Welcome to Ille et Vilaine
We welcome you to one of the ideal destinations if you are thinking of doing rural tourism in France. It is a department of contrasts where you will be able to enjoy nature, heritage and leisure in equal parts in its different towns and villages.
It belongs to the region of Brittany and its capital, one of the most active and dynamic cities in the whole area is Rennes. However, it still has a vast medieval heritage that you can enjoy in places like Paimpont, with its numerous fortresses and buildings from that period.
It is very close to the English Channel and is the most populated department in the whole region.
Explore the region
The confluence of landscapes, culture and gastronomy of this department will make you enjoy one of the best experiences of rural tourism. You can start by visiting the capital, Rennes, where you can enjoy the medieval, Romanesque or Renaissance architecture present on many facades. It is also two hours away from Paris by train.
Another must is the city of Saint-Malo, where you can breathe in that corsair-like atmosphere that makes it an unquestionable touristic region. Imagine the pirates who docked in its port, and enjoy its walls, its castle and, of course, its beaches.
Still centered in the medieval time, we can travel to Fougères or Vitré, where you will enjoy a spectacular set with castle.
About the region of Ille et Vilaine
Do you remember the famous wizard Merlin? Well, in this department you can relive his story in first person at the Brocelande Forest, where you can visit his grave. You will love this experience with your children specially because you will be able to spend a very pleasant day surrounded by magic and legends.
And speaking of stories, the City of the Book of Bécherel can be a good option before or after contemplating the impressive tides of the Emerald Coast, where you can seize the opportunity to do water sports or visit Dinard.
To finish, enjoy one of its most famous products in the harbour of the city of Cancale with a plate of oysters, and indulge your sweet tooth with some biscuits, crêpes or far, a typical cake, all from Brittany.
Book your ideal rural house in Ille et Vilaine
Where to sleep in Ille et Vilaine
Visiting this department is very easy to travel to, because you will always have a corner to stay in where you can enjoy the peace and quiet.
Hotel, rural house, hostel... here you will always find a place that will open its doors to your resting! And if you do it in the Saint-Malo area, then you will discover traditional, special and elegant accommodation very close to the main points of interest and the coast.
For those of you who travel with children, there are many accommodations that besides offering you rooms, have a lot of activities without leaving the house, that will keep you entertained. And the same for those travellers who do not want to be separated from their pets, as there are rural houses that admit your furry friend.
Rennes or Dinard are two of the star destinations that you can't miss - take a look at the accommodations in this department!
What to do in Ille et Vilaine
Whatever you imagine you can do in Ille et Vilaine, an area rich in culture, history and heritage that you will fall in love with during your holiday in France.
If you have chosen this destination to spend a few days with your family, you can take the opportunity to visit Brocélandie, which is known as the Gate of Secrets. This is a 45-minute dramatized tour in which the little ones will be able to immerse themselves in the stories told by the guide as they stroll through many natural beauty spots - they'll love it!
If you prefer visiting one the most beautiful areas of France, we recommend that you travel to Saint Suliac, which is one of the most beautiful villages in the country, with a seafaring essence and in the Rance Valley that you will love.
As for monuments, visiting the Palace of Parliament, the Remparts Tower or the Fougeres Castle, which is the largest one in Europe, will give you a perfect idea of the history of this place.
Of the natural spaces, Ponte du Groin and enjoy the route that shows you the coast road of Mont-Saint-Michel can be great options.
What to eat
As it is the case in many other French departments, due to the connection of the different regions with the sea, a typical menu is formed, full of fish and seafood of the greatest quality and with different flavours that make them a safe bet among tourists.
Out of the many varieties of fish and seafood from this region, we highlight without a doubt the oysters, although we also encourage you to try the mussels, lobsters and spider crabs, all of them of excellent quality.
The crêpes and galettes are another must among the more traditional dishes, which are filled with different types of seasonings and products that make these dishes mouth-watering morsels full of flavour that both young and old alike enjoy.
Butter and drinks such as cider or beer are very typical in the area, with a special mention to a cola drink called Breizh-Cola, which is produced regionally and is intended to be an alternative to the world-famous coke.
There are many and very varied festivals and events that you can enjoy in this department through which you can also appreciate its most entertaining essence through these celebrations.
One of the best known is Saint Suliac Autrefois, which has already had more than 30 editions in which, while you enjoy the views to the Rance, next to which this small town is located, you will be able to enjoy the smell and taste of the typical food elaborated in the street, a lively marina harbour with music, dances, traditional costumes and, in short, an atmosphere that is worth experiencing.
Another event that you must experience is the Le Marché à Manger market, which is held one Sunday per every month in Rennes, and which shows much of the gastronomic culture in different stalls.
Saint-Malo has one of those routes that will make you feel like a pirate. Every four years, what is known as the city of corsairs, will surprise you with its Route du Rhum and, reviving the local pirate tradition, they even organize fun regattas with boats sponsored by the different local rum brands.