Discover the Vibrant and Thriving Metropolis of Rennes: A Haven of Culture, Innovation, and Excitement


Robert Eduard Antal » Urban Innovation » Urban Development in Rennes: A Model for Sustainability

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: Spotlight on Rennes, France

Innovation and Sustainability

Rennes, as a committed member of the Eurocities network, focuses strongly on sustainability and innovation. The city has set ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions and promote the use of green technology. By 2030, Rennes aims to cut its carbon footprint by 40% and achieve a nearly carbon-neutral city by 2050. Various initiatives, including the transformation of public transportation systems to electric buses and extensive bike-sharing programs, are evidence of the city’s dedication to innovation and environmental responsibility.

Smart City Initiatives

Rennes leverages cutting-edge technology to improve urban life in various sectors. From smart waste management systems to intelligent traffic control, the city employs diverse smart city initiatives to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve residents’ quality of life.

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Smart Water Management: Advanced sensors monitor and clean local waterways, ensuring safe and clean water for residents.
  • Digital Healthcare: Implementation of telemedicine and smart health monitoring systems to provide better healthcare services.
  • Energy-Efficient Buildings: Adoption of smart grids and energy management systems in public buildings for reducing energy consumption.

Cultural and Social Projects

Rennes is active in cultural and social initiatives, fostering a dynamic community that supports creativity and inclusiveness. The city promotes numerous programs aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, including immigrants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Official City Website:

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Festival Trans Musicales: This annual music festival celebrates diverse cultures and brings international artists to perform in Rennes.
  • Social Integration Programs: The city offers various workshops and training sessions to help integrate vulnerable groups into the community.
  • Support for Elderly: Facilities and services such as home care visits and social activities tailored to the elderly population.

Urban Planning and Development

Rennes is engaged in significant urban development projects designed to improve livability and address climate change. These projects include new green spaces, eco-friendly housing, and sustainable transportation infrastructures.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • Les Champs Libres: A cultural complex that includes a library, museum, and science center, promoting lifelong learning and culture.
  • Green Highline: An extensive network of green corridors and parks connecting different parts of the city.
  • Eco-District: Development of a new residential area built with sustainable materials and energy-efficient designs.

Youth and Education

Rennes strives to create vibrant environments for students and young professionals through various educational and social programs. The city is home to several esteemed institutions, providing ample opportunities for higher education and innovation.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • Rennes School of Business: An internationally renowned business school attracting students from around the globe.
  • Student Support Programs: Various scholarships and financial aid programs to support students in their academic pursuits.
  • Innovation Hubs: Creation of co-working spaces and innovation labs to encourage entrepreneurship and startups among young professionals.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

As a member of the Eurocities network, Rennes enjoys numerous benefits. These include access to a wealth of knowledge and best practices from other leading European cities, increased visibility on the European stage, and the opportunity to influence EU policies related to urban development and sustainability. Additionally, participation in this network fosters collaboration and partnerships that can lead to innovative projects and funding opportunities.

Rennes, France


Rennes is situated in the northwest of France, serving as the capital of the Brittany region. The city lies at the confluence of the Ille and Vilaine rivers. It is approximately 350 kilometers west of Paris and close to the English Channel, making it strategically important and geographically diverse.


As of the latest census in 2023, Rennes has a population of approximately 220,000 residents. The metropolitan area, however, boasts a wider population of around 715,000. The city has a diverse demographic profile with a mix of age groups, and it is known for its significant student population, which accounts for about one-fourth of its inhabitants due to its renowned educational institutions.

Economic Overview

Rennes features a robust and diversified economy. Key industries include technology, automotive manufacturing, and telecommunications. Known as the “French Silicon Valley,” Rennes has a burgeoning tech sector anchored by major companies such as Technicolor and Orange. The city’s GDP stands at approximately €20 billion, with a significant contribution from its thriving service sector.

Historical Significance

Rennes has a rich historical tapestry, dating back to Roman times. The city was an important center of resistance during the Gallo-Roman period. It later flourished in the Middle Ages as a duchy of Brittany. Rennes witnessed significant events such as the Great Fire of 1720, which led to extensive rebuilding in the classical French style. World War II also left its mark with occupation and subsequent liberation.

