RENNES

France

Rennes is a city in the east of Brittany in northwestern France at the confluence of the Ille and the Vilaine. Rennes is the capital of the region of Brittany, as well as the Ille-et-Vilainedepartment.Rennes's history goes back more than 2,000 years, at a time when it was a small Gallic village named Condate. Together with Vannes and Nantes, it was one of the major cities of the historic province of Brittany and the ancient Duchy of Brittany.

Info Rennes

introduction

Rennes is a city in the east of Brittany in northwestern France at the confluence of the Ille and the Vilaine. Rennes is the capital of the region of Brittany, as well as the Ille-et-Vilainedepartment.

Rennes's history goes back more than 2,000 years, at a time when it was a small Gallic village named Condate. Together with Vannes and Nantes, it was one of the major cities of the historic province of Brittany and the ancient Duchy of Brittany. After the French Revolution, Rennes remained for most of its history a parliamentary, administrative and garrison city of the Kingdom of France.

Since the 1950s, Rennes has grown in importance through rural flight and its modern industrial development, partly automotive. The city developed extensive building plans to accommodate upwards of 200,000 inhabitants. During the 1980s, Rennes became one of the main centres in telecommunication and high technology industry. It is now a significant digital innovation centre in France.

In 2015, the city is the tenth largest in France, with a metropolitan area of about 700,000 inhabitants.  With more than 63,000 studentsin 2013, is also the eighth-largest university campus of France.  The inhabitants of Rennes are called Rennais, Rennaise in French. In 2012, l'Express named Rennes as "the most liveable city in France".

info
POPULATION : 211,373
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE : French
RELIGION :
AREA : 50.39 km2 (19.46 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 20–74 m (66–243 ft)
(avg. 30 m or 98 ft)
COORDINATES : 48°06′53″N 1°40′46″W
SEX RATIO : Male: 48.4%
 Female: 51.6%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 2
POSTAL CODE : 35238 / 35000, 35200, 35700
DIALING CODE : +33 2
WEBSITE :

Tourism

Rennes is not often mentioned on tourist guides but this medium size town is well worth a visit. It has more than 200,000 inhabitants, of whom about 60,000 are students. This gives the town a vibrant nightlife. Some streets, such as the Rue Saint Michel, have only bars on both sides. (The locals actually call "Rue Saint Michel" "la rue de la soif", which means "Street of Thirst"). A stroll down Rue Saint Michel on a Friday or Saturday evening is a very interesting experience indeed. However, if you're really in the mood to "faire la fête", celebrate or just have fun in other words, the most exciting night on "Rue de la Soif" would be the "Jeudi Soir", Thursday nights, during the school year. Jeudi Soir is the night when bars are most often packed to the brim with students. The sights on Thursday nights out on the town are very memorable and interesting.

Rennes is particularly nice in early July, during the "Festival des Tombées de la Nuit". Its streets are then full of people enjoying the free street entertainment and eating or drinking at the terraces of the restaurants and cafés.

Rennes used to be virtually empty after the 15th of July, as most of its inhabitants were migrating to the coast until the 15th August. In recent years, this trend seems to have stopped and Rennes's terraces and cafes are now bustling throughout the year.

History

Overall significance

Rennes is the administrative capital of the French department of Ille-et-Vilaine. Before the French Revolution, prior to the integration of the Duchy of Brittany into the Kingdom of France, Rennes was the capital of the duchy, with the other historical capitals of Brittany's Ducal period being Nantes and Vannes. It has a long history due to its location at the confluence of two rivers and its proximity to the bordering regions from which arose various challenges to the borders of Brittany.


Earliest history

By the 2nd century BC the Gallic tribe known as the Redones had occupied a territory in eastern Brittany roughly equivalent to the modern department of Ille-et-Vilaine and had established their chief township at the confluence of the Ille and Vilaine rivers, the site of the modern city of Rennes. Although the tribe's name - from the Celtic root red cognate with ridesuggesting the Redones were known for their horsemanship - would eventually default to their chief township ultimately yielding the name of the modern city of Rennes, the chief township of the Redones was contemporaneously referred to asCondate a Celtic term for confluence which was utilised to designate numerous towns in ancient Gaul.

Early in the 1st century BC, the Redones adopted the Greek and Roman practice of issuing coinage, adapting the widely imitated gold staters of Philip II of Macedon, in the characteristic Celtic coin metal alloy called billion. Without inscriptions, as the Celtic practice was, the Redones coinage features a charioteer whose pony has a human head. Large hoards of their coins were unearthed in the "treasure of Amanlis" found in June 1835 and that of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, discovered in February 1941. The museum at Rennes contains a large representative collection.

