The man, currently embroiled in divorced proceedings, allegedly made use of a parental visit to slip small doses of tranquilizers into cups of tea he brewed for his three children.
He then called his wife and told her she "would never see the children again," France's 20 minutes newspaper reports.
Fortunately the dose used by the father in his forties did the children no lasting damage, and their mother was able to pick them up several hours later.
Asked why he had drugged the children, the man from Grigny, south of Lyon, reportedly said it was to "piss off" his wife.
The father has now been placed under judicial review and has been ordered to seek medical advice.