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Things to do in Rennes

143 contributors

The top 55 attractions in Rennes

Gardens in Rennes
Parc du Thabor
It is a large park on a hill, near the city center. For lovers of gardens, designed by Denis Bühler. Different styles (including the French, English), with an orange enclosure, a collection of over 3,000 plants
Squares in Rennes
Place des Lices
The Lices square owes its name to the tournament that once took place here. The mythical, medieval hotels of La Noue and Feuillée, built over three centuries ago, are part of the decor of this plaza. Its tower and stairs with high timbered ceilings and gerbière lamps are well worth a visit. Hall Molanta (1670), located on this street at number 34, is a very special place that houses a luxurious and monumental oak staircase.
Cathedrals in Rennes
Rennes Cathedral
Two large towers welcome you above the door of the cathedral. The temple bell can be heard kilometers outside of the city. There is a mass of granite carved with utmost care, making it the most beautiful in the region. Upon entering, one finds themselves in an orthodox temple. Austerity and understated elegance of the outside doesn´t go along with the inside. Tiled floor to ceiling, everything is surrounded by a luxurious atmosphere. Surprising for locals and outsiders, this temple´s architecture of all types breaks the asthetic of each moment.
Historical Monuments in Rennes
Rennes old town
Rennes is the capital of Ille-et-Vilaine, which is one of the main cities of Brittany. I recommend focusing on the northern part, with the Vilaine river running throgh it. I loved their wooden houses, with colourful facades, and the medieval touches still visible despite the apparent modernity of the city. There are some beautiful churches and basilicas. Highly recommended.
City Halls in Rennes
Rennes City Hall
In an elegant square in the late 18th century there are some beautiful public buildings. In the Place de la Mairie you can find the city council. This building was constructed in the most elegant style, that of Louis XV. It is accompanied by an 18th century watchtower nearby. Inside lies an impressive staircase, waterfall and tapestries from the Royal Factory Fabric of France and the School of Bruges. All of them are hung on marmol boxes that go throughout the entire hallway and are sustained by huge stone pillars.
Museums in Rennes
Les Champs Libres
Culture, science and society are the essence of the Champs Libres cultural project, a unique adventure in Rennes' cultural landscape. Rennes is a dynamic and attractive city. This project building houses the Museum of Brittany of space and planetary sciences, with a library and several temporary exhibits. It is the city's and its metropolis's main cultural and tourist centre. Designed by the internationally renowned architect Christian de Portzamparc, the building is located in the Plaza de las Culturas, near the train station. The Champs Libres cultural project includes, among other things, innovative activities that promote art, or the scientific, cultural and intellectual development of its participants. You can mingle among Britain's academics, researchers and artists. Everything in Les Champs Libres is cared for. Hurry and take advantage of this experience. Here, time is money.
Palaces in Rennes
Parlement of Brittany
A glass and marble palace is hollow in the commercial and cultural heart of Rennes. It is quite a spectacle worth seeing. The reforms that took place after the 1994 fire have left the building looking like it did back then. A feast for the eyes. The stucco walls and ceilings invite you see a scene of the most remarkable Versailles. Its chandeliers and red velvet carpets, thick and made with the best fabric, lead visitors to the most elegant room of the palace: the Chamber. It is a stunning neoclassical piece of work full of white burgundy and ivory.
Of Cultural Interest in Rennes
Medieval Houses in Rennes
On my way to Mont Saint Michele, I spent a day in Rennes, a very interesting city, but what caught my attention most were its well-preserved medieval houses next to other more modern buildings. It is interesting to just walk around town getting lost in the capital of Brittany.
Squares in Rennes
Place de la Mairie
This square houses the town hall and the opera house, two buildings that stand face to face. The interior of the town hall, which I had the opportunity to visit, is incredible - large rooms, tapestries, gold decorations ... it feels more like a palace! The staff are very friendly, and always happy to help.
Squares in Rennes
Place Saint Michel
This typical square, along with the Lices, which has a special charm within the architecture and history of Rennes. It is full of movement any given time of day. The Place Saint Michel has hundreds of flower posts that bring joy to everyone. There is so much color and light, and the facades made of wood stand out the most.
Theaters in Rennes
Opéra de Rennes
Take your best clothes ... Today is opera night! Opposite the Town Hall of Rennes Opera is a construction of the first half of the nineteenth century, made at the request of the burgeoning middle-class families. Inside, the opera singers are fantastic. Every show is unique here. The great architecture and decoration in the room only sweetens the atmosphere. To the left of it, is a street leading to the Place du Palais. The interior is worth a visit to appreciate the décor of the rooms, based on period furniture.
Of Cultural Interest in Rennes
Porte Mordelaise
La Porte Mordelaise Rennes was once the main entrance to the city. There are two towers and a drawbridge, opposite the Cathedral of St Peter. The dukes and counts of the city had to swear an oath in front of the gate, promising to respect the rights and freedoms of Brittany.
Squares in Rennes
Theme Parks in Rennes
Parc des Gayeulles
The park is located northeast of Gayeulles Rennes. It's a very large park, where you can enjoy a delicious barbecue, indulge in some sports, or just go for a walk. There are even rabbits which you can often see! There are several lakes, and it's very nice to relax on the lawn in total peace. Hours: Monday to Sunday 8:00-20:30, or until 17:45 in winter. Free entry. Bus: 3 stops: Gayeulles, The Blizz, or Gayeulles pool.
Lakes in Rennes
Lac des Longchamps
The perfect place for a relatively short walk! We wandered around the lake and admired the flora. It's not the most important place to see, and doesn't need to be on your itinerary, but it's certainly very nice. Allow yourself about 30 minutes. Near the campus of Beaulieu, IUT stop lines 16, 30, 40, and 41.
Bars in Rennes
Le St Charles
Bar Le Saint-Charles is a nice bar with a lovely terrace, in the centre of Rennes. It fills up with locals during football matches, but it's also a decent place for a quiet chat with friends. There are small tables for 2 or 4. You can enjoy a quick lunch, with snacks, salads, and sandwiches. Very nice for a coffee or a beer ...
Shopping Centres in Rennes
Dalle Kennedy
It takes about five minutes to get here from the University of Rennes, two minutes from the ring road by car and seven minutes from the centre of the city. It's a very lively area, with a bakery, a Carrefour Market, a grocery store that sells a variety of products from around the world, a Subway, a few restaurants and bars, a kebab shop, and many other services...
Unusual Places in Rennes

