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Travelling with Kids in Paris and London

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Hello Hunters! 
09 February 2017
  • Travelling with Kids in Paris and London,
  • THATLou – Ladies au Louvre,
  • THATLou – Angels & Wings,
  • THATBrit – Skull Scouting

Hello Hunters! 

Please use the “Categories” box to your right to find what you’re looking for. Though we do have a few sections of typical blog articles (such as the “Travelling with Kids in Paris and London” and “Nearby Food & Wine”) this blog is also meant to help hunters read posts on the museums they’ll be hunting in, in the meantime sometimes reading whole articles on the treasure they’ll be scouting out on their THATMuse. 

To find these articles, please look for which THATMuse you’re going on and theme you’ve chosen, for instance:  

THATLou – Beauty & Bestiary
THATBrit – Fun & Games


When fragments of text are in bold, often that means it's going to answer a precious bonus question. (Please note, the museums do close of sections at times, so not all blog posts in your theme will always be included in your hunt – worst case scenario you’ve learned a bit about art for the sake of art). Prior to leaving you may want to print off the posts for your THATMuse prep to read en route to Paris or London thus getting your adrenaline pumping for the greatest Museum adventure!   Comments or suggestions per blog post or via email are warmly welcomed!  Happy Hunting! 
Daisy
Things to do in Paris: Where to eat near the Louvre
18 March 2013
  • Travelling with Kids in Paris and London

Things to do in Paris: Where to eat near the Louvre

By Doni Belau, Founder of Girls’ Guide to Paris

Of all the things to do in Paris, going to the Louvre is on the top of nearly everyone’s must-do list. I personally tire of it because the place is so huge it can overwhelm which is why I recommend taking THATLou’s Treasure Hunt at the Louvre (what it stands for). Hers is one of the cleverest and most compelling ideas I’ve run across in all my time in Paris and it’s really a must in order to bring the Louvre down to a palatable size.

Cafe Marly
Café Marly, photo credit Girls’ Guide to Paris

Whichever way you enjoy the Louvre, whether you are scavenger hunting or just making a regular visit, after several hours of ingesting culture, you’ll likely be famished. And after all that walking you won’t want to walk far, but at the same time you will NOT want to get stuck in a tourist trap either. Here are my best suggestions for any and every type of meal, drink or snack within 10 minutes of the Louvre. Bon Appétit!

A hearty lunch

In proper Parisian style, sit down for an elegant hot lunch prepared by one of the best chefs in town at La Régalade Saint Honoré but do book ahead for Bruno Doucet’s homemade terrines and fair prices.

ADDRESS for La Régalade: 123, rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris +33 (0) 1 42 21 92 40

It’s Raining

Like often happens in Paris, you are about to exit the Louvre and it’s pouring rain but your tummy is grumbling. Never fear, head back inside and ask for directions to the Richelieu wing. Head to the Café Richelieu, which serves the famous Angelina hot chocolate (and their complete menu). Sit back and sip the rich chocolaty-ness and take a sandwich while you wait out the rain. Just take IM Pei’s escalator (photographed on the THATLou website) up the 1st floor, where you’ll find it opposite the Middle Ages treasures.

ADDRESS: The Louvre, bien sûr!

Fried Chicken at Verjus bar a vin
Fried Chicken at Verjus bar à vin, Photo Credit Girls’ Guide to Paris

Just a Sandwich

Some days I can’t be bothered with a sit down meal for lunch. Why not head over to the scrumptious Verjus bar a vin, which serves wonderful wines by the glass and a fried chicken sandwich to die for, which you can take to go. If it’s sunny why not enjoy it on the Pont des Arts bridge?

ADDRESS for Verjus: 52, rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris +33 (0)1 42 97 54 40

Brunch

For a quick brunch before heading over to the Louvre or a little cupcake to give you energy after your tour, walk over to Oh Mon Cake on the rue St. Honoré. After fueling up you’ll be ready for some shopping in the neighborhood!

ADDRESS for Oh Mon Cake: 154, rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris +33 (0) 1 42 60 31 84

Just Drinks

They can be rude and very Parisian, but the Café Marly – if you can capture a seat on the terrace – has the best view of the Pyramide at the Louvre in Paris. I do not recommend the food, however, as it is formulaic.

ADDRESS for Café Marly: entrance found from Passage Richelieu, or at 93, rue de Rivoli 75001, tel +33 1 49 26 06 60)

Kunitoraya
Kunitoraya, photo credit: Le Figaro

Sick of French?

Book into this superb Japanese bistro for lunch or dinner. Less than a 10-minute walk and a world away from all the French food you’ve been having, Kunitoraya on rue Villedo serves up delicious udon noodles, sashimi, bento boxes and sushi. The menu is much more affordable for lunch.

