The 9 most beautiful bike rides in Rennes

Le tour de l'étang de la Cantache

As is the case in many of France’s major cities, the trend in Rennes is to go by bike: much more pleasant than the car for exploring both the city center and the surrounding area, getting on your two-wheeler is fast becoming a reflex in Brittany’s capital.

In the center of Rennes and its outlying districts, bicycle paths are multiplying, making it easier to get around on two wheels. In the surrounding area, particularly along the Vilaine river, cycling routes are also very popular.

Whether you live in the area or are just passing through, the cycling option is becoming more and more natural. What’s more, it gives you the freedom to discover all the best bike rides in Rennes!

The most beautiful bike rides from Rennes

1. The Vilaine Valley from downtown Rennes

La Vallée de la Vilaine depuis le centre-ville de Rennes

Photo credit: Flickr – Destination Pays de Redon

Here’s the best way to get out of Rennes quickly and easily, while enjoying a breath of fresh air and greenery. It’s easy to find the starting point: from the city center, follow the banks of the Vilaine, then the towpath, and keep heading in the right direction.

The scenery soon changes, as you pedal along a track designed for bicycles. All that’s left to do is follow the Vilaine Valley and the river’s course. You can, of course, adapt your itinerary to suit your level and your mood of the day.

In this example of a route, a getaway for Bruz allows you to pedal well on flat, easy terrain. This route is particularly pleasing for its variety of landscapes: ponds, woods, canals, small rural heritage, etc. all pass by along the way. A real pleasure!

2. A bike loop in Rennes

Une boucle à vélo dans Rennes

Photo credit : Alltrails

You can create a multitude of bike rides in Rennes, linking cycle paths and pedestrian streets to give you a great overview of the city and its historic center. Apart from a few old-fashioned cobblestones that are not always pleasant to cycle on, there are no major difficulties to be expected.

On this 17km loop through Rennes, you’ll be able to discover the city and its neighborhoods from the saddle of your bike. You’ll discover the city center, as well as the University district, the Parc du Thabor, the southern districts, the train station… No matter where you start, you’ll always come back to your starting point.

3. Loop from Parc des Gayeulles

Boucle depuis le parc des Gayeulles

Photo credit : Alltrails

Just to the northeast of the city, the Parc des Gayeulles, a favorite of the Rennes population, offers a really nice space for a bike ride in Rennes. Comprising woods, ponds and clearings, this vast park is freely accessible by bike, and overlooks the surrounding countryside.

The itinerary we propose here offers the advantage of an easy green outing, accessible to all cyclists, even the youngest. There are very few cars on the road, which is always a plus for a great bike ride.

4. The Etang d’Apigné tour

balade vélo Rennes : Le tour de Étang Apigné

Photo credit : Alltrails

An ideal family bike ride in Rennes, to get out and stretch your legs while keeping to an easy level. As for the first tour, follow the banks of the Vilaine to leave Rennes, with the aim of reaching the Etang d’Apigné.

Just 30 minutes from the town center, remember to bring your swimsuits and towels, as we love to swim in the waters of this pretty pond on sunny days! The stopover at the beach marks a pleasant pause, before continuing around the pond to reach the starting point via the Vilaine and complete the loop.

The most beautiful bike rides around Rennes

5. The Moulin du Boël loop

La Boucle du Moulin du Boël

Photo credit : Alltrails

Most of the Vilaine Valley is laid out as a pleasant cycling route, making it a great place to go cycling in Rennes.

At the former Moulin du Boël (Le Boël is a 35-minute drive from Rennes), the course of the Vilaine takes on a distinctly bucolic feel, with its wooded banks and more pronounced relief. The towpath makes it easy to cycle to and from the river’s edge, using country lanes to form a loop.

6. Discovering the Rennes countryside

balade vélo Rennes : A la découverte de la campagne rennaise

Photo credit : Alltrails

To the northwest of Rennes, the small residential commune of Pacé is a good starting point for a cycling immersion in the Breton countryside. We’re just a 15-minute drive from the center of Rennes, a journey that’s just as easy to make via the 40-minute cycle path.

Barely out of Pacé, this lovely bike ride in Rennes takes you along various country roads and paths, alternating between fields, forests and rivers: in short, a real « greening » of the countryside.

7. South of Rennes in the Vilaine Valley

Au sud de Rennes dans la Vallée de la Vilaine

Photo credit : Alltrails

We’re back in the Vilaine Valley, with a variation on the bike ride around Rennes, no longer along the river, but towards the villages surrounding it.

In this example, we start the outing at Pont-Réan (a 30-minute drive from Rennes), directly on the Vilaine. Between Guichen, Laillé and then Le Boël and its mill, the ride passes through both sides of the Vilaine Valley.

8. The Bourgbarré countryside south of Rennes

La campagne de Bourgbarré au sud de Rennes

Photo credit : Alltrails

The advantage of a bike ride around Rennes is that you can cover quite a few kilometers and venture far enough into the countryside to disconnect from the city. This will be the case with this outing starting from Bourgbarré, a 30-minute drive from downtown Rennes.

One part road, one part footpath or country road, the mountain bike will undoubtedly be needed on some parts of the ride, especially in wet weather. This route promises a change of scenery and a quiet ride across fields, where you won’t have to worry about getting dirty!

9. The Cantache pond tour

balade vélo Rennes : Le tour de étang de la Cantache

Photo credit : Alltrails

This bike ride around Rennes is fun and quite accessible. The tour of the Etang de la Cantache is popular with hikers and cyclists alike. A well-developed path takes you all the way around this beautiful pond, home to a well-preserved wilderness, including many species of nesting birds (present especially in winter!).

Stop for a few minutes to take in the views from this long, flat cycle route of over 12km. To reach the Etang de la Cantache from Rennes, allow 45 minutes on average. And don’t forget to make a detour to neighboring Vitré, to discover its castle and medieval streets.