In 57 BC the Redones joined the Gaulish coalition against Rome which was suppressed by Crassus. In 56 BC Roman emissaries were held hostage by the Redones causing Julius Caesar to intervene in Armorica suppressing the rebels, and the following year to cross the Channel to discourage further support of the Redones by the Britons. In 52 BC, the Redones responded to the call of Vercingetorix to furnish a large contingent of warriors.


Roman era

It was subsequent to its Roman occupation that the chief township of the Redones became known as Condate Riedonum - alternately Civitas Riedonum - the second element, referring to the Redones tribe who had founded it, ultimately yielding the name of the modern city of Rennes. The oldest known Rennais is Titus Flavius Postuminus, known to us from his steles found in Rennes in 1969. As indicated by his name, he would have been born under the Flavian dynasty, under the reign of Titus, i.e. between 79 and 81 AD. One of the steles tells us, in Latin, that he took charge over all the public affairs in the Civitas Riedonum. He was twice duumvir and flamen for life for Mars Mullo.

During the Roman era, the strategic position of the town contributed to its importance. To the west the principal Roman route, via Osismii, stretched from Condate Riedonum to Vorgium (modern Carhaix).

In the year 275, the threat of barbarians led to the erection of a robust brick wall around Rennes. Threatened by the danger of the peasant marauders designated as bagaudae in the final days of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the Armorican peninsula, including Brittany and therefore Rennes, constituted the last stronghold of the western Roman Empire with the Armorican Romans invincible against Clovis I, who occupied most of Alamans, then the Visigoths.

The Holy See of Rennes had been established by 453, with a church having occupied the site of the current Rennes Cathedral since the start of the 6th century. One of the earliest bishops of Rennes: Melaine - who would become the city's patron saint - played an important role in the peace treaty between the Franks and the Armoricans in the year 497. He famously declared "Il faut faire la paix entre chrétiens" ("Peace must be made between Christians").


Middle Ages

From the 5th century, Bretons occupied the western part of the Armorican peninsula, which was resultantly known as Brittany (i.e. Little Britain), while the Franks took the rest of Armorica. To contain the expansion and avoid Breton incursions, the Carolingians instituted a Breton March or frontier province, composed of the counties of Rennes, Nantes and Vannes. These marches were entirely absorbed by the Kingdom of Brittany in the 9th century, with Rennes becoming fully Breton in 851. Throughout Brittany's existence as an independent state - first as a kingdom and then as a duchy - Rennes generally was considered to be one of three cities acting as the territory's capital, the others being Nantes and Vannes, with Rennes Cathedral being the coronation site for the dukes ofBrittany.

During the Breton War of Succession (1356–57) Rennes was laid siege to by Henry of Grosmont (duke of Lancaster), cousin of the English king, but Bertrand du Guesclin penetrated the city and commandeered the resistance with ultimate victory. After nearly a year, Lancaster abandoned the English siege in 1357.

In 1491, the French army of Charles VIII, led by General Louis II de la Trémoille, unsuccessfully attacked Rennes. Brittany having already capitulated elsewhere, Rennes alone resisted. The defenders of Rennes were determined to resist to the death, but the Duchess Anne of Brittany chose instead to negotiate. The resulting treaty of Rennes of 15 November 1491 dictated her marriage to Charles VIII and brought Brittany into the French kingdom. Anne zealously guarded Brittany's autonomy and the treaty promised that justice would continue to be dispensed according to practices, usages and customs maintained and observed heretofore. Furthermore, he promised the continuation of the Parlement of Brittany which met in February–April 1493, September 1494 and September 1495.

In 1720, a major fire destroyed all timber framing houses in the northern part of the city. The rebuilding was made of stone, on a grid plan.


19th, 20th and 21st centuries

In 1857, Rennes railway station was built, which gradually led to the southward sprawl of the town. In 1899, Alfred Dreyfus' second trial in Rennes caused a national sensation.

With several faculties of the University of Brittany having transferred from Nantes to Rennes beginning with the law school in 1730, the full-fledged University of Rennes began operation in 1885 (although it was not so named until 1896 rather being referred to as a Conseil des facultés).