Cultural Attractions

  • Parlement de Bretagne: A historic parliament building reflecting the city’s political heritage.
  • Théâtre National de Bretagne: A major cultural center hosting theater, dance, and other performances.
  • Fest-noz: Traditional Breton musical festivals celebrating the region’s unique culture.
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts: A fine arts museum housing European paintings dating from the 14th century to modern works.
  • Les Champs Libres: A cultural complex that includes a museum, library, and planetarium.

Education System

Rennes boasts an impressive educational landscape. The city is home to the prestigious Université de Rennes 1 and Université de Rennes 2, which attract students both domestically and internationally. Primary and secondary education is well-regarded, with numerous public and private institutions providing quality education. Specialized institutes and research centers further anchor Rennes as an academic hub.

Transportation Infrastructure

The city’s transportation network is comprehensive and efficient. The Rennes Metro, composed of two lines, is a cornerstone of public transit. The Gare de Rennes offers high-speed rail connections (TGV) to major cities like Paris, Nantes, and Lille. Rennes–Saint-Jacques Airport provides both domestic and limited international flights, facilitating broader connectivity. Additionally, extensive bus routes and bike-sharing programs enhance local mobility.

Urban Development Projects

Significant urban development projects are underway in Rennes to bolster sustainability and improve the quality of life. The EuroRennes project aims to transform the area around the central train station into a vibrant economic zone. ECOCAMPUS is another initiative focusing on creating green spaces and enhancing the ecological footprint of the city’s educational institutions.

Environmental Initiatives

Rennes is committed to environmental sustainability. Initiatives include expanding green spaces, implementing stringent recycling programs, and promoting renewable energy sources. The “Rennes 2030” plan outlines strategies to reduce carbon emissions and foster a sustainable urban environment. Public awareness campaigns also encourage eco-friendly practices among residents.

Quality of Living

Rennes offers a high quality of life, underscored by excellent healthcare services, low crime rates, and a wide array of amenities. The city is known for its vibrant cultural life, excellent educational institutions, and well-maintained public spaces. Resident satisfaction is high, with many appreciating the blend of historical charm and modernity.

Quality of Life Indexes

  • Livability Ranking: Rennes often features in the top 10 livable cities in France due to its quality of life, economic opportunities, and cultural vibrancy.
  • Health Index: The city scores well on health indexes, thanks to its robust healthcare infrastructure and numerous medical facilities.
  • Environmental Quality: Rennes receives high marks for environmental quality, reflecting its clean air, green spaces, and sustainable urban development efforts.

Profile of Mayor Nathalie Appéré


Nathalie Appéré

Current Position:

Mayor of Rennes, France

Political Affiliation:

Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste)


  • Master’s Degree in Public Law, University of Rennes 1
  • Diploma in Political Studies, Institute of Political Studies, Rennes (Sciences Po Rennes)

Professional Background:

Prior to becoming the mayor of Rennes, Nathalie Appéré had a notable career in both local government and the private sector:

  • Deputy Mayor of Rennes, focusing on urban planning and housing
  • Member of the French National Assembly, representing Ille-et-Vilaine’s 2nd constituency
  • In the private sector, she held various consulting positions in urban development projects

Achievements as Mayor:

As mayor of Rennes, Nathalie Appéré has led numerous initiatives and projects, particularly in the areas of sustainability, urban development, and technological advancements. Some of her key achievements include:

  • Implementation of the “Rennes 2030” urban development plan, aiming to make Rennes a model of sustainable growth and innovation
  • Promotion of eco-friendly transportation, including extensive development of cycling infrastructure and public transport improvements
  • Introduction of smart city technologies to improve city services and management, such as smart traffic lights and waste management systems

Vision for the Future:

Mayor Nathalie Appéré’s vision for Rennes focuses on making it a leading smart city while ensuring environmental sustainability and community engagement. Her plans and goals include:

  • Expanding green spaces and promoting urban biodiversity through community gardens and green roofs
  • Enhancing digital infrastructure to facilitate citizen participation in governance and decision-making processes
  • Strengthening resilience to climate change by investing in renewable energy sources and sustainable building practices
  • Fostering social inclusion and economic opportunities for all residents through equitable urban policies and support for local businesses

Personal Life:

Outside of her professional responsibilities, Nathalie Appéré is known for her dedication to community and environmental activities. Her hobbies and interests include:

  • Cycling and promoting a healthy, active lifestyle
  • Engaging in cultural activities, including supporting local art and theater
  • Volunteering with various environmental organizations and participating in cleanup drives

Awards and Honors:

  • Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur) for her public service work
  • Recipient of the Marianne d’Or for her innovative urban policies
  • Recognized as one of the top female leaders in local government in France by the Association of French Mayors (Association des Maires de France)

Rennes, Brittany, France

Rennes, the capital of Brittany, France, is renowned for its high quality of life. From its rich cultural heritage to its efficient public services, Rennes stands as a beacon of urban excellence within the Eurocities network. Here’s an in-depth look at the city’s quality of life and cost of living, based on data from Numbeo.

