Paris is well known as a beautiful and culturally rich city, which could classify it as a city for adults. However, Paris also has much to offer children and families. Many museums organize special programs for children of different age groups. Among these are:
Centre Georges Pompidou and MusĂ©e d'Orsay.
Tel: 01 60 30 60 30
Open all year, but hours vary with the season
Admission charged. (One two or three day passports available.)
RER: Chessy - end of the line. Free shuttle bus from there (or walk the few feet to park entrance)
Disneyland Paris is part of a huge resort that is one-fifth the size of Paris! There are six hotels, an area of wooded campsites, restaurants, shops, golf and tennis, and night entertainment. The theme park offers five main areas: Main Street USA featuring exhibits and rides recalling small town America of the early 1900's; Frontierland, a reenactment of the frontier days in the US with a steam powered train, a petting farm, and Indian village; Adventureland which has a pirate and buried treasure theme; Fantasyland with rides and exhibits based on Disney film characters; and Discoveryland which focuses on space exploration, rockets, beyond - earth planetary adventures, and time travel.
CitĂ© des Sciences et de l'Industrie
CitĂ© de Sciences
30 Avenue Corentin-Cariou
tel.: 01 36 68 29 36
Tues.-Sun. 10-6 (Sunday until 7pm)
Metro: Porte de la Villette
CitĂ© de l'Industrie
221 Avenue Jean-Jaures
tel.: 01 44 84 44 84
Tues.-Sat. Noon-6 Sun. 10-6
Metro: Porte de Pantin
Admission charged at each attraction.
LaVillette is a modern 35 acre park dotted with sculptures and fountains. It is devoted to science and music. The site once held the city's slaughter houses, but was converted in recent years to something quite different! The Argonaute, a former French navy submarine, and now a naval museum provides not only instruction, but also a climbing delight for young visitors.
The main exhibition is called Explora. It is a vast science playground covering two whole floors and containing 18 sections. Among interactive subject areas covered are: space, the oceans, gardens of the future, the environment, automobiles, aeronautics, stars and galaxies, computer science, energy, rocks and volcanoes, medicine, health, sound, biology, and light games.
In the Space exhibit, a full sized reconstruction of a moon walk, a space station, and a satellite are found. A favorite display with children is a deep sea submarine in the Ocean area and another is the aeronautic exhibit with its Mirage Jet Fighter plane.
Next to the center is the Geode planetarium which holds a theater with a giant hemispheric screen. The Cinaxe Theater (which is a multisensory movie theater) is also in the complex. It uses 3D visual technology to simulate a voyage to the bottom of the sea and a virtual trip through its wonders.
CitĂ© des Enfants
This is a science and nature interactive museum specifically for children ages 3-11 (one parent must accompany each child). Examples of activities in this extremely popular attraction are: in one room a group of young children are hard at work on a mini construction site, wearing plastic hard hats as they learn about machinery and methods of construction. In another area older children learn how to program a video game.
An aquarium contains 200+ species of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and seaweed.
Nearby is the CitĂ© de la Musique, a complex devoted entirely to music and home of the Conservatoire National de Musique. Over 4500 musical instruments are displayed in the museum.
GrĂ©vin Wax Museum
10 Boulevard Montmarte
tel.: 01 40 26 28 50
Admission is charged.
Metro: rue Montmarte
The museum contains not only life sized figures of famous people, but also vivid historical scenes from French history. Children will enjoy the "fun house" mirrors that distort the images of those who look in them.
MusĂ©e de la Marine (Navy Museum)
Place du TrocadĂ©ro
Tel.: 01 53 65 69 69
10-6 daily (closed Tuesday)
With the help of scale models and actual vessels, the museum gives the history of maritime transport from battleships to pleasure craft. Ships and ships artifacts of the explorers are included.
MusĂ©e de la PoupĂ©e
Impasse Berthand near 22 rue Beaubourg
01 42 72 73 11
10-6 daily (closed Mondays)
This charming little museum is not far from the Pompidou Center. It opened in June, 1994 and houses the private doll collection of a father and his son: Guido Odin and Sammy Odin. The 300 dolls on display are all posed in various tableau complete with furniture, little toys and other props.
