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Rennes – What to Visit: 1 day itinerary (map included)

Rennes – What to Visit: 1 day itinerary (map included)

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I decided to visit Rennes after finding a cheap flight from Porto to there! So, I chose to visit Rennes, along with Nantes and Mont Saint-Michel in a 3-day getaway.

What to visit in Rennes Streets

And what a pleasant surprise it was! Despite finding the city almost empty, Rennes was lovely 🥰.

Located in the Brittany region, Rennes is a student city (one of the largest in Europe) and was once considered one of the best cities to live in in France.

What to visit in Rennes Streets

Rennes is a very photogenic city, largely due to its typical half-timbered houses. But the city holds other surprises. If you are planning a trip to Rennes, then keep reading this post to find out all the tips to visit Rennes: what to visit, when to visit, how many days are needed and much more.

What is the best time of the year to visit Rennes?

Being located in the Brittany region, you cannot expect fantastic weather in Rennes, especially in winter (it can even snow!). The warmest months are from June to September and the rainiest are November, December and January.

What to visit in Rennes

So, there is not necessarily an ideal time to visit Rennes as the weather is a bit uncertain. However, to increase the likelihood of good weather, I suggest visiting Rennes between June and September.

How many days do you need to visit Rennes?

Given the size of the city, one day is enough to visit Rennes. The main points of interest are located relatively close to each other, making it easy to visit.

Anyway, if you choose to stay 2 days in Rennes, on the second day you can take the opportunity to visit Mont Saint-Michel, which is an excellent day trip for those visiting Rennes.

What to visit Mont Saint Michel Viewpoint
Mont Saint-Michel

💡 EXTRA TIP: If you would like to know how to get to Mont Saint-Michel from Rennes and other tips for visiting what is one of the most emblematic places in France, I suggest reading my complete guide to visiting Mont Saint-Michel.

How to get to Rennes?

Rennes has an airport which, despite being quite small, has connections with some European countries such as:

  • Portugal (Porto, Lisbon)
  • United Kingdom (London)
  • Netherlands (Amsterdam)
  • Germany (Frankfurt)

The city of Rennes also has air connections with other French cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris and Toulouse.

How to get from Rennes airport to the city centre?

The simplest way to travel between Rennes airport and the city centre is by direct bus (C6), which is located nearby the airport’s exit.

Rennes Transports

This bus stops at Republique station (one of the most central stations) and the journey takes about 20 minutes. The bus has a frequency of about 20/30 minutes and tickets cost 1,5€ and can be bought directly from the driver.

💡 EXTRA TIP: I suggest checking the most up-to-date information on this site.

Accommodation in Rennes

I stayed for two nights in Rennes and was quite satisfied with the place I chose. It was a well-located apart hotel (less than 10 minutes walk from the main points of interest in the city) – Aparthotel Adagio Access Rennes Centre.

Although it was noticeable that the hotel was a bit old, it was very clean, spacious and comfortable. In addition, there was a kitchenette in the room, which was very useful for those who want to cook.

What to visit in Rennes Streets

However, there are other options available in terms of accommodation in the city of Rennes:

What is the best way to visit Rennes?

Although it is possible to visit Rennes on foot, as its points of interest are relatively close by, it may sometimes be necessary to use some public transport to cover longer distances.

Rennes has a very modern and efficient metro system (I never waited more than 2–3 minutes for a metro, even at the weekend). Although it is possible to use a contactless card (like Revolut, for example) to travel, you can buy tickets from the machines available at the stations.

Each individual ticket costs 1.5€ and is valid for 1 hour. However, there are other options available, such as 10 trips for 14.5€. More information is available here.

💼 TRAVEL INSURANCE: If you want to have a stress-free trip, then you should definitely look into purchasing some travel insurance. Pretty much anything can happen while you’re travelling, so it’s best to be safer than sorry. Most of the time, I use IATI Insurances, which has one of the best price-quality ratios in the market, a 100% online service and it is very easy to use. Book here your travel insurance and enjoy a 5% discount for being readers of the blog. For digital nomad travellers or longer trips, SafetyWing is another excellent option, with prices that are also highly competitive (insurance from 45 USD for 4 weeks).

IATI insurance with -5% discount
safetywing insurance

What to visit in Rennes?

Before starting the list with the places to visit in Rennes, I’ll share a map with the main points of interest in the city to help you plan your trip:

» Streets in Rennes with half-timbered houses

This itinerary in Rennes starts with one of the most captivating parts of the city: its streets with half-timbered houses. In many of the streets of Rennes (as well as in other cities in the Brittany region), we find half-timbered houses from medieval times.

When strolling through the historic centre of Rennes, it will be impossible not to notice these beautiful buildings. There are almost 400 scattered throughout the city 🥰.

Although they were not all built in the same period, there is something common to all the buildings: the use of colour. As with the sculptures on the various façades, the colours were intended to represent the social status of their owners.

So, I suggest a visit to some of the streets where you can find half-timbered houses:

  • Pont aux Foulons Street
  • Saint Michel Street
  • Saint Guillaume Street
  • Saint Sauveur Street
  • La Psalette Street
  • Chapitre Street

Although all the streets are worth a visit, I highlight house number 3 on Saint Guillaume Street. It is here that we can find the oldest house in Rennes (known as Ti-Coz), built in the early 16th century.

» Lices Market and Square

Located on Lices Square (Place des Lices), the Lices Market is the most emblematic in the city and has been held every Saturday morning since 1622. In fact, this is the second-largest market in France, with over 10.000 visitors every weekend.

What to visit in Rennes Lices Market

But what is now a popular weekend spot for locals to buy Breton products was once a place where knightly feuds or executions took place in medieval times.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The Lices Market occurs every Saturday from 7.30 am to 1.30 pm. Outside this period, the atmosphere in the square is quite different as the market is closed.

» Porte Mordelaise (gate)

Another place you can visit in Rennes is one of the gates that used to serve as the entrance to the walled city – Porte Mordelaise. This was the main entrance to the city of Rennes and its name comes from the fact that this gate connected Rennes to the city of Mordelles.

What to visit in Rennes Portes Mordelaises

Although the current structure is more recent, traces have been found that the current version of this gate was built on a foundation that dates back to the 3rd century.

Since 2018, there is a project that aims to develop the area around this gate and the city walls. The creation of the wall gardens will allow a new interpretation of the city’s history.

» St. Peter’s Cathedral

Crossing Mordelaise Gate, we immediately glimpse St. Peter’s Cathedral, with its two towers, almost 50 metres high. And believe me, the outside of the building doesn’t give a hint of its beautiful interior. This is really a must-visit place in Rennes!

The history of this cathedral is closely linked to the Dukes of Brittany, who were crowned here after entering the city through the Mordelaise Gate. Although the cathedral’s existence dates back to the 4th century, nothing remains of the original building.

What to visit in Rennes Cathedral

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: Entry to St, Peter’s Cathedral is free and it is open every day of the week.

» Town Hall Square (Place de la Mairie)

We head to one of the city’s main squares – Place de la Mairie. Here we find the Town Hall of Rennes and, in front of it, the Rennes Opera House.

What to visit in Rennes Town Hall
Place de la Mairie

Although the buildings were built almost a century apart, the way they were constructed makes it seem as if the two buildings fit together.

What to visit in Rennes Town Hall
Town Hall

Although the best way to appreciate the beauty of the Opera House is by attending a concert, there are also some guided tours of this monument.

What to visit in Rennes Opera
Opera House

» Parliament of Brittany

Built in the 17th century, the Parliament of Brittany is one of the most important buildings in the city and one of the symbols in the history of the Brittany region.

What to visit in Rennes Parliament of Brittany

While the building managed to survive the blazing fire that destroyed several parts of the city in 1720, it didn’t escape a fire in 1994. Today, it is possible to visit its interior through guided tours that show us some of the works of art inside😊.

» St. George’s Palace (Palais Saint-Georges)

We head towards the Palais Saint-Georges, another historic building in Rennes. Built in 1670, it was once an abbey. Today it is considered a historic monument in France and it’s currently used in administrative services.

What to visit in Rennes Saint Georges Palace

The garden outside is quite nice, although small. But it is certainly worth a visit!

» Vilaine river promenade and Museum of Fine Arts

It’s time to continue our visit to the banks of the river Vilaine – the river that runs through Rennes. After a short stroll along its banks (it’s a nice area, even though not that big of a deal!), I suggest another stop – Museum of Fine Arts.

What to visit in Rennes Walk next to Vilaine river
Walk next to Vilaine River

Opened at the end of the 18th century, in the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes we can find works by well-known painters such as Véronèse, Rubens and Picasso.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: Entrance to the permanent exhibitions at the Fine Arts Museum is free of charge. The Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Friday and until 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

» Thabor Park and Saint-Melaine Church

It’s time to end this Rennes’ itinerary and we will do it blissfully 😍. The first stop is the Saint-Melaine Church, which is located at the entrance of Thabor Park.

This church is dedicated to the one who is considered the first bishop of Rennes and it served as a cathedral in the 19th century as St Peter’s Cathedral had been destroyed.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The Church is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6.30 pm and from 2 pm to 6.30 pm on Sunday.

With over 150 years of history, Thabor Park is one of the highlights of a visit to Rennes. This park of over 10 hectares is considered one of the three most beautiful gardens in France. This is the perfect place to end a visit to Rennes while watching the sunset.

In the garden, you will find French and English style gardens, a rose garden, a café and many other things.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The Garden is open from 7.30 am to 8.30 pm in summer and until 6.30 pm in winter.

Restaurants in Rennes

I had the opportunity to try a few restaurants in Rennes and I’ll share all the tips here:

  • La Burger Attitude (€€): artisanal hamburger restaurant. The burgers were quite tasty and the menu had lots of options to choose from.
  • L’Instant Crêperie (€€): We tried two savoury crêpes (one with salmon and another with tomato and goat cheese). Although I thought it was good, at some point I found it a bit cloying.
  • Crêperie La Gavotte (€€): We didn’t get a chance to try the savoury crêpes, but the sweet ones were great. Especially the apple and salted caramel one!

Disclaimer: this post may contain some affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy something through my links. This doesn’t represent any additional cost to you and you’ll be supporting my work here on the blog😊

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about me

A Ticket To Take Off About Me

I am Mariana from Porto, Portugal. I am truly passionate about traveling and all things travel related. And that’s exactly what led me to create this page: so I can inspire others to travel and help plan all those trips with my tips and itineraries.





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Ultimate guide to visit Mont Saint-Michel (France) — A Ticket to Take Off
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[…] Rennes, I recommend Aparthotel Adagio Access Rennes Centre. It is very centrally located, and it’s […]