When I think of northen France (and northern to me is anywhere above Tours), I can’t help but imagine depressing, gloomy towns filled with people with funny accents. This was why I’d never gone north before (besides Paris, which isn’t really the north). I tended to stick to the warmer climate down south, but I recently spent four days over the New Year in the amazing city of Rennes and was pleasantly surprised.
After spending a couple of days back home in Scotland for Christmas, I jumped on a flight to Paris and then caught the TGV with a friend and we headed on-wards to Rennes. The next few days were filled with many whiskys and cokes, a bar with a pet parrot and a quick day trip to Le Mont St-Michel.
I hadn’t know much about Rennes before I’d went but it’s safe to say I’m keen on spending a lot more time there (possibly will head there when I’m finished with studies to teach again..) The town is bustling with young students who are ready to hop into a bar at a moments notice. There is a belief that people in the north of France are unfriendly, which I found to be completely untrue (at least in Rennes). We met so many new people just by chatting over a few (way too many) drinks. It’s crazy how your confidence and language skills improve when you’re un peu bourré. Below are some places I think you should visit if you’re in the area, you can probably tell from my recommendations that I’m prone to a good drink..
- Le P’tit Vélo
This is a great wee pub with friendly staff and decent prices. There’s plenty of seating outside too if you’re keen to smoke a cheeky clope. You’ll find it in the dead centre of town on Place St-Michel. We returned to this bar a few times over the weekend as the atmosphere was perfect for some pre-drinking!
2. Rue de la Soif
Rue de la Soif or ‘Street of thirst’ in English is a stones throw form Le P’tit Vélo and boasts a fine number of bars for you to spend a whole night here. The street is packed with like-minded youngsters looking for a good time. There’s bound to at least one bar to suit your taste and who and who can complain when ‘happy hour’ prices can get you a pint for as little as 3 €. Whether you’re looking for a quick drink or a place to drink into the wee hours of the morning, this is the street for you 😉
After all that drinking I’m suggesting, Poutinebros is the perfect spot to meet all your hungry needs. As the name suggests, this place serves poutine but they also do some very decent burgers too! Super friendly staff and laid-back atmosphere make this a great place to grab a quick bite before exploring the city again.
4. Le Mont St-Michel
Rennes is situated only a short bus ride from one of the most famous monuments in France and the indeed the world. It would be rude not to check out this little village/ island/ abbey / whatever you would like to call it when you’re so close.. The bus was fairly cheap and entrance to the abbey was free for those under 26 and with EU residency.
Other than what I’ve already mentioned, take the time to walk around the town and take in the incredible architecture!! Also, bring an umbrella as although the unfriendly stereotype of the north may be untrue, the bad weather certainly is not 😉