The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our Travelling in Paris & London category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums.
Here’s a 3-part series on parks by Daisy de Plume, expat mother of two boys growing up in both cities (and THATMuse founder).
London: Coram’s Fields
Cornering the Kid Market, Coram’s Fields is hands-down the best Bloomsbury park for kids. Perfectly placed for a post THATMuse treasure hunt at the British Museum. With a prohibitive sign announcing that all adults must be accompanied by a child, this 18th Century park is on the site of the former Foundling Hospital (to which Handel donated his organ, and Hogarth designed the orphans’ uniforms for). With only one entrance to the park, it’s a cornucopia of fun for the kiddies. HIDDEN KID TREASURE: The farm animals, of course! Goats, bunnies, parrots and chickens can all be found out of the way, within the western colonnade. There’s something for all ages, from a sandpit for tots, to a 2-storey tunnel slide. Storsh makes a bee-line for the challenging sling line or zip-wire, though he never gets very far. Heavier teens speed past on this “Death Slide”, but under-10s still have fun mounting the sling-seat for a go. For quick rain showers there’s a somewhat worn but elegant gazebo as well as a café within the open colonnade serving toasties, hot chocolate and treats. In warmer months, a sunken fountain offers a good splash for some frolicking. 8 am – 8 pm
Paris: Jardin des Plantes
Designed in 1635 by Louis XIII’s Doctor, the Jardin des Plants is Paris’s Botanical Gardens, located on the Left Bank. 23.5 hectares (69 acres), it also has an 18th century zoo with animals from the royal menagerie at Versailles, and four main Natural History galleries comprising the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, Paleontology, Entomology and Mineralogy Museums. 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 6-year old has scared himself getting lost there aplenty?) METRO: Gare d’Austerlitz (lines 5, 10, RER C), Jussieu (lines 7, 10)