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Guide to Rennes

Location of Rennes

Location of Rennes

As the capital city of Brittany in Northern France, Rennes is often overlooked on the tourist trail, which is a pity because it's a beautiful city with plenty to see and do and a rich history just waiting to be explored. Young, vibrant and with a night life to satisfy the most outgoing of explorers, Rennes waits to be discovered anew by all visitors to this region of France.

Explore the Nightlife

As a relatively small city with a population of around 200,000, the student population is large, numbering somewhere in the region of 60,000. Students the world over inject life and fun into any town or city and Rennes is no exception. Not just for students though, the vibrancy of Rennes bar and restaurant culture is there for everyone to enjoy.

The street known as la rue de la soif (translated as the street of thirst) is actually called Rue Saint Michel, but has earned its nickname thanks to the fact that both sides are lined with bars. During July the Festival des Tombees de la Nuit sees the streets packed with tourists and locals alike there to celebrate and watch free street entertainment as they enjoy a drink or meal from the terraced cafes and restaurants. At any time of year, however, not just during festivals, Rennes entertainment value is always high.

Food lovers won't be disappointed. With over 400 restaurants to choose from, offering fine dining in a variety of different cuisines, foodies can ring the changes and switch between creperies, restaurants, cafes and bistros. There's a different menu waiting every day of the week if food is your particular enjoyment.

Shopping and Markets

The second largest market in France is held in the Place des Lices every Saturday morning where shoppers can browse between 300 or more vendors selling food and flowers. But this is just one of the many markets ready to tempt those on the hunt for a bargain. Across the town on every day of the week there is something happening somewhere, from book markets to crafts and every kind of miscellaneous good in between.

History, Leisure and Museums

History buffs will be in their element visiting the various museums around the city, from the Ecomusee du pays de Rennes which dates back to the 16th century and covers five centuries of history over five floors, to the Fine Arts Museum in the former university hall which contains works by Rubens, Veronese and Picasso to name but three.

The Thabor gardens gives a respite from the urban landscape with 10 hectares of landscaped gardens in various styles, while for sports lovers there are activities such as swimming, ice skating or golf and a wide variety of theatres and concert halls.

Transport and Accommodation

Rennes has excellent transport links both within the city itself and from and to the airport which is just 5 kilometres from the city centre. There is a bus station situated next to the train station which offers regular and convenient transport both locally and further afield to neighbouring towns and regions. Cycling is also a popular means of transport, with bike hire readily available.

All types of accommodation are available, from gites and furnished apartments to guest houses and hotels. Catering for all tastes and budgets, in Rennes and the surrounding area you'll find some of the nicest villas in Brittany.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Brittany
The DK Eyewitness Brittany Travel Guide is your indispensible guide to this beautiful part of the world. The fully updated guide includes unique cutaways, floorplans and reconstructions of the must-see sites, plus street-by-street maps of all the fascinating cities and towns. The new-look guide is also packed with photographs and illustrations leading you straight to the best attractions on offer.
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