Living in Rennes
Rennes : “la douceur de vivre”
According to recent polls1,2 the Breton capital of Rennes has topped the table for the best city in France for foreigners to live. Rennes is recognized for its high quality of life representing the perfect blend of a large city and the relaxed atmosphere of a small town. The size of Rennes is quite comfortable and not intimidating and although it retains its small-town charm, Rennes is a cultured, international city.
Rennes is a lively university and student city that is accustomed to opening the door to foreigners. The strong student population (second city in France) gives the city such a young and vibrant feel.
In Rennes you’ll never have a problem finding a place to faire la fête, whether you’re looking to make some English-speaking friends in a jovial Irish pub or have a quiet glass of rouge in a typically French setting.
Rennes has everything to offer “from ‘classical’ culture through the museum of fine arts, opera house or the Orchestra of Brittany that both strive to make their concerts available to everyone.
Sports, open-air activities and good food are also other aspects you will discover much to your surprise.
Apartment fees and cost of life are very accessible and far from the crazy fees and prices of Paris. The compact city center in Rennes is easily walkable, has many bicycle lanes and nightmarish traffic jams like those in Paris are nowhere to be found. Public transportation is cheap and very efficient and the local airport is growing very fast opening new connections to European capitals each year. Rennes is well connected to Paris by frequent high-speed trains and is also a perfect jumping-off point to explore the best that Brittany has to offer. In one hour you can reach the wonderful Saint Malo, Mont Saint Michel as well as other coastal villages that are often ranked among the most beautiful in France.
DARIO FASSINI, PhD
If I have to highlight three aspects that positively impressed me I would probably highlight the fact that people in Rennes are far less cold that the rest of the France (they often even smile when you attend a restaurant!). Rennes has many good restaurants and to be honest being welcoming with a smile after an hard working day completely change your mood. The dimension of the city is perfect for me, I can reach the work in ten minutes by walk from my apartment. Another aspect I can feel is that the city is really alive and that there is some change ongoing. I can really feel the city is in expansion and that there is a positive energy in the air.
Antoni HOMS CORBERA, PhD
1. Beautiful parks, such as Thabor to walk and run. https://www.gardenvisit.com/gardens/parc_du_thabor
2. Not as big as Paris or Barcelona but still a city, the coziness of neighborhoods and closeness but still a lot of amusement. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/france/rennes/top-things-to-do/a/poi/1003078
3. Great gastronomy and one of the largest markets in France. http://www.angloitalianfollowus.com/why-im-in-love-with-the-sights-and-smells-of-rennes-food-market
BLANCA GOMEZ-ESCODA, PhD
Rennes provides a great quality of life. It is a medium size city, with the main advantages of a small city (everything is at a walking distance, cost of life is affordable) and the urban lifestyle of a big city (culturally diverse, good public transportation, big university with a dynamic student life, musical scene with festivals all along the year). It is well connected to nature (45 min distance to the beautiful Britanny seaside) and to the world (1h30 by train to Paris). Locals are very friendly and welcoming to foreigners
PHD STUDENT | H2020-ITN-DIVIDE
The beautiful city of Rennes, known for its trademark timber-wood architecture and large university student population as their unofficial motto is faire la fête (create a party).
The French have a reputation for sometimes being a bit standoffish toward foreigners, but the city of Rennes shatters that stereotype. Stewart Bennett, who runs O’Connell’s pub and has lived in Rennes for 15 years, said the local Rennais were very welcoming – especially towards the Celtic nations, the Irish and Scots. This openness makes for a well-integrated expat community.
Rennes ranks among France’s greenest cities, with a whopping 42 m² of green space per inhabitant, as compared to the national average of 31 m². Parc du Thabor alone should be enough to win over nature lovers, but if not there are 59 other city parks to explore as well as community gardens for those looking to flex their green thumb.