My friend Andrea called me last week to “pick my brain” about places of interest that she could visit and activities she could do with her three boys when visiting Paris next July. But not just the usual stuff! Something a bit more off the beaten track…
As I started to browse the Internet finding some really fun activities to do with children, I realised that this information might actually be of interest to travelling families. So, here is a list of 8 cool things to do in Paris with little people! And no, we are not talking EuroDisney…
- A cooking class for kids in English
L’Atelier des sens – Little Chef
For 36€ per participant, you and your little chef can learn to make chocolate éclairs (2 hours – 6 to 12 years old)!
Book early as the classes fill up fast…
Cook’n with Class _ French cooking with kids
For 75€ per participant, munckin will learn to make (may include but are not limited to): Croque Monsieur, Vegetable Quiche, Cordon Bleu, chocolate molten lava cake, fresh fruits parfait, French biscuits. You will be allowed to observe but not participate: children only (2 hours – 6 to 12 years old)!
- Le Musée des automates et de la magie
A small museum I visited many moons ago but really enjoyed! This amazing place showcases everything to do with the art of magic from the 18th century to present day. Within its seven rooms, you will find a large collection of magical objects: magic wands, secret boxes, magicians’ hats… Another museum worth visiting in the same place is the Musée des Automates, where you will flind more than 100 robots to keep you occupied!
- Les Catacombes
Not recommended for impressionable young children!
The Catacombs consist of 3,000km (1,864-mile) tunnel network that runs under much of the city. With public burial pits overflowing in the era of the Revolutionary Terror, the bones of six million people were transferred to the catacombes. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and the temperature in the tunnels is 14°C (great in Summer!). Oh! I forgot to mention: there are also 130 steps to go down and 83 steps back up to street level (sturdy shoes essential. And a hat. And gloves – 4-8€ Free under 14).
- A Louvre Treasure Hunt with THATMuse
THATMuse stands for Treasure Hunt at the Museum. Teams photo themselves in front of as many treasures as possible within the given amount of time. Teams of 2-4 people follow clues to various works of art, take a photo in front of it, then all scores are tallied at a café with the organiser. The hunts are themed (love, food, animals, kings, …). If you are afraid to tackle the Louvre with the little people, this is the perfect alternative to a guided tour (Note that the price of the hunt does not include entry into the Louvre).
- And after the Louvre, the playground at the Jardin des Tuileries!
The adventure playground at the Jardin des Tuileries is a big hit for kids around five and above. There are also a traditional carousel, an in-ground trampoline and in summer, there are rides, marionette puppet shows, beautiful ponds with ducks to feed and miniature sailboats as well as a Ferris wheel with a fantastic aerial view of the city. The best part: the entry to the park is free! And there are ice-cream vendors in summer!
- The Pompidou Centre and the Galerie des enfants
The George Pompidou center (a 20th-century architectural wonder) is located in one of the most iconic neighbourhoods in Paris, Le Marais. It is home to the National Museum of Modern Art, Europe largest modern art gallery. The Galerie des enfants is an exhibition area “where children and their families can develop their outlook on creation through observation and experimentation”. The Galerie is interactive and fun, enabling children to explore the world of the visual artist, architect, dancer, designer, musician or writer concerned.
Do not miss the panoramic view from the restaurant located on the 6th floor! You will also find the whimsical Stravinsky Fountain, between the Centre Pompidou and the Church of Saint-Merri, a sculpture incorporating free running water that represents The Rite of Spring by the composer Igor Stravinsky. Created by sculptors Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle in 1983, it is one of Paris’ most iconic fountains!
- The Jardin d’acclimatation at the Bois de Boulogne
Created in 1860, the Jardin d’Acclimatation combines landscaped spaces, a cultural programme and a theme park. You can enjoy a tour aboard a little train, pony rides, a mini farm, a miniature golf course, Guignol (puppet) show and a boat course in a natural setting. Themed workshops are also available for children and adults (such as cooking, gardening, magic and theatre).
Entry to the park is 3.5€.
- La Cité des Enfants at La Villette (2-12 years old)
Very hands-on and interactive, this museum is definitely a hit with kids! This is a place where they can touch, manipulate, interact. They will learn about the body, communication, find themselves in a television studio, play games with water, discover a garden and its curious residents and even a cardboard box factory! Fun definitely included! Advanced bookings are strongly recommended.
You can also visit the rest of the museum and its three floors of permanent interactive displays on the following themes: mathematics, sound, image, space, llight, oceans, energy, automobiles, rocks & volcanoes, and stars & galaxies.