ADDRESS for Kunitoraya: 5 rue Villedo 75001 Paris +33 (0)1 47 03 33 65

A Stellar Meal

If you’ve had the foresight to plan ahead, then reserve at least a month in advance for dinner at Spring restaurant. You’ll enjoy a superbly creative meal prepared for you by the now famous American chef who took Paris by storm, Daniel Rose. Prix-fix – no choice menu – with an excellent wine selection.

ADDRESS for Spring Restaurant: 6, rue Bailleul, 75001 Paris +33 (0) 1 45 96 05 72

Le Fumoir
Le Fumoir, ©L’Internaute Magazine, Maxence Boyer

Drinks and a snack

Just behind the Louvre you’ll find a stand-by spot to prendre un verre (take a glass), the ever cozy Le Fumoir, which actually has pretty solid food as well. Happy hours are from 6-8pm when all cocktails are reduced to 7.50

ADDRESS for Le Fumoir: 6, rue de l’Amirale de Coligny 75001, Tel +33 (0)1 42 92 00 24

Doni Belau is the founder of Girls’ Guide to Paris and simply adores writing about her favorite things to do in Paris.
Picnic Near the Louvre
10 September 2013
  • Travelling with Kids in Paris and London

Picnic Near the Louvre

The idea of adding a Food section to the blog was originally Aussie in France’s Rosemary Kneipp, who lives just opposite the Louvre in Palais Royal and ran her own “Five Places to lunch Near the Louvre”. She gave me this wise idea an age ago, when we met for a Louvre photo shoot last May, to accompany a piece she wrote for Ma Vie Française on “Why I Came to France”.

Though I do love a good nibble + swig, my forté is more aligned to pondering painting and the like. So what better opportunity to introduce my wonderful THATMuse colleague, Jenna-Marie Warnecke, than now? With no further ado, here is the first Food + Drink 5-mins-from -he Louvre series, this one with a guest post by the pen of Paris Cheapskate:

Poste & Telegraph
After spending a couple of hours running around the Louvre, racing against time to rack up the points necessary to win THATMuse, you’re likely to be not only pooped but also hungry. There’s no shortage of (overpriced) cafés nearby where you can relax and grab a bite, but if it’s a nice day out, you can do no better than to have a picnic in the nearby Jardin des Tuileries.

Grocery Store
One of my favorite spots to get an easy, quality to-go bite is Flottes And Go at 2 rue Cambon (75001), just across the street from the Jardin des Tuileries (and about a 10-min walk from the Louvre). As an arm of the next-door brasserie Flottes, this bistro boutique is the perfect spot to pick up everything you need for a fabulous picnic from wine to cute napkins.

Books
Fresh sandwiches like focaccia and salmon or quiches with ricotta, zucchini and tomato run about 8€, while you can also grab smoothies and organic sodas like pink grapefruit for 2-4€ and gourmet ice cream with flavors like honey lavender for 4€. There are also plenty of adorable French souvenirs to pick up while you’re at it, including jams, spices, decorative tins and cookbooks.

Souvenirs
And though Flottes has its share of sweets from artisanal chocolate to gelato, I’d recommend taking a few extra steps down the street to Pierre Hermé (4 rue Cambon, 75001) to try one of their famous macarons. Pierre Hermé macs are renowned for their perfect texture and wild flavors, from chocolat-foie gras to the Ispahan, a delicious blend of rose-raspberry. They are the ultimate picnic dessert!

Pierre Herme
photo taken from Chérie City (www.cheriecity.co.uk)

Jenna-Marie Warnecke writes regularly for Girls’ Guide to Paris and The Huffington Post. In addition to being a professional writer, she also runs Paris Cheapskate, regarding a wide array of events in Paris for those who have an eye to their purse.

Jenna’s also been known to run the odd THATMuse, in the absence of yours truly, as well as to assist with large Treasure Hunts, such as the 40-person Dutch Railway company (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) corporate event we hosted last night. You can follow her movements on Twitter at @jennawarnecke
Museum Mummies - Games to engage your kids at the museum
18 October 2016
  • Travelling with Kids in Paris and London,
  • Museum Musings

Museum Mummies - Games to engage your kids at the museum


Because my mother was an art historian, we spent at least part of each weekend prowling European painting collections across New York. I grew up in the West Village and associated uptown with The Met and Frick. To keep me quiet, she concocted all sorts of art games, which I’ve been handing down to my 4.5 year old, Storsh (he thinks of the Louvre and British Museum as playgrounds).

She did such a good job of it that I not only got my degrees in Art History, but when I had Storsh, a premature worry set in over what his relationship to art and museums would be. In his first year of life, I started a company called THATLou, which stood for Treasure Hunt at the Louvre. Now awaiting number two, we’re building THATMuse for museums in London. Our soft launch was generously commissioned by the British Museum, where I hosted a “Friday Late” entitled The Art of Play: A Treasure Hunt Challenge, which took place last week, on 11 September.

"Scour the wall of postcards for their five favourite pieces before setting off to find those paintings"

In my experience,children love museums if you know how to engage them. Here are some of my top games to keep them interested when you visit the painting collections.