During the Second World War, Rennes suffered heavy damage from just three German aircraft which hit an ammunition train parked alongside French and British troop trains and near a refugee train on the yard: 1,000 died. The next day, 18 June 1940, German troops entered the city. Later, Rennes endured heavy bombing by the US and Royal Air Forces in March and May 1943, and again in June 1944, causing hundreds of deaths. Rennes contained a German transit POW camp and a POW hospital which contained many of the paratroopers captured on D-Day. Patton's army freed the capital of Brittany on 4 August, as retreating German troops blew up the bridges behind them, adding further damage. About 50,000 German prisoners were kept in four camps, in a city of only about 100,000 inhabitants at the time.

From 1954 onward, the city developed extensive building plans to accommodate upwards of 220,000 inhabitants,  helping it become the second fastest-growing city in France, after Toulouse (1999 census).

Climate

Rennes features an oceanic climate with mild winters and warm summers. Precipitation in Rennes is considerably less abundant than in the western parts of Brittany, reaching only half of the levels of, e.g., the city of Quimper, which makes rainfall in Rennes comparable to the levels of larger parts of western Germany. Sunshine hours range between 1,700 and 1,850 annually, which is about the amount of sunshine received by the city of Lausanne.

Climate data for Rennes, Brittany

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)16.8
(62.2)
19.8
(67.6)
23.1
(73.6)
28.7
(83.7)
30.8
(87.4)
36.3
(97.3)
38.3
(100.9)
39.5
(103.1)
34.8
(94.6)
30.0
(86)
21.4
(70.5)
17.8
(64)
39.5
(103.1)
Average high °C (°F)8.7
(47.7)
9.6
(49.3)
12.7
(54.9)
15.2
(59.4)
18.9
(66)
22.2
(72)
24.5
(76.1)
24.3
(75.7)
21.6
(70.9)
17.0
(62.6)
12.1
(53.8)
9.1
(48.4)
16.4
(61.5)
Average low °C (°F)3.0
(37.4)
2.6
(36.7)
4.5
(40.1)
5.9
(42.6)
9.3
(48.7)
11.9
(53.4)
13.8
(56.8)
13.7
(56.7)
11.4
(52.5)
9.1
(48.4)
5.5
(41.9)
3.3
(37.9)
7.9
(46.2)
Record low °C (°F)−14.7
(5.5)
−11.2
(11.8)
−7.3
(18.9)
−3.2
(26.2)
−1.2
(29.8)
2.2
(36)
5.5
(41.9)
4.0
(39.2)
1.9
(35.4)
−4.6
(23.7)
−7.5
(18.5)
−12.6
(9.3)
−14.7
(5.5)
              
Source #1: Météo France
Source #2: Infoclimat.fr

Geography

The ancient centre of the town is built on a hill, with the north side being more elevated than the south side. It is at the confluence of two rivers: the Ille and theVilaine.

Rennes is located on the European atlantic arc, 50 km from the English Channel (near Saint-Malo, Dinard and Mont Saint-Michel).

Rennes has the distinction of having a significant Green Belt around its ring road. This Green Belt is a protected area between the city proper (rather dense) and the rest of its urban area (rather rural).

Economy

Local economy include car manufacturing, telecommunications, digital sector and agrofood.

PSA Peugeot Citroën, currently the largest private employer in the metropolitan area of Rennes, opened a manufacturing plant at La Janais in Chartres-de-Bretagne in 1961. The ITC firm Orange R&D (ex-France Telecom) is the second largest local employer with 3,800 people. Technicolor, one of the biggest firms in TV and cinema broadcasting in the world employs over 500 people.

In a few years, Rennes became one of the main centres in high technology industry and digital. The city hosts one of the first Technopoles established in France : Rennes Atalante which employs over 20,000 people.

Rennes is the 2nd concentration of digital and ITC firms in France after Paris (with well-known companies and startups like Atos, SFR, Neosoft, Orange S.A., France Telecom, Envivio, Thomson Video Networks, Golaem, Technicolor R&D, Regionsjob, Capgemini, OVH, Dassault Systèmes, Delta Dore, Canon, Artefacto,Enensys Technologies, Astellia, Mitsubishi Electric R&D Europe, Digitaleo, Alcatel-Lucent, Kelbillet, Texas Instruments, NXP, Sopra Group, Niji, Thales, Nemeus orLogica). Rennes was one of the first French cities to receive the French Tech label in November 2014. Moreover, Rennes hosts the 3rd public research potential in digital and ITC sectors in France, after Paris and Grenoble, with 3,000 people working in 10 laboratories, like well-known IRISA, IETR, IRMAR, DGA-MI (cyberdefense), SATIE, etc. It is also the 3rd innovation potential in agrofood French industry with lots of firms in this field (Lactalis, Triballat Sojasun, Coralis, Panavi, Bridor, Claude Léger, Loïc Raison, Groupe Roullier, Sanders, etc.), an agro campus (Agrocampus Ouest) and a big international and professional expo, the Space (every year in September).

