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How To Delight And Entertain Your Children In Paris
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My son Alexandre can navigate his way around Paris the way most boys navigate the baseball field. At the ripe old age of ten, he has been to Paris at least a dozen times, once for an extended stay of four months.

Over the course of his childhood, through trial and error, we have sourced the absolute best Paris locations that will entertain, thrill and educate your own children. Paris can be a tough city for kids – many parks have strict rules enforced by gendarmes (police). No climbing trees, no walking on the grass, no playing in the fountains. But not to worry, there are many kid friendly places (gendarme-free) that will delight even the hardest to please child.

At the garden of St. Halles, in front of the St. Eustache church is a fabulous park with a giant 70 ton sculpture of a head resting on a hand made of sandstone, meant for climbing on and a series of concrete streams and fountains perfect for wading in or impromptu leaf races. The park is also very close to the Rue Montorgueil market. The street market has many boulangeries, shops and cafes that will satisfy your hunger after the park.

Jardin des Plantes is worth exploring over an entire day. This 28 hectare botanical garden, founded in 1626, houses the expansive natural history museum including paleontology, evolution, mineralogy and entomology. Don’t let the big words scare you – the exhibits are fresh, exciting and very kid-friendly. And there’s a zoo. It’s very conveniently located on the left bank of the Seine in the 5th arrondissment.

Choco-Story Museum is a relative new-comer to the Paris museum scene. It covers the history of chocolate from ancient times through into present day and includes a chocolate workshop at the end of the tour. Tours are available in English, too.

The toy department in Bon Marche. As soon as we get close to the grand department store set in the 6th, my son quickens his pace like a pony headed home to the stable. The expansive toy department is set in the lower level of the best department store in Paris. Luckily, there’s also lots of other things that make Mommy and Daddy happy to be there too. It’s where we can find Lego sets long before they arrive in North America.

Parc Monceau is possibly one of the prettiest parks in Paris. Set in the luxurious 8th arrondissement, it features plenty of places to walk, a merry-go-round, swings and a concession stand right out of the 19th century. Your kids can order up hot chocolate, crepes and ice cream while you watch all the beautifully dressed Parisian children.

Parc de Belleville is not your typical Paris park. It’s vast with tangles of wild flowers, a cascading concrete stream (the longest in Paris) that goes on forever, grass you can sit on, and possibly the longest slide in Paris. Although the park is a bit of metro ride, it’s worth it to see your kids climb through the modern climbing wall and run-free.

Lunch at Café de Marche on rue Cler. Arrive promptly at noon to secure a table and order the best confit de canard (according to Alexandre) in town. After lunch wander down rue Cler and enjoy the food displays and head over to the playgrounds that are tucked beneath the Eiffel tower.

When your kids are clamoring to run around in open spaces, take them to Parc des Butte-Chaumont. This magical 5 kilometre park has a fabulous walking trail, waterfalls and playgrounds to appeal to kids of all ages.

An aquarium, a cinema, put them together and you get CineAqua possibly one of the most creative attractions in Paris. Set steps away from the Trocadero, this aquarium combines 9,000 fish, 26 sharks with 16 cinema screens to create one of the new wave of attractions. Kids love to explore the various displays, screens and a fish petting zoo as the grand finale.

Palais de la Decouvertes. For us, a trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to the Palais de la Decouvertes – the discovery palace. This science museum features plenty of changing displays like a dinosaur exhibit as well as old favourites – including a insect collection.

And the best thing about these Paris parks, museums and attractions are they are as interesting to parents and they are to their children!

Street Talk

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