22. Rennes

 Rennes is located at point 22 on the Brittany map below.

Javascript is required to view this map.


Owing to its strategic location, Rennes (pop 210,500), the capital of Brittany, has seen high human traffic in the area since the Roman times. By 9th century AD, the city became part of the Breton Kingdom and was included in its capital region as well. Today, Rennes has merged its traditional atmosphere with modernity well, at is functions as a student city, holding close to 60 000 students in its twisting medieval streets and interlocking canal networks.


The city centre is divided horizontally by the La Vilaine River. The northern area holds the old city, while the southern part is modernised, with the bus and train stations located at Place de la Gare.



BRITTANY ILLE-ET-VILAINE Rennes place du parlement de bretagneThe Old City of Rennes is a monument itself, as what you see today is only half of what used to stand in those grounds. In 1720, much of Rennes was destroyed in a big fire, which was started by a drunken carpenter! The half-timbered houses that stand along rue St-Michel (also referred to as the Thirsty Street, due to its prolific pubs and bars) and rue St Georges were lucky to escape the catastrophe. At the end of rue St Georges, lies the old parliament house of Brittany, which functions as the current Court of Appeal. This historic place housed the rebellious Bretagne government in the past. West of the parliament, stand the iconic church of the old city- Cathédrale St-Pierre [Carrefour de la Cathédrale] which was built in the 17th century, housing a mesmerising neoclassical interior.

 The city’s art museum- Musée des Beaux Arts [20 Quai Emile Zola, +33 223621745   www.mbar.org ad/ch €5.72/Free] holds exhibitions of artworks and artefacts in the area, with rooms specially dedicated to the Pont-Aven School, an art movement, founded by Paul Gaugin and Emile Bernard, that focused on the Breton countryside. Rennes also has a cultural centre, Champs Libre [10 Cours des Alliés], which houses the Musée de Bretagne [+33 223406670  www.musee-bretagne.fr/ ad/ch €10/7 (combined ticket)] that focuses on Breton history and culture and the Espace des Sciences [+33 223406640  www.espace-sciences.org]- a science museum that comprises of a planetarium.

If you pop by Rennes in June or July, you will be able to participate in its notable festivals such as Les Mercredis du Thabor [www.rennes.fr] – held every Wednesday throughout the month, celebrating traditional Breton dances and music and the Tombées de la Nuit [www.lestombeesdelanuit.com/] – a music and theatre festival that is held at night, lighting up the old city in July.



RENNES MAP1.  Place de la République  2. rue St-Michel (Thirsty Street)  3. rue St Georges  4. Old Parliamanet House (current Court of Appeal)  5. Cathédrale St-Pierre  6. Musée des Beaux Arts  7. Champs Libre (Musée de Bretagne & Espace des Sciences)  

Javascript is required to view this map.