10/10 would Rennes again!

When I think of northen France (and northern to me is anywhere above Tours), I can’t help but imagine depressing, gloomy towns filled with people with funny accents. This was why I’d never gone north before (besides Paris, which isn’t really the north). I tended to stick to the warmer climate down south, but I recently spent four days over the New Year in the amazing city of Rennes and was pleasantly surprised.

After spending a couple of days back home in Scotland for Christmas, I jumped on a flight to Paris and then caught the TGV with a friend and we headed on-wards to Rennes. The next few days were filled with many whiskys and cokes, a bar with a pet parrot and a quick day trip to Le Mont St-Michel.

I hadn’t know much about Rennes before I’d went but it’s safe to say I’m keen on spending a lot more time there (possibly will head there when I’m finished with studies to teach again..) The town is bustling with young students who are ready to hop into a bar at a moments notice. There is a belief that people in the north of France are unfriendly, which I found to be completely untrue (at least in Rennes). We met so many new people just by chatting over a few (way too many) drinks. It’s crazy how your confidence and language skills improve when you’re un peu bourré. Below are some places I think you should visit if you’re in the area, you can probably tell from my recommendations that I’m prone to a good drink..

 

  1.  Le P’tit Vélo 

This is a great wee pub with friendly staff and decent prices. There’s plenty of seating outside too if you’re keen to smoke a cheeky clope. You’ll find it in the dead centre of town on Place St-Michel. We returned to this bar a few times over the weekend as the atmosphere was perfect for some pre-drinking!

 

2. Rue de la Soif

Rue de la Soif  or ‘Street of thirst’ in English is a stones throw form Le P’tit Vélo and boasts a fine number of bars for you to spend a whole night here. The street is packed with like-minded youngsters looking for a good time. There’s bound to at least one bar to suit your taste and who and who can complain when ‘happy hour’ prices can get you a pint for as little as 3 €. Whether you’re looking for a quick drink or a place to drink into the wee hours of the morning, this is the street for you 😉

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Eric – a testament to the friendliness of Rennes 

 

3. Poutinebros

After all that drinking I’m suggesting, Poutinebros is the perfect spot to meet all your hungry needs. As the name suggests, this place serves poutine but they also do some very decent burgers too! Super friendly staff and laid-back atmosphere make this a great place to grab a quick bite before exploring the city again.

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Poutine, version crise cardiaque

 

4. Le Mont St-Michel

Rennes is situated only a short bus ride from one of the most famous monuments in France and the indeed the world. It would be rude not to check out this little village/ island/ abbey / whatever you would like to call it when you’re so close.. The bus was fairly cheap and entrance to the abbey was free for those under 26 and with EU residency.

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The great northern weather

 

Other than what I’ve already mentioned, take the time to walk around the town and take in the incredible architecture!! Also, bring an umbrella as although the unfriendly stereotype of the north may be untrue, the bad weather certainly is not 😉

 

 

La vie en France

So, if you haven’t already heard, I moved to France!! For the rest of the academic year I’ll be working as a language assistant in two high schools. Me teaching children, who would have thought? I’m living in Pau which sits in the foothills of the Pyrenees, it’s also wine central so it can only be described as a 100% win-win.

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The funiculaire with the mountains in the distance!

 

I’ve already managed to find my own flat in a residence which is specifically for young workers, so meeting people has been very easy. Although, I’m kind of tired of people asking if Scotsmen really go commando under their kilt… I also had some luck at the bank and managed to open an account. I’d heard a lot of horror stories about how difficult it was to open one but it couldn’t have been more straightforward. I even managed to bag some free home insurance so I felt obliged to go back the next day with some shortbread to say thanks. I’m 110% their new favourite customer. I have to go back again next week to give the manager my French phone number, I think it might be for admin purposes but I’ll assume that it’s because she fancies me…

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View of the mountains at sunset from my flat window….

 

You’ll all be happy to know that I’ve made some new pals but don’t worry I’m not replacing you! I’ve been out almost every night since I got here, mostly with other assistants and some Erasmus students. But, we managed to make some new French pals who are keen to go for a drink (or two) this weekend. I’ve also had to take the art of pre-drinking to a new level. A pint here costs at least 5€ whereas 10 beers from le supermarché will set you back a mere 2,80€. I’ve found a new local (sorry Ark) called Le Galway and even though it’s and “Irish” bar, the staff are all French which means I can practise the lingo.

I went for a coffee at a cafe last week to find out the guy who served me plays for the local rugby team (Section Paloise) and was on the winning NZ squad for the 2015 world cup. He also has 80,000 followers on insta (#famous). His wife runs the place but I think he just stepped in to lend a helping hand. Pau is a small town but it is definitely full of characters! There’s also been a few funny nights out but I’ll spare you all the details for another time.

I don’t start work until Monday but I’m going into one of my schools tomorrow to meet the other teachers and find out my timetable – praying for a 3 day weekend. I’m only an hour from Biarritz, so hopefully can try some surfing there and then when winter comes head to the mountains for le ski. 

I think that’s all to update for now so I’ll leave you with some pictures:

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Winners of Tour de France (Pau stage) painted on the road

 

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Pink Umbrellas in the main square for breast cancer awareness month

 

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Cool little side street

 

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Panoramic view from the Boulevard des Pyrenees