Other large firms located in Rennes include the restaurant conglomerate Groupe Le Duff (owners of Brioche Dorée, Bruegger's, La Madeleine, Mimi's Cafe,Timothy's World Coffee ), the first French newspaper Ouest France (800,000 daily copies) and Samsic Service (cleanliness, industrial safety, job search, etc.).

Subdivisions

Rennes is divided into 11 cantons:

  • Canton of Rennes-Brequigny (15,397 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-Centre (19,017 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-Centre-Ouest(21,264 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-Centre-Sud (15,774 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-Est (20,323 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-le-Blosne (21,151 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-Nord (21,845 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-Nord-Est (18,224 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-Nord-Ouest, which includes parts of Rennes but also thecommunes of Gévezé, Pacé and Parthenay-de-Bretagne (28,130 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-Sud-Est, which includes parts of Rennes and the communesof Chantepie and Vern-sur-Seiche (33,459 inhabitants)
  • Canton of Rennes-Sud-Ouest, which includes parts of Rennes and thecommunes of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande and Vezin-le-Coquet (28,707 inhabitants)

Prices in Rennes

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.93
Tomatoes1 kg€2.25
Cheese0.5 kg€9.00
Apples1 kg€2.30
Oranges1 kg€2.20
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.50
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€5.00
Coca-Cola2 liters€2.20
Bread1 piece€1.02
Water1.5 l€0.63

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€24.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2
Dinner (High-range)for 2€45.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€8.00
Water0.33 l€1.35
Cappuccino1 cup€2.00
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€3.50
Beer (domestic)0.5 l
Coca-Cola0.33 l€2.05
Coctail drink1 drink€9.00

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€18.00
Gym1 month€38.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€17.00
Theatar2 tickets€60.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.24
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€7.00

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack
Tampons32 pieces€4.50
Deodorant50 ml.€4.25
Shampoo400 ml.€2.90
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.50
Toothpaste1 tube€1.90

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€86.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€42.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)€105.00
Leather shoes1€115.00

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.19
TaxiStart€2.50
Taxi1 km€1.50
Local Transport1 ticket€1.50

Tourist (Backpacker)  

60 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

191 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Rennes airport has budget flights to and from Barcelona, Rome, Porto thanks to Vueling, London, Southampton, Belfast, Birmingham and Exeter thanks toFlybe, or Dublin and Cork with Aerlingus which has good offers. The airport is less than 5 km away from the city center, and bus No 57 links it with the city.

Dinard/Pleurtuit/Saint-Malo Airport. One hour away, Dinard's airport offers other cheap options, with for example a connection to London with Ryanair.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Gare de Rennes The easiest way to get to Rennes from Paris is through Gare Montparnasse. There are TGVs almost every 30 minutes and the ride is 2hrs and 3 min. Tickets are available on the SNCF website, and between 25 and 65 Euros for one way. If you're under 26 years old, and planning to travel in France by train, get the "carte 12-25" (49 €) which will offers you 50% off most of the time.

There are also direct trains, 4 a day, to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, which arrives at Terminal 2, taking approximately 3 hours. The train to CDG terminates at Lille, taking 4 hours, from where it's possible to take a Eurostar to the UK or numerous connections to continental Europe.

The Rennes Train Station also provides train service to Nantes, Brest, Quimper, St. Brieuc, and other cites in Brittany.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

Rennes has also an international and local bus station, right next to the rail station. This is where you can get information about Illenoo (see below) and where buses such as Eurolines

Transportation - Get In

By shared ride

The cheapest way will be covoiturage or ride sharing. A lot of websites offer information about people wishing to share their car and budget. Covoiturage.fr,123envoiture.com, or Allostop will help you out. Since 1968, travelling by car on motorways within Brittany is free.


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

By bus and metro

Rennes has a very good public transport system, called Star . If you're planning to buy a pass (weekly or longer), you'll need to go to the agency Place de la Republique to get a "Korrigo" card. you can also find agencies it the subways stations Henri Fréville and Villejean-Université. These are not open every weeks. Remember to bring a picture for employees to scan. It is a free electronic card on which your pass will be saved. Once you have it, just reload it anywhere tickets are sold. Daily tickets can be bought for €3 a day, and are valid on both the bus and metro. Star claims that its network has the cheapest prices in France, with a single ticket (valid for 60 min after validation for unlimited connections) costing €1.50 (as of July 1, 2015).

