Rennes the Capital of Brittany Since 1532

By: Douglas Scott

Rennes is a city of north western France, in the east of Brittany. Rennes is the capital of the Bretagne region, as well as the prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine department.

It has been the capital of Brittany since 1532. The city is criss-crossed by water, since two canals meet here. It was also the victim of a terrible fire in 1720 which destroyed more than 30 streets

Most of the interesting bars and restaurants are to be found in the streets just south of the place Ste-Anne, towards the place des Lices.

It is a student city and as a consequence, a vibrant night life is on offer. The main area of the nightlife and bar culture here is centred in the older area to the north of the cathedral on two roads, rue St Michel, and rue St Malo. For the quieter areas and restaurants take a look around the old quarters around the cathedral and also rue St Georges, near the parliament.

The stately public buildings and numerous private mansions adorning the two royal squares stand at the very heart of the town.

Rennes has a wealth of old, interesting architecture, and has also got plenty of smart boutiques and fancy shops. It is not touristy though, and you get the feel of a real French city.

Rennes is seen at its best in the first ten days of July, when the Festival des Tombees de la Nuit takes over the whole of the city to celebrate Breton culture with music, theatre, film, mime and poetry. In the first week of December, the Transmusicales rock festival attracts big-name acts from all over France and the world.

The Festival Gourmand, focusing on regional dishes, expertise and creativity, draws a hundred chefs from Rennes and the surrounding area every year. This is indeed proof of gastronomy's important role in the city. Quality produce can be found on market stalls such as at the Lices market in Rennes on Saturday mornings, which is one of the largest and most colourful markets in France,

The Tombees de la Nuit takes place each year at the beginning of July. Events consist of concerts, storytelling performances, plays and a myriad of other forms of entertainment. Shows take place throughout the city on atmospheric, open-air stages.

Thabor Park is a beautiful park which is found in the centre of the city. It has ten hectares of green flora and seasonal plants. It has Botanical gardens in the east of the park.

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