Rennes – the heart of Brittany

The capital of Bretagne, Rennes is the beating heart of the whole region. Here Breton music is danced to, galettes eaten at lunchtime and besides that, so much culture radiates out like in no other French town. On a walk through the historic centre, you can also fall in love with the wonderful old and completely romantic half-timbered houses, that must have stood here for many years. You must experience Rennes and as Breton-like as possible.

Lunch at the crêperie ‘La Saint-Georges’

If you are ever in the capital of Brittany, you should absolutely not miss the Breton national dishes: galettes and crêpes. And the best place in Rennes is the Crêperie ‘La Saint-Georges’. In the chic restaurant whose interior is so unlike a creperie, not only are unknown combinations with mad icecream flavours served (rocket flavour, anyone?), but flavours to take you straight back to your childhood. And with them? Well, sparkling cider of course!

La Saint-Georges - 17 rue Jules-Simon

In the half-timbered paradise of Rennes

The cobbled alleyways which lead through Rennes, are characterised by very old half-timbered houses. If they could talk, they’d have the best tales to tell. But even without a private chat, these houses are so gorgeous, that they should not be missed on a sightseeing walk. The most beautiful houses are in Rue du Chapitre, Rue Saint Michel, Rue Saint Georges and on Place St. Anne.

From square to square

Besides all the small alleyways that run through the historic centre of Rennes, the capital of Bretagne has one thing more than anything else: squares. On a stroll through the town you should saunter from square to square and discover the uniqueness of each one. Our favourite squares are the Place de la Mairie, Place Saint-Anne and the Place du Parlement.

In the heart of Bretagne: Parc du Thabor

The public park Parc du Thabor extends over more than ten hectares, presiding over the town and is its green oasis. Here, you can not only go on lovely walks, picnic in meadows or cool your feet in a small waterfall, but also experience a real, authentic piece of Brittany at close quarters. Every Wednesday in July, an open space in front of the pavilion in the park, tranforms into a stage. Breton music is played, there is dancing and the typical galette-saucisse (sausage in a pancake) is eaten till the cows come home, while the corks of cider bottles pop.

A tiny piece of Spain in Brittany: Tapas in ‘La Clara’

Tapas and San Miguel Beer in France? Of course! The Spanish owner of ‘La Clara’ has made her own little Spanish oasis. In the meantime it has morphed into an established meeting place for Spanish-speaking tourists or residents of Rennes and couldn’t be any more authentic. The restaurant’s recipe for success is simple: There are typical tapas and boards with different fish and cheese varieties which are shared. Perfect for one of these warm evenings in Brittany! Tip: You can get a beaker of beer from here and go and sit in Place de la Mairie and observe the colourful goings-on.

La Clara - 6 rue de l'Hermine

When it’s dark: A light and sound installation in Place du Parlement

Every evening in the summer, the facade of Brittany’s parliament building transforms into a big screen. That’s when the unusual light and sound installation is projected directly onto the huge building. Every year has a new theme, realised by local graphic artists and designers through various small clips and animations. Tip: Simply take a blanket and some snacks and sit in the area in front of the parliament and escape into another world for a short time.

The canals behind: boating on the Vilaine

They are small, sweet and sail quite leisurely by: the Petits Bateaux on the Vilaine. In the small boats, up to five people can discover Rennes from a completely different perspective and finally get to try out being a skipper (no boating licence required). You can rent boats at 61 quai Saint-Cyr and then off you go. Armed with a map of the common routes, you can meander along the town’s canals on your own for up to a day.

Ptit Bateaux - 61 quai Saint-Cyr - www.lesptitsbateaux-rennes.com (External link)

Oh such beautiful art: Musée des Beaux-Arts

Conveniently right on the Vilaine, the ‘museum of fine arts’ is not only a real eye-catcher from outside. In the building itself hide a couple of permanent exhibitions and touring exhibitions, which stop in Rennes now and then. Until the end of September you can see the exhibition, ‘Créatrices’, which revolves around the topic of emancipation.

Musée des Beaux-Arts - 20 quai Emile Zola - mba.rennes.fr (External link)

Bottomless Breton tapas at L’Algorythme

There is no menu here, just a blackboard on which the restaurant’s concept is explained. Here too it all revolves around the experience of eating together, and the dishes are served tapas-style on large boards that are shared with everyone. The question is whether you trust the chef and go for the surprise board or if you want to give some direction. The plates taste best accompanied by craft beers from the region.

L'Algorythme - 10 rue d'Argentré

Off to the countryside: By bike to Saint Martin

Rennes has properly laid-out cycling paths, which are not only great for going through the town, but also lead out into the countryside alongside the canal. If you want to go on a cycling tour, you should go to Saint-Martin. This big nature complex not only has a playing area which even adults are really jealous of, but also some trails and hidden corners.

Hip, hipper, Oh my biche

The perfect place for a healthy lunch is obviously the restaurant, ‘Oh my biche!’. The interior looks a bit like a mix of Bali and Melbourne and the food is unbelievably fresh. Especially at lunchtime it gets really busy here, so reserving a table beforehand is essential if you don’t want to miss out on the delicious, brightly coloured bowls with fresh fish, meat or crunchy vegetables.

Oh my biche - 3 Rue du Puits Mauger

Rennes