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- 02 Jul 2022, 3 nights
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Rennes is the capital of the province of Brittany, in northwestern France. It is known for its medieval half-timbered houses and its grand cathedral.... More...
Rennes, the capital of Brittany in peaceful northern France, has grown from a small Gallic village into a vibrant city bursting with life. It's a popular student town and welcomes 65,000 visitors (more than a quarter of the city's population) each year – one of the reasons for its buzzing atmosphere. It's also known for its impressive medieval centre with traditional half-timbered houses alongside cool student hangouts and lively bars.
You can take advantage of the city's warm climate by choosing a Rennes hostel with a garden, so you can sit out in the sun and plan your sightseeing day ahead. No trip to France is complete without a taste of the local cuisine and there are plenty of hostels in Rennes where you can enjoy a classic French breakfast of buttery homemade pastries and café au lait. There is also a hostel with an on-site restaurant serving seasonal food.
The historic centre is the place to discover Rennes’ unique collection of half-timbered houses with colourful façades. Admire all 286 by strolling along Le Chapitre, Psalette and Saint-Sauveur streets. Between Place de la République and Place Charles de Gaulle, you'll find plenty of authentic cafés and restaurants, including some of the city’s 35 crêperies. If you're looking to rub shoulders with the city's young crowd, head to the legendary Rue Saint Michel. This road is nicknamed ‘Rue de la Soif’, meaning ‘Street of Thirst’, and comes alive at night with busy bars in 16th-century houses.
You could take a picnic to the 19th-century Parc du Thabor, which stretches across 10 hectares and includes a French garden, an English park and a rose garden. If you want to discover more about Rennes' history, head to the imposing Parlement de Bretagne. The building was partly burnt down in 1994, but extensive renovations mean you can still marvel at the magnificent 17th-century style inside. In the evenings, try a sausage galette (a local favourite: a sausage inside a buckwheat pancake) from one of the street stands.
Rennes has a local bus network and a single-line metro system. The metro connects the railway station (Gare de Rennes) with Place Sainte-Anne in five minutes. The train station is a major transport hub for northeast France, and from there you can get to Paris’s Gare Montparnasse in 90 minutes. The bus station is next to the train station and has daily services around eastern Brittany. If you're arriving by air, Rennes-Saint-Jacques Airport is just 20 minutes from the city centre.