The Postcard Game

If you’re travelling and it’s a collection you don’t know well, go to the gift shop before you visit the museum and have your children scour the wall of postcards for their five favourite pieces before setting off to find those paintings.

For older children

Ask them to find the paintings featured on the postcards within the museum by looking at the country/century of the work on the back of the postcard and finding it on the map. This will develop their navigation skills and give them a layout of the space.

For younger children

Have them pose as the subject for a photo with each work and postcard. If they’re in the habit of taking photos with your phone, trade roles with you posing as the silliest character in the painting. They will enjoy looking back at the photos later.

The Category Game

Find a bench in the museum lobby before entering and ask your kids to choose an animal, a type of food and something like grotesque noses (Storsh loves this one) as your categories.

"Giving them a sense of purpose helps stretch their attention – and your visit!"

Write your categories down then see how many of those animals/foods/body parts your children can find throughout the visit. All kids like collecting things, and having them keep count by writing a line every time they find their item is rewarding. And of course, giving them a sense of purpose helps stretch their attention – and your visit!

The Fashion Game

Before leaving the house, go to your wardrobe and ask your children to feel a variety of materials – scratchy wool, smooth silk, heavy satin, luscious velvet, soft fur etc – the breadth depends on the size of your wardrobe…. Choose one material or more and (assuming it’s not an evening gown!) wear it to the museum so the kids can look at the collection from a tactile perspective. Ask them whether they think it looks real.

The Saint Game



Every time I visit a museum with Storsh, we latch onto a saint and their attribute and devote our whole visit to finding that saint in various paintings. At 3, Storsh started out with St George, easily identified for killing the dragon from a horse. Each time we found a St George, Storsh would make the wild hissing sound of the dragon blowing fire. Sometimes I’d get on all fours and neigh wildly like George’s horse. The more vivid the enactment, the easier to remember the story.

"Quick, show me what Salome does?"

Slowly, one per museum visit, I added in St Michael and St Margaret, both dragon killers but without the horse. Then St John the Baptist. The bloodier, the better. I tend to quiz him on site, so that his connection to the painting is clear, “quick, show me what Salome does?” Sometimes Storsh draws his fingers across his throat with quick precision for a good beheading, other times he dances – much to the bemusement of the guards.
Paris With Kids: Hidden Outdoor Treasure
14 October 2016
  • Travelling with Kids in Paris and London

