A short 3-hr train ride from Paris, Rennes is a wonderful city to visit with kids. Here are my recommendations for kid-pleasing venues and activities in this historic Breton city.
Take a stroll around the historic city center. Rennes is divided into two parts: the historic city center and the more modern part of the city. Take the kids on a stroll through the cobblestone streets and explore the charming city center, characterized by its timber-framed buildings and impressive historic structures, such as the parliament building (which dates back to the 17th century), town hall (which dates back to the 18th century), and opera (a mid-19th century structure).
Eat traditional crêpes. The French region of Bretagne (where Rennes is located) is known for its sweet and savory crêpes. There are many wonderful traditional crêperies throughout the city. Encourage your kids to try different types of crêpes and talk about which ones are their favorites. Adults should be sure to enjoy some cidre sec (dry alcoholic apple cider) with their crêpes!
Spend an afternoon at the Espace de Science. The Espace des Sciences is an experiential learning center that is great fun for the whole family. There are various themed rooms (including the “eureka oom” and the “earth room,” as well as a captivating planetarium. Kids under the age of 8 get in for free!
Visit the animals at the Bourbansais Zoo. Located just outside of Rennes in the town of Pleugueneuc, the Bourbansais Zoo is built on the grounds of a historic castle. The zoo houses over 60 species of animals, including several “roaming animals” (including lemurs and kangaroos). Visiting the zoo is a great way to see a bit of the beautiful Breton countryside as well.
Attend a fest-noz. The Breton term for “night festival,” the fest noz is a traditional Breton celebration featuring music, line/circle dances, and hearty fare such as sausages, crêpes and cider. Typically, a fest-noz will attract revelers of all ages. The events take place in venues all over the city. Ask a local to find out where one will be hosted while you’re in town.
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