From origin to today

From prehistory to the present day, find all the history of the city of Pornic: the evolution of the castle, the creation of the casino, the iconic sea baths and many other secrets of the past ...
Le Tumulus des Mousseaux de nos jours
5000 B.C.
The prehistorical man in this ultimate mesolithic period lives in the cliffs of Sainte Marie.
Le drakkar, bateau de vikings
4000/3500 B.C.
Many megalithic monuments get erected by the neolithic man along the seashore (burial site). One example: the tumulus of Les Mousseaux.

56 B.C.
The Roman legions and Julius Caesar are nearby Pornic and join this region to the Aquitaine.
Around 600/700
A vicus is created in Le Clion sur Mer (first community).

After 700
A priory is built by the monks of Saint Philbert in Sainte Marie

The Saracens are in the bay.

The Vikings are now present.

The Pornic area is integrated to the county of Herbauges.

After 830
A castrum is built probably in order to defend the estuary of Haute Perche.

Erispoe takes over the Pays de Retz joining Brittany.

Alain Barbetorte chases the Vikings to Pornic and gets the sovereignty of the Pays d'Herbauges. The city takes slowly shape.

Source: "PORNIC - Etoile et Reine" by Dominique PIERRELEE, Ed. SILOË, Laval, 1998
After 1000
The priory in Sainte Marie is given up to the religious community of Saint Sauveur de Redon.

After 1050
Pornic becomes part of the barony of Rais de Machecoul.

The name of Pornic (PORSNITI) appears for the first time in the records.
La place forte de Pornic au XIIème siècle
Around 1100 A fortified castle is born at the crossing point of the rivers Haute Perche, Dette and Cracaud.

The Augustins of Saint Médard de Doulon join the foundation of Sainte Marie.
Sainte Marie shows its noble quarterings and adds the name Pornic to its own in order to demonstrate the natural connection between both places.

After 1130
The tide mills in Pornic become some key elements of the local economy.

The barony of Rais (and the lordship of Pornic) comes under the authority of the Chabot.

The English take control of the bay of Brittany. 1362 Gautier Huet, an English captain, governs the Pays de Retz.

Between 1369 and 1380
Pornic is probably under the authority of the duke of Brittany.

Jeanne de Rais, Girard Chabot's daughter, is forced to give up the lordship of Pornic to the duke of Brittany.

The duke of Brittany Jean IV is compelled to hand over Pornic to Jeanne de Rais.

Guy de Laval takes possession of the barony of Rais.

Gilles de Rais comes into possession of the barony of Rais.

The duke of Brittany, Jean V, tries to get back the barony of Rais through Gilles de Rais's disastrous administration  and acquires it in 1437.

The duke of Brittany gives the barony of Rais to Marie, Gilles de Rais's daughter.

André de Chauvigny reconstitute the integrity of the barony of Rais. The Rais have entered Brittany.

Source: "PORNIC - Etoile et Reine" by Dominique PIERRELEE, Ed. SILOË, Laval, 1998
La forteresse de Pornic au XVème siècle
  • Gilles de Laval, Baron de Rais, 1404-1440
  • blason Gilles de Rais
  • Blason de la Baronnie de Rais
  • Tour nord du chateau de Pornic et ses machicoulis
  • Albert de Gondi, duc de Retz, Maréchal de France en 1573
  • blason Albert de Gondi
Only Pornic appears in the Pays de Retz on a map of the Brittany coast.

Under Catherine de Clermont and Albert de Gondi (or Gondy), the Barony of Rais is erected as a duchesse and the spelling of "Rais" becomes "Retz".

The Leagers take over Pornic.

Albert de Gondi, Duke of Retz, friend of Henry IV, receives the feodal avowal from Saint-André of Pornic.
Les halles couvertes

From 1600
Piracy harms the economy of Pornic.

Henry de Gondy, Duke of Retz, decides to build the covered market.

Three vessels coming from Pornic are captured by the Turks near the Pilier.

After 1668
Pornic becomes a privateer port.
Bateau Terre-neuvier

From 1700
Since the XVIIth century, Pornic is one of the most important cod fishing port (on the banks of Terre Neuve / Newfoundland - Canada) and becomes an important port of trades.
The shipyards develop.
The coastal path along the seashore is created in order to enable the "gabelous" (customs officers in charge of gathering the salt tax) to watch over the shipping traffic and fight against smuggling.
The North Atlantic triangular trade expands.

Pornic's General Hospital is created on the estate of Montplaisir.

The Duke of Penthièvre, Brittany's Governor, inspects the defense of the Pornic seacoast.

Pornic becomes the headquarter of a port authority for the coastguards.

The Duke of Aiguillon, Brittany's Governor, inspects the defense of the Pornic seacoast.

The Marquis of Brie-Serrant acquires the Barony of Retz. He thinks about building a channel connecting Pornic to the river Loire and a port of war in Pornic.

FIve vessels coming from Pornic sink with their 36 sailors while fishing.

The Priest Guillaume Galipaud is at the origin of the many stairs going down from the uptown to the quartier des Sables (Sand area). The people working at those stairs were jobless at the time.

On March 23rd, Pornic, a Republican City, gets attacked, taken over and lost by the insurgents of the Vendée. Over 200 dead people get buried nearby La Sablière at the foot of the Huguenot Cross.
On March 27th, the insurgents of the Vendée, under the authority of Charette de la Contrie, take over Pornic again setting it on fire. They finally lose control at the end of April.

