©Place de la mairie|Noé C. photography
Rennes and the Gateways to Brittany Discover must-visit sites and secret addresses
Trip idea

Rennes and the Gateways to Brittany

Enjoy the terraces loved by residents of Rennes, span the eras in the historic centre of the Breton capital, set off to storm Fougères and let the magic of Roche-aux-Fées do its work.

Suggestion for break in
3 days

At a glance

Settle down in Rennes and discover what’s hiding behind the Gateways to Brittany. This itinerary invites you to experience several trips in one. Journey through time in the old districts of the Breton capital, or to the heart of the emblematic Fougères Castle. It also includes a more secretive journey to the hidden terraces of Rennes and other insider addresses. The site of La Roche-aux-Fées will take you to an imaginary world, without fail. Ready? We’re off! 

Find the hidden terraces of Rennes

Safely arrived in Rennes? The best way to feel the pulse of the city is to settle quietly on a terrace. You’ll be spoilt for choice in the capital of Brittany!

Follow the guide for secret and hidden addresses. Are you looking for a bit of privacy in the historic centre? Then the comfortable benches of the cocktail bar, Le Peacock, are ideal for you. Do you want to taste crêpes outside, regardless of the season? Then take a seat in the courtyard of Crêperie la Rozell. This Breton institution is heated in the winter and decorated with flowers in the summer. And what about eating good, local and seasonal food around the ‘Hôtel Dieu’ old cloister? At Bistro Origines, in the former maternity hospital, you can as well simply enjoy the spot, some live music and a hand crafted beer, brewed in the former operating theatre.

Chic patios, makeshift gardens, a former prison courtyard… there are many other sought-after venues to discover.  Be curious!

  • Do the rounds… of designer boutiques. You’ll find them all over the city. For second-hand enthusiasts, the city has plenty of vintage and pre-loved clothes shops.
  • Do you want to go out? Whether you’re looking for an exhibition, a concert or a festival, check out the event diary and book on the Destination Rennes ticketing website

Travel through time in Rennes and Fougères

Are you ready for a journey through time? On a personal transporter or with a greeter, wind through the historic centre of Rennes, through its cobbled streets, half-timbered houses and royal squares. Go back through the architectural eras, from the flamboyant Gothic style of Saint-Yves Chapel, to the modernity of Les Champs-Libres cultural centre, not forgetting the emblematic Parliament of Brittany.

Continue your journey to Fougères. The castle is one of the most important fortresses in France. Visit on your own or with a guide. You can also download the mobile application “Fabuleux château de Fougères”, which will tell you all about the monument. 

Finish the day with a stroll in the medieval district of Fougères. Don’t miss the lovely trompe-l’oeil wall on Rue du Tribunal. Did you look carefully at the high-relief sculptures on Saint-Sulpice church? The fairy Melusine is hidden there. She is much loved by the people of Fougères.

  • On Saturday morning, like all Rennes residents, go to Marché des Lices. It’s one of the loveliest and friendliest markets in France!
  • Shows, guided tours, night-time events, medieval festivals: ask for the events programme at Fougères Castle!

Be captivated by La Roche-aux-Fées

In the morning, take a bit of time to wander through the alleys of Thabor Park. It’s the “Central Park of Rennes!”.

Then, set off to a “magical” site: La Roche aux Fées 19.5 m long, 6 m wide, 4 m high. With these colossal dimensions, it is the largest Dolmen of France. It is also the best preserved in Europe.

This shale-covered alley consists of no less than 41 blocks. Crouch down to enter through the monumental gate. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t fall on your head!

How was this structure built? The mystery remains… But you can always rely on the legend, which says that fairies built it in one night to prove their existence. It is said that if a couple of lovers counts the same number of stones, your happiness is guaranteed!

  • La Maison de la Roche aux Fées proposes activities for everyone. You can also take the hiking trail to Theil-de-Bretagne forest, from where the gigantic blocks of stone originate.
  • From June to October, make a stop in Jardins de Rocamboles. The ecological vegetable plot and the unusual installations promise a moment of poetic relaxation.

We like

  • Soaking up the Rennes lifestyle. Sitting on a terrace, wandering through the market, eating a galette-saucisses, strolling through Thabor Park… Oh how the living is good in Rennes!
  • Admiring the view of this historic city, its multiple facets and the surrounding countryside from the top of the towers at Fougères castle.

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Official website of tourism in Brittany