Paris With Kids: Hidden Outdoor Treasure

With many of Paris’s parks dating to the 17th Century, the history of each one is worthy of tomes. One thing they all have in common is seasonal entry hours (generally dawn to dusk), which are posted at entrances. All are packed with history, art and practical playground delights. Here’s a list of Hidden Kid Treasure as well as garden “Spillover” for the whole family to enjoy.
JARDIN DES PLANTES
The Royal Garden Jardin des Plantes was designed by Louis XIII’s doctor, Guy de la Brosse, in 1635. After it was opened to the public, it fell to disrepair until Colbert was named administrator and had the medicinal plants and allées rejuvenated by leading botanists of the day (including Jussieu, whose name graces the nearest metro station).
HIDDEN KID TREASURE: A special treat for Parisian tots is a labyrinth where they can climb in the hallowed-out bushes and secretly make their way up to the next level while parents toddle up the spiraling dirt path. The conical maze is hidden behind the Art Deco Winter Garden (serre in French; the hot house is also worth dipping into). With terraced levels being crowned by a looking-point gazebo, the labyrinth looks a bit like a massive green ziggurat. It’s a delightful treat for kids, but perhaps agree to a special whistle prior to letting your kids run free, as it’s easy for them to get lost in the maze! Or agree ahead of time that they’ll find you at the apex, sitting in the gazebo, so they know to climb up. (Can you tell my 5-year old has scared himself getting lost there aplenty?)
SPILLOVER: The Jardin des Plantes, 23.5 hectares (69 acres), also has an 18th century zoo with animals from the royal menagerie at Versailles, and four main galleries comprising the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, Paleontology, Entomology and Mineralogy Museums.
METRO: Gare d’Austerlitz (lines 5, 10, RER C), Jussieu (lines 7, 10)
JARDIN du LUXEMBOURG
The terraced gardens of the Left Bank’s Jardin du Luxembourg are a playground for both kids and adults. (You’ll find city-run tennis courts and a canopied area for chess players, as well as the 19th century Rucher du Luxembourg where adults can learn about how to care for bees and harvest honey from the garden’s hives.) The gardens were originally laid out to accompany Marie de Medici’s Palais du Luxembourg, which now houses the Senate. The 1620s palace was meant to replicate the Dragon Lady Queen of France’s childhood home, Florence’s Pitti Palace, and the gardens were inspired by Florence’s Boboli Gardens. The gardens have so many delights for kids (Napoleon dedicated the 25-hectares to the “Children of Paris”), that it’s a challenge to highlight one.
HIDDEN KID TREASURE: Since the delicate and discreet Merry-Go-Round is the oldest in Paris, I nominate this for our hidden treasure list. Designed by Charles Garnier, of Opéra fame, this 1879 weather-beaten carousel has the added attraction of having a “Jeu de Bagues”, where kids try to spike iron rings onto their sticks. No easy feat for those older kids on the peripheral circle of horses (and mesmerizing for waiting parents: the attendant re-loads the rings with hands as fast & graceful as a gazelle!). Unlike many of the city’s other carousels, Garnier’s animals swing from above.
SPILLOVER: Too many to name! The 25 hectares host a delightful pony trail, 1920s boats you can stick around the boat basin, a Punch & Judy-like puppet show and one of the city’s best playgrounds, tailored to all ages. (Paid entry, with a guarded gate.) For artsy families you can go statue-stalking as there are 106 sculptures to track, or for photo buffs there’s always a photography show exhibited on the garden’s fences, or of course you can check out the temporary exhibitions at the Musée du Luxembourg at 19, rue de Vaugirard (12€/adults).
METRO: Odéon (line 4), Notre-Dame-des-Champs (line 12), Luxembourg (RER B)
JARDIN DES TUILERIES
The Florentine de Medici family also left its mark on the other major Paris park, the Jardin des Tuileries. After Queen Catherine de Medici, Marie’s elder, was widowed by Henri II, she had the Tuileries gardens built for her Palais des Tuileries (1564); both the gardens and palace got their name from the tile factories which they replaced (tuile means tile in French). The 23-hectare gardens we know today — which connect the Louvre, where the kings lived, to Place de la Concorde, where French monarchy came to an abrupt (and bloody!) end — date to 1664 at the hand of André le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s Versailles gardener. (By no coincidence, le Nôtre’s grandfather had been a Tuileries gardener when it was Catherine’s stomping grounds.) From a kid point of view the Tuileries has plenty to offer, from a wonderful playground with a behemoth jungle gym, popular hammock and roundabout, to two lovely boat ponds for feeding the ducks or pushing the 1920s boats with sticks, not to mention a carousel.
HIDDEN KID TREASURE: It’s easy to miss the sunken trampolines that are off the Tuileries central allée. They’re at about the level of the WH Smith bookstore, between the carousel and Place de la Concorde, yet plenty of Parisian parents don’t know about them. Separated from each other with padded edges, these trampolines cost €2.50 for 5 minutes a pop. They’re available for kids from 2 to 12. (Although my son, Storsh, was too young at 2 to understand what to do other than watch the older kids bouncing like a basketball.) It’s a great way to get their energy out after a morning au Louvre!
SPILLOVER: For the artsy families you can go sculpture scouting for the likes of Maillols, Rodin, Giacometti, or more modern Dubuffet and Roy Lichtenstein. More formally, two museums overlook the Place de la Concorde side: view Monet’s waterlilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie or stop off at the Jeu de Paume, which often has excellent photography exhibits.
METRO: Tuileries (line 1), Concorde (lines 1, 8, 12)
With many of Paris’s parks dating to the 17th Century, the history of each one is worthy of tomes. One thing they all have in common is seasonal entry hours (generally dawn to dusk), which are posted at entrances. All are packed with history, art and practical playground delights. Here’s a list of Hidden Kid Treasure as well as garden “Spillover” for the whole family to enjoy.

JARDIN DES PLANTES

In the Jardin des Tuileries/ photo by Daisy de Plume

The Royal Garden Jardin des Plantes was designed by Louis XIII’s doctor, Guy de la Brosse, in 1635. After it was opened to the public, it fell to disrepair until Colbert was named administrator and had the medicinal plants and allées rejuvenated by leading botanists of the day (including Jussieu, whose name graces the nearest metro station).
HIDDEN KID TREASURE: A special treat for Parisian tots is a labyrinth where they can climb in the hallowed-out bushes and secretly make their way up to the next level while parents toddle up the spiraling dirt path. The conical maze is hidden behind the Art Deco Winter Garden (serre in French; the hot house is also worth dipping into). With terraced levels being crowned by a looking-point gazebo, the labyrinth looks a bit like a massive green ziggurat. It’s a delightful treat for kids, but perhaps agree to a special whistle prior to letting your kids run free, as it’s easy for them to get lost in the maze! Or agree ahead of time that they’ll find you at the apex, sitting in the gazebo, so they know to climb up. (Can you tell my 5-year old has scared himself getting lost there aplenty?)

SPILLOVER: The Jardin des Plantes, 23.5 hectares (69 acres), also has an 18th century zoo with animals from the royal menagerie at Versailles, and four main galleries comprising the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, Paleontology, Entomology and Mineralogy Museums.

