2 days in Rennes: Perfect short break ideas for the whole family

Rennes, the capital of Brittany, hordes historical sites, beautiful museums and grand parks. It is easy to discover on foot for the whole family. From the sites of the Middle Ages to tree climbing... there’s fun for all ages here!
10am. Explore the past at the Parliament of Brittany

It is the symbol of Brittany, witness to a rich historical past. The House of Parliament in Brittany is a beautiful 17th century building, all the more impressive for the fact that, to this day, the court is still active. Beneath the gilded ceiling of the Great Hall, you’ll bump into busy lawyers and judges in traditional robes. You’ll have to be quiet though, it’s a place where you don’t want to draw attention to yourself!

11h. Walk the streets of the Middle Ages

In Rennes you’ll find many pretty half-timbered houses waiting to be admired. Keep your eyes peeled or you’ll miss the super carvings on the walls and doors. Though you won’t spot a horse and coach, the cobbled streets in the historic centre of Rennes, transport you back in time, like a time machine, to the days of the Duchess Anne of Brittany and the 14th century Breton Knight Bertrand du Guesclin. At the tourist office you can book a tour with a storyteller to enrich your summer visit.

12h. Make for the market at the Place des Lices

Discover one of the most beautiful and oldest markets in France. Every Saturday morning, amidst a whirlwind of colours and scents, there are many stalls to tempt you to stop, try and buy - from fishmongers (Rennes is only an hour away from Saint Malo and the sea) to florists.

12:30. Nibble on a sausage pancake

For lunch, you’re totally spoiled for choice: in Rennes as in all of Brittany, crêperies are ideal for families. Our tip is don’t miss the tiny Crêperie des Portes Mordelaises, their buckwheat pancakes are utterly delicious. And, join in the tradition of the locals and enjoy a slice of galette saucisse, (sausage pancake), a local specialty. It's hot, it’s filling and it’s excellent value, a delicious snack.

15h. Go green in Parc du Thabor

A cave, bandstand, aviary, rose garden with more than 2,000 varieties, lawns where you can run, play, rest or picnic... Thabor Park is a beautiful oasis of 10 hectares in the city centre that will captivate young and old, and even teens with its geocaching course. Top tip: Buy some parliaments (a traditional Rennes pastry stuffed with apples and almonds) at Le Daniel and savour them in the sun in this green haven. Yum yum...

16.30. Culture at Les Champs Libres Museum

This is an exceptional place to learn, understand, experiment, discover and take shelter if it’s raining. Designed by architect Christian de Portzamparc, Les Champs Libres is a cultural centre where you’ll also find the Museum of Brittany, Library of Rennes and the Espace des Sciences with its planetarium. In Merlin's laboratory, little hands will love experimenting with the machines and mechanisms in a Jules Verne-style setting with Galette le Dragon and Ribot le chevalier.

9am. Splash surrounded by mosaics

It's not a pool like the others! The Saint-Georges pool with its Art Deco architecture, changing rooms and mosaic friezes created by the craftsmen of renowned company Odorico, is first of all a work of art and historical monument. But you can also have fun in the big pool, it’s always very popular on Sunday morning.

11h. Climb the trees at Park Gayeulles

Want to play outdoors? In the north east of Rennes and easy to get to, Park Gayeulles, on a site of around 100 hectares, is the largest in the city. It’s a wonderful playground with wooded areas, ponds and clearings that are ideal for pastoral picnics. Adventurous daredevils (no age limit!) will love the tree climbing course. Others may opt for a much more relaxing round of mini golf.

15h. Meet the animals at the Ecomuseum

An afternoon on the farm in the middle of the city? Yes, it's possible! The eco-museum of the Pays de Rennes, located at a former farm, Ferme de la Bintinais, is home to orchards and cultivated fields. Here you can retrace the path of local life over the past five centuries. Kids will love meeting the chickens, turkeys, horses and goats that live there.

Rennes in Brittany