Zoo de Paris
53 Avenue de St. Maurice
01 44 75 20 10
9-6 (summer) 9-5:30 (winter)
Metro: Porte DorĂ©e, Chateau de Vincennes
This is one of the largest zoos in Europe. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, and the animal habitats are very natural. A highlight is the 200 foot artificial mountain laid out to support several platforms which is home to herds of free ranging mountain goats.
Jardin du Luxembourg
RER: Luxembourg/ Metro: OdĂ©on
A lovely park with beautiful lawns and gardens and a well equipped playground for children. There is even a sand pit for their enjoyment and a pond on which to sail toy boats. There are pony rides and puppet shows. For older visitors there are tennis courts.
08 36 68 53 35
Mar. - Nov. 10-7
SNCF train from La DĂ©fense to Verniere them Sqybus no. 411.
This remarkable attraction consists of 150 miniature sites of some of France's most notable attractions. It took 53 architects and model makers over two years to build! Each model is in exact geographic context. All features of the exhibit are built to scale, including the cars, boats and people. In the summer evenings fireworks are offered. Please telephone for schedules and admission charge.
tel.: 01 36 68 30 10
10-6 daily ;weekend 10-7 (April-October)
RER: Roissey, then shuttle service to the park.
This unique amusement park has the theme of the AstĂ©rix comic strips (created by Albert Uderzo) in which brilliant and crafty Gauls living 2000 years ago outwit their Roman conquerors. AstĂ©rix is the hero and has a sidekick named Obelix who is large and strong. In addition to the rides and exhibits in this adventure theme park there are activities for the whole family to enjoy that will fill more than a day. A favorite with parents is the Via Antiqua with its quaint shops. The Rue de Paris is the recreation of a medieval square with acrobats and jugglers and restaurants that all will enjoy.
Champ de Mars
Tel: 01 44 11 23 23
9:30am-11pm daily. (until midnight in summer)
MĂ©tro: TrocadĂ©ro or Bir-Hakeim
RER: Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel
Children will enjoy particularly the trip to the top and the excitement of looking out from that height. If you think you may ride instead of climbing up all the stairs, remember to go early and to go on a weekday ahead of the crowds to avoid the long waits for the elevators. On a clear day the viewing platforms offer visitors willing and able to wait in line for the elevators, a spectacular glimpse of the city and surrounding area. Just southeast of the tower is a grassy expanse that was once the site of the world's first balloon flights and is now used by teens as a skateboarding arena www.tour-eiffel.fr
River cruises on the Seine river are a delightful way to sightsee for the whole family.
The Jardin des Plantes
Entrances - rue Cuvier, rue Buffon and Place Valhubert
Tel.: 01 40 79 30 00
7:30-8 (summer) Closed Tuesdays.
Metro: Gare d' Austerlitz
The park is an ideal place to spend a relaxing afternoon where the children can be free to move about and explore as you watch them from one of the many benches shaded by trees. There is a small zoo and extensive gardens. One of these is the Jardin Alpin containing over 2000 species of plants from the Alps to the Himalayas. The Jardin d'Hiver houses heavily scented tropical plants and flowers. There is also a maze to solve and an herb garden filled with medicinal plants.
Halle St. Pierre
01 42 58 72 89
Metro: Anvers, Abbesses
Located at the foot of the hill leading to Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, just to the right of the working carousel, is a large building that formerly housed the market. It has now been turned into a cultural center for children. Local mothers take their children there to watch puppet shows, to take part in art workshops, and to eat food in the family friendly cafĂ©. There is also an art gallery for the children which features pictures that are especially appealing to children.
11 bis rue Scribe
01 42 66 62 06
Fax 01 42 66 62 16
Winter : 9-6
This award winning multimedia production is something children will tolerate and probably enjoy. The 45 minute presentation uses 25 projectors and offers viewers headphones with a choice of translations in 11 languages. It shows the development of major cities and of Paris in particular. It is shown every hour on the hour.
Bois de Boulogne
01 40 67 90 82
Metro: Porte Maillot, Dsablons
LePetit train is a mock steam train that runs Wed.,Sat.,Sun. every 15 minutes from 11-6 and every school holiday. from Porte Maillot station to the Jardin. The park covers 25 acres and is a children's amusement park. It has a small zoo, a petting zoo, a hall of mirrors, a marionette theater, a golf course, roller coaster, riverboat ride, bowling, archery, mini motorbike course and two children's museums.