Rennes offers more than 50 different bus routes and a metro, with 1 bus every 5 min for the metro and main bus lines at the peak hours. The hub of the network is at Republique, which feeds most of the 50 different routes. This bus and metro network connects all parts of Rennes, and so you're never far from a bus stop. All the bus stops conveniently have a map (une carte) of Rennes with all the lines on, and a timetable for the routes it provides, so there isn't much chance of getting lost.

The metro, called the VAL, has only one line with 15 stops and is 8.57 km long. It runs from one edge to the other in 16 min. It connects the main train station to the centre, Villejean university, the hospital, the town hall and more. It runs from 5:25 to 0:30, like the seven main bus lines.

Transportation - Get Around

By bike

Rennes offers very good options for cyclists. With plenty of cycle lanes, the town has plenty of cyclists. For residents of the town and tourists, bikes known as the LE vélo STAR [www], can be borrowed from 81 stations all over the town. These bikes are not particularly good, but they work and have three gears, so its worth checking them out. You can buy a 1-day or 7-day-registration on the website or at ten stations in the centre (pay with your credit card) for €1 or €5, respectively. Once registered, you can get a bike as often as you want from any station by typing your personal account number and PIN. The first 30 minutes of every rental are free, so the trick is to return your bicycle just before 30 min at the next station and immediately borrow another one.

If you are after a pleasant cycling trip, check out the canal route, which is flat and not very hazardous.

Transportation - Get Around

By Car

Traffic in city center is heavy. Large areas are reserved for pedestrians and buses. Parking in the center is not free. You'll have to find an horodateur, never far away. Price will depend on the zone where you parked. 0,75 €/h and 2h40 maximum for green zone and 1,33 €/h with 1h33 maximum for red ones. Since 2002, the best way to discover Rennes is by metro and its parcs-relais. These are car-parks located in metro stations on the outskirts such as Kennedy, Villejean in the north and Henri Freville, Triangle and La Poterie in the south. They're free if you use the metro.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus (illenoo)

Illenoo [www] is a public service of the Conseil général d'Ille & Vilaine (Départementlevel). It allows people to travel within the département (and a little bit outside) on 18 lines for a good price. For example, Rennes - St Malo €4.80 return for students under 26. You can also go to Mont St Michel from Rennes, with regional bus line[www]. It is an express line, it takes 1h20 to go. Bus stop is in Bus station in Rennes (next to train station), and the stop in Mont St Michel is at the foot of Mont St Michel.

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping


Shopping malls

  • There is a large shopping mall at Place du Colombier about 300m north west of the train station. The Metro stops there (Charles de Gaulle). C & A and Habitat are two of the stores that are in the mall.
  • La Visitation is a new shopping mall located in the center close to Place Sainte Anne. You'll find two main stores; H&M and Saturn and some others. This little shopping mall links the Place Ste Anne to Place Hoche where is the law university.
  • If you're looking for high budget shopping mall, les Galleries Lafayette located in the center on the quais (docks), almost Place de la République, are made for you. You'll find food, clothes, games, make-up, furniture, perfume, ...
  • On the edge of the city you'll find other shopping malls where most of people buy food in big supermarkets. If this is what you're looking for, ask for centre Alma,centre commercial de Cleunay, Grand quartier, or centre commercial de Cesson-Sévigné.

City center

  • Rue d'Orléans and Rue le Bastard are two streets linking Place de la Republiqueto Place Ste Anne through Place de la Mairie. There are stores everywhere for everything!
  • If you're looking for traveling books or maps, La librairie du voyage [www] will be happy to help you. It's one of the few places you can find relevant information and qualified people.

Restaurants

  • Rue St Georges has innumerable creperies. This street has a certain olde world charm.
  • Rue de St Malo is the equivalent of Rue St Michel but for restaurants. You'll find some nice "around the world" restaurants. Try the Kebabs there. They are a Turkish food that, at only five Euro, are a cheap filling lunch if you happen to find one
  • nabuco

Creperies

  • Crêperie Sainte-Anne5 place Sainte Anne - 35000 Rennes (France) (Métro Sainte Anne),  +33 2 99 79 22 72. A very nice crêperie at Place Sainte Anne when you can also enjoy very good ice-creams.
  • Crêperie de la Place6, Place Sainte Anne 35000 Rennes (Métro Sainte Anne),  +33 2 99 79 01 43. One of the best crêperie in Rennes. Very well located, just next "Crêperie Sainte-Anne", you can eat delicious galettes and crêpes at a cheap price.