METRO: Gare d’Austerlitz (lines 5, 10, RER C), Jussieu (lines 7, 10)


JARDIN du LUXEMBOURG


The boat pond at the Jardin du Luxembourg/ photo by Daisy de Plume

The terraced gardens of the Left Bank’s Jardin du Luxembourg are a playground for both kids and adults. (You’ll find city-run tennis courts and a canopied area for chess players, as well as the 19th century Rucher du Luxembourg where adults can learn about how to care for bees and harvest honey from the garden’s hives.) The gardens were originally laid out to accompany Marie de Medici’s Palais du Luxembourg, which now houses the Senate. The 1620s palace was meant to replicate the Dragon Lady Queen of France’s childhood home, Florence’s Pitti Palace, and the gardens were inspired by Florence’s Boboli Gardens. The gardens have so many delights for kids (Napoleon dedicated the 25-hectares to the “Children of Paris”), that it’s a challenge to highlight one.

HIDDEN KID TREASURE: Since the delicate and discreet Merry-Go-Round is the oldest in Paris, I nominate this for our hidden treasure list. Designed by Charles Garnier, of Opéra fame, this 1879 weather-beaten carousel has the added attraction of having a “Jeu de Bagues”, where kids try to spike iron rings onto their sticks. No easy feat for those older kids on the peripheral circle of horses (and mesmerizing for waiting parents: the attendant re-loads the rings with hands as fast & graceful as a gazelle!). Unlike many of the city’s other carousels, Garnier’s animals swing from above.

SPILLOVER: Too many to name! The 25 hectares host a delightful pony trail, 1920s boats you can stick around the boat basin, a Punch & Judy-like puppet show and one of the city’s best playgrounds, tailored to all ages. (Paid entry, with a guarded gate.) For artsy families you can go statue-stalking as there are 106 sculptures to track, or for photo buffs there’s always a photography show exhibited on the garden’s fences, or of course you can check out the temporary exhibitions at the Musée du Luxembourg at 19, rue de Vaugirard (12€/adults).

METRO: Odéon (line 4), Notre-Dame-des-Champs (line 12), Luxembourg (RER B)

JARDIN DES TUILERIES

Playing on a playground hammock in the Tuileries/ photo by Daisy de Plume

The Florentine de Medici family also left its mark on the other major Paris park, the Jardin des Tuileries. After Queen Catherine de Medici, Marie’s elder, was widowed by Henri II, she had the Tuileries gardens built for her Palais des Tuileries (1564); both the gardens and palace got their name from the tile factories which they replaced (tuile means tile in French). The 23-hectare gardens we know today — which connect the Louvre, where the kings lived, to Place de la Concorde, where French monarchy came to an abrupt (and bloody!) end — date to 1664 at the hand of André le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s Versailles gardener. (By no coincidence, le Nôtre’s grandfather had been a Tuileries gardener when it was Catherine’s stomping grounds.) From a kid point of view the Tuileries has plenty to offer, from a wonderful playground with a behemoth jungle gym, popular hammock and roundabout, to two lovely boat ponds for feeding the ducks or pushing the 1920s boats with sticks, not to mention a carousel.

HIDDEN KID TREASURE: It’s easy to miss the sunken trampolines that are off the Tuileries central allée. They’re at about the level of the WH Smith bookstore, between the carousel and Place de la Concorde, yet plenty of Parisian parents don’t know about them. Separated from each other with padded edges, these trampolines cost €2.50 for 5 minutes a pop. They’re available for kids from 2 to 12. (Although my son, Storsh, was too young at 2 to understand what to do other than watch the older kids bouncing like a basketball.) It’s a great way to get their energy out after a morning au Louvre!

SPILLOVER: For the artsy families you can go sculpture scouting for the likes of Maillols, Rodin, Giacometti, or more modern Dubuffet and Roy Lichtenstein. More formally, two museums overlook the Place de la Concorde side: view Monet’s waterlilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie or stop off at the Jeu de Paume, which often has excellent photography exhibits.
METRO: Tuileries (line 1), Concorde (lines 1, 8, 12)

Paris With Kids: Quick Fix Fun for Under 5€
28 June 2016
  • Travelling with Kids in Paris and London

