Rennes Bucket List: 15 Best Places to Visit in Rennes, France
Rennes, the vibrant capital city of Brittany, France, is full of art and history that is perfect for anyone to wander and explore. As Rennes is situated on a hill and nearby the rivers Ille and Vilaine, it is also full of lush greenery. This list features the fifteen best things you can do when visiting Rennes.
Gaze at the colorful, half-timbered buildings in the old town
Rennes’ history traces back up to 2000 years, suffering a devastating fire in the 1720s. Around 286 buildings survive today as a colorful heritage of medieval times.
You can take a peek at the different charming architectural styles Rennes has preserved. These historical gems are also perfect for pictures and ancient stories to bring back home.
Check out the oldest house in Rennes.
While exploring the old town, keep an eye out for a bright red house! This is the oldest house in Rennes, decorated with a martyr of St. Sebastian sculpture, which was believed to ward off plague epidemics.
Its name Ti-Koz means “old house” in Breton, the Celtic language of Brittany. Built during the 16th century, it is now a prestigious inn with a creperie that is well worth a visit.
Stroll through the Parc du Thabor
If you fancy a leisurely escape to nature, the ten-hectare Parc du Thabor is the right place for you. It’s nestled away from the busy city in the northeast corner of Rennes. Gardens, greenhouses, fountains, and a bandstand can all be viewed here.
It doesn’t charge an entrance fee, so feel free to pop in and bask in nature whenever you like.
Shop for local specialties at La Place des Lices
Immerse with the locals and go here for its famous busy market. This beautiful square is the second-largest in France, with hundreds of craftsmen and producers holding stalls. This is the best place to unwind and try local specialties, such as ciders, Reinette apples, and artisanal beers.
If you’d like a change of pace, there are many boutiques, bars, and restaurants to escape into around the restless square.
Visit Les Champs Libres
Want a splash of modernity? Check out the cultural hotspot designed by architect Christian de Portzamparc! It contains a museum, a library, and a science center. It blends science and art with exhibitions and events.
It provides an educational experience for all ages, so you’ll never be bored with your family and friends.
Take a tour at Musée de Bretagne
Enrich your cultural experience of Rennes by taking a tour of Musée de Bretagne or the Museum of Britanny. Located inside the Les Champs Libres, it’s a fascinating world of its own.
It houses over 600,000 museum items that are all marvels of history. Travel back in time through interactive exhibitions, sound and light shows, and floor-to-ceiling photographs.
View galleries at Musée des Beaux-Arts
More of a fine arts fan? Look no further. Musee des Beaux-Arts has art collections from ancient periods to our present time.
Feast your eyes on archaeological exhibits, paintings, and drawings from celebrated artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer, Botticelli, Donatello, and Michelangelo.
Cycle by La Vilaine
The Vilaine, this valley, and the river have the most breathtaking view right at the city’s doorstep. While Vilaine means “ugly,” its view is the exact opposite! You can choose to walk by and simply bask in its beauty or take your exploration further and cycle through nature with different routes.
You can also visit places where locals live and sell their products, so be sure to stock up on Breton specialties.
Eat at La Mie Mobile
If you’re starting to tire of touring and walking around Rennes, visit this bar and restaurant sitting on the banks of Vilaine.
Soak up the beautiful sights on the terraces of this establishment, situated by a neighboring cultural collective. Eat, drink, and catch a gig or party to fully unwind.
Visit the Parlement de Bretagne
This iconic, historical building was established in the 1500s and employed nearly a century in its structure and design. Elements of royal and Parisian art can be seen in its neoclassical architecture.
The building currently houses Rennes’ Court of Appeal, where you can book a guided tour of its brilliant design.
Travel back in time at Cathedrale de St. Pierre
This church was built in 1845, though the site can be traced back to the 6th century. Not only is its history significant, but it functions as the seat of the Archbishop of Rennes in the present times.
It has both a stunning interior and exterior, with a grand organ to match. You can enter through the remains of the medieval city gate, Mordelles, where Dukes centuries before walked through after swearing to protect Brittany’s freedom.
Get your adrenaline rush fix at Parc des Gayeulle.
Need some excitement? Visit the green heart of Rennes, Parc de Gayeulle, and head on over to Adrénaline forest! You can avail of its local biodiversity tour, tree-top trails, treasure trails, and zip-lines situated over the lake and weave around the trees.
Every fun activity has a range of circuits and is offered for visitors aged 2 and above.
Wander around the Mail François Mitterrand
This boulevard, created in 1677, has everything you’d like for leisure. New and old restaurants, cafes, and bakeries all have delicious and seasonal food and drink to offer food lovers. Sample bargains if you catch the monthly flea market or simply shop local products.
Playgrounds are in abundance, and if you’d like even more physical activity, CrossFit equipment is also available in the middle of the mail!
Shop underground culture items at Les Troubadours du chaos
This place is a haven for music fans. Unearth rare types of vinyl and CDs of indie-rock, punk, and classical music. Find rare musical items, DVDs, and musical sets to add to your collection, or update your wardrobe with their second-hand clothes.
This boutique is always welcoming, so pop in! You’ll never know what you’ll discover.
Drink and dance inside Saint-Michel Prison
You read that correctly: this secret courtyard was a former prison. Today, it looks much like a Venetian courtyard with a stone spiral staircase, wells, and passageways. It’s home to several bars and restaurants that offer a warm, unique atmosphere. Get a drink and enjoy the music for your nighttime adventure!
Rennes is a must-visit if you find yourself nearby Brittany. It is full of historical and cultural sites you can explore while still offering modern recreational spots and nature getaways. You’ll never run out of life-changing adventures in Rennes.
Rennes, France Travel and Tour Packages
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Rennes hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.