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Malestroit (Municipality, Morbihan, France)

Last modified: 2012-04-07 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Malestroit]

Flag of Malestroit - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 31 August 2002

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Presentation of Malestroit

The municipality of Malestroit (2,478 inhabitants in 2006; 581 ha) is located on river Oust, there part of the Canal from Nantes to Brest, which crosses Brittany.

The first mention of a castrum (fortified camp) in Malestroit dates back to 987. In the Middle Ages Malestroit was one of the nine Breton baronies. On 19 January 1343, during the Hundred Years' War, King of France Philip VI and King of England Edward III signed in the Madeleine Chapel the "Truce of Malestroit", which proved to be very short-lived.
Malestroit has kept several Gothic and Renaissance buildings, therefore its nickname of "the Pearl of the Oust". The St. Giles church is famous for its portal showing the traditional representations of the four Evangelists. St. Matthew's young man rides St. Mark's lion, whereas St. Luke's ox stands on a socle decorated with St. John's eagle. It is said that around 15 h (U.T.), the shadows of the ox and the eagle draw on the wall behind them the silhouette of Voltaire.

During the Second World War, the French Resistance was very active in the area of Malestroit. Mother Yvonne-Aimée (1901-1951), who ran the Malestroit convent from 1927 to 1951, was awarded after the Liberation the title of "National Heroin" by General Audibert, the leader of the Resistance movements in Brittany, and General de Gaulle. During the occupation of the convent by the German troops, the nun healed both German wounded soldiers and wounded Resistance members hidden in the secrete parts of the convent. On 18 June 1944, severe fighing opposed French resistants and SAS commandos to the German troops a few kilometers west of Malestroit. This event (and others) is commemorated by the Museum of Breton Resistance. Several inhabitants played their own role in the movie La Bataille du Rail by René Clément (1946), which describes the acts of the local Resistance movements.

Ivan Sache, 31 August 2002

Flag of Malestroit

The flag of Malestroit, used by the Aúel Douar Bro Malestreg, the local folkloric group, is white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

Ivan Sache, 31 August 2002