|After one night in the Mercure in Rennes we packed and met with our guide for a walking tour of the city. Unfortunately this necessitated rain jackets and brollies but we managed as she took us around the city. Rennes is the capital,of Bretagne ( Brittany) and is a city of 70,000 people with a large university and a big student population, which gives it a certain feel and I can now better understand the bar/ cafe where we ate last night.
Our guide showed us the various areas which have been walled at various times and then damaged by fire or rebellion. The most recent rebellion was in1996 when fishermen on the point of starvation set fire to the Parliament building; apparently their actions did bring about some changes as their protest was about their waters being fished out by fishermen from other countries especially Spain.
Sadly many of the old wooden houses are in very poor repair and it was explained that many generations have lived in theses family owned homes without any major upkeep or restoration. Now the EU will pay half of the restoration cost but with the average restoration costing €800,000 few if any car an afford their half so buildings remain or fall down or are condemned as unsafe and Rennes fails to attract many tourists as opposed to Vannes which is thentown to which the rich or powerful of Rennes would retreat during disturbances and their the houses are in much better condition. No shortage of tourists there.
Our guide claimed that Rennes is a very religious Catholic city but strolling from about 9-12 we saw few people any where let alone around the churches. It is Mother's Day in France and families were more noticeable when we had our lunch at a very old restaurant and most of us chose the buckwheat pancake - a specialty of the area. Mine had ham , cheese and tomatoes. Must try making these at home.
The rain which had held off in Vannes was back with us as we drove in to Concarneau, an area of holiday homes and apartments and the traffic streaming away afterbwhat has been for many a long weekend wa s bumper to bumper. Our trusty driver Willy did well and by the time we arrived the sun was out and now at nearly 10 it's still light and we've had dinner and strolled along the beach in front of the hotel. Four nights here so have unpacked my case..