©Destination Rennes / Fabrice Mazoir

Places to go running in Rennes

The 5 best spots and circuits for running in rennes

There are a number of spots to go running in Rennes. Here are 5 circuit ideas, from the shortest to the longest. Green routes along the river or around lakes, through parks outside the city or in town, to please newbie joggers and more experienced runners.

1. THE THABOR GARDENS – 1.5 KM CIRCUIT

There is no place more charming than here to run! The Thabor park and its 10 hectares of mixed French and English gardens are idyllic for a nice jog (or a run, whichever suits your style, although they are actually the same thing). The circuit may not be that long, but it is quite hilly. The sportiest among you could get your cardio going by running down the stairs leading to the Rue de Paris and start the loop again, as many times as you want. Another advantage is that there are toilets and a lovely outdoor café to relax afterwards. The park is only 5 minutes’ walk away from Place Sainte-Anne. If you are staying in the city centre, this is definitely the place to go.

TYPE OF CIRCUIT: Loop in a tree- and flower-filled park

SURFACE: Stabilised/gravel

LANDFORM: Very hilly

DISTANCE: 1.5 km loop

2. SAINT-MARTIN PRAIRIES AND CANAL – 4.8 KM LOOP

Another nature-filled area to be discovered. Walk there in 5 minutes from Place Sainte-Anne via Rue de Saint-Malo and warm up in the Parc des Tanneurs. The marked-out loop alternates various forms of greenery, right in the heart of the Saint-Martin prairies, and runs along the lovely canal. Between the two, you will pass a few residential areas that will change the scenery up a bit. A relatively flat run during which you can spot some animals, families out on a bike ride and fishermen. A bucolic atmosphere that motivates runners.

CIRCUIT TYPE: marked-out loop, alternative between river banks and urban nature

SURFACE: soft stabilised ground with a few stretches of concrete

LANDFORM: Flat

DISTANCE: 4.8 km loop

3. PROMENADE DES BONNETS ROUGES – 5 KM RETURN

The Promenade des Bonnets Rouges is easily accessible from the city centre. It stars Rue Alphonse Guérin and runs along the Vilaine river. A haven of peace in the middle of the city, leading to the water sports centre where people go for kayaking and rowing. The main advantage of this promenade is its immediate tranquillity, along the river, on a flat path. If you run there and back you will total an easy 5 km. The bravest among you can carry on along the river that goes to Cesson-Sévigné, through the Vertugadin terraces, or burn a few more calories on the fitness machines available along the promenade. A walkway will take you to the No.2 Green path.

TYPE OF CIRCUIT: Marked-out path along the river, there and back

SURFACE: Stabilised, with a few stretches of concrete

LANDFORM: Flat

DISTANCE: 2.5 kilometres (5 km there and back)

4. QUAIS DE LA PRÉVALAYE – APIGNÉ LAKES – 8 KM RETURN + 2 KM LOOP

The flagship circuit for real joggers. The most spectacular and appreciated circuit in Rennes. Starting from the city centre at Place de Bretagne, run along the river until you reach the Quais de la Prévalaye. At the foot of the iconic Mabilais tower and its flying saucer, the old tow path carries on (now called Quai Dauchel), lined with palm trees. Joggers, cyclists and walkers use it all day long. Once you have passed the lovely Moulin du Comte mill, the path carries on past the Roazhon Park stadium, dips under the freeway and leads to the quiet Apigné lakes.

This circuit can be extended, if you feel motivated, by a 2 km loop around the lakes. Just a few steps away from the centre, nature awaits you by the water. With a 4 km return, the full itinerary is a good 10 km. Or 8 if you decide to skip the loop around the lakes. If you start feeling a bit weak, you can always fuel up at the shopping centre opposite the stadium. To vary the trip back, another path runs past the lock, starting from the Apigné leisure park, along a cycle path bordering the Route de la Prévalaye and crossing the Cleunay neighbourhood and its family gardens. A circuit full of options for those of you who love long distances.

TYPE OF CIRCUIT: Tow path along the river, cycle path for the return trip

SURFACE: Stabilised and well-kept, a bit of concrete for the second return trip option.

LANDFORM: Flat

DISTANCE: 4 kilometres to the Apigné lakes (8 km return) + optional 2 km loop around the lake. So 10 kilometres. 

5. GAYEULLES PARK – 4 AND 6 KM LOOPS

“Rennes’ Central Park” has many different paths for jogging. It is easy to get to and has big car parks, is near the swimming pool and ice skating rink. The first loop starts from there and goes around the huge 100-hectare park. The slightly hilly path alternates between the forest and the lakes. Ideal for interval training. Fitness machines are also available to add some variety to your exercises. You can move straight on to the second 6 km loop if you want a total circuit of 10 km. The slight changes in landform are good for changes in pace and new impulses, all in a very pleasant “urban nature” atmosphere. Be careful, the park is home to lots of rabbits and squirrels. A jog in the Gayeulles park is the best option for a family outing: swimming pool, playground, tree-top adventures, ice skating, etc. There’s something for everyone.

CIRCUIT TYPE: marked-out in a landscaped park

SURFACE: Stabilised, with stretches of concrete

LANDFORM: Slightly hilly.

DISTANCES: Two loops (4 km and 6 km) for a total circuit of 10 kilometres.

RENNES, A CITY FOR RUNNERS

In addition to the 5 running paths above, Rennes has a total of 12 circuits – most of which are marked-out. The running guide for Rennes can be browsed through online. 

WELCOME TO RUN CITY!

In Rennes, almost everyone runs. When you count the Sunday morning joggers and the experienced ones who run come rain or shine, then the whole of Rennes runs! “Tout Rennes court” (translate as “The whole of Rennes runs”) is actually one of the city’s major jogging events. An intergenerational event that unites athletes, those who want to do some sport by challenging their friends or colleagues, and families who love to get out and about. “Tout Rennes court” is organised every year in October with distances suitable to all levels, from 2 kilometres to a full marathon.

RUNNING FOR OUR PLANET… OR JUST FOR FUN

But this is not the only running event in Brittany’s capital. The green marathon, also held in October, creates a link between the city and the countryside and is divided into several challenges – both walks and races. This race enables runners to discover the natural and urban heritage as a team and do something good for the planet. Other festive running events – such as Color me Rad or Elektro Dash 5K – are also held in Rennes every year. For those who love to run and have fun at the same time.

One last tip: do not forget before you start to run at your own pace, to war

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