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. (Want to see other parks in London & Paris? Check them out here: Part 1, Part 2)
Here’s the third part of our 3-part series on parks by Daisy de Plume, expat mother of two boys growing up in both cities (and THATMuse founder).
Impossible to distill the breadth of this green oasis in NW London, this was yet another hunting ground of Henry VIII and kept in royal hands long after John Nash planned this 410-acre park. For kids the choices abound, from the London Zoo with over 20,000 animals and nearly 700 species to the boat pond which is easily as big & verdant as Central Park’s. For the water weary, there is also a separate Children’s Lake open on weekends and on school holidays where kiddie pedalos are available for hire (either for the whole family, 28£/2 adults, 3 kids or children’s pedalos for only 4£ for 20 minutes). With plenty of playgrounds, the snazziest is near Hanover Gate, which has a timber tree house for older kids within a large sandpit for tots. HIDDEN KID TREASURE: Since he was 3 Storsh’s favorite part of Regent’s Park has been the Rose Garden, a secluded circle included in Queen Mary’s Garden. With about 12,000 roses and 85 single-variety beds, the garden’s laid out with five-foot rose bushes, divided into centralized beds that you can circumnavigate. It’s there that we compare the smells of the roses, inspect their thorns, laugh at some of their dippy names (Lady Marmalade? Bees Knees? Betty Boop?) and then Zulu-like play a savage game of hide-n-go seek/tag. As there are generally so few people, I don’t mute Storsh’s yelps of joy, fear of being found and general exuberance.
JARDIN DES TUILERIES
The 23-hectare gardens connect the Louvre (where the kings lived), to Place de la Concorde (where the kings lost their heads in the French Revolution, site of the guillotine). The gardens we know today date to 1664, by André le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s Versailles gardener. The name comes from the tile factories (tuile means tile in French) they replaced when Catherine de Medici built the Palais des Tuileries with accompanying gardens. From a kid point of view the Tuileries has plenty to offer, from a wonderful playground with a behemoth steel jungle gym, popular hammock and roundabout, to two lovely boat ponds for pushing 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. These trampolines, divided by padded frames, cost €2.50 for 5 minutes a pop for kids aged 2 -12. A great way to get their energy out after a morning Treasure Hunt au Louvre! METRO: Tuileries (line 1), Concorde (lines 1, 8, 12)