© Véronique Gonzalez
IN FAMILYTOP 10 FREE ACTIVITIES

Outings in Ille‑et‑Vilaine : 10 free activities

Do you think it’s possible to spend nothing while enjoying a day of family activities? Yes it is. If you have a tight budget and are looking for family fun, opt for free activities ! Here are 10 ideas for outings with children, all within the area. Tried, tested and approved!

A hike from Cancale to Pointe du Grouin

Are your children budding hikers? Then head to the heights of Cancale (Pointe du Chatry) to reach Pointe du Grouin, via Port-Mer. Overlooking the cliffs, the path runs alongside the coast, offering magnificent sea views, in particular of Ile des Landes. For children, the route is not too hilly and if they get tired, you can stop at Port-Mer.

From age 6, not accessible to pushchairs.

Tip

Keep your eyes open ! There are many sea birds which nest in the cliffs or on the rocks. See if you can identify them (colour, size, etc.).


Lunch in Thabor park

Make the most of the spring and the sunshine to get outdoors and hear the birds sing! Every parent loves taking their children to a park. To make this moment exceptional, go to Thabor. Developed in 1868 by the Bülher landscape gardener brothers in the middle of the capital of Brittany, every resident of Rennes knows this garden. It contains rare species of trees, an orangery, a bandstand, a botanical garden and even a waterfall: the 10-hectare park is a playground full of surprises for children. Play hide-and-seek among the giant sequoias, have fun in the playground, discover the multi-coloured birds in the aviary: your children will be delighted! To make the most of the day, pack up a picnic for lunch. Good news: since 2016, the large Carré Duguesclin lawn is accessible!

Tip

Take a walk around the magnificent rose garden! Children can choose their favourite rose from among the 1,000 species and draw it.


Is it the first Sunday of the month? Head to the Écomusée de la Bintinais

In Rennes, all museums are free on the first Sunday of the month. Although a visit to a museum might not always delight children, the Écomusée de la Bintinais is definitely one not to be missed. Dedicated to five centuries of the history of Rennes, the site contains an actual farm. Children can discover around 19 species of farm animals amidst the meadows and fields, such as cows, pigs, donkeys, horses, sheep and goats.  Adjust your walk depending on the age of your children.

There are picnic areas and a covered courtyard (open from April to September).

Tip

On Sunday, discovery workshops are organised ! Designed for families, these workshops are an ideal moment for sharing. Ideal for curious minds who are always asking “why ? ”.


Petit Bé fort in Saint-Malo for little pirates

Are your children bursting with energy? Take them to Saint-Malo to discover Petit Bé. Opposite the ramparts of the privateer city, this Vauban fort is built on an island in the middle of the sea, but is accessible on foot when the tide is low. Put on a good pair of shoes and set off to scramble on the rocks and climb up to this majestic fort. As they go round this impressive fort, they will feel as if they are the proud and brave privateers of yesteryear. Charge!

Tip

Is there going to be a low tide ? Then don’t forget your boots and a bucket and set off to collect seafood on Sillon beach. Razor clams, mussels and abalones are on the menu !


Is it raining ? Les Champs-Libres and its youth media library

It’s a well-known fact that in Brittany, the weather is nice several times a day! Can you see a rain cloud looming? In Rennes city centre, the Champs-Libres library is open every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Encouraging children to love books from an early age is the best way to develop their imagination and creativity, in addition to learning language and to read. With a youth collection of several hundred references for all ages, you’re sure to find what you are looking for, to read on-site or to borrow. Settle down comfortably and take a reading break together as a family. Subscription to Champs Libres is free for children from 0 to 17 and for those with the Carte Sortir.

Tip

Do you have several children ? How about if each one chooses an extra book for the other ? It’s a great way of creating a surprise later on.


In the footsteps of Merlin the Wizard in Brocéliande

Do you want to go to an enchanted place in Ille-et-Vilaine this weekend? Set off to discover Brocéliande and its legends, immersing yourself in the fascinating nature of Paimpont forest! There are many routes around Paimpont lake, some of which feature walkways and platforms. The simplest walk takes one hour and is accessible with a pushchair. The lake is less than two kilometres from a prestigious 13th-century abbey. Do your children love stories about magic? It’s the perfect opportunity to tell them about Merlin the Wizard, the Golden Tree, Fairy Mirror, and more. A bewitching immersion at the heart of mystical Brittany.

Tip

During the walk, encourage your children to pick up leaves and flowers to make a scrapbook.


Is the weather good ? Head to the beach on Trémelin lake

For a beach afternoon in the middle of the forest, go to Trémelin Lake. At the heart of Brocéliande, this unspoilt natural site has a beach with facilities. There are no waves, making it perfect for swimming in safety. In the afternoon, put your trainers on and go for a walk around the lake. The many routes are accessible to every level of walker, from pushchairs to hardened hikers.

Tip

Before leaving, remember to take everything with you that makes the beach fun for children (ball, bucket, spade, etc.). How about having your own sandcastle competition ?


A giant treasure hunt with geocaching

Your smartphone becomes a compass to explore the region. Older children with a thirst for adventure and escape will love geocaching! Thanks to the free Trésors de Haute Bretagne app installed on your phone, this activity guides children and adults across Ille-et-Vilaine in a giant treasure hunt! Hours of exploring and riddles to solve will allow you to uncover the 130 treasures hidden throughout the area. The advantage: you choose a circuit depending on the site you want to visit. An escapade in Cancale? Take advantage to try out the “Coquillages et crustacés” route. A fun and original way to discover places that you thought you knew…

Tip

For a souvenir of this treasure hunt, collect the badges featuring the little korrigans inside the caches.


Take part in a beach spring clean

Age doesn’t matter when it comes to raising children’s ecological awareness, who are always delighted to be of use. In spring, take part in a family beach clean. You’ll need a good pair of shoes, a pair of gloves and bin bags! On the Emerald Coast, from Cancale to Saint-Lunaire, numerous initiatives are organised by associations that protect nature, or by surf clubs. It’s the opportunity to do a good deed for the planet while spending a family day on the beach, under the Breton sun.

Tip

Explain to children what their action means and tell them about ocean pollution and the importance of respecting the environment every day. Taking action is surely the best way to make them aware of the importance of protecting nature, at the same time as making them proud of themselves.


Experience a cloak-and-dagger story at Château de Châteaugiron

It’s impossible to miss the forts, knights, princes and princesses who inhabit children’s imaginations! Take a leap back in time to the Middle Ages at the impressive Châteaugiron fortress. This majestic 11th-century building has towers, keeps, moats, etc. After going round the structure, prolong the experience by strolling through the little streets in the medieval district and marvel at the half-timbered buildings with their tortuous shapes.

Tip

Before you go, stimulate children’s curiosity by reading cloak-and-dagger stories. Thanks to these tales and legends, they will soak up this fairytale universe and this outing will take on a whole new dimension.

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