The Vibrant Brittany City of Rennes


Rennes is the administrative capital of Brittany and is a must-see for anyone staying in the region. Many of the best gites and villas in France are located within easy reach of Rennes and there's plenty to see and do on a trip to this historic city. With picturesque medieval streets and squares, it's a great city for exploring and a photographer's dream. Much of the original city of Rennes was destroyed by a fire in 1720 but some buildings survived and can be found among the new properties. Many of the streets are lined with charming half-timbered buildings, giving the city a fairy-tale feel. One of the most stunning buildings in Rennes is the parliament building, located to the east of the old part of the city. The Palais du Parlement de Bretagne was built in the early 1600s and was the original home of the Breton parliament. Today, the Court of Appeal has the building but there are frequent concerts, displays and exhibitions hosted in the main lobby. Tours of the building are available and are very well-run and informative. Rennes is home to several museums, with the Musee de Bretagne probably the most popular. Located in the contemporary looking Chames Libres building near the city's main station, the museum offers a fascinating insight into the lengthy and rich history of Brittany. The exhibits on the Breton language are particularly interesting and offer visitors the chance to hear Breton being spoken. Rennes is a great city for walking and has plenty of green spaces for those who want to enjoy the fresh air and soak up the sun on warmer days. The famous Thabor Gardens are over 150 years old and are a popular tourist attraction. Covering some 24 acres, they include French and international gardens, an incredibly botanical garden, lush green lawns, children's play areas and an aviary. Frequent events are hosted here in the summer months so check what's on before you go. On Saturdays, Rennes is transformed into a hub of activity with the setting up of the magnificent market. The city market is one of the largest in the whole of France and attracts locals and tourists from miles around. As anyone who's used to staying in self-catering gites or villas in France will know, the weekly markets are the very best place to buy affordable and fresh local produce.