After a long day of trains we were glad to find our hotel again lying right next to the station in Rennes. We stayed at hotels rather than hostels right through France in the end. We found hostels were either lacking in numbers or overpriced to the point that we could stay in one of the cheap Accor hotels (Ibis or Etap) for the same or less, Accor being French and having bucketloads of options in each place.
Looking opposite to our hotel, Barry´s smile soon widened at the site of a Cafe Leffe, Leffe being his favourite beer. While we made a quick visit there we found an even better version of the same business later in La Rochelle.
Rennes was a fairly neat, quiet city from our experience there. Things were a little busier and dirtier up around the St Anne metro area and surrounds, the abundance of drunk homeless people prompting us to mention how it seemed the police don't seem to do much about it. As if on queue, the fuzz turned up and moved them along, although oddly chose to leave just the one who was sleeping.
We took a bus to visit Mont Saint Michel on our second day in the area. While it is a spectacular must-see kind of attraction, it was the first time we visited a place and felt very overwhelmed by the thousands of tourists there. The tight alleys and confined spaces of Mont Saint Michel certainly didn't help this, and the queue for the abbey that sits atop the island/mountain was long enough for us to pass on. Regardless, it was well worth the visit and in hindsight, would've been worth a nights stay at one of the hotels just to be able to say you'd stayed there!
On our last night in Rennes we met up with the Yaelle, a French girl whose family hosted Elle's sister Maddy in 2004. Along with her boyfriend Aurelien and their friend Guillaume, they showed us quite the night on the tiles in Rennes, visiting a few of the local haunts before finishing with a late night kebab that puts Souvlaki King on Brunswick St to absolute shame. We were made sure to say 'Sante!' (French version of 'Cheers!') before every drink, also discovering it is quite the no-no in France to do so and not look each person in the eye when you clink glasses. As the night wore on Yaelle's role as translator between us became less and less, as with each drink Barry mustered up more courage to make pitiful attempts at using the French he wasted, er, spent six years doing at school. It was a super night and not surprisingly, great to be shown the ropes of a place by people who live there.
Yaelle was also kind enough to organise for us to stay with her younger brother at our next stop, Nantes. Nursing a king-size hangover, which was not helped by lugging around our backpacks, we caught the train there the next morning.