Life in Rennes

Rennes is a city where you never get bored!

Discover Rennes

Located 90 minutes from Paris and less than an hour from the sea, Rennes was named as the leading French city in Europe for “quality of life” in 2020 and has the highest satisfaction rate among its inhabitants. It is also well known for its rich culture and heritage. Source here. The capital of Brittany is at the top of the list of the best cities to study in France.

In its 2020/2021 ranking of student cities, L’Étudiant magazine ranked the city of Rennes in 3rd position out of 44 French cities. Rennes received a score of 10/10 for its attractiveness, atmosphere and quality of life. Rennes is also ranked as the city with the most job offers in France, according to a ranking by Le Figaro in April 2022.

Visit the city centre

Get lost in the streets of the historic centre, discover the terraces, eat local specialities, crêpes, galettes, etc. Visit the city sites: the Place de la Mairie, the Opera House, the Parliament, the Jacobins convent, Saint-Pierre cathedral and Place des Lices, which has the largest vegetable market in Europe every Saturday morning.

Historic centre – Photo credits Shutterstock

Going out

Rennes has a wide range of restaurants.

If you want to get away from the city centre:

  • Morex Custom House for a festival atmosphere in Vezin
  • Whitefields in Cesson for indoor or outdoor dining
  • AVEC in Chantepie for a drink, a snack… or even a piercing or tattoo

Or try some of the ‘guinguette’ bars for summer evenings:

  • Le MeM,
  • Origines,
  • Parc des Gayeulles…

You can find a list of some of the best bars and restaurants here.

Cultural activities

Les champs libres, the Fine Arts Museum, the National Theatre of Brittany, the Rennes Ecomuseum, the Frac, the Contemporary Art Centre, the Liberté, the cinema… Book your guided tour here according to what you want to visit!

The opera – Photo credits Shutterstock

Les champs libres – Photo credit Shutterstock

Find nature in the city

There are many gardens and parks throughout the city where you can walk, relax and recharge your batteries:

  • The Thabor park
  • The Tanneurs park
  • Oberthür park
  • Gayeulles Park
  • Saint-Georges Palace
  • Confluence Garden…

Discover all the parks here.

Parc du Thabor – Photo credits Shutterstock

 

In addition to the parks and gardens, Rennes also has the Vilaine river running through it, meaning that there are lots of spots to walk near the water. The towpaths are the perfect place for bike rides, running, visiting the Saint Martin prairies or hiring some P’tits Bateaux boats to visit the city from the water!

The Vilaine – Photo credits Shutterstock

Getting outside

Read our article on getting the best out of sports and nature in Rennes here.

Where to get some fresh air within 10km of Rennes?

Getting around

Rennes is an extremely green city which is named among the Top 10 French cities with the most trees, ranked 6th out of the 50 largest cities in France in the latest “Green city rankings” (Palmarès des villes vertes).

Cycling:

Rennes has opted for environmentally friendly mobility options, with special discounts for students. All of these initiatives have contributed to making Rennes the third most bike-friendly city in France in 2022.

  • Over 600 km of cycle paths
  • 900 STAR bikes in 83 stations

Public transport: 

Rennes has a metro line with 15 stations, with a second line schedule to be opened soon, enabling cheap and efficient travel. The STAR bus network consists of 149 lines. Find all the practical information about the STAR bus & metro network here.

 

Place de la République – Photo credits Shutterstock

Rennes regularly tops the list of cities where people enjoy living, studying and working, thanks to several factors:

  • Its dynamic job market: Research & Development, IT, digital economy, hotels and tourism, commerce, agri-food industries, creative and cultural industries
  • Its student population: its human size, its relaxed atmosphere, its openness, its proximity to the coast, its green spaces, its rich cultural heritage
  • Its events and social scene: numerous music festivals, spoken word, street arts, theatre, cinema, dance, animated films, short films, etc.

Getting away from the city…

The Emerald Coast, the pearl of Brittany! Just 45 minutes’ drive will get you to the coast where many beaches are accessible: the pretty walled city of Saint-Malo, Dinan, Dinard… If you’d like to explore hidden creeks with white sand and turquoise water, head for Crozon or Perros Guirec, around 1h30 from Rennes. You can also discover the surrounding islands: Glénan island, Bréhat island…

The Emerald Coast – Photo credits Shutterstock