Paris With Kids: Quick Fix Fun for Under 5€

Apart from being romantic, Paris is also marvelously family-oriented. Despite this, it can be tiring traveling en famille. My son, Storsh, is far more tourist-tolerant if he knows some “kid time” is just around the corner. So instead of making the whole day about the kids, why not plan your days with several bursts of kid-time in between what you want to see? I’ll even give Storsh a few city facts, explaining that I’m going to quiz him on them before his next “kid-time,” and watch his ears perk up a bit. Here are some of my favorite kid-friendly activities, all of which are free or cost less than 5€.
What’s better than free fun? Smack dab in the middle of town is the gorgeous Palais Royal, with Daniel Buren’s stripy stumps that any Parisian kid has raced through. Or there’s always the forest of columns at either end of the enclosed gardens, once Cardinal Richelieu’s residence, where my family and I play a quick game of hide-and-seek when passing through.
Make the outside of the Louvre your playground (before making the inside their treasure hunting ground with a THATLou!). The Louvre’s fountains have wonderful iron fish faces and countless soaring lights, so have the kids count how many they can find across the Cour Napoleon, the courtyard with I.M. Pei’s pyramid, whilst sharing the story of how it housed dynasties of French monarchs before becoming a museum in 1793 under Napoleon. The stunning Cour Carrée, the center of the Sully Wing, is also a go-to for hide-and-seek.
The slanted place facing Paris’ modern art museum, the Centre Georges Pompidou, has been a magnet for street entertainers since built in the 70s by architects Rogers & Piano. Let the kids run free as you sit alongside Parisians taking in the inside-out architectural façade. Pigeon- and bubble-chasing is Storsh’s favorite Pompidou activity, but there are also buskers, mimes, and jugglers who’ve kept him entertained for long stretches. Incidentally, the Pompidou also has the best atelier des enfants on the lobby’s raised mezzanine, as well as phenomenal views from the top floor, though they aren’t under 5 euros.
While in the area, don’t miss the whimsical Stravinsky Fountain by Swiss partners Tinguely and de Saint Phalle, where each family member can choose their favorite creature and pose for a photo impersonating these swiveling, water-spouting figures.
If your children are happy to sit still for half and hour and zone out (or tune in!) to some lovely free classical music, there are a few wonderful options in the area. The neighboring 17th-century Church of Saint-Merry has an afternoon series every other Sunday at 5:30pm and the 16th-century Saint-Roch (296 rue St-Honoré) also has a free classical music series on Tuesdays (12:30-1:45pm). If your children are music-oriented (and you’re willing to dish out more than 5 euros), Jean Nouvel’s Philharmonie de Paris offers a weekend kiddie music program.
One of Storsh’s favorite activities– and probably any boy of a certain age whose favorite word in English is “gross”– is window gazing at any one of the city’s fascinating taxidermy shops. Deyrolle, located on rue du Bac, is the most famous. Another gorgeous option, often with a stuffed polar bear (which does make me wonder), is Design et Nature in the 2nd arrondissement. But if you want to get authentic – especially if your kids saw the film Ratatouille – there’s also the gruesomely gross Julien Aurouze pest control shop, whose storefront is filled with dangling dead rats in all sorts of contraption traps; its perfectly aged façade reads “Destruction des Animaux Nuisibles” (Destruction of Harmful Animals).
There are carrousels all across town, but I recommend heading to the oldest in Paris, designed by Opéra architect Charles Garnier and located in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Another 19th-century number, which is especially fancy, is the double-decker carrousel – the largest in Paris – at Hôtel de Ville. Alternately, you can find more modern rides, like those at the Villiers metro station near Parc Monceau, or artier carrousels, like the one located near Gare Montparnasse, where Impressionist paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Manet lining the center panels.
Finally, for scaled-down versions in practical locations, there are also plenty of siren-ringing, traffic-shaking firetrucks or motorcycles that rattle around most covered markets and run one euro/ride.
Deyrolle, 46 rue du Bac, 75007; Métro: Rue du Bac; Tel: +33 (0)1 42 22 30 07
Design et Nature, 4 rue d’Aboukir, 75002, Métro: Sentier; Tel: +33 (0)1 43 06 86 98
Church of Saint-Merry, 76 rue de la Verrerie, 75004, Métro: Châtelet; Tel: +33 (0)1 42 71 93 93
Church of Saint-Roch, 296 rue St Honoré, 75001, Métro: Tuileries; Tel: +33 (0)1 42 44 13 20
Philharmonie de Paris, 221 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019, Métro: Porte de Pantin; Tel: +33 (0)1 44 84 44 84
Julien Arouze, 8 rue des Halles, 75001, Métro: Châtelet; Tel: +33 (0)1 40 41 08 98
Villiers, Boulevard de Courcelles, 75017, Métro: Villiers
Gare Montparnasse, 17 Boulevard de Vaugirard, 75741, Métro: Gare Montparnasse or Montparnasse Bienvenue
Related Links
Need tips for where to eat with kids in Paris? Have a look at this useful guide from Paige Bradley Frost.
The Jardin du Luxembourg is a great kid-friendly zone. Discover all that it has to offer here.
For more kid-friendly activities in Paris, check out this article from The New York Times.


Apart from being romantic, Paris is also marvelously family-oriented. Despite this, it can be tiring traveling en famille. My son, Storsh, is far more tourist-tolerant if he knows some “kid time” is just around the corner. So instead of making the whole day about the kids, why not plan your days with several bursts of kid-time in between what you want to see? I’ll even give Storsh a few city facts, explaining that I’m going to quiz him on them before his next “kid-time,” and watch his ears perk up a bit. Here are some of my favorite kid-friendly activities, all of which are free or cost less than 5€.



