Just two hours from Paris by high-speed train, or a short flight away, and less than an hour’s drive from the coast and Brittany’s finest attractions, Rennes boasts a 2,000 year old history. There is a wealth of well-maintained heritage, and a lively cultural scene thanks to its 60,000 students. Internationally renowned for its Transmusicales music festival, Brittany’s capital moves to the beat of its many festivals all year round. And every Saturday morning, the Marché des Lices, France’s 2nd largest market, brings in over 300 local and regional farmers, as well as food producers.
Not to be missed in Rennes :
- The Breton Parliament: This building, an important part of Rennes’ heritage, was designed by Salomon de Brosse. It is a unique example of 17th-century French pictorial art, and Brittany’s history. Tours available throughout the year (must be booked at the Tourist Information Centre).
- Thabor garden: Once the setting of Saint Melaine Abbey orchard, these gardens were designed and built by Denis Bühler during the Second Empire. They boast a vast range of plant life and trees, as well as a bandstand and aviary. The Thabor is Rennes’ finest park and one of the most well-known in France. It is open all year round, but opening hours vary depending on the time of year.
- Place des Lices and its market: This square was formerly a medieval jousting area where festivals and tournaments were held. Its northern side is lined with large timber-framed or stone townhouses, built in the 17th century for parliamentarians. Two metal-framed market halls, designed in 1869 by Martenot in the style of French architect Baltard, house France’s second largest food market every Saturday morning.
- Place du Champ-Jacquet: This square boasts several 17th-century timber-framed houses, together with stone buildings constructed after the fire of 1720.
- The “Champs Libres“ cultural centre: This new cultural centre, characterised by purple schist, concrete and glass, was designed by Christian de Portzamparc, and houses the Musée de Bretagne, the Espace des Sciences with its planetarium, and the library.
- Musée des Beaux Arts: The Musée des Beaux-Arts is housed in the former university building constructed by Vincent Boullé in 1849. It houses numerous works by the great masters, including Rubens, Véronèse, Chardin, De La Tour and Picasso. Open daily, except Mondays and Bank Holidays, from 10am-12pm and 2pm-6pm.
- The Rennes regional ecomuseum: Spread over three floors, this rural museum presents five centuries of history of the Bintinais farm, one of Rennes’ largest farms on the outskirts of the city. (Direction South of Rennes, Noyal Chatillon on Seiche road) Open daily except Mondays and Bank Holidays. April to September 9am-6pm; October to March 9am-12pm and 2pm-6pm; Saturdays 2pm-6pm and Sundays 2pm-7pm.
- Saint-Yves chapel: This was the Chapel of the former general hospital dating from the 15th century. Today it houses a permanent exhibition on the city’s history. Open during Tourist Information Centre opening hours (see below).
- Opera House: Charles Millardet designed the city’s theatre in 1830. The building is crowned with statues of Apollo and the muses, and its rotunda contrasts with the concave central section of the Hôtel de Ville, which stands opposite.
- Hôtel de Ville: The first stone of the new Hôtel de Ville, or City Hall, was laid in 1734. Designed by Jacques Gabriel, architect to the King, it was “built for immortality” and combines Classical architecture and Baroque forms, using limestone and granite. The Tourist Information Centre offers free guided tours in summer.
- Breton local specialties: crêpes, bottled cider, seafood
Discovering Rennes, Brittany's capital (week-end from 44€ per person)
This package includes:
- Hotel accomodation for 2 people, for 1 or 2 nights in a double room, including breakfast
- 2 Rennes Metropole City Pass*
*This pass, which is valid for 2 days, combines:
- Free admission to the top cultural sites in Rennes, such as : The Champs Libres (Museum of Brittany and Scientific Cultural Centre), the Fine Arts Museum, guided tour of Rennes, and the Parliament building
- Reductions on leisure activities, shows and concerts
- Reduced fares for bus and metro rides
(Price of the city pass on its own: 13€)
These tours take you through 8 emblematic places, allowing you to discover the heritage of the city in a simple, lively way, at your own pace. English audioguided tours are available at the Tourist Office for 4.50€.
Rennes Tourist Office
11 rue Saint-Yves
35064 Rennes Cedex
Tel : +33 (0) 2 99 67 11 11