Best Things to Do in Rennes (France)

Capital and gateway to Brittany, Rennes is asserting itself as a tourist destination in its own right. The city and its metropolis cultivate many assets: a vibrant cultural life, and a remarkable historical heritage, not to mention the proximity to Paris and several major tourist sites. Rennes is the capital of the Brittany (Bretagne) region in France. Rennes and its metropolis have real tourist assets: a quality cultural and heritage offer, a very present nature, and a city center where it is good to stroll and shop (the city is the leading commercial hub in the West). Cultural and sporting events throughout the year, gastronomic excellence that continues to assert itself, without forgetting the proximity of tourist destinations with strong influence. Below you will find the list of the 10 best things to do in Rennes France.


1. Le Champ Jacquet Rennes

Le Champ Jacquet Rennes

Having seen Place du Champ-Jacquet, it’s time to have a rest at this bar. The French and Italian cuisines attract visitors who are in search of positive impressions. Many guests say that you can order tasty champ here. The great location of Le Champ Jacquet makes it easy to reach even in rush hours. French and Italian cuisines. Enjoy nicely cooked champ, sandwiches, and sausages this place offers. In accordance with the guests’ opinions, waiters serve delicious champagne. Here you can have a good coffee. The great location of this spot makes it easy to reach by any transport. This bar is recommended for the professional staff.


2. Rennes Cathedral

Rennes Cathedral
XIIIfromTOKYO via Wikimedia Commons

The Roman high altar, monumental grand organ, remarkable paintings, and vaults, discover the treasures of a cathedral rebuilt and decorated in the second half of the 19th century. Saint-Pierre Cathedral hosted important moments in the history of Brittany and France, such as the coronation of the Dukes and Duchesses of Brittany.


3. La place des Lices

La place des Lices
flickr/ Alter1fo

A former medieval “closed field” where knights’ tournaments were held, the name of Lices was known in 1337 thanks to a certain Bertrand Du Guesclin who carried out his first fight there. Bordered to the north by large 17th century half-timbered or stone mansions and to the south by two metal halls designed by Jean-Baptiste Martenot in 1869, in Baltard style, since 1622 this square has hosted the Lices market.


4. Rennes City Hall

Rennes City Hall
Rennes City Hall

After the fire of 1720, Jacques Gabriel, architect to King Louis XV, imagined bringing together in one and the same building, on a new square, the Town Hall, the presidial, and the clock tower. Curved, refers to the buildings built by the great architects Le Vau and Hardouin-Mansart. The north wing of the Town Hall houses the “Rennes Pantheon” erected in memory of the soldiers who died in the 14-18 war.


5. Thabbor Park and Gardens

Thabbor Park and Gardens

A little romance and elegance with the discovery of the wonders of Parc du Thabor, where even “Hell” is a pleasant green theater. This former garden of the monks of the Benedictine Saint-Melaine abbey was designed by Denis Bühler, a famous 19th-century landscape designer. This 10-hectare park combines a French garden, an English park, a cave, a bandstand, an aviary, and an exceptional rose garden with more than 2,000 varieties! Let yourself be guided through one of the most beautiful gardens in France.


6. The free fields

The free fields

An innovative cultural site designed by architect Christian de Portzamparc, the Champs Libres brings together the heart of Rennes: the Musée de Bretagne, the Espace des sciences, and the Bibliothèque de la Métropole. We suggest spending some time in Les Champs Libres because is one of the most beautiful things to do in Rennes. Exhibitions and installations, visual arts, digital arts, and literary and artistic performances come together, helping to make it a real place of cultural effervescence.


7. The convent Jacobins

The convent Jacobins

In the heart of the historic center, this 14th-century convent has been transformed into a 21st-century congress center. It also houses the tourist office where you can find out about your discovery of the city (entrance at 1 rue Saint-Malo). In addition to congresses and professional events, the Couvent des Jacobins hosts every two years a major exhibition of contemporary art from the Pinault Collection, concerts, and exhibitions for the general public.


8. Portes Mordelaises

Portes Mordelaises
P. Danilo Royet via Wikimedia Commons

Rebuilt in the 15th century, this building which is characterized by its two symmetrical towers enhanced with machicolation with a double drawbridge, the Porte Mordelaise was the main entrance to the fortified city. Also called the “royal door”, in reference to the Dukes of Brittany who before being crowned at Saint-Pierre Cathedral, crossed the door after having taken an oath to defend the freedoms of Brittany.


9. Parliament of Brittany

Parliament of Brittany
Jean lenavetier via Wikimedia Commons

Designed by Salomon de Brosse, it was spared the great fire of 1720 but burned down in 1994. Containing 17th-century French pictorial gems, the Palace of the Parliament was reborn thanks to exemplary mobilization and renovation. Inside, prestige is embodied in the French-style ceilings, sculpted and gilded woodwork, and allegorical canvases… of which the Grand ’Chambre is the jewel of this exceptional décor.


10. Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes

Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes

Since 1794, the works of the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes have continued to expand, offering a panorama of the history of art from Antiquity to the present day. Let yourself be surprised by the impressionism of Gustave Caillebotte, “The Tiger Hunt” by Rubens, and “The Newborn” by Georges de la Tour.


Best Things to Do in Rennes France

  • Le Champ Jacquet
  • Rennes Cathedral
  • La Place des Lices
  • Rennes City Hall
  • Thabbor Park and Gardens
  • The free fields
  • The convent Jacobins
  • Portes Mordelaises
  • Parliament of Brittany
  • Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes