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Rennes is located in the east of Brittany in north-western France. It is the capital of the region as well as of the Ille-et-Vilaine department. It also lies at the confluence of the Ille and Vilaine rivers and is very much a student town with 60,000 of its 200,000 inhabitants students, who help to create the city’s famous vibrant nightlife.
In the year 275 the threat of barbarians led to the erection of a robust brick wall around Rennes. In 1491, the French unsuccessfully attacked Rennes, with Brittany having already capitulated elsewhere. The defenders of the city were determined to resist to the death, but the Duchess Anne of Brittany chose instead to negotiate. By her marriage to Charles VIII, she made Brittany a part of France. In 1720, a big fire destroyed all timber framing houses in the northern part of the city. The rebuilding was made of stone, on a grid plan. From 1954 onwards, the city developed extensive building plans to accommodate upwards of 220,000 inhabitants helping it become the third fastest-growing city in France, after Toulouse and Montpellier.