Identity card of Ille-et-Vilaine

Since 1970, this French département has been named after the two rivers, the Ille and the Vilaine, that flow through it and meet in Rennes, the main city.

Area: 6,775 km2 i.e. 24% of Brittany; 71 km of coastline (23 fine sandy beaches)

Number of inhabitants: 1,082,073, i.e. 32% of the population of Brittany (INSEE 2020 census)

Number of communes: 333


Rennes: prefecture, main city and Capital of Brittany. The Metropolis has the French Tech label
Saint-Malo: privateer city and walled city, seaside resort
Dinard: 407 listed Belle Epoque villas, seaside resort
Cancale: oyster capital, outstanding food city
Bécherel: first Book Town in France
Redon: at the crossroads of the waterways in Western France
Fougères: the biggest fort in Europe with 11 towers
The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel: a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The forest of Brocéliande and the legends of King Arthur and Merlin the Wizard
The Marches de Bretagne border area and the medieval fortresses of Vitré and Fougères
The spectacular ladder of 11 locks on the Ille-et-Rance canal in Hédé-Bazouges
The Valleys of Rance, Vilaine and Couesnon
The Emerald Coast: named for the colour of its water

56 sites and natural areas protected by the Council open to the public

7 Small Towns of Character: Bazouges-la-Pérouse, Bécherel, Châteaugiron, CombourgDol-de-Bretagne, La Guerche-de-Bretagne, Montfort-sur-Meu

5 Cities of Art and History: Dinard, Fougères, Redon, Rennes Métropole, Vitré

1 most beautiful village of France: Saint-Suliac


Around one hundred Malouinières houses with a link to the adventures of the privateers still exist. They represent a unique building heritage between Saint-Malo and Cancale.


More information


Cancale oysters, Épices Roellinger, AOP Bouchot mussels from the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, AOP salt meadow lamb from the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, Coucou chicken from Rennes, Janzé chickens, Beurre Bordier, Craquelin de Saint-Malo, etc.

Ille-et-Vilaine is the main dairy area in France.



René Duguay-Trouin (1673 / 1736): he was the armed wing of Louis XIV in the fight against England, Spain and Holland to take control of the seas and the trade routes.

Robert Surcouf (1773 / 1827): intrepid sailor who relentlessly harassed the merchant navies and British soldiers. A replica of his last gunboat from 1812, “Le Renard”, was put back on the sea in 1991 for educational and heritage outings.


Marquise de Sévigné – Marie de Rabutin-Chantal (1626 / 1696): letter writer who lived at Rochers Sévigné de Vitré castle.

François-René de Chateaubriand (1768 / 1848): born and buried facing the sea on Grand Bé in Saint-Malo and Combourg castle. His masterpiece: “Memoirs from Beyond the Grave”.

Victor Hugo (1802 / 1885): his footsteps took him to Dol-de-Bretagne and Fougères, which he mentions in his novel “Ninety-Three” dedicated to the Chouannerie (royalist uprising).

Colette (1873 / 1954): female writer who stayed in Villa Roz-Ven in Saint-Coulomb from 1911 to 1926 – ref. Green Wheat


Bertrand du Guesclin (1320 / 1380): He entered the King’s service in 1356 and was knighted in the chapel of Montmuran castle in 1357 – Les Iffs. The castle is open for visits.

Jacques Cartier (1491 / 1557): Navigator and explorer from Saint Malo. He discovered Canada in 1534. His museum is open for visits. Limoëlou Manor in Rothéneuf.

Jean-Baptiste Charcot (1867 / 1936): doctor and explorer of the polar zones.