Rennes, France

Cobbled streets, canals and cathedrals make up the old city where the most happening street has been nicknamed 'rue de la Soif' (street of thirst) by those perennially parched students. They keep Rennes young and vital - a hive of culture, learning and industry.


4 Dec 1992 - Rennes, France

This was an ill thought out trip to France near the end of my first term at university in the first year. I went with Adam and Chamberlain, using some 'Sun' booze cruise tokens allowing us a free ferry crossing. The crossing was fairly choppy and we all felt ill which is just as well as it stopped us drinking and therefore spending money. Money turned out to be the most unthought out part of the trip. How we calculated our costs I will have no idea but we budgeted 30 each from stepping off the ferry at St Malo on Saturday morning, a return train ticket to Rennes, staying two nights and then returning on Monday morning. By the time we got to Rennes we had already spent 15.

When we got to Rennes we arranged accommodation in a Youth Hostel for one night. After this was arranged we went on to spend the day walking around Rennes and taking in the sights. We also went for a wander around Rennes university just to compare it to Exeter University - after all, university was still a great and new thing to us then. While wandering the language department we came to a lecture in English and I wanted to listen to it out of interest. I got close to the door but then Adam pushed me in and I fell into the lecture room. Without further ado I turned and ran out to follow the laughing voices of Adam and Richard.

With money in short supply my food for the day was a baguette and water. Rich and Adam splashed out on a slice of pizza from a bakery. Fortunately, Richard didn't like his so he gave me his though it wouldn't have satisfied a 8 year old. Next was the drinking. Spirits and cola followed by town and some bars.

The next day we decided that the Youth Hostel, though cheap was still not cheap enough so we had our breakfast and went on another trek for accommodation. This time we found a guest house and Richard negotiated a price just for himself. After half an hour Adam and myself piled into the guest house and avoided paying the extra. The only problem was having a double bed for three of us. No matter, we intended to spend most of the night clubbing anyway. I don't know how but we discovered that a 'rave' was on that night. The rest of the day was spent much like the day before; looking around the town and then buying some 80p bottles of wine for our return to Exeter. Food again stretched to bread and water.

Our money had run out by now so the rave night wasn't going to happen but after enduring famine for the previous 24 hours Richard realised that he could use his bank card at a French ATM!!! He got a bit of money out but we were still short - that's student life for you. Anyway, with a little bit of money the night turned out to be a good one. I don't know what the English reputation is but plenty of French asked us for LSD - maybe it was just Richard's appearance.

We got back to the guest house at about 4AM but had to be up at 7AM to get the train back to St Malo. Somehow we actually woke up but we did panic and had to run to find a taxi to get us to the station. Another good reason for running probably lies in the fact that a certain amount of trashing occurred in the room. The guest house owners must be amazed at the amount of damage and mess that just one person can make - amazement being just one of the thoughts and feelings I'm sure that they had. Incidentally, I can't remember if Rich paid for our one night stay.

No more dramas ensued and we got the ferry with plenty of time to spare. Just one more thing though, we couldn't afford any food so that meant no food for 24 hours. That's no food as opposed to a much reduced amount of food. We had never felt such pain and hunger. It got so bad that one of us actually loitered around the restaurant area on the ship and ate some lettuce which was found on someone's plate - absolutely disgraceful but have you ever fasted for this long?
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