Perhaps that's not the way St. Ambrose voiced his famous quote,
but it seems the ancient Romans who colonized Rennes left their
mark in a way we modern lovers of life can appreciate and embrace.
So what exactly do the good citizens of Rennes do?
They dig into life with gusto.
This city is one big party.
Street food, live music, tempting bars, Rennes is a college town
with attitude, a slice of Brittany you've not seen before.
Both avant-garde and original, the city is capped off by a mountain
of good-natured, progressive-thinking, hard-drinking university students
who pepper the stage with an unforgettable mix of colorful fun.
There's no other place quite like it.
It's a city made for people watching.
Filled with smiling and thirsty young scholars, get ready to flash back
to your favorite college memories -- those non-comformist "good old days"
of crazy styles, crazier hair, and laid back cool.
Maybe this is where the term laissez-faire originated??
Do as you choose.
And if you're in Rennes, you've already chosen well.
School Days, School Daze --- I'm not too old to remember.....
"A telephone survey says that 51 percent of college students drink
until they pass out at least once a month.
The other 49 percent didn't answer the phone."
Craig Kilborn, entertainer
imagining we're très distingué as we enrich our intellect
and pad our ego with uplifting experiences.
Hoping to enhance our self worth, we create a vision of
self-improvement through disciplined adventures.
So would you forgive me if I told you we went to Rennes simply to have fun?
And we succeeded, jumping headfirst into Renne's fountain-of-youth.
Accounting for your time, making sure every last second is
an elevating experience can be a drag if you take yourself too seriously.
For those days, a small cafe, a little curiosity and a thirst for some
spirited conversation hits the nail right on the head.
Cafés, bars, creperies and book stores are lively almost any hour of the day or night.
You may be tempted to think this is just one more cute town
in the most adorable region in France -- but you would be wrong.
Once you step outside the medieval center, you'll discover Brittany's capital city
is hi-tech and modern, well respected for its two universities as well as
a very fine study abroad program for American high school students.
Don't miss the gorgeous 19th century Opéra de Rennes on Place de la Marie,
just a few steps away from a lovely 17th century city hall.
Several very fine churches and a planetarium will keep your camera busy
and whatever you do, don't miss the Musée des Beaux Arts with its
magnificent collection that spans the centuries.
From Rubens and Da Vinci to the the more modern Pont Aven School,
this fine arts gallery is capped off by a marvelous Picasso.
The city was nearly destroyed by the great fire of 1720 and still later
suffered grave damage from Allied bombing during WWII.
But you can't keep a good city down.
The Parc du Thabor is a lovely botanical garden (roses and an aviary!) that
brings peace and serenity to this hilltop slice of Breton heaven.
Rennes' citizens take great care of their precious city.
We noticed how diligently store owners, students and visitors
took advantage of the city's centralized recycling bins.
In 1998, it was Rennes that first brought easy access bike-sharing
to the world, offering electronic kiosks with smart card technology.
There are numerous cycling routes in the city as well as an easy
connection to a more relaxing ride along the nearby canal.
The rue de la Soif (street of thirst) is the nickname locals call rue St-Michel.
Filled with bars and beer, it's a can't miss street of rollicking good times.
Pull up a chair and watch the show.
France is a country known for its love of festivals and Rennes has its share.
The Fest-Noz is a fun fest of music, dance and celebration.
It combines traditional Breton music, costuming and dance in a
manner that is more rock 'n roll than old-fashioned folk.
Les Tombées de la Nuit (Nightfall Festival) brings a lot of artistic
surprises and revelry to city streets every summer,
showcasing daring displays of performance street art.
Saturday morning in Rennes always starts with a blowout marché
on Place des Lices in the central historical district.
The plaza is filled with gorgeous fruit and vegetables, offered by local producers.
Start your day off right with a wonderfully evil & buttery kouign-amann,
Brittany's most famous pastry, resolving never again to eat pastry outside of France.
There are two huge indoor halls with every foodstuff known to mankind and the chance to get a closeup look at local life in Brittany.
Marvel at seafood stalls that actually smell good -- and start planning your lunch....
Speaking of food, Rennes will feed you in a way you will never forget.
Every Breton specialty is offered -- DON'T MISS MY FAVORITE, GALETTES SAUCISSE CREPES* -- as well as a very diverse selection of other cuisines.
We enjoyed dinner one night in an upscale wine bistro and another
time a feast of couscous royale in a very authentic Moroccan restaurant.
These meals and good times will be remembered forever.
*Galettes Saucisse Crepes - grilled merguez sausage nestled in a buckwheat pancake.
Best Street Food Ever!
my adult compulsion to behave at all costs.
Being a kid again is a relief and though I doubt we could keep up with the
party outside our door, we had a very fine time crossing the line.
"In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria."
My favorite journal entry simply says
"We did a lot of nothing and it was a very good day."
For this pushy, restless, always-on-the-go travel zealot, that says a lot.
Our endless search for life balance -- you know, broadening our horizons
and prioritizing our spiritual health -- can be won as easily
as finding a connection to a great neighborhood in a big-hearted city.
And for that, you cannot go wrong with remarkable Rennes.
"And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert."
Kris Kristofferson, songwriter 'Sunday Morning Coming Down'