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The City of Art and History - Rennes, France

Rennes is the second major city we visited while journeying through France. This lively town is constantly buzzing with the clanking of cups in crowded cafés, the chatter of university students, and the cheers of enthusiastic crowds at sports games. It is one of the most festive cities in France, a town in love with arts and culture. This is a city of unique architecture, lavish parks, interesting museums, and magnificent music.

These intricately panelled, colorful walls are those of ancient timber-framed houses. The birth dates of these buildings range from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and the Contemporary eras. This explains why some appear unstable and unsteady while others seem durable and strong. Nevertheless, they are all fervent and resilient, infusing themselves into the unique character of Rennes, demanding attention, and imposing a sense of awe.

Above rests the top half of the "porte mordelaise," once the main entrance to Rennes during the Middle Ages. Stretched before this edifice is a fence graffitied with the image of a knight, adding modernity while flaunting the culture of the building's time. Rennes allows graffiti artists to exhibit their art legally on many public walls. Graffiti is thus found sprawling across many of the city's surfaces, juxtaposed against Rennes' ancient architecture.

The parc du Thabor is a gorgeous park originating in the 1800s that houses an orangery, a botanical garden, aviaries, statues, and even a waterfall. This park is coated in beautiful, brilliant flowers, stunning structures, and flowing fountains.

This intricate, ornate gate meets visitors with its imposing grandeur and leaves a lasting impression on people parting with the park and its beautiful gardens.

Every Saturday in Rennes, the Place des Lices becomes inundated with a fusion of bright colors and spicy, sweet, strong scents. Hungry consumers congregate around the stalls of eager vendors selling produce, seafood, cheese, and more. The Marché des Lices is one of France's largest markets, featuring local products and many Breton specialties, including galettes, crépes, cider, and the galette-saucisse (a sausage wrapped in a galette, which I still need to try!).

Above is the opera of Rennes situated on the Place de la Mairie, or the town hall square, and facing the town hall. It is a magnificent building constructed in the 1800s that features an Italian-style theater. The plaza it looks upon is often strolled on by many pedestrians, includes a charming carousel, and hosts several outdoor events.

Rennes is an eventful, vibrant city that offers an endless amount of experiences. It is certainly a city to visit!

July/August 2016


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