| Matignon - Pléboulle - Ruca - Saint-Denoual - Saint-Pôtan
Matignon - Origins
Matignon owes its existence to the lords of Matignon, who built a château on a feudal motte (La Butte au Coq) in about the 11th Century. The name is undoubtedly Frankish in origin, coming from the words «mattus» (wet place) and «matignus» (an inhabitant of such a place), and probably referred to the head of the garrison on the Guerche, who was the ancestor of the lords of Matignon. Their last descendant, Luce, marriedEtienne Gouyon in about 1180. In about the 13th Century, the Gouyons of Matignon built a collegiate church and a manor house near their château, and the town of Matignon developed around it. From the 10th Century onwards Saint-Germain-de-la-Mer had been the parish centre and Matignon was attached to it. After the French Revolution the parish was transferred to Matignon.
The Princes of Monaco are of Breton descent
On 20 October 1715, Jacques-François-Léonor Gouyon of Matignon married Louise Hippolyte Grimaldi, the eldest daughter of Antoine Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco, on condition that he and his successors would take the name and the coat of arms of the Grimaldi, since the Grimaldi had no male heir. On this occasion, King Louis XIV granted him the dukedom/peerage of Valentinois and so he achieved the rank of Peer of France. So on 26 February 1731 he became Prince of Monaco and took the name Jacques the first. He is the ancestor of Prince Albert of Monaco, who, among his titles, has that of Lord of Matignon. And the people of Matignon have not forgotten the connection: Matignon church bells are rung to celebrate events in the princely family of Monaco.
The Hôtel de Matignon in Paris (Now the French Prime Minister’s residence)
Construction of the Hôtel de Matignon dates back to 30 September 1719. Its owner, Prince of Tingry, Marshal of France, asked Jean Courtonne to design and build a mansion, but the building costs were so high that the Prince of Tingry was obliged to sell the property in 1723 to Jacques Gouyon, Lord of Matignon. The building was completed in 1725 after the death of Jacques Gouyon. His son, Jacques “Grimaldi”, and daughter-in-law inherited it and made it their Paris residence. Since then the Hôtel has kept the name of Matignon.
Matignon - Heritage
Within the town boundaries there is the moated mound “les Guerches”, dating back to the end of the 9th Century, which can be seen from the footpath which runs from rue du Heume to the sea; the other is the castle motte of “Butte au coq”, which is on the road to Montbran, and where some gold jewellery was found, which is now on display in the Museum of St-Germain-en-Laye (near Paris).
In Notre-Dame church, you shouldn’t miss the ten artdeco windows produced by the prestigious Mauméjan Brothers’ workshops. When you have done some shopping in the town centre, you can relax in the old 19th Century covered market place, which is attached to the “maison des associations” (club meeting house).
The village of St-Germain-de-la-Mer is worth a visit to look at:
- The 17th Century granite monolithic cross on an octagonal base near the chapel. The chapel itself has a 12th Century Romanesque porch and a 13th Century font, a painted wooden statue of St. Germain and an 18th Century high altar.
- Its washing-place and spring, 300 m from the chapel.
Not far from the village, at the Pointe St-Efficace, there is a superb panorama over the sea. Close by, in a pretty woodland valley, you will see a waterfall, the ruins of the Moulin de la Mer and the Moulin de Roches Noires (private property).
The Moulin de la Mer site was acquired by the local authority in 2001 as part of its policy of preserving “fragile natural sites”. The Tourist Offi ce can provide you with a guide costing €2.30, to help you discover this protected place, rich in history.
As you explore the town and surrounding area you may come across the following: the La Cave washingplace, the Groseil spring and washing-place, and many other treasures, including the 17th Century Chesnaye Tanio manor house and the 16th Century la Vigne manor house, both of which are private property and can be seen from the road.
From your car, have a look at the magnifi cent 300-year-old Quercus Ilex (holm oak), as you leave Matignon on the D786, going towards Dinard.
• Area: 1454 hectares
• Population: 1728 Matignonnais
From 1/07 to 1/09 free access to the grounds of the Manoir de la Vigne from 11am to 5pm.