- Rennes as seen by… -
Kahina is an event planner in Brittany's capital, and loves mixing styles. Fashion, cooking, shopping...here are her favourite places to go for a very trendy stay in Rennes.
"Rennes forever": that is how Kahina Drider describes herself, "in love with her city" and always prepared to defend it... She was first noticed kayaking for the French team in Cesson-Sévigné. From white water activities she went on to a very studious university course: a Master's in Business Law from the Law School, another in Media Management from Sciences Po, and simultaneously held a sports journalist position for the Ouest France newspaper. The curious Jack-of-all-trades decided to start a blog in 2010 about great places to go in Rennes. That is how "Rennes à Coup de Coeur" (My favourites in Rennes) began.
"I WANTED TO SHARE MY DISCOVERIES"
The idea came to her when she was away for work in Paris. Upon coming back to her hometown, she could not find the thing she had loved in Paris. "In Rennes there are great blogs and specialised websites about culture, music or gastronomy, but the city was lacking a general site, similar to My Little Paris. A site that would tell you where to have dinner and what exhibition to go and see. That's how the blog was born...mostly to satisfy my curiosity". She then met a lot of designers, "whilst chatting with people like Joséphine Gravis or Fanny Mouchel from Sauciflar et Calendos, I really felt the need to share my discoveries and offer a glimpse of what there is to do".
The "Rennes à coup de coeur" adventure began as a solitary project, turned into a writers' association and is now a company in itself - an agency called Demain. In the meantime, the blog became a professional website, then a 224-page city guide published in 2014, listing all the great places to go in Rennes. Kahina also plans events: the "Apéro des créateurs" (Drinks for creators), launched in 2012, has now become the unmissable "Brunch des créateurs (Creators' brunch) - and the Christmas pop-up store has set up Rue du Chapitre, in Rennes' historical centre. Kahina therefore knows the city off by heart, and here are her top tips.
Kahina in an expert in creators' shops. "The most recent is Tipi, Rue des Fossés. They are mostly focused on creations for children, clothes and home decor"... But there is also "the one that cannot be missed", the one "everyone is talking about", Mint - located Place du Champs-Jacquet - that promotes several creators and offers bargains and products from classical shops. The third "historical" place - to be absolutely not missed according to Kahina - is La Supérette, an original little shop specialised in jewellery, set up in Rue Hoche since 2010. The local feature here in Rennes for creators' shops is that they mix up their styles, sometimes offering products at completely different ends of the scale.
"There are two creator profiles here in Rennes", explains Kahina, "on the one hand, you have business owners with a Business School background, who want to create a brand, develop their points of sale and have products made. On the other, you often have creators focused on hand-made products and unique items".
"PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM THINK I SPEND MY TIME EATING"
Shopping is not Kahina's only hobby...she is also a food-lover. "People who follow me on my Instagram account think that I spend my time eating, and I do, I love it", laughs Kahina. She has her own favourite places to eat. At the top of her list is Petite Nature, an excellent vegetarian restaurant located Place de la Rotonde, that serves "from breakfast to afternoon tea". But if she could only choose one restaurant for visitors only staying a short time she would no doubt suggest the Saint-Georges, and there are two of them in town. "The Saint-Georges is an institution, the one in Rue du Chapitre is perfect for a family dinner, and the one in Rue Jules Simon is much more modern and stylish", considers Kahina. "The Saint-Georges embodies Rennes' spirit well, with its jazzed up pancakes and contemporary decor, the perfect combination of cultural Breton heritage and the modern vibe of a big city". Once again mixing genres...
Always wanting to share her great ideas, Kahina has a very specific schedule in mind for discovering Rennes over a weekend. Start by having a nice breakfast at the Kitchenette, where she claims you can find "the best cookies in town". A great place for a brunch at the weekend too. Boost your energy levels before the "unmissable ritual": the Lices market on Saturday morning. "I go every time I'm in Rennes. I buy myself some flowers and cheese, it's my favourite time of the week".
BIKING: "THE BEST WAY TO DISCOVER THE CITY"
After a flavour-filled morning, Kahina recommends biking around the city. "Rennes is a city that I love to bike around, it's so lovely. If you're staying for the weekend, renting a Vélo Star bike or just walking around is the best way to discover the city".
You could for instance mooch around the interior decor shops on Saturday afternoon: Bühne has just opened (3 Rue de Coëtquen), Hall 29 (Rue de la Chalotais), Garance (3 Rue de Montfort) or even Aventures de maison (4 Rue Duguesclin). Or you could pop into her new favourite cosmetics shop, Blush, in Rue du Chapitre. "An amazing shop for all your cosmetics, skin care products or make-up, made using natural products. They have a fantastic selection", tested and approved.
WE LOVE BISTRONOMY FOR ITS GOOD FOOD AND DRINK!
After a day out shopping, the advantage in Rennes is that there is always good food and drink. Bars often also serve great food. Kahina's favourite in that respect is the Hibou. "One of the best places to go in Rennes, I go there all the time. Their cuisine is of very high quality, they serve things like tapas and cheesecake. It's so unique among all of Rennes' bars, and has a neighbourhood feel set between the city centre and Saint-Hélier".
For a drink followed by a good meal, Kahina also recommends the Café du Port wine bar, just next to the Tourist Office. In the same area, Kahina recommends other delicious bistrots to discover: "L'Arsouille is another of my favourites, as is Le Tire-Bouchon. In Rennes we are lucky to have this bistrot, urban culture. We love bistronomy! ".
KAYAKING DOWN THE CANAL...
For the rest of the weekend, Kahina suggests the traditional Thabor gardens. But, as a former high-level kayaker, she still loves anything to do with water. "In Saint-Grégoire along the canal, there's a great place for kayaking, you can rent all the equipment and go down the canal to the Saint-Martin lock. It's very pleasant, even for beginners, you feel you're in heart of nature from the very start".
After this nature-filled outing, Kahina suggests stopping for brunch. There are so many places that it's hard to try them all. "I've been told about the one at the BDS: an all-you-can-eat brunch that's apparently huge. For a more girly style, I like the one at the Kitchenette", confides Kahina. "Otherwise, for a quiet cup of tea, I head straight to the Balthazar...".
Last ingredient for a perfect weekend in Rennes: a trip up to the coast, as it is so near. "I can't see myself living anywhere else than Rennes, and being an hour away from the beach is so fantastic", concludes Kahina, who also has a weak spot for Saint-Lunaire.
Rennes is the area in which Kahina launched a now major event, the "Brunch des Créateurs" (Creators' Brunch). "Rennes is a curious city, people are always looking for new things to do and new projects always resonate well with people". In Paris, there are pop-up shops everywhere you go. "In Rennes we have the potential to do amazing things". The idea quickly came to her after her time spent in Paris. "The idea was to organise an event that could please the whole family, including those who don't appreciate fashion or get bored going round the shops".
TEMPORARY RESTAURANTS AND CREATIVE WORKSHOPS
From the very first edition, organised in a cocktail format, the culinary offer was already huge. Restaurant owners and producers all come from in and around Rennes. Regarding the creators, 82 stalls were set up for the Brunch's two full days. Creative workshops were set up on various and stylish themes (make-up, wine-tasting, DIY), available for free to the 4,200 visitors during the 2015 edition. In just a few years with her teams, Kahina has managed to create a trendy event that - just like her - combines good food, curiosity and creativity.
SUNDAY 15 AND MONDAY 16 MAY 2016, FROM 10AM TO 8PM, HALLES MARTENOT, PLACE DES LICES IN RENNES. ENTRY: 3 EUROS (5 EUROS FOR 2 DAYS).