Architecture Jewels (Self Guided), Rennes

Rennes is known as a city of art and history, it has plenty to offer its visitors. Among which, a number of beautiful historic monuments. Most of the city's “monuments historiques" can also be found within the historic city center and can be covered in a single tour. Take this tour to the most fabulous buildings in the city of Rennes.
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Architecture Jewels Map

Guide Name: Architecture Jewels
Guide Location: France » Rennes (See other walking tours in Rennes)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: DanaU
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Tour Duchesne
  • Hôtel de Blossac
  • Rennes City Hall
  • Parlement of Brittany
  • Saint George Palace
  • Lycée Émile-Zola
  • Ouest-France
  • Palace of Commerce
Tour Duchesne

1) Tour Duchesne

Tour Duchesne is an old tower dating from the 15th century, it is located near the Mordelaises gates. The tower derives its name from Jehan du Chesne, who was the first inhabitant of the tower. The tower is part of the original city walls, which date back to the 3rd century, but were rebuilt between 1447 and 1459. Tour Duchesne was classified as a historic monument on March 13, 1944.
Hôtel de Blossac

2) Hôtel de Blossac

The Hôtel de Blossac is an 18th century hôtel particulier in the historic center of Rennes, Brittany. Made of two main wings, the building was built in 1728, after the 1720 Rennes city fire, supposedly on a drawing by Jacques Gabriel. It has a unique classical architecture in Brittany, including its size, the size of its frame, the assembly of several architectural buildings and grand staircase.

Protected under the historic monuments in 1947, it undergoes a complete exterior restoration spread over three decades while the apartments give way to office. It is wholly owned by the state since 1982 and houses, in rooms refurbished and restored, the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles (DRAC, Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs of Brittany) and in service quarters, the service territorial de l’architecture et du patrimoine (Territorial Service of architecture and heritage of Ille-et-Vilaine).

Hôtel de Blossac is divided into two parts: the side yard on the north and the garden side yard on the south. The side garden has a perron and an elaborate facade, while the courtyard side is more austere, but contains, in the south, the grand staircase. Facing the courtyard are the old stables, with perpendicular, the gallery overlooking the garden. As the hotel is a public building, it is possible, during office hours, visiting the external (courtyard and garden) and the staircase, including access to the documentation library. Those outside are usually open to the European Heritage Days.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Rennes City Hall

3) Rennes City Hall

Rennes City Hall was built after the 1720 Great Fire of Rennes, between 1734 and 1743 by Jacques V. Gabriel, while Toussaint-François Rallier du Baty was mayor. In the center of the building, under the clock tower, there is a niche which originally housed a statue of Louis XV. The statue was however destroyed during the revolution and was replaced by a group of sculptures, the work of Jean Boucher, representing the Union of Brittany and France with Anne of Brittany kneeling before a female figure.
Parlement of Brittany

4) Parlement of Brittany (must see)

The Parlement of Brittany was a court of justice, under France’s Ancien Régime, with its seat at Rennes. Plans were drawn by the city architect, German Gaultier and reviewed by Salomon of Brush (designer of the facades). Built in a restrained style, the parliament of Brittany decided to site the palace in the heart of the city of Rennes, where the parliamentary representatives have sat ever since 1655. The building has been recently restored, following severe fire damage on February 5, 1994, a consequence linked to the violent demonstrations of the local fishermen. Adapted to the requirements of the 21st century, the Court of Appeal of Rennes was able to resume the activities of the previous centuries. Other, newer buildings in the city are home to the various forms of justice.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint George Palace

5) Saint George Palace (must see)

The Saint George Palace is an historic building in the city of Rennes. Formerly an abbey residence, it was built in 1670 to replace a much older abbey building that stood on the same site. The central feature of the building is its long gallery of nineteen two-storey windows and paired nineteen granite arches. The gallery is accessed by a large double staircase with substantial stone balustrade. At either end of the main gallery section are two pavilions in the same style. The mansard roof features twenty-three dormer windows and above the three central windows is a large semi-circular pediment surmounted by a stone cross. The pediment is sculpted with the arms of the abbey, flanked by figures of justice and peace. The coat of arms of the abbess Magdelaine de la Fayette is present in relief on both end pavilions and in the centre of the building between the second- and third-storey windows Her name is featured in the form of iron bars shaped as letters, bolted to the façade, and spaced evenly above the pier of each arch, as MAGDELAINEDLFAYETTE, with the double T joined above one pier. A landscaped formal garden, Jardin Saint-Georges, is situated in front of the building, with gravel paths leading to the main entrance.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Lycée Émile-Zola

6) Lycée Émile-Zola (must see)

The Lycée Emile-Zola is a public, secondary school in Rennes. This is the oldest school in Ille-et-Vilaine and Brittany, it was first established in 1035 and was known as “the old school”. In 1859, Jean-Baptiste Martenot, a municipal architect, created a project for the school. It is his design we see today, composed mostly of brick and limestone. The construction lasted 30 years.

7) Ouest-France

Ouest-France is a daily provincial French newspaper, known for its emphasis on local news and events. It was founded in 1944 by Adolphe Le Goaziou and others, following the closure of Ouest-Éclair, which was banned by Liberation forces for collaborationism during the war.

Located on the corner of two streets, the building of Ouest-France stands between an impressive construction, built in travertine, limestone and granite, on one side and a manufacturing workshop, which lacks any ornamental pattern, built in bi-color brick, on the other side. At the entrance of the building, there is a beautiful wrought iron appentice in art nouveau style, with the inscription “Ouest-France”. Don't miss the opportunity to admire each detail of this fabulous architectural marvel in the city of Rennes.
Palace of Commerce

8) Palace of Commerce

The Palace of Commerce is located in the Square of the Republic and is another must see architectural masterpiece. Known as the “Palace of Post”, it is a former stock exchange and currently a post office. It was built from 1885 to 1929 by the architects Jean-Baptiste Martenot and Emmanuel Le Ray, and decorated with a mosaic by Isidore Odorico. The construction was carried out in two phases, due to a fire in 1911. The building hosted the Regional School of Fine Arts and the National Conservatory of Music.

Walking Tours in Rennes, France

Create Your Own Walk in Rennes

Create Your Own Walk in Rennes

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rennes is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Rennes is a city rich with religious heritage and has plenty to offer for the religious oriented traveler. Among the most important religious sights, you will find the Rennes Cathedral, Saint-Yves Chapel, Jacobite Convent, and many more places of worship. Take this walking tour to see the best religious places Rennes can offer.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Rennes Introduction Walking Tour

Rennes Introduction Walking Tour

The capital of Brittany in the northwest of France, Rennes is renowned for its medieval half-timbered architecture and grand Rennes Cathedral. The local Parc du Thabor features a rose garden and aviary, while the local Museum of Fine Arts, situated on the southern bank of the Vilaine river, displays collection of Botticelli, Rubens and Picasso works. The Champs Libres cultural center is a home to...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles