Streets of old Rennes!

So in our latest visit to the capital of Brittany located in the dept 35 Ille et Vilaine we walked a lot in Rennes. I like to tell you a bit about the scenes in city center or centre ville that are beautiful to say the least. For the newbies, I have several entries on my Brittany in al depts including several on Rennes, hope you enjoy it as we do.

The streets of Rennes holds a lot of history and will take a book or more to tell you all so therefore will just concentrate on the real center in old town, and even here just some of them.

The Place Saint-Michel is located at the crossroads formed by Place des Lices, Rue Saint-Michel and Rue Rallier du Baty. It was called Place du Bout du Monde (square at the end of the world) before 1720 because of its proximity to the usual place of public executions. Its name comes from an old chapel Saint-Michel which existed in the 12C. The Place Saint Michel has become a popular place for the student population that likes to be there, especially the terraces of cafes that border it.


The main street ending here is the Rue Saint-Michel, better known as “rue de la soif” (street of thirst). The Rue Saint-Michel connects with the Place Sainte-Anne to the Rue Rallier du Baty via the   Place Saint Michel. It has many half-timbered houses dating from the 16C and 17C lining the street, built on narrow plots they have a side corridor and a staircase on the back facade. They have decors carved with human profiles, heads of chimeras and foliage, dolphins and griffons. The house at number 13 dates from 1580, the oldest in Rennes.


 Very popular with the student and some not student lol! With lots of bars and beer flowing into the wee hours. They are even mention in the tourist office of Rennes here:

The Place Sainte-Anne is located in the historic heart in the city center. It is bordered by the Basilica of Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle (see posts on it) . It is the absolute center of the city from which the kilometric distances are calculated! Moreover, near the rue Saint-Michel, with its many bars, it is often animated at night. In the streets that lead to the square as well such as the rue Saint-Louis, the famous rue Saint-Michel, rue de Penhoët, rue de Saint-Malo , rue de Saint-Michel and Rue de Saint Melaine. Most of the houses are half-timbered such as the Hotel de Bretagne at No. 94, the houses at number 105; 176; 187; and no. 198, where Jean Leperdit mansion where he died in 1823 . The new church Saint-Aubin, Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle basilica, built in the early 20C, and the convent of the Jacobins, current Congress Center of Rennes (see previous post).


The Rue d’Estrées is the extension of the Rue Le Bastard (see below), without being able to distinguish it, starting from the crossroads of the rue Nationale and rue Lafayette with the latter and ends at the Place de la Mairie, in the pedestrian axis. Named as such during the City Council of 1726, it was renamed during the French revolution, at the City Council of 1792, rue Franklin and under the Empire, rue Napoleon, before finally resume officially its original name by deliberation of the City Council in 1862.


It was name the Rue d’Estrées during the new network of Rennes after the fire of 1720, in honor of Victor-Marie, Duke of Estrées in 1723 after he became Duke of Estrées and Peer of France. On the death of his father ;he became governor of Nantes, lieutenant general of Brittany and viceroy of the New France. King Louis XV gives him free ownership of the island of Saint Lucia, in the West Indies. He is also co-director of the East India Company, which enables him to amass a very large fortune, which he devotes to acquiring important collections of art objects and books, which he accumulates in his Hotel. de Noailles and in his castle of Nanteuil-le-Haudouin. It also owns the Château de Bagatelle, in the Bois de Boulogne (Paris). Victor Marie, Duke of Estrées was elected member of the Academy of Sciences in August 1707, the French Academy in March 1715 and the Academy of inscriptions and belles-lettres in 1726.

The Rue Le Bastard is the main shopping and pedestrian street of the city center of Rennes. It is located in the extension of the rue de Motte-Fablet and Rue d’Estrées, between the rue Bertrand , Rue de La Fayette and Rue Nationale. It is thus the central street of the main commercial axis of the city, along more than 800 meters and extending from the rue d’ Antrain at the level of the Rue de Saint-Melaine to the Rue Jules Simon . It’s   name comes from Edgar Le Bastard, former mayor of Rennes from 1880 until his death in 1891. It was called until 1893 rue aux Foulons before taking its current name. Admiral Villeneuve died there on April 22, 1806. He committed suicide after the defeat of Trafalgar at No. 21 rue de la Patrie.


The Rue Saint-Louis is a street in the center of Rennes, from Place Sainte-Anne to the Jouaust junction , parallel to the Place des Lices (market see next post). It replaces an old road that went in the 15C from the Saint-Aubin church in Bourg-l’Evêque. In 1659, it received the name of rue Neuve-Saint-Louis, name of the church of the convent founded at this place by the Minimes religious and demolished during the French revolution, then replaced by the religious house of the Ladies of Saint-Thomas de Villeneuve. After the assassination in Paris in 1793, of the unconstitutional priest Le Pelletier de Saint-Fargeau, the street bore at a time the name of Le Pelletier, considered the first martyr of the French revolution. At the end of the 18C, it was called rue Saint-Aubin, and its section was the rue du Séminaire.


You will see here beautiful architecture as well such as at number 12 Rue Saint Louis was the back of the military hospital. The ballroom built in the early 17C called The Pelican, built in earth and wood and girdled galleries had a less noisy assignment in 1686 becoming a chapel of the Grand Seminary installed in the convent of the Eudists arranged in 1724, and became Military Hospital in 1793. This building, behind the House of the people built in 1925 under the impetus of Mayor Jean Janvier, and the Hall of the City, keeps a wall panel of the old game of palm (Jeu de Paume!). The south gable of the old chapel, at number 22, bears the coat of arms of bishop Lavardin and the Latin inscription on the black marble plaque signifies: “It is nothing less than the House of God, the Gate of Heaven “.The chapel has been transformed into the game of palms or Jeu de Paume (ancestor of Tennis). According to specialists, the surface of the game, inscribed in the original architecture of the chapel, is intact in its dimensions (30 meters x 10 meters) and accessories. Only four or five buildings in France, almost exclusively in the Ile-de-France region, have such characteristics. The building of No 12 rue Saint-Louis will then experience several lives such as been confiscated at the church during the French revolution, it will become the property of the army in 1793 , the major seminary becoming military hospital and to the city of Rennes in the 20C, which will install offices of municipal services. The building and the Maison de La Cité (hall of the city) next to it were to house intergenerational neighborhood equipment. In 2016, the works are announced for 2017 and the opening for 2019,was done..

Also, at number 11 Rue Saint Louis, stands the Hôtel Marot de la Garaye, built around 1675, with an attic roof and stone-framed windows. It belonged to the couple Marot de la Garaye, he apothecary and surgeon, she nurse, who retired to his castle de Taden, caring for the sick and needy. At No. 13, at the corner of the little rue des Innocents, you look up to admire a beautiful roof shaped inverted thin hull. In numbers 16 and 18, is the Hôtel de Cicé. The n ° 30 shelters a church, property of the Congregation of the hospitable sisters of Saint Thomas de Villeneuve. All very nice!

And there you go I hope you like the walks , it is really nice and we won’t mind coming back again, lucky to be only 1h30 from it! See you around my lovely Bretagne! and beautiful Rennes!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!




3 Comments to “Streets of old Rennes!”

  1. What a quaint and lovely city this is: just the kind of place we like to visit! I love that ‘Street of Thirst’: what a fab name! Many bars there? Thanks for sharing. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thought so! Cheers! 🥂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: