Rennes polls well in lists of France’s most liveable cities, which comes as no shock: The city is flush with green space, conserves its history with care and has the attractions of a big city on a walkable scale.
There are 90 historic monuments in the old centre, where imposing 18th-century mansions are side-by-side with medieval timber-framed houses.
You may also notice Rennes’ youthful feel, and this is because more than a quarter of its 207,000 residents are students.
There’s vibrant nightlife, superlative cultural attractions and one of France’s top weekly markets in the Place des Lices every Saturday morning.
Lets explore the best things to do in Rennes:
1. Old Rennes
Rennes was almost completely razed by a great fire in 1720, which explains why there are so many dignified late-18th-century houses in the city.
But around the cathedral is a web of streets where half-timbered houses survive.
Rue de la Psalette and Rue du Chapitre have endearingly warped corbelled houses that hang right over the little cobblestone streets.
Stop for a moment to appreciate the centuries-old carvings on their timbers.
Also on Rue du Chapitre is Hôtel de Blossac, dating to 1728 and one of the finest neoclassical homes built after the fire.
These are private apartments now but you can enter the courtyard in front to get a better view of this magnificent mansion.