Ille-et-Vilaine

Ille-et-Villaine is the most eastern part of Britanny and the one with the shortest coast line adding up to 72 kilometres, and is known as the Emerald Coast.

It has a gentle maritime climate, there are not huge variations in temperature and the rain, whilst frequent, is not heavy.

The department is named after its two main rivers, the Ille and the Vilaine, whose confluence is in Rennes, the capital of the department and of the region.

The population stands at 908 thousand people (as of January 2006), 353 towns and villages including 8 towns with a population of more than 10,000: Rennes, Saint-Malo, Vitré, Fougères, Bruz, Cesson-Sévigné, Dinard and Redon

The old walled town of St Malo is one of the France’s great attractions, its rampart walls hide a charming town known for good restaurants and pavement cafés. There is quite a lot to see in St. Malo alone and you can walk along the dramatic ramparts and colourful pavement cafés in St Malo.

There are superb oysters from Cancale on the Emerald Coast, this first became famous for its oysters which were supplied to royal tables in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, the seafront of the “oyster capital” is packed with restaurants offering the pied de cheval flat variety, sometimes so substantial they are eaten with a knife and fork. The town is not as pretty as some, but the scale and variety of the seafood make a very pleasant lunchtime visit. The walk from the famous Cancale rock up to the Pointe du Grohin gives superb views of Mont St Michel on a clear day.

Rennes is the capital of Ille et Vilaine; the population is 203,533 (1990). Wide city streets and canals radiate from the central hub of the city, long a regional center rich in customs and historical monuments.

Rennes is an agricultural market and industrial center producing railroad and farm equipment and automobiles. Historic landmarks include the Jardin du Thabor and the 17th-century Palais de Justice.

The University of Rennes is to be found there, Brittany’s parliament house has reopened its doors – a sign of the renewed interest in the history of Brittany, Breton culture and language. Rennes has an elegant old quarter with a huge Saturday market. The river Villaine passes through this regional capital city. Only a few wood timbered houses remain in the old part of the city, in 1720 a fire devestated the city burning more than 900 mores. The Cathedrale Saint-Pierre dominates the sky line and there are 7 other churches.

Ille-et-Vilaine is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution in 1790, it was created from part of the province of Brittany. The history of Ille-et-Vilaine is closely linked to the history of Brittany as a whole. Historically, the administrative system of Ille-et-Vilaine, The administrative system was the result of a political decision on the part of the National Assembly in 1789 to simplify and organise France in political and social terms.