Place St Anne developed into the most beautiful square in Rennes after the metro was built in 2002. The old half-timbered houses and the many trees give the place a very relaxed atmosphere. Here you can sit in beautiful cafes under large trees and watch the hustle and bustle of passers-by. Young and old meet for a chat on the square. Here you will find everything that makes Rennes so endearing. There is also a small book market on the square. Place St Anne is on the northern edge of the medieval city. To the west of the Saint-Aubin basilica is the Rennes tourist office in a former Jacobin monastery.
The Rennes town hall (Hotel de Ville) was built between 1734-1743 by the royal architect Jacques V Gabriel. Since 1840, several scientific faculties have been located in the north wing of the baroque ensemble. The complex is dominated by the Tour de l'Horloge (clock tower). The previous tower fell victim to the great fire in 1720. The town hall is located on Place de la Marie, the representative main square of the city. With the Opera on the other side of the square, you have another sight of Rennes nearby.
The Opéra de Rennes was built in 1836 on the Place de la Marie. The 642-seat opera house was designed by architect Charles Millardet. The parapet of the rotunda is decorated with Greek gods. The opera arches into the square in a semicircular shape, while the town hall opposite arches inwards. The space in between is empty, but is often used for events, such as on the photo, with palm trees and a café. The Place de la Marie is the center of Rennes.
The first church was built here in the 6th century. That church was replaced by a Gothic church in the 12th century. In 1490 the west facade collapsed together with the bell tower. Between 1541 and 1678 the Cathedral Saint Pierre de Rennes built. The gray granite facade with Romanesque arches and classical double columns is unique. The interior follows Italian models.
The Great Fire of 1720 destroyed most wooden houses of Rennes, but in the "Rue du Chapitre" and in nearby streets like "Rue de la Psalette" some very beautiful half-timbered houses have survived the devastating Fire. In the "Rue Saint Guillaume" you can marvel at the former home of General Bertrand du Guesclin, with its ornate carvings.
The "Porte Mordelaise" is an ancient city gate which exists since the 3rd century. The current gate was built around 1418. The "Porte Mordelaise" was the main gate of the first city fortification. Later buildings have been complemented by a drawbridge and a Barbican. The gate was named after the city of "Mordelles" about 15 km away from Rennes.
The construction of the Neo-Gothic church began in 1884. The church built of the architect Jean Baptiste Martenot was inaugurated in 1904. Martenot was the municipal architect of the city of Rennes from 1858 until 1895.
The "Palais de Commerce" is also known as "Palais de Postes" it was completed in 1929. When was opened, Martenot's building was first used as a business centre for various companies. Today it is used as library and is home to the College of Art and Music.
The "Parliament of Brittany" was opened in 1655. The last meeting took place in 1789, since 1804 it is used as the appeal court. The building burned down after a fisherman's uprising in 1994 and was rebuilt until 1999.
The Rue Saint Michel is famous for it's half-timbered houses, but many of them are not renovated jet. This makes the street look a little bit shabby. But there are many cafés and student bars, it's a good place to party.
The Rue Saint Georges is a typical medieval street with old half-timbered houses in good condition. There are elegant shops in pretty houses.
The "Place Hoche" is located between the Eglise Saint Aubin and the Jardin des Plantes. The square regularly hosts food and craft markets. Food market Thursday from 15-20, arts and crafts market Saturday 10-18.
The Benedictine monastery of Saint Georges was founded in 1032. The "Palais Saint Georges" was built in 1670. The monastery was expropriated and has been in state possession since 1792. The city of Rennes uses the building today for communal purposes.
Welcome to Rennes
Rennes is the capital of Brittany with around 210,000 inhabitants. The lively student city offers a beautiful old town with many half-timbered houses and beautiful squares. The city is ideal as a base for trips to the sea, the Château de Vitré, Dinan, Saint-Malo and Mont-Saint-Michel.