Bakeries

  • Boulangerie Hoche17 Rue Hoche, 35000 Rennes, France,  +33 2 99 63 61 01. This is one of the best bakeries in Rennes. It is a bit pricey though, so keep this in mind. But, if you are up for treating yourself, they have a great raspberry tart!
  • Boulangerie La Fournee St MichelPlace St Anne, 35000 Rennes, France. One of the few shops open in the centre of town on a Sunday afternoon, they do a range of flavoured breads and reasonably priced desserts

Sights & Landmarks


Rennes

To most people, Rennes is not very famous for its architecture or places to see. But this city has a lot of surprises, from wood-framed (colombages) houses in the old city centre to modern building like les Champs Libres.

  • One highlight of Rennes, if you're after natural beauty and tranquility, is theThabor. This park has a stunning collection of plant life, including a large bed of hundreds of species of roses, tropical, African and European trees, other beautiful and rare plants, and offers the traveller a chance to see some budgies. There are cages with a dozen of different sorts of small colourful birds. To get to Parc Thabor from Republique station, take bus number 3 (direction St. Laurent) and get off at the Thabor stop. Or you can simply walk northestwards, it's 10 minutes away.
  • Le Parlement is a major building in Rennes. This big palace was built in the 17e century in order to house the provincial court of justice.
  • The portes Mordelaises is the last city gate. It is located just in front of thecathedral, whose façade is classical, but the inside was rebuilt during the first French Empire and restored in 2015.
  • Colourful traditional half-timbered houses (maison à pans de bois) are situated primarily along the roads of Saint-Sauveur, Saint-Georges, de Saint-Malo, Saint-Guillaume, des Dames, du Chapitre, Vasselot, Saint-Michel, de la Psallette and around the plazas of Champ-Jacquet, des Lices, Saint-Anne and Rallier-du-Baty. All these houses escaped from a giant fire which destroyed half of the city in 1720. Due to this fire, the northern city center was rebuilt in the 18th century on a grid plan.

Around Rennes

  • Mont Saint-Michel is a granite island located north-eastward of Rennes in the region of Basse-Normandie. It's the 3rd most visited monument in France. The main part of the island is the abbey of Mt St Michel.

If you're going there from Rennes, the easiest and more expensive way is to use keolis emeraude bus company. They'll charge you €11.40 each way, €8,60 for 16 to 25 year olds. But a cheaper option is to use the Illenoo public transport (see Get In), which costs €3 each way, but stops in Pontorson (9 km south of Mt St Michel). From there, you can even hitch hike or use the Maneo bus link, which costs €2. Just make sure that the schedules line up so you're not stuck in Pontorson for 2+ hours...cute town but not much to do.

Anyhow, you get a 20% rebate in both cases if you're under 26 years old.

  • Saint-Malo
  • Etangs d'Apigné
  • Dinan
  • Montfort sur Meu
  • Cobac Parc
  • Fougères
  • Vilaine
  • Canal d'Ille & Rance
  • Foret de Rennes
  • Vitré

Museums & Galleries

There are five museums in Rennes:

  • Musée des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes). This art museum hold many works by the sculptor Pierre Charles Lenoir
  • Musée de Bretagne (Museum of Brittany) at the Champs Libres, together with the 'espace of sciences' and a planetarium.
  • Museum of Farming and Rennes Countryside at la Bintinais, south of Rennes.
  • Musée des Transmissions (Museum of Broadcasting) at Cesson-Sévigné, east of Rennes centre.
  • FRAC Bretagne Fond Régional d'Art contemporain (Regional Fund for Contemporary Art).

In addition to this list, there is art facilities, such as 40mcube exhibition space or the centre for contemporary art La Criée.

There is also miscellaneous cultural places: the dance dedicated place the Triange, two "Art et Essai" - art house cinemas - cinemas called l'Arvor and Cine TNB. Remark that the surrounding citys house many other cultural places.

Things to do


Markets

  • Every Saturday morning, from 6am to 1:30PM, there is a large food market in the centre of town, where you can buy low price fruit and veg, a vast array of fish, crêpes, galettes, fresh meat and other French delicacies such as wine, snails and cheeses. Le marché des Lices (est. 1622) is always bustling with people trying to buy low-price groceries and meat. You mustn't leave the market without agalette-saucisse, the local specialty composed of a fried sausage rolled on a fresh galette (local, savory not sweet, crêpe). This snack costs about 2,5€. The market is based in the Place des Lices, an 8 minutes walk from the main bus station, République.
  • Other markets take place every day in different neighborhoods

Mondays
Tuesdays
Le Blosne - Place de Zagreb - 7am / 1pm
Cleunay - Rue Jules Lallemand - 7am / 12.30pm
Maurepas- Place d'Erlangen - 7am / 12.30pm
Wednesdays
Thursdays
Jeanne d'Arc - Bd Alexis Carrel - 7am / 12.45pm
Bour L'Eveque - Square Simone Morand - 7am / 12.30pm
Fridays
Bréquigny - Place Albert Bayet - 7am / 12.30pm
Saturdays
Le Blosne - Place de Zagreb - 7am / 1pm
Les Lices - Place des Lices - 7am / 1.30pm
Sundays


Sport

  • FUN CLUB 35. Need exercise after the afternoon spent in the center? Don't need to go far away. Get down Place Ste Anne on Rue d'Echange, make a left onrue de Dinan and make on right on rue Pierre Gourdel right after the Westport Inn. You'll find a tiny place to play squash (from 4 to 8€ per person for an hour) or dance Rock 'n Roll or salsa. The owner might speak a little bit too fast, but you'll find great prices and some nice people in there.
  • Le Blizz. An ice rink which isn't too expensive. To get there, it's the number 3 bus, with Patinoire the required stop.
  • Rennes football club. A team in the top French football league, and has its stadium in Rennes, with tickets for matches start from €8.
  • Pools

Culture

Les Champs Libres is a brand new building in which you'll find le musée de Bretagne, l'espace des Sciences and the bibliothèque municipale. It's a wonderful place where you can learn a lot about Rennes, about Brittany, and about sciences and history. There are a lot of exhibitions (temporary and permanent), forums, and debates. There's also an outside café overhanging Place Charles de Gaulle where you can meet people and talk about whatever you feel like. If you feel like reading newspapers, head to the room in front of you when you enter that building, choose your favourite one and sit with other peers. But if you want to have a nice look at the city centre, head to last floor of the public library and enjoy. Don't forget to be quiet or they'll remind you! If you don't feel like going to the movies, you can climb up to the planetarium (around 7€ for exposition and planetarium) and enjoy 1h30 of live "show" about space, stars, legends. Check the schedule on their website for your favourite theme.


Fest-Noz

Fest-noz is a Breton, not French, word meaning festival of the night. It is a traditional ball where people of all generations meet, listen to traditional music, drink beer orchouchen, and dance to Breton music. Most of them take place on Saturdays, but you can find some on Thursdays or Fridays. You find them by looking at the posters on streets and in universities, but, there is a website that gathers most of Fest-Noz in Brittany.[www] It usually costs 5-8 euros, but bigger events as Yaouank (a huge fest-noz in Rennes, Oct or Nov) are little bit more expensive.


Thursdays

As students represent a quarter of Rennes' population, you will probably find people walking (or staggering) in the city centre. This is especially true on Thursdays which is traditionally students day, as many of them go back home on Friday for the week end. But for a few years, city centre residents have been complaining about heavy drinking and disturbances of the peace at night; so Bernadette Malgorn (former prefete of Ille et Vilaine) enforced the law and decided to close bars earlier. The result was that it drained all the people out at the same time, and created problems with the police for a few months. This is where associations, organizations and city hall intervened. The idea of opening concert halls and public places to occupy these young people by making play and games available gradually caught on. The concept, running during school time, is to propose four different free activities every Thursday during school time.[www]

  • Dazibao organized by the CRIJ Bretagne opened from 10pm to 3am, is a meeting place. Discover new people, new music, multimedia, fair trade products, etc.
  • Bulles d'Art is the time to discover local bands in concert halls or in the café-spectacle. Full ticket is 5€ for under 25.[www]
  • The Nuit découvertes (from 10pm to 2am) is to create, taste, exchange, play, move, try games, improvisation, visual art, music.
  • The Nuit du Sport (from 10pm to 3am) opportunity to try innovative or new sports (kin ball, peteca, ultimate, speedminton, etc.).

Festivals and events


Festivals in Rennes

  • February

Travelling and Travelling Junior. It's Rennes Métropole movie festival. Traveling explores a culture focusing on a city every year. 20089 edition will focus on Jerusalem and will take place from January 31 to the February 10th. The date changed from year to year so be sure to cheque.

  • April

Mythos. It's the festival of the arts of word. Tales, stories, French songs.

  • May

Rock'n Solex. The oldest student festival of France. In 2007, it celebrated its 40th birthday. This festival is a mix of music and solexs race.