What’s better than free fun? Smack dab in the middle of town is the gorgeous Palais Royal, with Daniel Buren’s stripy stumps that any Parisian kid has raced through. Or there’s always the forest of columns at either end of the enclosed gardens, once Cardinal Richelieu’s residence, where my family and I play a quick game of hide-and-seek when passing through. Make the outside of the Louvre your playground (before making the inside their treasure hunting ground with a THATLou!).The Louvre’s fountains have wonderful iron fish faces and countless soaring lights, so have the kids count how many they can find across the Cour Napoleon, the courtyard with I.M. Pei’s pyramid, whilst sharing the story of how it housed dynasties of French monarchs before becoming a museum in 1793 under Napoleon. The stunning Cour Carrée, the center of the Sully Wing, is also a go-to for hide-and-seek.



The slanted place facing Paris’ modern art museum, the Centre Georges Pompidou, has been a magnet for street entertainers since built in the 70s by architects Rogers & Piano. Let the kids run free as you sit alongside Parisians taking in the inside-out architectural façade. Pigeon- and bubble-chasing is Storsh’s favorite Pompidou activity, but there are also buskers, mimes, and jugglers who’ve kept him entertained for long stretches. Incidentally, the Pompidou also has the best atelier des enfants on the lobby’s raised mezzanine, as well as phenomenal views from the top floor, though they aren’t under 5 euros.



While in the area, don’t miss the whimsical Stravinsky Fountain by Swiss partners Tinguely and de Saint Phalle, where each family member can choose their favorite creature and pose for a photo impersonating these swiveling, water-spouting figures.If your children are happy to sit still for half and hour and zone out (or tune in!) to some lovely free classical music, there are a few wonderful options in the area. The neighboring 17th-century Church of Saint-Merry has an afternoon series every other Sunday at 5:30pm and the 16th-century Saint-Roch (296 rue St-Honoré) also has a free classical music series on Tuesdays (12:30-1:45pm). If your children are music-oriented (and you’re willing to dish out more than 5 euros), Jean Nouvel’s Philharmonie de Paris offers a weekend kiddie music program.



One of Storsh’s favorite activities– and probably any boy of a certain age whose favorite word in English is “gross”– is window gazing at any one of the city’s fascinating taxidermy shops. Deyrolle, located on rue du Bac, is the most famous. Another gorgeous option, often with a stuffed polar bear (which does make me wonder), is Design et Nature in the 2nd arrondissement. But if you want to get authentic – especially if your kids saw the film Ratatouille – there’s also the gruesomely gross Julien Aurouze pest control shop, whose storefront is filled with dangling dead rats in all sorts of contraption traps; its perfectly aged façade reads “Destruction des Animaux Nuisibles” (Destruction of Harmful Animals).


There are carrousels all across town, but I recommend heading to the oldest in Paris, designed by Opéra architect Charles Garnier and located in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Another 19th-century number, which is especially fancy, is the double-decker carrousel – the largest in Paris – at Hôtel de Ville. Alternately, you can find more modern rides, like those at the Villiers metro station near Parc Monceau, or artier carrousels, like the one located near Gare Montparnasse, where Impressionist paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Manet lining the center panels.
Finally, for scaled-down versions in practical locations, there are also plenty of siren-ringing, traffic-shaking firetrucks or motorcycles that rattle around most covered markets and run one euro/ride.

Deyrolle, 46 rue du Bac, 75007; Métro: Rue du Bac; Tel: +33 (0)1 42 22 30 07

Design et Nature, 4 rue d’Aboukir, 75002, Métro: Sentier; Tel: +33 (0)1 43 06 86 98

Church of Saint-Merry, 76 rue de la Verrerie, 75004, Métro: Châtelet; Tel: +33 (0)1 42 71 93 93

Church of Saint-Roch, 296 rue St Honoré, 75001, Métro: Tuileries; Tel: +33 (0)1 42 44 13 20

Philharmonie de Paris, 221 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019, Métro: Porte de Pantin; Tel: +33 (0)1 44 84 44 84

Julien Arouze, 8 rue des Halles, 75001, Métro: Châtelet; Tel: +33 (0)1 40 41 08 98

Villiers, Boulevard de Courcelles, 75017, Métro: Villiers

Gare Montparnasse
, 17 Boulevard de Vaugirard, 75741, Métro: Gare Montparnasse or Montparnasse Bienvenue


My Insiders's Guide to Paris with Kids
20 October 2016
  • Travelling with Kids in Paris and London

My Insiders's Guide to Paris with Kids




When people think of going to Paris, they often think of it as a romantic destination (which it is), but it is also a fantastic place for families and if you’re planning a spring getaway over the Easter holidays, then a quick hop over the channel could be just the escape you need. I’ve lived in Paris for 12 years now and have explored it exhaustively with my 5-year-old son Storsh, who loves this wonderful city as much as I do. Here are some of my favourite family-friendly gems in Paris for you to explore too. You never know, you might even have time for some romance….

Parc de la Villette

Up in the 19th Arr., straddling Canal de l’Ourcq, which hosts the Paris Plages (city beaches) in the summer months, is the reclaimed industrial landscape-turned-futuristic Parc de la Villette. There are plenty of imaginative kid-friendly pieces here, from an enormous dragon slide to a verdant bamboo maze and it is a fantastic place to wander through in spring.

