Rennes ,the entry into the Breton world.

Ok so still taken advantage of my time off at end of year to get around my new Brittany. Today took time out as the weather was going to be nice,and visited the entry into the Breton world , Rennes. The city is located in the department 35, or Ille-et-Vilaine.

In the middle ages, the city was surrounded by a wall fortress of 1200 meters,until the 15C, even as far as the 16C the most relevent aspect of the city is the Cathedral  In 1561 the Breton parlement is enclave here, after the 18C the city begins to grow outside its old walls. During WWII the city suffers great bombings especially during 1944.  The city is divided from 1983 into neighborhoods sort of like the arrondissement of Paris.  These count 12 such as the Centre, Thabor-Saint Hélier, Bourg-L’évêque, Saint Martin, Maurepas-Patton-Bellangerais, Jeanne d’Arc-Longs-Champs-Beaulieu, Francisco Ferrer-Landry-Poterie, Sud-Gare, Cleunay-Arsenal-Redon, Villejean-Beauregard, Le Blosne ,and Bréquigny. From a tourist point of view I mark in black the pertinent ones.

The tourist office in English is at http://www.tourisme-rennes.com/en/home.aspx and the city mayor’s office is at http://metropole.rennes.fr/pratique/infos-demarches/deplacements-stationnement-voirie/utiliser-les-transports-star/ which is in French but left it at the transportation window.

You need to see the Cathedral Saint Pierre, still in the city centere, the Basilica of Saint-Sauveur de Rennes celebrates our Lady of Miracles and virtues, protector of the city of Rennes. The  Place Sainte-Anne  houses the convent of the Jacobins. The former Gothic Chapel of the hospital Saint-Yves, located rue Saint-Yves, is now converted into a museum on the evolution of Rennes, and houses the tourist office of Rennes. Located on the highest point of Rennes, the Church abbey Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine was used as the provisional seat of the bishopric of Rennes. Former Abbey Church, it kept all its buildings, its cloister and garden of the monks: the current  Parc Thabor. The tower and the transept of the ancient benedictine Abbey of Saint-Melaine are from the 11C. It has Gothic arches of the 14C and capped  by a spire with a gilded Virgin on top.

Good to walk around its center or centre area, lovely wooden house, maison en bois, adorned all the Streets,and you can come into the halles Martenot, built from 1868 to 1871 by Jean-Baptiste Martenot, who welcome the marché des Lices market every Saturday morning. The Central market halles covered in 1922, were  then converted partly in contemporary art gallery. Not to missed the Marché de Hoche, at place Hoche, where there is a book exchange, food market ,and arts creation market at different days of the week.  Books every day, food Thursdays afternoon after 15h to 20h, and art creation every Saturdays from 9h to 18h.

On my favorite hotel in the city when come on business trips,the Mercure,  old location of the old newspaper  the Ouest-Éclair,then later the current Ouest France(now in a different location), the facade in red and rose brick is now restore by the hotel and the entry is  done by a marquise in metal style Art Nouveau. See the wonderful parlement of Brittany building done in 1720 ,burned in a fire and rebuilt in 1994.  Right by the Hôtel de Ville, you will see the theater of the city  inaugurated in 1836; it was designed to take the idea of the curved part of the town hall to draw a convex building.  At the same time, the Palais du commerce, located on the place de la République, is built from 1885 to 1911. This building is currently used by the Post Office, and with a big esplanade with full of stores including the grand Galeries Lafayette.

Don’t forget to walk Rue Saint Michel, or popularly called the Rue du soif, or street of thirst, as it is loaded with bars, restos and big university crowds; we went by it but continue to rue Saint Malo,and once hungry, we found a gem that will return next weekend. This is the restaurant Back to the 60’s, yes in English, from the 60’s deco, and music from the period from Elvis Presley to Buddy Holly, Rick Valens, and Chubby Checker, wow, and the food American style with American products, we had our Mountain Dew soda, and had big burgers, the beer they have Bud, we had Foster’s (Australian), and milkshakes of coconuts, and cheesecake on different fruit to kill for them. We even brought home some mountain dew as take out are allowed, great place.  Here is the webpage http://www.restaurant-backtothe60s.com/

We went to different churches other than above, like the Church of Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelles,and the Church of Saint Martin in the property of the private lycée or high school St Martin, Church Toussaints, and the old hôpital Sainte-Anne there since 1340a, and attached to the hôtel-Dieu in 1557.

Definitively a city to spent a full two days on it, and we just skip the surface with so much to see, and so little time lol!!! We will be back. Enjoy the city of Rennes and some chosen photos. Happy New Year 2014 to all my readers.

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