Medieval garden in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier
©Medieval garden, Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier|Alexandre Lamoureux
Picturesque towns and villagesSAINT-AUBIN-DU-CORMIER

Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, standing guard over Brittany

This Petite Cité de Caractère® is ideal for a romantic break combining nature and history. Explore the remains of the medieval castle and walled town dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, relax beside the lake or enjoy a woodland walk along the GR® 37 hiking path in the Bois de Rumignon.


Situated north-east of Rennes at the crossroads of the medieval towns of Fougères and Vitré, Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier is a little character town overlooking the Couesnon Valley.

Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier castle

In 1223, Pierre 1st, Duke of Brittany had a castle built on a rocky spur overlooking the Couesnon river. It consisted of a keep and ten circular towers forming a rectangular enclosure of 200m. Around 1450, a second surrounding wall was built around the castle and town.

However, during the Mad War of 1488 which preceded the union of Brittany with France, the King’s army, which had already taken Fougères, confronted that of François II of Brittany. The Breton defeat at the Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier led to the demolition of the castle on the orders of King Charles VIII in 1491.

Nowadays, part of the keep and walls of the town can still be seen. Bordered on one side by the Bois de Rumignon woods and on the other side by a lovely lake, the site of the old castle remains a popular attraction, symbolising the struggle for Breton independence.

The walled town

The medieval centre of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, its streets, ramparts, gates and different quarters mainly date from the 14th and 15th centuries. The main square was once bordered by half-timbered houses with shops beneath.

The walled town became a prosperous trading centre from 1237 onwards when fairs were held under the covered market. It had numerous inns, leather factories and pottery workshops. Today, the market at Saint-Aubin takes place every Thursday morning in the streets of the town centre and is well-known for its friendly atmosphere.

In the centre of the main square stands the Tour Veillard, the tower of the ancient ducal chapel, and just behind it is a charming Neo-Byzantine style church. The Maison de la Rose Rouge, the house on the corner of the square was built in 1614 on the site of the birthplace of Thomas James, Bishop of Dol-de-Bretagne in 1482.

Don’t miss the garden inspired by the Middle Ages created by the council on what was once a vegetable garden. It depicts a medieval enclosed garden in an original setting with many medicinal herbs and ornamental beds.

Artistic heritage trail

Immerse yourself in the history of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier by following its artistic heritage discovery trail. The circular trail has six stop-off points and appeals to the imaginary world surrounding the legends and mythical figures of the medieval town.


The lake which was originally part of the castle moat is a lovely place for a walk or to relax beside the historic site. The Camping Municipal de l’Étang is a charming campsite to spend the night beside the lake.

A wonderful place for a walk close to the town centre

The paths around the lake on the outskirts of the walled town are perfect for walks and cycle rides with picnic tables dotted here and there. From the south side there is a panoramic view of the historic town and the medieval castle. The Couesnon outdoor activity centre runs stand-up paddle-boarding classes on the lake.

Jardin d’Aventures, an adventure playground for children

Young children will love the Jardin d’Aventures playground on the east side of the lake. It has a free, treetop adventure trail, a mini-castle and even a throne! Take the opportunity to go back in time with the legend of The Ondine (water nymph) and the Dragon, specially created for the little character town of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier.

Geocaching at Saint-Aubin

Upper Brittany geocaching enthusiasts can follow an easy trail starting from the lake car park. « Le Trésor de Saint-Aubin (in French only) » is part of the grand cache known as the « Fabuleux trésor de Fougères ».

Fishing on Etang de Saint-Aubin

The lake is a well-known spot for angling enthusiasts with trout, pike, zander, perch and roach. During summer two fishing festivals « Fête de la Pêche » and « Enduro carpe » are held at the site.


As the GR® 37 hiking path runs through the Bois de Rumignon and the Forêt de Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, there is plenty to attract walkers to the countryside around the character town.

Bois de Rumignon

The Bois de Rumignon (woods) lie behind the lake and castle ruins on a 145m ridge between the Couesnon and Vilaine basins. Connected to the Parc du Château via the GR® 37, the Bois de Rumignon and the Parc du Château together form a 17-hectare conservation area.

An easy circular trail of around 1½ hours takes you on a woodland walk among oak, beech and Scot’s pine trees. Among bracken is a group of steep-sided sandstone rocks known as La Roche Piquée. Legend has it that a treasure lies beneath the rock, guarded by giant toads!

Forêt de Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier

To the west of the medieval town, the national forest of Haute Sève extends over 843 hectares from Saint-Aubin to Mézières-sur-Couesnon. It is well-known for its mineral spring from which water rich in iron gushes forth. Along the main path through the forest stands a group of standing stones, five of which are listed monuments.

Etang d’Ouée

In the south of the Forêt de Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, the Etang d’Ouée is a 200 hectare lake, ideal for fishing and water sports like paddle-boarding and canoeing. The walking trail ‘Le Meneur de Loups’ around the countryside around Gosné runs alongside part of the lake.

See also


Fougères, City of art and history


Fougères, a thousand-year-old town on the edge of Brittany, has a rich history with many twists and turns.