Rennes in Brittany

A journey through the centuries
© Hachette Tourisme
Discover all the guides
When the Breton Kingdom was formed in the 9th century, Rennes fought Nantes for the right to be its capital, securing this role with the creation of the Parliament in 1554. This rebellious spirit, which can be traced back to the 18th century Enlightenment, is today pursued by some 60,000 students who take an active part in the cultural life of the city.

A walk around the Mediaeval quarter

Lose yourself in the little streets of old Rennes, taking in the many half-timbered houses, one more crooked than the next, round the St. Pierre cathedral and the Basilica Saint-Sauveur.


Before heading from Place des Lices up to the Place Sainte-Anne, peruse the Place des Lices market where you'll find products from all over Brittany!


If you're peckish, a stop off at the galette and sausage stall is a must. (Marché des Lices, place des Lices, Saturdays from 7.00 am)



The Breton Parliament to the Place de la Mairie

Nantes and Rennes fought long and hard to house this building when the parliament was created in 1554. The square surrounding the parliament building, constructed from the same granite and tuffeau stone, is one of a kind. 


A few steps further on, the town hall and opera house face each other on the Place de la Mairie, the concave structure of one communicating with the rotund shape of the other. If time permits, let yourself be tempted into the beautiful Thabor Park where you can even stop off for a drink. (La Buvette du Thabor, rue de la Palestine, open all year round)



Champs Libres: modernity meets culture

A contemporary setting (the building was opened in 2006) forms the backdrop for various cultural activities: The vast Brittany museum has a range of objects telling the story of Brittany from the palaeolithic period right up to the 20th century. The Municipal Library not only has an incredible collection of documents, but offers a panoramic view over the city.


The "Laboratoire de Merlin" (Merlin's Laboratory) in the science area is sure to whet the curiosity of young minds. There is also a café where you can lunch on the terrace or enjoy a drink after visiting an exhibition. (Café des Champs Libres, 10, cour des Alliés)


Tip: Looking for entertainment? On many summer evenings (mid-June to late August) you can take your seat (or rather deckchair) on the Place de la Mairie to enjoy songs, plays, films and comedy. Alternatively, in early July musicians, dancers, comedians and street artists make their own mark on the public spaces and some more unusual venues in Rennes!


Book your train ticket to Rennes