Bike ride on the towpaths

Nature weekend in Brittany

5 ideas for a 100% green holiday near Rennes

Do you fancy a touch of nature, eating good produce and relaxing? Head to Rennes for a weekend to make the most of the natural charm in Brittany’s capital and reconnect with seasonal changes. The countryside is never far when you are in Rennes, just a few kilometres are enough for a complete change of scenery.


1. Enjoy the flow of seasonal changes

Les Patios - Saint-Grégoire
© Le Saison – Les Patios

For an overview of Rennes’ surroundings in a relaxing, natural atmosphere, head straight to Saint-Grégoire. The restaurant Le Saison pays tribute to changing seasons: enjoy a delicious meal, with colourful ingredients prepared by the passionate chef David Etcheverry. A chef who loves to share his enthusiasm for good products and nature during culinary workshops organised on Saturdays. In addition to being a Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurant, Le Saison also offer high-end rooms – Les Patios – that look out into nature-filled landscapes. The contemporary architecture was designed in line with the surrounding natural environment, with plants running up the roof and air source heat pumps. The restaurant is open from Tuesday to Sunday lunch, and the rooms are available from Monday to Sunday lunch.

  • Le saison – les patios, impasse du vieux bourg in saint-grégoire (5 kilometres to the north of rennes)

2. Going for walks, horse rides or bike rides

Horse ride at the Moulin du Boël in Bruz
Horse ride at the Moulin du Boël in Bruz ©CRT – Simon Bourcier

Be it on foot or by bike, Rennes unfolds before you. Nature was perfectly preserved along the old tow paths that run along the Vilaine river towards the Apigné lakes. Locks, restaurants and play areas are dotted along the walks, that you can enjoy as a family, with your partner or by bike with friends for a sportier outing. Some circuits lead to the Boël mill in the South of the city, and others go to Dinard and Saint-Malo along the Ille-et-Rance canal and No.2 green path. Horse riders can often be spotted along the canals and rivers. The old tow paths are ideal for horse riding enthusiasts.

The cool breton weather is ideal for walking

Accessible from the centre of Rennes, the canal and Saint-Martin prairies, as well as the many parks and gardens, are perfect for a nature-filled walk in town. You will no doubt notice that the climate in Brittany is particularly conducive to walks and hikes. Temperatures are mild year-round, and when the rest of France is struck by heat waves, the West always manages to keep quite cool. Not to mention the drizzle we get from time to time… Brittany is a naturally cool region, ideal for walking or biking. 

3. Visit passionately-kept gardens

The Theater of Vieux Saint-Etienne
© Destination Rennes / Julien Mignot

The huge Gayeulles park is a natural playground used for numerous activities: biking, tree-top adventure climbing, running, discovering the animals in the park and family gardens. There are more than 1,000 plots of shared gardens in and around Rennes. Within the urban area of Rennes, other astonishing gardens can also be visited.

Rocambole, an imaginative vegetable garden in corps-nuds

In Corps-Nuds, le Rocambole Gardens are a quirky, eco-friendly place, spread out over 6,000 m², whose imaginative vegetable garden enables people to discover plants in an original manner. A nature adventure for little ones (and adults), where workshops are organised during the summer to teach the basics of eco-gardening.

Pick your own fruit and veg in Orgères!

Lastly, if you wish to pick your own fruit and vegetables on a seasonal basis from a farm, come to the gardens in Orgères, to the South of Rennes. From April to November, this is the ideal place to become a farmer for an hour or two and savour some delicious products. Other beautiful gardens await you in the area; if you are based in Rennes and want to go out one afternoon, go and have a walk around the Brocéliande gardens in Bréal-sous-Montfort, the Bourbansais zoo, Ar-Millin park in Chateaubourg, or the Upper-Brittany Botanical Gardens, amongst others. In the Ille-et-Vilaine department and around Rennes, nature awaits.

4. Observe the region’s biodiversity at the eco-museum

Breton horse of the Rennes Ecomuseum
Breton horse of the Rennes Ecomuseum ©Ecomusée / H. Ronné

Rennes’ eco-museum is a way for visitors to be immersed in an authentic local farm. Take a trip back in time to understand how the agricultural world has evolved over the last 5 centuries. The objects and techniques presented there tell the story of rural Brittany, in a “life-size” museum.

“A window into local biodiversity”

Around the farm, you can visit the vegetable garden and chicken coop, a conservatory orchard with 220 different types of apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees, etc. The agricultural centre also includes a 3 km path through the marshes where you can spot herds of old western breeds, poultry, donkeys, horses and cattle that make up a unique animal conservatory, “a window into local biodiversity”.

A visit that will enable you to discover the region’s animal and plant heritage, in a well-preserved environment: the Coucou chicken for instance, the Breton horse or the Pie Noir cow.

5. Make a short detour via a local countryside bistrot

l'Antiseiche - The country bistro
© Bertrand Richeux

After visiting the eco-museum, or on your way back from the Orgères or Rocambole gardens, or even from the Boël mill in Bruz, a lovely countryside bistrot will be waiting for you. L’Antiseiche is a café with live music and a welcoming restaurant where you can see theatre productions or take part in debates, whilst savouring in local and regional products. Local beer and good saucisson in a relaxed atmosphere…at L’Antiseiche, happiness is in the field, and in your plate. If the weather is good, make the most of the terrace set up in front of the old farm in Noyal-Châtillon-sur-Seiche. In the winter, huddle up under the wooden beams, within the strong earth walls, in front of a cosy fire. This original countryside bistrot should definitely be on your list of places to discover.

  • L’antiseiche, route du moulin de Brécé – le pâtis Gérard. 35230 Noyal-Châtillon-sur-Seiche (9 km to the south of Rennes)
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