While you are there, don’t miss the amazing interactive children’s museum, Cité des Enfants (closed on Mondays; buy tickets in advance), which sits on the west side of the canal. If you ever manage to drag the kids away, there is an enormous Géode cinema just outside, which shows most of latest I-Max films in an English version too. Also nearby is a real submarine for the boys in your family to explore – my son Storsh’s favorite part!

A new addition to Paris’s cultural landscape is the Philharmonie de Paris, built by Jean Nouvel, which has some great children’s programs (from 3 months-3 years (sound & instrument discovery), to 7 & up (“From Beatbox to Mozart”). It’s worth checking out their website ahead of time (http://lavillette.com/) to find treats such as the Villette en Cirques complete with magicians, acrobats and the lot (Running till 17 April, tickets range from 10€ to 26€).

Metro: Corentin Carious (line 7) and Porte de Pantin (line 5).

Website: lavillette.com

Jardin d’Acclimatation

With Disneyland and the like banned from my childhood, being allowed to go to the 19thJardin d’Acclimatation always made Paris a favourite city of my youth. As it’s out in the Bois de Boulogne (the suburbs of Neuilly) it’s well worth arriving on the “Petit Train”which departs from Porte Maillot (17th Arr.). The toot of the horn and chugga chugga choo choo never ceases to delight Storsh.

The park rides range from standard modern play equipment (target games, a mirrored fun-zone) to more antiquated novel pieces (from the more acceptable TinTin section to a more historic – read possibly objectionable – jungle boat ride with colonialists in pith-helmets & natives sitting in the grass).

With plenty of picnic tables, there’s also a farm-inspired café (and a farm with live farm animals!) or more the modern Angelina for lunch. If you’re going all the way out there, be sure to allot time to Frank Gehry’s fantastic new Fondation Louis Vuitton, replete with concerts, exhibitions and estaurant Le Frank, all nestled into the Bois de Boulogne. Open 10am -6 pm, 5.90€ for entry & Petit Train ticket combined, not including rides which are 2.90€ or you can buy a carnet).

Metro: Sablons (line 1) or Porte Maillot (line 1 or RER C)

Website:jardindacclimatation.fr



Ballon de Paris

Skip the lines of the Tour Eiffel and take in a fantabulous view of Paris from a tethered hot air balloon. Getting you off the beaten-track, the Ballon de Paris rises about 150 meters, delighting kids no end. Anchored to the 1992 Parc André Citroen (which abuts the Seine in the 15th Arr.), the park also has ping pong tables and a fun water distribution fountain that kids can have a good romp through, darting around – or through — the playful water jets. Before heading down there, check the website for wind conditions though.  Fares are 12€ for adults, 6€ for children ages 3-11, toddlers under 3 are free).

Metro: Javel or Balard / RER C Javel or Boulevard Victor (the park’s address is 2 rue de la Montagne de la Fage 75015 Paris).

Website:  ballondeparis.com


Vedette du Pont Neuf

I always recommend planning a Seine cruise before or after a half-day at the Louvre (where you can also take part in one of my THATMuse family treasure hunts at the Louvre) to give the kids a rest from walking & standing. The closest boat to the Louvre has the benefit of being moored off the Pont Neuf (Paris’s oldest bridge, despite its name, “New Bridge”) where there’s a precious little patch of green, Square du Vert-Galant, right on the water’s edge, good for an energy-spending frolic before and after the boat ride – or for a baguette and stinky cheese picnic.

To play it safe perhaps pick up a Jambon Beurre (ham and butter baguette sandwich) in case the kids are resistant to being initiated to any of France’s delicious, but sometimes strong 350 (plus!) cheeses. The boat offers seating outside (upstairs) or in, both areas having a multi-lingual tour of the sites you’re passing over the hour-long tour.

From 15 March- 31 October the Vedette du Pont Neuf runs every 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 10 pm (the rest of the year it runs on the hour). Tickets are 14€/adults, 5€/kids (aged 4-12) when purchased at the dock, but better prices are available online (9€ in the morning, 11€ in the afternoon).

Website: vedettesdupontneuf.com

Jardin des Plantes

The 17th Century Botanical Gardens are brimming with well-documented plants, trees and splendid allées flanking either side of the 23.5 hectares (69 acres). For kids there’s the 18th century Zoo (originally with animals from the royal menagerie at Versailles), a delightful Art Deco Winter Garden (a hot house is Serre in French) with glass galleries of exotic plants from all corners of the globe), and of course the Natural History Museum comprising 4 main galleries (the Grande Galérie de l’Evolution, Paleontology, Entomology and Mineralogy Museums) is a dusty delight. Behind the hot house, kids can burn some energy and inspire some hide-n-seek imagination in the spectacular labyrinth of hollowed-out bushes, crowned by a gazebo.

Metro:  Gare de l’Austerlitz (line 5, RER C), Jussieu (lines 7 & 10)

Website: jardindesplantes.net