My Favorite Places in Rennes

I have been in France for over two months now, so I’ve really gotten to know the city of Rennes. Rennes is a smaller city, so while it was never difficult to navigate, I’ve gotten to the point where it’s almost easy to forget that I’m in a foreign country just because it has become so familiar. Now that I’m well-acquainted with the city of Rennes, I want to list a few of my favorite places. 

Cafés 

I have two favorite cafés in Rennes. Unfortunately, restaurants are closed for dine-in service at the moment. Still, I am able to get takeout and, of course, coffee. Before I came to France, I was excited to try out different cafés, and they did not disappoint. 

My favorite local café is Mokka Coffee House. As the sname suggests, Mokka primarily serves coffee, although they sell viennoiseries, or sweet baked goods, also. I like the mochas and the pain au chocolat at Mokka, and I also like the people who work there. One of the first times I went there, the barista recognized my accent and asked where I was from. Now, whenever I go there, they recognize me and we talk for a few minutes. Mokka is open on Sunday, which is a rarity, so it’s a great place to go on a sunny Sunday afternoon when there’s not much to do. 

My other favorite café is Columbus. Columbus is actually a chain. They have lots of locations in France, in other European countries, and even a few in Africa and the Middle East. Coming to France, Columbus was new to me. Columbus has a wide variety of coffees, teas, and other drinks, but also has fresh sandwiches and muffins. It’s definitely one of my favorite places to go to grab a quick meal, and I especially like their menu étudiant. They also always play loud American music which creates a fun atmosphere. 

Espresso from Columbus Café

Bakery 

Le Fournil Vasselot is my favorite bakery in Rennes. It’s very popular, but quite small, so it’s typically necessary to wait in a line outside for a few minutes before entering. However, it is worth the wait! This bakery offers so many French pastries. The first time I went there, I was amazed by everything I saw. There’s so much variety that I feel like every time I go, I see something that I never knew even existed. 

Pastries at Le Fournil Vasselot

Park

One of the things that I appreciate about France is its parks. Public parks are common, and they’re filled with beautiful streams, hedges, sculptures, and fountains. The Parc du Thabor is a large and well-known park in the city center. My favorite experience in this garden was going right after it snowed. However, any day in the Parc du Thabor is sure to be a good experience. There are so many things to see— there are shrubs trimmed into the shapes of birds, statues, a botanical garden, and more. Anyone who visits Rennes has to see the Parc du Thabor. 

Snow day at the Parc du Thabor

General Sight 

Though the interior is currently closed, the Parlement of Brittany is a well-known building in downtown. People often sit on its steps to eat lunch or just catch up with friends, and in front of the building there is a large public area with benches. I enjoy going here to eat lunch or just sit for a while. It’s a great place to people-watch, and the old architecture of the parliament building makes me feel like I’m really in Europe. 

A view of the Parliament of Brittany from the seating area that faces it