Source: "Pornic - Etoile et Reine" by Dominique PIERRELEE, Ed. SILOË, Laval, 1998
L'escalier de Yves Borredon
François Athanase Charette de la Contrie par Alfred de Chasteignier,  1819

After 1800
Many people come to enjoy the water at the source of Malmy; Pornic turns to a holiday resort.
The customs officers get more and more organized to fight against smuggling.

After 1814
The quartier des Sables (Sand area)  gets urbanized. The docksides will emerge in the middle of the XIXth century.

Joseph le Breton, the deputy mayor of Nantes, comes into possession of the château of Pornic, indemnifying a man called "Misère", inhabitant of the château.

Lebreton creates the seabathing resort of Pornic on the Place de la Terrasse.
In the meanwhile, a Spa centre opens at the foot of the château. It is administrated by Dr. Auguste Guilmin.
Pornic raises to a famous seaside resort, attracting especially Ligerian (people living nearby the river Loire) clients.

Over 1000 trade ships come and go in the port of Pornic.
Docteur Auguste Guilmin 1797-1878

The areas of Gourmalon, La Noëveillard, La Dette, Le Cendier and La Croix Moinard integrate Pornic.

The Villa Malouine is erected between 1836 and 1840.
Dr. Guilmin publishes a guide intitled "L'Album du Baigneur" which codifies the different sorts of seabathing.

After 1850
Many famous people come to Pornic, such as Gustave Flaubert, Emile Littré, Ernest Renan, Charles Garnier, Jules Michelet.
Some magnificent villas in all styles are built between Pornic and Sainte Marie and then on the other side of the ria, in the area of Gourmalon.
The Mayor, Bocandé, makes the best out the parcels of land between Pornic and Sainte Marie and carries out the accessibility to the beach of La Noëveillard.
From 1870
A casino appears in La Noëveillard. Gourmalon urbanizes.

On September 11th the railway network connecting Nantes to Pornic opens. Pornic's reputation will be enhanced through those pleasure trains.

After 1875
The shipyards Fortineau have reached the peak of their activity.
Through the local trade of flour, coal (La Raison), wood (Grimaud), the port counts many visits of ships, especially those famous Danish schooners coming from the North of Europe.

After 1880
Pornic's carnival is getting bigger thanks to colourful floats and music.

The Casino de la Source (future Casino des Flots) is the work of the architect Léon Lenoir from Nantes.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir stays in Pornic and paints 4 famous pictures, for instance "Voile Blanche" and "Plage de Pornic".

Source: "PORNIC - Etoile et Reine" by Dominique PIERRELEE, Ed. SILOË, Laval, 1998
La plage de Pornic peinte en 1892  par Pierre-Auguste Renoir

From 1900
The huge Casino du Môle, erected in 1896, extends in 1908.

Property owners and traders in Pornic and its region found a union, the first Tourist Information Office.
Jean Duclère is its first president.

Lénine comes to Pornic and rests here for a few days.

Between La Noëveillard and the Grandes Vallées, the 9 hole golf course opens under the authority of Auguste Laraison, René Liévain, Maurice Fenaille and the Count of Madre.

Max Ernst stays in Pornic and works on his frottage technique.
  • Affiche Pornic sur l'océan réalisé par le syndicat d'initiative en 1908
  • Affiche Bains de mer de Pornic

On June 17th, the Lancastria, a British ship, is bombed by the Luftwaffe in the estuary of the Loire killing 4000 to 7000 people. Many soldiers and civilians are buried in the cimeteries of Sainte Marie, Pornic and Le Clion.
On June 26th, the German army besieges Pornic.

Many bunkers are built along the seashore (Atlantic Wall).

On August 26th, looking for a resistance fighter called Maurice Pollono, the German gather the population of Pornic on the Place du Môle, and 16 hostages are threatened to get shot if he does not surrender. The drama is avoided thanks to the intervention of R. Loukianoff  an old white Russian living in Pornic since 1917.
In September, Pornic ......

On May 11th, the FFI free Pornic, 3 days after Germany's capitulation.
Cimetiere anglais

Pornic's earthenware factory establishes in Cracaud valley. 

The marina of La Noëveillard opens. The elected representatives in Pornic, Saint Marie and Le Clion decide to think thoroughly about the possibility to gather all three cities into a sort of union.

On April 23rd 1972, a referendum is organized. All inhabitants of the three cities agree with this idea of a fusion.

A prefectorial decree ratifies the fusion-association of all three cities.
  • La faiencerie de Pornic
  • La faiencerie de Pornic

A beautiful thalassotherapy centre is built on the former ground of the Casino des Flots.
The Casino du Môle modernizes.

Pornic's golf course belongs now to the city and extends from 9 to 18 holes!

PORNIC now has 14.000 inhabitants living here the whole year. Its harmonious development carries on and on.
The next project has already started: the improvement of the ria (river valley covered by the seawater).

Source: "PORNIC - Etoile et Reine" by Dominique PIERRELEE, Ed. SILOË, Laval, 1998
Yacht Club International Pornic Port de la Noëveillard
  • La Thalassothérapie de Pornic
  • Le Golf 18 trous de Pornic
  • ria de Pornic
  • ria de Pornic
  • ria de Pornic - Framboise