As the morning starts, I hop on my bike and head for downtown Rennes. There are lots of cycle routes all over the city and there is also the GR 39 for some excellent hiking trails.
My first stop: Thabor Park! This is the city's most beautiful park. It has a magnificent rose garden and large expanses of green space, walking here is a real pleasure. It is the end of summer and the first leaves have fallen under the chestnut trees. Seated on a bench opposite the orangery and the bandstand, I enjoy a piping hot cup of coffee.
Time to set off again, this time on foot, towards Rennes’ historic centre. Strolling through the streets there are lots of beautiful stone façades and colourful, well-preserved half-timbered houses.
Near the Place de la République, I make a stop at La Belle-Iloise, the best cannery in Brittany! I love their colourful displays and of course the delicious products, that reflect generations of expertise. I take the opportunity to pick up some samples of their new products.
Just next to the cannery, in the Rue de Nemours, is another of my favourite addresses: the Italian grocery store Les Bonnes Pâtes. Céline opened her shop at the end of 2018. She has a great range of artisanal Italian dried pasta, sauces, risotto rice, olive oil ...and they are all really amazing! I decide on some spaghetti from the Apulia region, which I'm thinking of making with sardines in oil, onions, parsley and garlic!
When I come into Rennes on Saturdays, I always take a walk through the most beautiful market in Brittany: the Marché des Lices. But, when I come during the week (like today), I have to find another place to do my shopping... and I’m going to the Criée Marché Central, in the Place Commeurec! A very pretty covered market full of good Breton artisanal products: cheeses, fruit and vegetables, bread, meat and fish...
With my bag full of vegetables, bread and pancakes (for the lunchtime dessert), I have one last thing to do before leaving Rennes’ delightful old centre: find a bottle of wine! I stop at the Histoires de Vins wine store in the Rue Vasselot. I love this shop with its floor-to-ceiling bottles and the feeling of discovering a little gem every time the wine merchant suggests a wine. I leave with a red and a white, following my request for something that will go well with fish.
Back on the bike, I start to head home! But there’s still some time before lunch, so I decide to go for a stroll in Rennes Forest. Lying south-east of the city, and covering more than 7,000 acres, the forest is a marvel of biodiversity.
I walk along the trails, brushing through the ferns, enjoying the fresh air and wonderful woodland smells. Further on, I pause to watch a busy ant colony, and stumble on a beautiful bush of wild blackberries that I decide to pick! Feeling peckish, I sample some of the tuna rillettes in my backpack on a piece of bread to keep me going until lunchtime.
1:30 p.m.: back home and I am starving! I feel like hot, comfort food after this morning's walk, but there’s not enough time to cook anything. After consulting with my husband, we decide to try the Petits Plats that I bought this morning at La Belle-Iloise: mashed potato with tuna for him and mackerel chili for me! We transfer the contents of the jars into bowls and they are ready after two minutes in the microwave. Accompanied by a glass of the recommended wine, it was perfect, a really delicious, balanced meal, rounded off wild blackberry pancakes and a good cup of hot tea.