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Overview

The French province of Brittany may be surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on three sides and famed for its dramatic coastline and rugged beaches, but its traditional capital, Rennes, is in the gentle, fertile eastern part. Being virtually on the erstwhile border with France, Rennes has been a crossroads since Roman times, and that is immediately apparent as you stroll through this delightful city. Memories of the past — distant and more recent — are everywhere and include remains of the Gallo-Roman City wall, the fortress ramparts dating from the 3rd to the 12th centuries, and Rennes’ most historic building, the Palais du Parlement de ...

The French province of Brittany may be surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on three sides and famed for its dramatic coastline and rugged beaches, but its traditional capital, Rennes, is in the gentle, fertile eastern part. Being virtually on the erstwhile border with France, Rennes has been a crossroads since Roman times, and that is immediately apparent as you stroll through this delightful city. Memories of the past — distant and more recent — are everywhere and include remains of the Gallo-Roman City wall, the fortress ramparts dating from the 3rd to the 12th centuries, and Rennes’ most historic building, the Palais du Parlement de Bretagne, the 17th-century seat of the rebellious Breton parliament. Rennes is renowned for its stately 18th-century hôtels particuliers and the earlier half-timbered houses that flank the narrow streets and squares of the old town. The city is arguably the best place in Brittany for fine dining and, while the province produces almost none of its own wine, it is on the doorstep of the Loire wine-producing region. The city’s large student population helps to keep the pubs and clubs heaving.

Steve Fallon
About the Expert

Steve Fallon has more than two dozen years of experience as a travel writer and guidebook author, having written or contributed to some 80 Lonely Planet and other guides.

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Steve Fallon for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Escape the summer crowds by visiting during the shoulder months of April and May or September and October.