Our tips and recommendations series continue. This time we are going to explore what you can do if you travel with your family.
Don’t miss the other series of Counting Down To #WCEU:
At first, as with other big cities, Paris can be tricky when you travel with your family. But it can also be a magical place for kids. Before revealing our special recommendations, let’s see general things that can ease your stay.
Subway, RER (Paris metropolitan and regional rail system), bus and tramways are free for kids under 4 as soon as they don’t have their own seat. Regarding strollers, I’d recommend a baby carrier. You’ll avoid problems in some museums where strollers are not allowed. Also, small streets or transportation can be annoying when you have a stroller, notably during rush hours.
There’s a lot of small gardens, often called squares, where you may find free playgrounds for a pause for the little ones. Playgrounds’ equipment are managed by the municipality and are safe. I particularly love the playground located in the Le Parc Montsouris and Le Jardin du Luxembourg. One cultural habit to know is that French parents don’t hesitate to ask other kids to behave correctly. Don’t be surprised.
Restaurants And Food
Kids are usually welcomed in restaurants. However, you have to remember that Parisian restaurants can be very small and that kids are expected to behave correctly. For food, don’t hesitate to try pastries, sandwiches and ice-creams (we’ll have a series about that later).
Many places you’d visit as an adult are also suitable for kids. For example, kids will probably love to climb The Eiffel Tower or have a ride on the big wheel installed Place de la Concorde. However, you’ll find below five recommendations specifically targeted for kids.
1. La Cité des enfants
In the North of Paris, the former city slaughterhouses have been transformed into gardens, theatres and museums. Inside la Cité des sciences (a museum dedicated to sciences), you can visit La Cité des enfants (the Kid’s City) where kids can experiment and learn playing fun activities at their own scale (eg. form a team and build a house in a miniature work site). Buy tickets online and don’t hesitate to enjoy the surrounding gardens.
2. Le Palais de Tokyo
Built for the International Exhibition in 1937, Le Palais de Tokyo (Tokyo’s Palace) has become a museum of modern art in 2002. A museum is an unusual place where you’ll find art but also the Yoyo, a place dedicated to… clubbing. Back to our topic, families and kids can attend special workshops to discover various artistic disciplines. It’s a great way to explore this building, its collections while having fun creating art from raw material. Again, don’t hesitate to buy in advance your tickets.
3. Cook Like A Chef
Some of the best chefs in the world are French. How about having a cooking lesson with one of them? L’Atelier des chefs offers cooking lessons for both parents and children, and you will eat what you have done of course. Lessons are be offered in French and English. Be sure to call in advance so that the chef knows that he/she has to give the course in English too.
4. Meet The Dodo
Since the 17th century and the rise of science, French scientists have studied how species have evolved on Earth. In the following centuries, they collected and list thousands of specimens. Until 1994, those specimens were only visible to the scientists. but now you can see them in la Grande galerie de l’évolution (the Great Evolution Gallery) and apprehend the incredible diversity of our world in a very special way. (You may even visit the dreadful Extinct Animals room.)
5. Strange And Marvelous Machines
If you want to have a glimpse of the marvelous machines which could have escaped from a Jules Verne’s book, please visit le Musée des arts et métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts). There you’ll find the best objects the science and industry have produced since the late 18th century. The names themselves sound strange and intriguing: aéroplanes, automates, phonographes Telsar, quadricycle…