For your next stay in Brittany or during a Normandy-Brittany tour, you wish to visit Rennes in 1 day. And, to make to fully enjoy it, you prefer to visit all the must-see places in Rennes by following a walking tour. Then maybe you will be interested in my itinerary of the city tour of Rennes which can be done on foot in 1 day and by following the interactive map available below.
Where is Rennes in France?
For foreign tourists who don’t locate the city of Rennes well in France, I would like to point out that Rennes is located in the North-West of France in the heart of Brittany, of which this city is the Capital.
Its location is ideal for visiting Brittany, especially because it has an airport only 10 minutes from the city centre.
It is also well served by the train which transports you from all major cities in France. But taking the train in Rennes also allows you to go quickly to the biggest attractions in Brittany (Saint Malo, Saint Brieuc, Quimper, Lorient, Vannes…).
And for those who prefer the car, leaving Rennes by road, it will take you 50 minutes to get to Saint-Malo and Redon and 1 hour to Saint-Brieuc and Vannes.
How to visit Rennes?
To visit the most beautiful places of Rennes can be done easily in 1 day. Indeed, all the must-see tourist sites are concentrated in the old town of Rennes. This is why a walking tour is ideal to visit Rennes in 1 day.
Of course, if you have a full weekend at your disposal, you can also take a cruise on the Vilaine river, discover more museums, go shopping or do a gastronomic tour…
Must-see places in Rennes in 1 day
To set the stages of my city tour, here is my list of the must-see sites in Rennes:
- Saint Pierre’s Cathedral
- The Doors of Mordelaise
- The Square and the Market of Lices
- Saint Michel Street
- The Street Pont aux Foulons
- The Town Hall Square
- The Opera of Rennes
- The Parliament of Brittany
- Saint George’s Palace
- The Parc du Thabor
- The Museum of Fine Arts
Rennes in 1 day – Map of my walking itinerary
Click on “Plus d’options” on the map to follow the GPS
Visit Rennes in 1 day – Stages of my itinerary
Visit Rennes on foot – Saint Peter’s Cathedral
My tour starts from St. Pierre’s Cathedral. It is located in the heart of the historic centre where its two towers reach a height of 50 metres. Reconstructed many times, renovated in very different styles, its history is linked to those of the Dukes of Brittany who came to be crowned there. Listed as a historical monument since 1906, its interior style is surprising and admirable.
Visit Rennes on foot – The Mordelaises Doors
In the Middle Ages, a rampart was built of which vestiges are still present in places. Between 1442 and 1452, the Portes Mordelaises or Mordelaise Gate (both terms are used) were rebuilt at the entrance of the city to protect it from new threats. Today it is the only vestige of the old fortifications of the city of Rennes.
Visit Rennes on foot – The historic center
To discover the narrow cobbled streets, the half-timbered houses, the colourful facades, you will have to walk through the streets of the Saint Sauveur, the Chapitre, the Pont au Foulons and the famous Rue de la soif.
Visit Rennes on foot – Rue Saint-Michel
Rue de la soif is the nickname given to the Saint-Michel street. It is a typical street that comes alive especially at night because it is the festive gathering place of Rennes. This can be explained by the high concentration of bars and restaurants in this street. This doesn’t take anything away from the charm of this street which has many typical timber-framed houses.
City tour of Rennes – Place des Lices
It is a very busy and popular square in Rennes. Surrounded by large and beautiful half-timbered houses, this square is also the site of the Baltard style halles Martenot and numerous terraces of bars and restaurants. It is here that the Lices market takes place every Saturday morning.
City tour of Rennes – The market on the Place des Lices
2nd largest market in France, this market has existed for more than 4 centuries. Every Saturday from 7.30am to 1.30pm, it regroups more than 300 local producers who make the happiness of the Rennais people and the local restaurant owners.
I invite you to go there early enough to discover all the good products of Brittany (oysters, shellfish, fish, poultry, pork, fruits and vegetables) but also some Breton specialties such as pancakes, galettes and the famous Kouign-Amann.
City tour of Rennes – City Hall and Opera House
The Town Hall was built in 1720 after the great fire of Rennes. It was the architect Jacques Gabriel who decided to combine the Town Hall, the Presidial and the Clock Tower into a single building.
The small Pantheon is a marble-decorated room where the names of all the Rennes citizens who died fighting for France are engraved (free visit).
In front of the Town Hall is the Rennes Opera House. In front of the Hôtel de Ville is the Opéra de Rennes, which is small in size, but original in its slightly curved shape, which harmonizes with the shape of the Hôtel de Ville.
City tour of Rennes – The Parliament of Brittany
Symbol of Rennes and Brittany, an architectural work of the 17th century, the Parliament of Brittany had almost disappeared during a fire in 1994. Seat of parliament until 1790, it now serves as a court of justice and is open to tourist visits.
Rennes in 1 day – Palais Saint-Georges
Without going to visit it, just in passing, you can admire this old Benedictine abbey, founded in the 11th century. This majestic building stands proudly in the middle of the hundred-year-old park and today serves as administrative offices for the municipality of Rennes.
Rennes in 1 day – Thabor Park
To take a little break in the nature, here is one of the must-see in Rennes: the Parc du Thabor. On about 10 hectares, this park displays several styles of gardens, ponds, waterfalls, rose gardens…
Rennes in 1 day – The Fine Arts Museum
My tour ends with a touch of culture. At the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes, you can discover works of art from all eras, from Antiquity to the present day. In particular, you can admire works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Donatello.
Which hotel to choose in Rennes?
For a romantic stay in the heart of old Rennes, the ideal accommodation is the Marnie and Mister H.
Indeed, you will stay in a beautiful 16th century mansion in the historic centre of Rennes, only 220 metres from the République metro station and 600 metres from the Fine Arts Museum. It is a remarkable place and a place to relax with a large fireplace for the winter and a garden for the summer. The bonus is its private parking!