Rennes, a lively student city 1,5 hour from Paris

Rennes is a lively, attractive, affordable and safe city, located only 1.5 hour away from Paris and 1 hour from prestigious sites such as Mont Saint-Michel or Saint-Malo. Rennes has been elected “best city to live in France” by the 2016 European Community Survey. It is famous for its world-class culture, vibrant nightlife, fascinating history, great shopping and beautiful architecture. Rennes is also the largest student city in Western France and a major research cluster. Whatever your interests, the city has something to offer you. Get a taste of French culture and gain an in depth experience of life in another country

Saint-Anne square, in the historical centre of Rennes
  1. One of the best cities to live in France
  2. Arts and culture
  3. Iconic night life

One of the best cities to live in France

Cafés, terrasses and french art de vivre

Rennes is the historical and administrative capital of Brittany, a dynamic and friendly city, home to a large community of researchers and students representing around 32 % of the population.
The centre is a mix of half-timbered houses lining narrow streets and majestic 18th century buildings overlooking spacious public squares. A river, La Vilaine, runs through the city whilst a large botanical garden, the Thabor in the north-east, provides a peaceful green area for workers, students and city dwellers.
Walking around the historical centre at lunchtime or in the evening, you’ll discover streets brimming with cafés, restaurants and bars. Shops and boutiques line the larger streets of the classical period.
Information about what to do in and around Rennes can be found on the Tourist Office website. But here are a few ideas!
 

café du thabor
"With its 163 bars and almost as many outside terraces, there will always be somewhere to sit and have a drink in the sun in Rennes! Be it Place Sainte-Anne, Rue Rallier du Baty, Place du Champ-Jacquet, Rue Vasselot, Rue Jules Simon, Place des Lices or Rue Saint Michel, the entire city centre and Saint-Michel area are packed with tables and chairs where you can bask in the sun. Bars and restaurants are available for a coffee, a bite to eat or a pre-dinner drink (with moderation, of course). Rennes' relaxed way of life will no doubt lead you to one of these terraces at some stage throughout the day." (check more on Rennes Tourist Office's website )

Arts and culture

Theatres and festivals

Well-known for its music scene, you can hear the latest in rock at various venues around the city (Salle de la Cité, l’UBU, Le Liberté) and at the internationally renowned festival Les Trans musicales at the beginning of December. Rennes also has an opera house, and a national theatre, the Théâtre National de Bretagne (TNB), with a varied programme of theatre, dance, circus, music and cinema.
There are several cinemas for film lovers, with arthouse and classic films at the L'Arvor and the TNB, a more mainstream selection at the Colombier or Gaumont, and a winter film festival called Travelling.

 

Opera of Rennes

Les Champs Libres is a large cultural centre which houses the Musée de Bretagne, a science museum and the central library which holds exhibitions, events and conferences all year round.
The Musée de Beaux Arts, on the banks of La Vilaine, has an impressive art collection from ancient to modern as well as regular temporary exhibitions. The city also has a number of contemporary art venues including La Criée and the FRAC, as well as a contemporary art biennial, Les Ateliers de Rennes.
During the festival Les Tombés de la nuit, which takes place over several weekends during the spring and summer, you can discover street theatre, performances and installations in Rennes and the surrounding area.
 

 

Iconic night life

Rue Saint-Michel, a well known symbol of Rennes's festive spirit - © destination rennes