The grand city of Rennes is urban Brittany at its most charming.
Historic cobbled streets lined with bars, shops and pretty terraces link together churches, parks and museums in a city that offers intimacy during daytime and friendly Breton cheer when the sun goes down.
On your first morning in Rennes, take a stroll around the old town, taking in the half-timbered houses, Porte Mordelaise castle gate, city ramparts and Cathedral Saint-Pierre de Rennes.
Call in at the Marché des Lices (open Saturday mornings) to buy some locally produced ingredients for a picnic lunch and later head to the Musée de Bretagne to spend the afternoon learning about local customs and traditions.
Enjoy a relaxing dinner as the sun goes down in Place Sainte-Anne, perhaps tasting the local cider or beer. Afterwards, proceed to the lively cobbles of Rue Saint-Michel to soak up the night-time atmosphere.
Take a stroll along the riverside, calling in at the quaint shopping arcades beside the quay. If you're feeling active, hire a kayak to explore the city centre and suburbs from the water.
Make your way to the Parlement de Bretagne for a guided tour of the historic building, before sitting down with a drink and a Breton crêpe en route to Parc du Thabor. Once here, you can explore the gardens and relax among nature, taking in views of the city to the west.
In the evening, go for dinner and drinks on Rue St-Malo or Rue St-Georges, and wander the streets of the old town as the sun goes down. Keep an eye out for bars offering live traditional music.
Catch your first glimpse of Rennes' surviving half-timbered houses as you make your way through the old town to Cathedral Saint-Pierre de Rennes. Visit the city ramparts nearby, then continue to the Parlement de Bretagne, passing the Town Hall en-route. In the evening, head to Place Sainte-Anne for a relaxing dinner on the cobbles.
Spend the morning in the beautifully landscaped Parc du Thabor, taking in the aviary, cave and French-style gardens. On the way back into town, visit the Piscine Saint-Georges to admire the architecture and, if it’s warm, take a swim. Stop at the Place des Lices for lunch and spend the afternoon learning about Breton traditions at the Musée de Bretagne.
Hire a kayak and enjoy the Rennes cityscape from the serene waterways, passing under historic stone bridges and through the Vilaine tunnel on your journey to the countryside. After lunch, head out of town to visit the Chateau de Fougères castle and spend the evening hopping between the bars on the lively Rue Saint-Michel.
Take a day trip to Essé to see the ancient La-Roche-aux-Fées passage grave and visit the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires. Enjoy a leisurely picnic at the Marcillé-Robert nature reserve before heading back to Rennes for an evening exploring the old town, to see its historic streets under twilight. Sit down for dinner at Place du Champ-Jacquet and sample the local cider.
Spend the morning in the Musée des Beaux-Arts on the south bank then head to the shops in Rennes' commercial district. Visit a creperie for coffee and a galette saucisse. In the evening take in a concert at the Opera House or visit the cinema to see a French language film.
On Saturday morning, visit the historic Marché des Lices to buy snacks and lunch items, before enjoying a gentle riverside walk. After lunch, visit Parc des Gayeulles to tackle the Forêt Adrénaline treetop trail, or, if you prefer, head to the Champs Libres to visit the Espace des Sciences planetarium.
Pay a final trip to the old town for photos of Porte Mordelaise and the cathedral, then visit the shopping arcades on the quayside to pick up souvenirs.