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Rennes is the capital of the French region of Brittany. It is the préfecture of the département of Ille-et-Vilaine. With a population of 212 494 (1999 census), it is the tenth most populous city in France.

The city has two universities and a large student population. It invests heavily in arts and culture and a number of its festivals (such as the music festival Les Transmusicales) are well known throughout France.

It has good national road, rail and air links and is only two hours by TGV from Paris. Local transport is based primarily on an extensive bus network and a metro line that was inaugurated in March 2002. Local industries include car manufacturing and telecommunications.