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With an established history that dates back to the first century BC, Rennes has long been a place where conflict and confluence has had a place to call home. The earliest Roman mentions of the city occur during the Flavian dynasty in the 1st century AD, while being part of the principal route helped it to grow in influence.
A large wall was built in the 3rd century to further protect the city and part of this wall still exists today. It was one of the furthest Roman strongholds and remained that way until it finally fell in the year 497. With two centuries of history, the cultural significance of a visit to Rennes simply cannot be ignored. Here are a few suggestions that may help you enjoy your stay in this city to its fullest extent!
The City Center Is One of the Best You’ll Ever See
Even though the 1720 fire in Rennes destroyed much of the city center at the time, there is still plenty of historical significance to the buildings that you’ll see in Rennes. It starts with the Parlement de Bretagne, the judicial center for the province of Brittany, which was destroyed once again by fire in 1994 thanks to the flare of a protestor. It’s surround plaza is simply magnificent. You’ll also many coloful half-timbered houses in the area down a number of streets.
Moving to the west to explore the City Hall Plaza, or the Plae de la Mairie, you’ll get a chance to see the opera in addition to the traditional city hall. As you move east along Saint-Georges, you’ll see more of the traditional half-timbered houses that make this city special, along with the municipal pool that was built in the 1920’s and has some fun mosaics to see. Your final stop is Saint George Palace, which used to be an abbey residence, now has landscaped gardens and houses the fire and civil administrative services for the city.
See the Remains of the Old Ramparts
A number of the old ramparts of this city are still in existence, from the afore mentioned 3rd century wall to the last that were built in the 12th century. Many of them were destoryed by the 1860’s, but a few still exist. The most notable is the Portes mordelaises, which is easy to see if you’re planning a visit to the cathedral The Tour Duchesne is always worth a visit, while you can also see the Place Railler-du-Baty with ease. Pick up a map while in town and you’ll be able to trace the old rampart routes if you wish.
As you bring your visit to Rennes to a close, we recommend a visit to the Fine Arts Museum in this city. With exhibits ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern art, the museum was established during the French Revolution and a majority of its holdings came from the private collection of one Christophe-Paul de Robien and the building that hosts the museum has been fully dedicated to it since 1911.
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