France – Rennes a great city to start exploring Brittany

France Rennes

The city of Rennes is in the northeastern part of France east of Brittany. The history of Rennes goes back over 2,000 years, when is was just a small Gallic village named Condate. Rennes is also the capital of the region Brittany.

The city of Rennes is named after a Celtric tribe, Redones. The Romans used the town as the center of communications of the province of Armorica. In the Middle Ages it vied with Nantes as capital of the dukes of Brittany. The rivalry continued when a Parliament of Brittany was created in 1551. Rennes was completely engulfed and almost destroyed by a fire in 1720. The Parliament finally settled at Rennes 10 years later. During the French Revolution (1787–99), it became the headquarters of the republican army in the fighting with the Vendeens (royalist insurgents). Rennes was bombed and partly destroyed in World War II.

Industrial activity is diversified and includes automotive assembly, food processing, printing, and the manufacture of automotive components and electronics. Pop. (2015) 215,366.

Opera house in Rennes

Town Hall Square

A great place to meet friends or just relax on a sunny day on one of the many benches and enjoy the atmosphere. Right in the center of the city is this Neo-Classical square from which most streets seem to lead off so an excellent place to start exploring.

La Place des Lices

Place des Lices is a lovely square full of beautiful pieces of Breton architecture. It is probably best known for its Saturday morning market dating back to the late 1400’s. This bustling square is the perfect place to try some Breton specialties, such as the famous Breton cider, the salted butter, and Reinette apples.

There are many outside terraces to sample the local drink Cider

Breton Cider

With over 600 varieties of Apples its not hard to see why the ultimate local drink is Cider. Rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, trace elements and mineral salts, it has a slightly sharp but fruity taste and a distinctive colour, which can range from pale gold to deep amber.

The Mordelaises Gates

This was the main entrance to the city in the 15th century. Today it is one of the only remains of the ramparts of Rennes.

Thabor Park

The Thabor Park is a great place to relax in Rennes, both for tourists and residents who call it the Central Park of Rennes. Thabor Park hosts the Mythos Festival, a mixed arts spring festival.

When travelling the Brittany Region of France Rennes is a great place to start your tour. Approximately 328 km from Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport, there are many ways of travelling to the capital of Brittany. Plane, Bus, car or train. Bus tickets can be purchased.

Plane – 1 hour 36 minutes CDG – RNS $71 – $399*

Bus – 6 hours 55 minutes $18 – $50*

Train (Rail Europe) – 2 hours 35 minutes $90 – $194*(first class) www.raileurope.ca

*All prices are approximate and should be verified.

Feature photo: Buildings in Rennes known as the Place du Champ Jacquet.

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