...wandering through the cobblestone streets of Rennes.
So because I obviously don’t listen enough to my parents and I quite enjoy being in the company of complete strangers, I decided to try out the CouchSurfing business this weekend. Off I went to spend three days in darling Rennes, capital of Bretagne.
It was a bit of a toss-up whether I wanted to visit Rennes or Nantes, though I admit it was mostly the Beirut song that had piqued my curiosity about the latter. No regrets, of course. I’ll be swinging by Nantes before I head to San Sebastian.
My hosts, Anne and Francois, were super cool and super kind and just all around super. I can’t wait to hear more of their adventures cycling through Bretagne later this year and adventuring for seven months through Russia/Asia in 2014. Now I have pals in Rennes, which I’m dying to visit again, and really just tell everyone going to France to check out. It’s a chill little city.
Except when you’re arriving during the French League Cup finals. The train station was a sea of red. Somehow, we managed to rendezvous despite this crowd of hardcore fans on their way to Paris:
I lucked out because there was a spoken word/music/art festival going down called Mythos which seemed to draw in the other half of the city, the artsy crowd, so there was plenty of hipster spotting to be done as we toured Vielle-ville (old town), Parc du Thabor, Parlement de Bretagne, even had time to kick it with a bottle of cider and other such beverages at Place St. Anne. Terrace cafes/bars all over. Why do we not have this in Vancouver?
Anne and Francois were cool enough to invite me to the late night festivities, alas, the concerts they were heading to were already sold out.
Instead, I found myself (once more against everything my parents taught me) touring Centre-ville (city center, downtown) by night. Curiousity got the best of me and I started following the rowdy chants of fut fans and found myself catching the tail end of the match being shown on a big screen in one of the city’s squares. Vancouver could learn a thing or two about public spaces put to good use. Rennes lost, the crowd dispersed (sans riot) towards the Rue de la Soif and various other side-streets and alleys known for late night drinking and clubbing. It’s like downtown Granville area but medieval.
I capped my booze limit earlier that day so I wandered back Chez Anne et Francois and had a bright, squirrely start to the morning. The only other people walking around so early were tourists (so very clearly indicated by their honking DSLRs) and the Rennais off to church.
For various reasons, that morning was grand: I had the city to myself; I was wifi-less and mostly lost until I would end up at a familiar looking church or square; I got to use their metro system; I stood in line at the boulangerie like a proper local; I ate pain au chocolat beside the river and collected snaps of Rennais street art.
And then Francois and Anne said we were driving out to St. Malo.