Au Nain Bleu
406-410 rue St. HonorĂ© (North of Place de Concorde)
01 42 60 39 01
Metro: Concorde, Madeleine
Paris's greatest toy shop. Founded in 1836, it has a vast array of interesting toys and games of high quality.
19 rue de la Monnaie
01 40 41 20 20
Metro: Port Neuf, Chatelet
Mon.-Sun. 9;30-7 Thurs. 9:30-10:00
A huge department store on the banks of the Seine with the best toy selection of any store in Paris. There is a carousel for the children to ride when they tire of examining the enormous selection of toys.
Cirque de Paris: A Day at the Circus
115 Blvd. Charles de Gaulle
tel:01 47 99 40 40
Fax: 01 47 99 02 22
Oct.-June Wed. and Sun. Lasts all day from 10-5 (show from 3-5)
Metro: Porte de Clignacourt
In the morning children try their hand at circus skills and train with the clowns, magicians, trapeze artists and tight rope walkers. They then eat lunch with the performers and watch them prepare for and put on the afternoon circus performance. A favorite for birthday parties.
Cirque Tzigane Romanes
12 Avenue de Clichy
01 43 87 16 38
Metro: Place de Clichy
Daily at 8:30pm. Sept.-May Saturday 3 and 5
110 rue Amelot
01 47 00 12 25
Metro: Filles du Calvaire
Call for show times.
Started in 1852, this was originally called the Cirque Napoleon. It is probably the most famous circus in the world. It now hosts a variety of visiting troupes.
Puppet and Marionette Theaters
Guignol du Jardin d'Acclimatation
Jardin d'Acclimatation Bois de Boulogne
01 45 01 53 52
Metro: Les Sablons
Take La Petit Train from Porte Maillot
Shows are on Wed.,Sat., Sunday at 3 and 4 pm
Marionettes des Champs-ElysĂ©es
Jardin des Champs-ElysĂ©es by the Rond Point
01 40 35 47 20
Metro: Champs-ElysĂ©es - Clemenceau
Shows Wed., Sat., Sun. at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00.
Marionettes du Luxemborg
Jardin du Luxemborg
Tel.: 01 43 26 46 47
Metro: Vavin, Notre Dame des Champs
Shows: Wed., Sat., Sun. from 3pm.
Marionettes de Montsouris
01 46 63 08 09
Metro: CitĂ© Universitaire
Shows: Tues., Sat., Sun. from 3pm.
Marionettes du Parc
Parc Georges Brassens
01 48 42 51 80
Metro: Porte de Venves
Shows: Wed., Sat., Sun. from 3pm
Carousels can be found at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, in front of the Jardin du TrocadĂ©ro, in Parc Moceau, at the foot of the stairway in front of Sacre Coeur, by the entrance to Metro St. Paul in Place des Buttes Chaumont , and in front of the Grande Arche de la DĂ©fense.
Publications Listing Activities and Events in English
Paris' s weekly entertainment pamphlets, Pariscope and L'Officiel des Spectacles, list up to date information in French on every imaginable outdoor activity. Look for listings on randonnĂ©es pĂ©destres (hiking in groups), cyclisme (biking), escalade (rock climbing), parachuting, canoeing, squash, tennis and swimming, among others. Among uniquely Parisian activities, consider drifting lazily down the Seine or down one of the city's canals in a boat. Rentals are available year round.
The Paris Free Voice is a free monthly guide to Paris arts, entertainment and restaurants. Available at English-language bookstores and American restaurants and bars. More info
Irish Eyes is a free monthly guide to Irish arts, music, restaurants, bars and other events in Paris. Available in English-language bookshops and Irish restaurants and bars. www.easynet.fr/irish-eyes
Pariscope, the weekly Paris entertainment guide contains a six-page English supplement by the staff of the British Time Out guides. More info
(Figaroscope, the free weekly supplement of Le Figaro, is in French, but fairly easy to decipher and an excellent guide to what's going on in the city.)