  • July

Les Tombées de la Nuit. It's an art festival where many spectacles take places in public places. Alternative, classic or traditional music, animations, expositions is the concept of that festival. It always take place the first week of July.

Quartiers d'été. An outdoor festival organized by volunteer youngsters. Concerts, cinema, animations, games,... During the 3rd week of July.

  • November

Yaouank. 3rd weekend of November

  • December

Les Transmusicales

Nightlife

Keep in mind that you won't be able to stay in most bars after 1am, though some "night" bars close at 3am tops. It's the law, they have to close. So if you're inside one of them, and that you're really thirsty, think about ordering your drinks around 00.30 because it's likely they'll stop selling then. They'll ring a bell announcing last orders. So quickly get your last drinks!

  • Barantic4, Rue St Michel,  +33 2 99 79 29 24. Let's just say that if you're a beer lover, that should be the place where to go. It has 18 draught beers with local and Belgian beers. You can also discover some saucisson (dried sausage). The best moment is during the afternoon, under the sun, in the middle of crowded terrasses, with your favorite beer and your saucisson. Enjoy the moment.
  • Couleur Café27, Rue Legraverend (North of Place Sainte-Anne), +33 2 23 40 07 13. Specialized in cocktails (in the World Guinness Book of records with above 2,000 types) and rhum.
  • Funky Munky37, rue St. Melaine. A cool vodka/cocktail bar located near an entrance for the Thabor park. Drinks are relatively cheap - the more you buy, the cheaper it gets. The bar serves 30 flavors of vodka, numerous cocktails (including a Long Island Iced Tea, Cosmos, Sex on the Beach, and a delicious drink called a Purple Turtle), and a few beers on tap or in bottles. The bar hosts a poetry slam every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month, and a quiz night every Monday from about 8pm on. The bartender (and owner!) speaks both French AND English, so don't worry about having to speak perfect French.
  • Haricot Rouge10, Rue Baudrairie,  +33 2 99 79 36 23. On a street north of the Place de la République, with a smoother feeling, serving hot chocolate and having board games.
  • Jardin moderne11 Rue du Manoir de Servigné - ZI Route de Lorient,  +33 2 99 14 04 68. Mostly a music hall, not a bar
  • Le Sablier70, Rue Jean Guéhenno (At the crossing of rue Jean Guéhenno and Bld Duchesse-Anne and therefore a bit outside of the town center), +33 2 99 36 32 38. A bar famous for the concerts there at a time, it is also an excellent place to have lunch.
  • O'Connell's Irish Pub7, Place du Parlement,  +33 2 99 79 38 76. Very popular Irish pub. Ask anyone and I'm sure someone will point you in the right direction. St. Patrick's Day at this place is insane - the pub becomes packed to capacity. Same rules apply for any big sporting events. Monday nights from 7pm-11pm and Thursday nights from 7pm-close are happy hour. A pint of beer/stout/ale is 4 Euros (and in some cases, less) during happy hour - just check the little posters up on the walls at the bar (or ask the bartenders, they're all very friendly and most, if not all, of them are anglophones). Not only do the anglophones love this place, but the French do too.
  • Westport Inn36, rue de Dinan,  +33 2 99 35 05 43. Another Irish pub. It's smaller, but it's got an authentic feel to it, and the drinks are slightly cheaper than at O'Connell's. It's just down the street from Place des Lices. But, according to the sign on the window, you're not allowed to bring in nuclear weapons, so if you're packing, go elsewhere :)
  • L'artiste assoife
  • Le Bateau Ivre
  • Le Mille Potes4 boulevard de la Liberté,  +33 2 30 02 05 53. A quiet place at the end of the afternoon, with a large choice of beers and vines. You can find in that bar people who practice Latin dances, contribute to Wikimedia projects, "remix" museums or libraries, enjoy soccer, etc. There are regular concerts with nice bands and special events for foreigners.
  • L'heure du jeu11 boulevard Mangenta (Near of Les Champs Libres),  +33 2 99 31 43 48. You like games, card games, board games or just playing? L'heure du jeu ("time for playing") have 1,000 of them! Good and quite a must brunch on some Sundays mornings (you have to call for a reservation).

Party

  • Mondo Bizarro is the punk rock place to be.

Night bars

Those are bars that have an extended closing time of 3am. There are bouncers for some of them.

  • La Contrescarpe
  • La Place
  • Le Cactus

Clubs

  • Délicatessen
  • L'Espace, gay-friendly.
  • Le Stanley

Safety in Rennes

 

Very High / 9.4

Safety (Walking alone - day)

High / 7.8

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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