“We counted 80 cranes in Rennes”, revolt multiple defenders of the heritage in the face of the multiplication of constructions at the expense of old houses, in the capital of Brittany. A concentration that is assumed by the municipality as socialist. “There are aberrations, of the sets leaving the factory that are put in front of the buildings that are rated as three-star, heritage-local, plague-Michel Coignard, chairman of the friends of the heritage. Association, which brings together nearly 150 members, and claims a development-friendly urban heritage.

Ranked as the city where one lives the best in France, Rennes and its 215.000 inhabitants to attract around the world. The construction of a new station, a second subway line in 2020 as well as the opening of a congress palace in a former convent, are the signs of this dynamism.

A heritage sacrificed

Some of the Rennes feel that their urban heritage is sacrificed in favour of real estate developers in a race to the “metropolisation” of the large cities. A petition to “protect the urban space Reindeer”, which requires that a building be constructed less high, at the edge of the city centre, has collected more than 500 signatures.

Gauthier Aubert, author of History of Rennes lamented “we may be in the logic of the tabula rasa”, creating a “patchwork effect” in a city whose slogan has long been the well-living together, without delusions of grandeur. He believes “that there is no respect of what could have existed previously, very often destroyed and then rebuilt, with no real desire to insert a building”.

“It was a city in the sky”

At the town hall, one ensures that one is not in the pleasure of the “build to build” or “grow to grow”, reports Sebastian Sémeril, first deputy to the mayor of Rennes and the delegate of the urban planning. “We could make the choice of hypocrisy, in the clear to let the market do it, because it was a city in the sky”.

Still, the city council ensures that have heard some complaints in the next local urban plan, which should enter into force in 2019, will now be prohibited from demolishing a property classified three stars.