Rennes is a city in the east of Brittany in north-western France at the confluence of the Ille and the Vilaine. Rennes is the capital of the region of Brittany, as well as the Ille-et-Vilaine department. Since the 1950s, Rennes has grown in importance through rural flight and its modern industrial development, partly automotive. The city developed extensive building plans to accommodate upwards of 200,000 inhabitants. During the 1980s, Rennes became one of the main centres in telecommunication and high technology industry. It is now a significant digital innovation centre in France. Rennes is the smallest city in the world to have a Metro line.
Labelled a city of art and history, it has preserved an important medieval and classical heritage within its historic centre with over 90 buildings protected as historic monuments. With more than 66,000 students in 2016, it is also the eighth-largest university campus of France. L'Express named Rennes as "the most liveable city in France".
Local economy include car manufacturing, telecommunications, digital sector and agrofood. The ITC firm Orange (ex-France Telecom) is the largest private employer. PSA Peugeot Citroën, is the second largest private employer in the metropolitan area of Rennes. PSA opened a manufacturing plant at La Janais in Chartres-de-Bretagne. Technicolor, one of the biggest firms in TV and cinema broadcasting in the world employs over 500 people.
Rennes is the 2nd concentration of digital and ITC firms in France after Paris (with well-known companies and startups like Atos, Google, Neosoft, Orange S.A., Thales, Ericsson, Harmonic France, STmicroelectronics, Technicolor R&D, Ubisoft, Regionsjob, Capgemini, OVH, Dassault Systèmes, Delta Dore, Canon, Artefacto, Enensys Technologies, Exfo, Mitsubishi Electric R&D Europe, Digitaleo, CapGemini, Kelbillet, Klaxoon, Sopra Group, Niji, and Airbus Cybersecurity). Rennes was one of the first French cities to receive the French Tech label in November 2014. Moreover, Rennes hosts the 3rd public research potential in digital and ITC sectors in France, after Paris and Grenoble, with 3,000 people working in 10 laboratories, like well-known IRISA, IETR, IRMAR, DGA-MI (cyberdefense), and SATIE. It is also the third innovation potential in agrofood French industry with many firms in this field (Lactalis, Triballat Sojasun, Coralis, Panavi, Bridor, Groupe Avril, Loïc Raison, Groupe Roullier, Sanders, etc.), an agro campus (Agrocampus Ouest) and a big international and professional expo, the Space (every year in September).
Other large firms located in Rennes include the restaurant conglomerate Groupe Le Duff (owners of Brioche Dorée, Bruegger's, La Madeleine, Mimi's Cafe, Timothy's World Coffee), the first French newspaper Ouest France and Samsic Service (cleanliness, industrial safety, job search, etc.).
Rennes was ranked #674 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Rennes has a population of over 318,127 people. Rennes also forms part of the wider Rennes metropolitan area which has a population of over 720,000 people. Rennes is the #147 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 3.9508 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.