Rennes is a successful combination of its rich past, contemporary cultural diversity and avant-garde inventions.
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The history of Rennes through its architecture
From the foundation of its Gaulish ancestor Condate Riedonum at the confluence of the Rivers Ille and Vilaine, commercial crossroads and gateway to Brittany, Rennes gained power and prosperity over the centuries to become what is today a university city renowned for cultural and technological dynamism.
A tour of Rennes with qualified guides from the Office de Tourisme reveals all the facets of the city of a thousand faces. Numerous archaeological digs, undertaken during the construction of the actual buildings, have revealed many remains from its Gallo-Roman past. These rich vestiges from Antiquity are now on display at the Musée de Bretagne. The Middle Ages come to life before your eyes in the narrow streets from the Portes Mordelaises gateway to half-timbered houses. But the town suffered an awful fire in December 1720 when a large part of it disappeared to be replaced with elegant Renaissance mansions. The Hotel de Blossac with its splendid staircase is a perfect example. Spared in the great fire of 1720 but burned down in 1994, the Palais du Parlement, designed by Salomon de Brosse at the beginning of the 17th century, has risen from its ashes thanks to tremendous rallying and an exemplary renovation to become the pearl of the city. The 19th century also had a share in the creating the city landscape : the art of garden design is illustrated by the Parc du Thabor, landscaped by the Bühler brothers ; the art of Italian mosaic work from the late 19th century may be seen in numerous entrances, facades, shop floors by Odorico, the leading light of the movement in Rennes.
Rennes : Modernity at every level :
How and when to go to Rennes
Rennes is easy to get to at any time of year. It takes just 1½ hours to get from Paris by TGV to the brand new railway station. There is also a recently opened Conference Centre and an international airport on the outskirts of the city. A second Metro (underground) line will shortly be opening and the vast bus network makes travel within the city a pain-free experience. Rennes is an ideal centre for exploring Brittany and does in fact represent the region in a nutshell ! It is also the venue for major festivals all year round, like the Tombées de la Nuit in summer and the TransMusicales at the end of the year."