire-Atlantique but alos in Morbihan and Côtes-d'Armor: the principal distinction between the two parts of Brittany is that Lower Brittany is the historic realm of the Breton language, while Upper Brittany is that of Gallo; under the Ancient Regime, the boundary between the two was generally in line with the province's division into nine bishoprics, with those of Rennes, Dol, Nantes, Saint-Malo and Saint-Brieuc considered to form Upper Brittany, while Tréguier, Vannes, Quimper and Saint-Pol-de-Léon formed Lower Brittany. Ille-et-Vilaine corresponds to only c. 40% of the area of Upper Brittany and 35% of its population.
Therefore, the departmental authorities gave up the project. The Departmental Committee of Tourism recidivated and used again the name of Haute Bretagne in all their communication in 2008, together with the name Ille-et-Vilaine. A new graphical identity was created in 2010 (guide, 2014). In 2015, "Haute-Bretagne" became a larger territorial mark not only for tourism, but for cultural and economic purposes too, promoted by the Departemental Council and not only the Departemental Committee of Tourism.

The symbol of the mark is made of nine short stripes (alternatively black and white, but red for the third one) and the name HAUTE BRETAGNE.
The black and white bands allude to the Gwenn-ha-Du while "the red is a symbol of dynamism, but also the mark of a certain shift and a slight impertinence. This sign says that Ille-et-Vilaine is Breton but with something more, different, singular that is his strength and personality: more accessible, more open, more welcoming, younger, more dynamic, more creative..."
[Official website]

White flags with the "territorial mark" Haute Bretagne (photo, 2013) can sometimes be spotted. On the flag, the words "Haute Bretagne" are on the left part of the logo.

Olivier Touzeau, 19 March 2019

Association pour le Développement de la Vallée de la Rance


Flag of Association pour le Développement de la Vallée de la Rance - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 30 October 2021

Association pour le Développement de la Vallée de la Rance aims at highlighting a strategy and a program for promoting tourism in the valley of the Rance in Ille-et-Vilaine, in compliance with the departmentalp scheme of tourism development. The association, founded in 1997, includes municipalities located over the two banks of the Rance, from Saint-Malo and Dinard to Pleudihen.
The flag of the association pour le Développement de la Vallée de la Rance (photo) is white with the association's logo, which features a traditional tide mill.

More than three-quarters of tide mills established in France are/were located on the coasts of Brittany. This represents the world's second biggest concentration of such buildings at a regional scale, after Maine (US).
Tide mills were in most cases used to produce floor. Some of them, however, were used in proto-industries, such as cloth fouling, paper production or tan extraction, or to supply power to other engines.
A comprehensive survey organized over the last 30 years allowed the identification of 138 tide mills in historical Brittany (Region Bretagne and department of Loire-Atlantique). Some c. 60 of them are still standing, only 3 of them being still operational (not necessarily operated), in La Vicomté-sur-Rance (Le Prat, website), Bréhat island, and Arz island.
The valley of the Rance was a hotspot of tide mills, with 16 sites identified in the survey. On the model of traditional tide mills, a tidal power station was established in the estuary of the Rance in 1966. The world's first and, for long, biggest, tidal power station, the Rance station produces 500 GWh per year, covering 2.5% of the power demand for Region Brittany.
[Inventaire du patrimoine culturel en Bretagne]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 30 October 2021