What about a woodland stroll, to meet the giants of our forests? Trees, man’s best friends, are not only symbols of nature. They have many things to tell us, many secrets to confide in us. As long as you know how to listen to them. Here are a few examples of the remarkable and extraordinary trees to be admired in the Rennes area. 7 examples of arboreal trips and ideas for nature walks, in the city or in the communes of the metropolis.
The 5 giant redwoods of the Parc du Thabor (Thabor Park)
Remarkable trees are abundant in Thabor Park. Many rare species have been planted here for 150 years and are a delight to visitors. More than 1.5 million people pass through the gates of the park to come and recharge their batteries, take a walk, read or relax in the shade of the tall trees. Among the most remarkable: the family of the 5 giant redwoods. On the highest point of the city, they stand more than 35 metres high and are a reference point visible from far away.
- How to get there? It is impossible to miss them due to their height. The redwood family lives between the orangery and aviary of Thabor Park, on the edge of the lawns of the English park.
The bald cypress of the Oberthür Park
160 years old and more than 28 metres high, the bald Louisiana cypress borders the pond in Oberthür Park. Strange aerial roots unfurl at its feet: these are pneumatophores that allow trees to breathe in humid environments. They are a quirk of nature that deserves a look in this park with a very “zen” atmosphere.
- How to get there? To get a closer look at these strange roots, go around the pond to the left. The bald cypress can be found there, with its feet in the water.
The gingko biloba of Place Saint-Michel (Saint-Michel Square)
The gingko biloba, or the maidenhair tree, is unique in more than one way. It is said to be the oldest family of trees, present on earth for more than 270 million years, well before the appearance of the dinosaurs. In addition to its magnificent golden colour with which the leaves are adorned in autumn, it is known to be a particularly resilient species. This species was the first to grow back in Hiroshima, Japan after the explosion of the atomic bomb on 6th August 1945. The specimen of Saint-Michel Square is not the only one in Rennes, another can be admired in the gardens of the Palais Saint-Georges (Saint George Palace).
- How to get there? you’ve probably already passed by without seeing it, it’s not the biggest or the most magical. But in autumn, its leaves make it shine with a thousand lights. It grows right in front of the le Pavillon restaurant; now you will think of it when you cross Saint-Michel Square.
The Corps-Nuds chestnut tree
Nicknamed “the Francis I chestnut tree”, this tree would have been planted in the year of the coronation of the King of France in 1515. Proof of its canonical age, its trunk of 11.50 metres in circumference is undoubtedly the most imposing in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine. It was awarded the label “Remarkable Tree of France” in 2005 by the association A.R.B.R.E.S. With its branches spanning 19 metres, it forms a natural shelter for many birds, insects and garden-friendly animals. It is the oldest chestnut tree in Brittany, after that of Pont-L’Abbé, a thousand-year-old tree in Finistère.
- How to get there?The tree has become the symbol of the Jardins du Châtaignier (the chestnut tree gardens) organic farm, whose crops surround it. You will be able to get close to it during a harvest in the farm of the locality called les Radeux. It is visible from the road.
The Thabor Park Atlas cedar
Almost 170 years old, the Thabor Park Atlas cedar spreads its branches over an impressive area. Recently, a perimeter has been demarcated to protect its foot and roots. Another cedar was part of the story of the Prince des Jardins (Prince of the Gardens). Indeed, it was around a huge Lebanese cedar, planted by the Bühler brothers, that the layout of the garden was imagined. A monumental tree that was felled by a storm in 1967. Other remarkable specimens of cedars, predating those of Thabor Park, are also to be seen in Oberthür Park.
- How to get there? A little further south than the redwoods, the cedar is located close to the children’s play park.
The La Prévalaye oak tree
Not far from the Jardin des Mille Pas (Garden of a Thousand Steps), on the site of La Prévalaye, where the Vilaine Valley runs, a lord of the forests awaits you. The pedunculate oak of La Prévalaye, with its long branch that meanders along the ground, has all the wisdom that has survived the centuries. Its harmonious form, protected by wooden barriers, makes it a picture-perfect tree that you can appreciate while walking round it. As long as you admire it with respect. Gnarled and winding, it can be made out from afar from the end of the racecourse car park, like a forest all by itself.
- How to get there? It can be visited during a bike ride on the towpath. The remarkable oak tree is at the end of the racecourse car park.
The trio of chestnut trees of Thorigné-Fouillard
At Thorigné-Fouillard, near the Moulin de Tizé (Tizé Mill), three majestic chestnut trees form a beautiful alignment on the banks of the Vilaine river. Century-old trees, the largest of which, perhaps the origin of the other two, has an impressive trunk with a circumference of more than 4 metres. Well hidden in this wooded domain, ideal for walking, they are located near the Domaine de Tizé (Tizé Estate). The proximity of the Breton river, which flows here like a modest river, surely has something to do with the longevity of these remarkable chestnut trees. The species is suffering from drought and global warming. But in this haven of peace, these three subjects have found a magical setting in which to develop.
Destination Rennes – Fabrice Mazoir
- How to get there? These remarkable trees are an opportunity to take a beautiful walk from the Manoir de Tizé (Tizé manor), where the artistic collective Au Bout du plongeoir (literally “At the end of the diving board”) is located. Just follow the trails in the direction of Thorigné-Fouillard for about a kilometre. Once past the path that leads to the mill, continue along the road and then head down to the right towards the river by steep steps near a power pole.