Quality of Life


The safety index of Rennes is 54.03, reflecting a relatively safe environment for residents and visitors alike. While certain areas require standard precautionary measures, the overall community remains largely secure.


Rennes boasts a healthcare quality index of 81.08, underscoring the effectiveness and reliability of its medical services. The city is home to several top-tier hospitals and healthcare facilities, providing comprehensive medical care to its inhabitants.


The city scores a pollution index of 25.26, indicating that Rennes is a clean and environmentally conscious city. Efforts in waste management, green spaces, and pollution control contribute to its reputation for cleanliness.


Rennes has a transport index of 32.64, reflecting its well-established public transportation network. The city offers a variety of options, including buses and a state-of-the-art metro system, ensuring efficient and convenient travel within the city and its outskirts.


Education is one of Rennes’ strong suits. The city is home to the highly-regarded University of Rennes, among other esteemed educational institutions. These schools offer a wide range of programs and maintain high academic standards, contributing to the city’s vibrant intellectual community.

Cost of Living


In Rennes, the cost of housing is reasonably moderate with an average rent of €633.33 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center. This makes it an attractive option for both residents and expatriates seeking comfortable living spaces at affordable prices.

Groceries and Dining

The monthly cost of groceries for a single person in Rennes is estimated to be around €200. Dining out is equally affordable, with an average meal costing approximately €15. These figures make Rennes a financially accessible city for daily living expenses.


For an 85m2 apartment, the monthly utility costs roughly amount to €139.63. This includes essential services like electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage disposal, ensuring that day-to-day living remains economically manageable.


The cost of a monthly public transport pass in Rennes is €34.00. This provides residents with a cost-effective means of commuting, reinforcing the city’s commitment to accessible and affordable public transportation solutions.


  • The cost of a fitness club membership in Rennes is approximately €34.33 per month, making it easy for residents to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • A cinema ticket in the city is priced at around €9, offering reasonably priced leisure options for movie enthusiasts.

Rennes within the Eurocities Network

As a prominent member of the Eurocities network, Rennes plays a crucial role in driving economic growth and enhancing the quality of life across Europe. The city’s strategic initiatives and urban policies contribute significantly to the formation of sustainable and inclusive urban environments. Through its active participation in Eurocities, Rennes helps to foster collaborative efforts aimed at developing resilient and innovative urban solutions.

In summary, Rennes offers a compelling blend of quality of life and affordability. With its safe environment, top-notch healthcare, cleanliness, robust transportation system, and strong educational institutions, the city is ideal for both residents and newcomers. Coupled with a manageable cost of living, Rennes presents a high standard of urban living that aligns seamlessly with the goals of the Eurocities network.

Data Source: Numbeo

Leave a Comment

Vote and Share:

Let Your Voice Be Heard:

Which City Wins Your Heart for Innovation & Sustainability?

Join's symbolic poll for Eurocities Awards 2024.

At, we're not just spectators; we're active participants in shaping the future of urban innovation.

Dive into our unofficial polls and cast your vote for the city projects that inspire you the most.

Whether it's groundbreaking sustainability initiatives, cutting-edge technology, or transformative community programs, your opinion matters!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Innovative Ecosystems: Attracting & Retaining Talent
Sustainable Food Systems: Empowering Communities
Creative Election Campaigns: Mobilising Citizens

Join the Community
Stay Ahead with Urban Innovations!

Get exclusive insights into Eurocities Awards 2024
by subscribing to our newsletter!

From detailed event schedules to live updates and exclusive insights into pioneering urban projects, we've got you covered.

Experience the inspiration from nominated cities leading the charge in innovation and sustainability.

Join our community today and be a part of the movement that’s shaping the future of our urban landscapes. Don’t miss this chance to connect with urban innovation – subscribe now!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.