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Holidaymakers heading for Brittany’s legendary seaside resorts and historic attractions often use the TGV Atlantique train service from Paris Montparnasse Station to get there. Vannes Rail Station is one of the stops on the service and is just north of the medieval walls and towers the city is justifiably famous for. Taking the train and renting a car upon arrival in Vannes leaves visitors feeling refreshed for excursions to beaches at Carnac, St Brieuc and Damgan along with the Carnac Stones, Naudieres Amusement Park and elegant chateaux.
Who to Book With
The majority of the international car rental suppliers maintain offices in Vannes. Avis is located across from the station on Place de la Gare. Sixt and Budget both have depots a few hundred metres from the station. National-Citer and Ada are among domestic companies that offer cars to arriving and departing rail passengers. Searching online is a quick way of seeing what vehicles are available for your preferred dates.
Best Time to Go
The period between late April and early October is when Vannes is at its best. Dry and sunny days are perfect for enjoying local beaches and the region’s outdoor café and dining scene. Temperatures at this time range up from around 15°C to a peak of 23°C in August. July and August are probably best avoided as holidaymakers going to Carnac-Plage place a strain on accommodation and car hire availability.
Need to Know Essentials
When drivers pick up their vehicles they will be required to show these items:
- Their national driving licences, or International Driving Permits if they are non-EU residents
- Passports or other photo ID document
- The debit or credit card they used at the time of booking
- A copy of the reservation showing the hire firm’s reference number
Our FAQ's page answers most of our customers questions.
Vannes itself is best explored on foot and rental vehicles used for daytrips. Rural roads outside town such as the D195 and the D101 provide pleasurable drives. The junction of national highways N165 and N166 is northeast of Vannes. These routes link to Quimper, Nantes and Rennes. There are 5,500 parking spaces in Vannes both on-street and in car parks. The city council says 2,500 of these spaces are free and that there are also plentiful designated spaces for people with reduced mobility. The Q-Park on Rue du Port has space for 405 vehicles with charges of €4.90 (£4.20) for three hours in the high season.
See our helpful Guide to France for more details about driving here.
Transport options in Vannes are varied. Local trains travel to regional towns and resorts in Brittany, but are not frequent. There are urban and regional bus services. Taxis and even rental bicycles are the other choices. For convenience when taking sightseeing odysseys or even trips to beaches off the beaten track, self-drive hire is hard to beat.
As well as being a stop for TGV Atlantique trains, the SNCF station in Vannes is a stop on the Intercités line from Quimper to Bordeaux and Toulouse. The station also has TER Bretagne trains to and from Nantes, Rennes, Lorient and Redon.
Kiceo operates urban bus services in Vannes with modern, comfortable vehicles that cover all city districts. Single journey fares begin at €1.40 (£1.20). The main city bus interchange is at Place de la Republique. Line 1 links the rail station and the square.
There is a taxi rank at the station which provides a useful option for reaching nearby hotels if visitors have a lot of luggage. There are several taxi operators in Vannes which accept telephone bookings. Radio Taxis Vannes (telephone +33 29754 3434) works out of a facility on Place de la Gare and provides 24-hour service.
With a central position on the Bay of Biscay, Vannes is within comfortable driving range of the towns of Quimper, St Nazaire and Nantes. St Brieuc Bay, while Carnac and nearby beaches around the Gulf of Morbihan give visitors an eclectic choice to suit personal tastes. The Quiberon Peninsula, Chateau de Lehelec and the museum collection housed in St Nazaire’s WWII submarine base are among other daytrip destinations.
Parc des Naudieres – Naudieres is an exciting amusement park offering something for people of all age groups with mini-golf, a roller coaster, a maze, an assault course and pedalos among its draws. Picnic areas, fast-food outlets and ice cream bars enable families to spend the day here.
Chateau de Lehelec – This magnificent chateau is a 30-mile car rental journey in the direction of St Nazaire. The property is still owned by the Mintier family and visits are restricted to the summer months. The 17th century edifice is set amid verdant gardens and pasture. Highlights include the preserved Blue Room, the massive beamed library and personal mementoes of the Mintiers’ ancestors.
St Brieuc Bay – St Brieuc’s splendid draws are just 70 miles north of Vannes. Long beaches ring the bay and include Rosaires and Tournemine. Activities such as swimming, fishing, windsurfing and sailing ensure holidaymakers keep themselves occupied. Lermot Beach is one the locations where cockle-fishing is permitted.