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Rennes is located in the Ille-et-Vilaine Department and in the Bretagne region. As well as being the capital city of Bretagne today, Rennes was also historically the capital of the Duchy of Brittany. There are around 206,000 inhabitants in the city itself, with a greater metropolitan population of around 660,000, making it the 11th largest urban area in France. The rather large disparity between the two (urban and suburban) is due to a deliberate policy of making the city an example of the “City-Archipelago” concept. In ancient times, Rennes was but a little village located at the meeting of the Ille and Vilaine Rivers.
It was founded by the Redones, one of the ancient people of Brittany, most likely around the year 2 BC. After the invasion and the later fall of the Roman Empire, Condate changed the name to Rennes as an allusion to the original founders’ name. From the 5th century onwards, Rennes and the rest of Brittany was under the control of various tribes that came over from England. The city was attacked a number of times around the 10th century over land disputes with the neighbouring Franks. At the end of the 15th century, the King of France at the time time, Charles VIII, forced Duchess Anne of Brittany into marriage. Although the territory officially remained independent, the reality was quite different. The marriage of Anne’s daughter to the next King of France, Francis, ratified the annexation of Brittany to France in 1532.