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A vibrant nightlife pervades the atmosphere of this somewhat medium town in Brittany, northwestern France, due to the fact that about one third of its population are students as it has the 8th largest university campus in France. Originally a small Gallic village from over 2,000 years ago, after the French Revolution it remained a parliamentary, administrative and garrison city of the Kingdom of France. In the 1980s the town was one of the main centers in telecommunication and the high tech industry. Today it is a major player in digital innovation in France. The city is a mixture of modern mayhem and quirky 18th century buildings. You will find bustling markets where once there were jousting tournaments and running students alongside slow plodding elderly locals wearing their French berets.
During the nights most bars are jammed packed with students imbibing in a drink or two in a raucous manner. The Rue Saint Michel has bars door-to-door on both sides and is known by the locals as "la rue de la soif" that translates to " street of thirst". Friday and Saturday nights are an experience that you have to see to believe. Whilst Thursday nights during the school year are often more rowdy and worthy of a late night stroll, if you don't wish to get caught up in the swilling of grog.
In early July each year there is the "Festival des Tombées de la Nuit" when you can enjoy free street entertainment and the cafes and restaurants overflow with laughing people. You can a journey back in the Roman history books and visit the stone fortifications from the 1st Century BC, or go to the 17th Century Parlement de Bretagne to gaze at the gilded wood decor and art gallery showing art from the 1600s. If you want to put your brain into workout mode, head to the Les Champs Libres where you can also visit the Museum of Brittany, the City Library and the Espace des Sciences for a few science experiments. There are free time-share bikes scattered around the city, so get the pedal power happening and go exploring.
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