The Olympic Torch made it's way through Ille-et-Vilaine in a unique collective relay by water. GERMAIN HAZARD / SIPA PRESS

The Olympic Torch continues its epic journey around mainland France, this time weaving through nature and heritage from Saint-Malo through the enchanting Brocéliande Forest, to Rennes, in the heart of Brittany.

Beginning its journey from The Corsair City, the Olympic Torch crossed the peninsula from Grand Bé Island, where an ancient fort remains and can be reached at low tide. Passing through the Porte Saint-Pierre gate to visit the ramparts of the fortified city, the flame then headed to the Grande plage du Sillon beach and the Stade Marville stadium before going to Etang du Boulet lake in Feins on an exclusively nautical route

In Fougères, the Olympic Torch set off from Place Raoul II to the Château de Fougères castle, which is one of the most imposing French fortified castles built between the 12th and 14th centuries. The Olympic Torch also illuminated the heart of the mythical Brocéliande Forest and especially the village of Paimpont.

From Avenue d’Helmstedt to Place du Château, the torchbearers took it in turns to carry the Olympic Torch through the charming town of Vitré before taking a great leap back in time by crossing the Landes de Cojoux site, in Saint-Just, with its megalithic monuments dating back 470 million years, a veritable sanctuary of natural gems.

The relay finally completed its first stage in Brittany in Rennes, passing in front of the Parlement of Brittany on Place de la Mairie before heading to Esplanade Charles de Gaulle where the celebration venue was set up with a concert headlined by rappers Chilla and Lujipeka —who also has the great honour of carrying the Olympic Torch— which was attended by 5,200 people.

Perle Bouge, a Paralympic champion rower, had the great honour of lighting the celebration cauldron at the end of the day. 

The route through Ille-et-Vilaine witnessed a collective relay organised by the French Federation of Canoeing and Kayaking. This discipline is at the forefront in the area and with good reason: the French national centre as well as its academy for canoeing and kayaking are located in Cesson-Sévigné near to Rennes. 

The French Federation organised a collective relay there that put the spotlight on two Olympic disciplines, namely the sprint and slalom. The relay was led by Anne-Laure Viard, a bronze medallist at the Beijing Games in (2008), and included, in particular, young emerging hopes Elouan Debliquy and Laurette Laly, Agnès Leroux, a para-canoeing athlete who is preparing to participate in the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games, international slalom judge Brigitte Zoungrana, as well as Léa Jamelot, who has taken part in the Games twice.

Carrying the Olympic Torch alongside them, once again there were dozens of members of the general public and sportspeople. Among the athletes were Olympic volleyball champion, Jenia Grebennikov, French high jump record holder Jean-Charles Gicquel, two times Paralympic table tennis gold medallist Thu Kamkasomphou, women’s rugby player Lénaïg Corson and also footballer Romain Danzé, a former star with Stade Rennais FC.

Following this stage full of celebration the Olympic Torch will be back on the road again tomorrow, as it heads to Deux-Sèvres, with its historical and natural heritage, as well as its famous Marais Poitevin waterways, before the celebration cauldron is lit in Niort.