The best things to do in Rennes

If you're planning to spend a few days in Brittany and you are looking for the best Rennes activities then you're in luck! There are endless things to see in Rennes. The city, with its more than 2,000 years of history, has an important artistic and cultural heritage to discover.

Of all the places to visit in Rennes, its historic center, the medieval city, is where the traveler has the opportunity to truly move to another era. Strolling through the streets is like reliving the life of a century ago, with the ancient streets and old, beautiful buildings. If you're wondering what to do in Rennes, you simply must start here!

Visiting Lices Square is one of the things to do in Rennes in the old town. You can drink and relax in some of its terraces or visit the market, one of the largest in France. The Parliament is one of the most notable buildings of the city, but if you want to add this to your list of stuff to do in Rennes, be aware that you need to register in advance.

Other attractions in Rennes' city center include the town hall, the opera house, the Chapel of Saint-Yves and the Museum of Fine Arts. These are buildings and places of different historical periods that make up the unique character of the city. Les Champs Libres is one of the Rennes attractions you can't miss: a modern city of culture that hosts libraries, museums, a planetarium, etc. It's the ideal place to spend a quiet afternoon learning about the city and region. And after a long day of sightseeing, go to Thabor Park, a place to relax and unwind: a French garden of ten hectares in the heart of the city.

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