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Paris and what city in Brittany in Sept or Oct?

Paris and what city in Brittany in Sept or Oct?

Nov 5th, 2019, 02:48 PM
  #1  
dac
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Paris and what city in Brittany in Sept or Oct?

We are planning another trip to Paris next fall. We have never been to Brittany so I was thinking a few days in Rennes with a day trip to St.Malo? Want to do all by rail. Does anyone have any suggestions of what city if not Rennes to stay in? I know Rennes is a university town, similar to Bologna? Any would mid Sept be a better time than October? Thank you!
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Nov 5th, 2019, 02:54 PM
  #2  
 
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If you want to do it all by rail(and bus since the rail network is very limited in Bretagne) than Rennes is a good base for the eastern part of Bretagne and form Mont- Saint-Michel(which is technically in Normandy) since it is the main hub.

"I know Rennes is a university town, similar to Bologna?"

It may be a "university town", but that's where the similarities end. It's much smaller and more provincial than Bologna and Bretagne is as different from Emilia-Romagna as it gets. Makes no sense to compare the 2.

" Any would mid Sept be a better time than October?"

Probably yes.
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Nov 5th, 2019, 03:23 PM
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Rennes has always been one of our favorite larger cities in France......BUT we were in Brittany for 2 weeks this past June and Rennes wasn't looking so nice. There was an abundance of construction going on, and many of our favorite alleys & sections were disrupted. We didn't enjoy it as much as we did on our previous 3 trips there. When I asked the proprietor of our gite about this, she stated that Rennes is going through a major "upgrade" because of the new TGV station and faster TGV trains between Paris & Rennes. Rennes is now a more desirable city for Paris people to go for a weekend, or to live in Rennes and commute to Paris for work. Same thing is happening to Bordeaux.

St Malo. Like several other people on Fodors - St Malo was over-rated to us (we visited it twice this year & 3 times in past years). The setting is fabulous, but it is less interesting inside. We are major architecture buffs, and the buildings in St Malo were not as beautiful as those in Vannes, Quimper, or Dinard.

We spent 2 weeks in Brittany this year near Dinan, and 4 weeks in Southern Brittany last year near Vannes & Concarneau. You did not mention how many days you have available for this trip, but a good itinerary would be:

Train from Paris to Vannes and spend 2-3 nights there
Train to Quimper & spend 2-3 nights there
Train to Rennes or Paris or both.

All the above have direct trains between them with 0 train changes.

I would go in September for better weather.

Attached is my Normandy & Brittany itinerary
Attached Files

Last edited by StuDudley; Nov 5th, 2019 at 03:25 PM.
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Nov 5th, 2019, 03:37 PM
  #4  
dac
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Thank you very much for your detailed replies!
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Nov 5th, 2019, 04:52 PM
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We did Paris plus Brittany this September. I posted an overly detailed trip report that meshes well with Stu Dudley's opus (since we used it for planning. A lot of the best stuff in Brittany is only accessible by road, however. I do not know if there are day tours that you could use to get out of town, such as Vannes to the megalithic sites near Carnac. We based in Vannes (TGV access from Paris), St-Malo (ditto, and yes St-Malo intra muros is boring after a few hours but has some great food), and Ploumanac'h (you won't get there by train.). The Peabody Papers 2019, Paris and Brittany, Unmapped
AJPeabody is offline  
Nov 5th, 2019, 04:53 PM
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Yes I agree with Stu about Rennes-it isn't as pleasant right now with the construction-very similar to Bordeaux many years back while they were putting in the first tram lines. I think Vannes is particularly nice.
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Nov 5th, 2019, 04:55 PM
  #7  
kja
 
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I'm another fan of Rennes, but haven't visited during / since the construction Stu mentions.
And like Stu, I was disappointed in St. Malo -- I thought it a bit too much like a stage set for my tastes.
I adored Dinan -- you might consider a day trip to it.
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Nov 5th, 2019, 09:31 PM
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>> I adored Dinan -- you might consider a day trip to it. <<

Dinan is perhaps our favorite medium-sized city in Brittany. We've vacationed there for 4 weeks. Unfortunately, train service to Dinan from elsewhere isn't good. Like AJ, I feel that a car is essential in Brittany. The coast is spectacular. The only feasible way to get to the coast is by car - whether you rent one, or hire a private driver to take you there.

Read my itinerary for places to spend time on the coast.

Stu Dudley
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Nov 5th, 2019, 09:40 PM
  #9  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
>> I adored Dinan -- you might consider a day trip to it. <<

Dinan is perhaps our favorite medium-sized city in Brittany. We've vacationed there for 4 weeks. Unfortunately, train service to Dinan from elsewhere isn't good.
Looks like there are good bus connections from Dinan to Rennes; I didn't check other cities. I'm sure the OP can do that -- rome2rio.com provides great information, as long as one clicks through to the underlying links. (The main webpage isn't sensitive to seasonal variation in schedules.)
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Nov 6th, 2019, 02:28 AM
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I would not begin to compare Rennes to Bologna. And yes, Rennes is a mess right now. Try Vannes or Dinan.
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Nov 6th, 2019, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post

Attached is my Normandy & Brittany itinerary
Thanks for posting that! I hope to "follow in your footsteps" in Normandy (relatively) soon.
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Nov 6th, 2019, 03:22 AM
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To me the beauty of Brittany is not in the cities but in its coast and courntryside, same with Normandy.

What about Nantes? https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2...re-top-10-tips
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Nov 6th, 2019, 03:47 AM
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I agree, but it's pretty much impossible to do the coast and countryside if the OP has only a few days and has to travel by public transport.

And the cities and towns are also nice, Rennes itself, Mount-Saint-Michel is in Normandy, but it's a must see if you're so close and it's easy to do by bus,

Vitré looks also beautiful and it's only a short train ride from Rennes.
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Nov 6th, 2019, 06:30 AM
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If you are able to manage the transportation, I also recommend Dinan. We loved it. It’s as lovely and charming as can be, and is a comfortable-sized city.
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Nov 6th, 2019, 06:48 AM
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Add me to the “meh” about St. Malo crowd. We were there this past early October. Glad we went to see Jacques Cartier’s home town, now we don’t have to ever go again.

We stayed in Dinan for four nights. If you are into walking and hiking it’s a great location. Along the tow path, we saw walking maps with lots of routes posted. I wish we had a few more days just to explore the walking paths near the river.

We left there on October 6, and the weather was good, but I abhor the heat. One day was too warm for hiking and the rest were quite perfect, very light jacket weather.
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Nov 8th, 2019, 03:10 PM
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I am an absolute fan of saint Malo.
Spent 2 nights last years and had a fantastic time. In end October so not so many tourists but at time of route du rhum so crowded with passionates.
Went to either Dinan or Dinard and found it meh.
Everybody his own tastes ..
gijng to Rennes next month. Long time no see so kind of rediscovery for me.
Inrecommend buying green Michelin guide.
ahbonvraiment is offline  
Nov 8th, 2019, 03:18 PM
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My husband adores. St-Malo. I can take it or leave it. Everybody has their likes and dislikes. Green Michelin guide is always a good idea.
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Nov 8th, 2019, 08:13 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by ahbonvraiment View Post
I am an absolute fan of saint Malo.
I won't hold that against you.
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