Top Ten Things to do on a Sunny day in Paris with Kids

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1. Hot Air Balloon in Citroën Parc

The  Parc André Citroën was created on the site along the Seine, where the Citroën car factory used to be, before it closed in the 1970s.  The Park is designed around a central rectangular lawn and is flanked by two greenhouse pavilions which contain exotic plants.  There is a paved area between them which has amusing dancing fountains, perfect for getting splashed on a hot day. At present, the  park is Paris’ newest and most futuristic public park. Not to be missed, are six small gardens which are interesting as they are each associated with a metal, a planet, a day of the week, water and one of the senses. There are many games to entertain children from table tennis to spring based toys and toboggans.  The main attraction of the Park is the helium balloon which allows visitors to rise above the Parisian skyline and get a birds eye view of Champ de Mars, the River Seine, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica and Notre Dame.   The balloon is currently operated by Banque Populaire and has a carrying capacity of 30 adults or 60 children.

Contact details

Address: 2 Rue Cauchy, 75015 Paris, France. Phone: +33 (0)1 44 26 20 00
Web: www.paris.fr

Getting There

GPS: 48.8434055/2.2748933999999963
Metro:  Balard
Bus: 42, 48
RER: Boulevard Victor

 

2. Jardin d’ Acclimatation

jardin dacclimationThe Jardin d’Acclimatation is simply ‘the’ place to go with kids in Paris on a sunny day.  It is essentially a 20 hectare amusement park, complete with a zoo, an aviary of over 200 species of bird, a museum and many attractions and workshops to keep a family entertained for an entire day at the least.

It was opened by Napoleon III on the 6 October 1860 and was first known as the Paris Zoo, and has been a huge attraction ever since then.  An interesting fact was that during mid-colonialism, there was a ‘human zoo’ here with Nubians, Zulus and Bushmen on exhibit .

Today, children can enjoy pony and camel rides, miniature train rides, puppet shows or cruises down the enchanted river in quaint little boats. There are obstacle courses, an archery range, a house of mirrors and loads of water themed activities to participate in.  The science museum, Exploradôme will inspire curious minds as will the Musée en Herbe, an art museum for children.

Contact Details

Address: Bois de Boulogne, 75016, Paris. Telephone : +33 (0) 1 40 67 90 85. Website : www.jardindacclimatation.fr

Getting There

GPS : 48.8785986 / 2.2641184000000294
Metro: Les Sablons
Bus: 43 – 73 – 82 – PC – 174

 

3. Ile de la Cité  – Souvenir Shopping and Sightseeing

291The Ile de la Cité is at the very heart of Paris as all road distances in France are calculated from the point outside Notre Dame (just across the street) known as Point Zero.  Everyone who comes to Paris loves to shop and what better place to give the children each a budget and allow them to go souvenir shopping along the Ile de la Cité.  Here they will find everything from miniature gargoyles and Quasimodos to T-shirts  bags and ashtrays.   It is well worth bringing the children on a Sunday as the street transforms into an open air caged-bird and pet market.  There are all sorts of animals to be seen from ferrets, mice and rabbits to African Grey parrots, pheasants, chickens and peacocks.

Contact Details

Address:  Ile de la Cité.

Getting There

Metro: Cité

 

4. Parc de la Villette

citc3a9-des-sciences-c2a9csi-sylvain-sonnet-1-copieThe Parc de la Villette is another one of Paris’s family gems that certainly merits a visit. Although it is the smallest Park in Paris, it has the largest concentration of cultural venues, including the Conservatoire de Paris, three major concert venues and the the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie and attracts an estimated 10 million visitors per year. Here, kids can zip-wire, run in human size hamster balls or learn Calligraphy or bread making.

The Park was designed and built in on the site which was once an enormous abattoir.  It has a collection of ten themed gardens which all hold delights for children.  The Childhood Fears Garden, Jardin des frayeurs enfantines and the Dragon Garden, Jardin du dragon are most unusual.  The Mirror Garden, Shadow Garden and Balancing Garden are all popular with kids but the Acrobatic Garden is the pick of the crop.  It is guaranteed to tire out even the most robust of kids.

Contact details

Address: 211 avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019,  Paris. Telephone : +33 (0) 1 40 03 75 75. Website : www.villette.com

Getting There

GPS : 48.8903 / 2.3918866999999864
Metro: Porte de Pantin
Bus: 75, 151, PC2, PC3

 

5.  Sacré-Cœur

Le_sacre_Coeur_bordercroppedThe Basilica of Sacré-Cœur is situated on the summit of Montmartre which is the highest point in Paris. Children get a kick out of knowing that once they have climbed the 300 steps they are almost as high as the Eiffel tower.  The view from the top is one of the most beautiful views of Paris and if you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can climb to the top of the Dome where you will be afforded a panoramic 360° view of the city.

The Basilica was designed by Paul Abadie, who died shortly after the foundation was laid.  Construction began in 1875 and finished in 1914.  It is built of travertine stone which exudes calcite, so, the Sacré-Cœur is essentially a self-cleaning church and always remains brilliantly white despite weathering and pollution. The Portico has two mounted French national saints on either side of it; one of Joan of Arc and the other of King Saint Louis IX.

Contact details –

Address: Parvis du Sacré Coeur, 75018, Paris. Telephone : +33 (0) 1 53 41 89 09.

Getting there –

GPS : 48.8861832 / 2.3431200999999646
Metro: Anvers
Bus: 30, 31, 54, 80, 85, Montmartrobus

 

6. Luxembourg Palace and Gardens – Jardin du Luxembourg

jardins de luxembourgLocated in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, the Luxembourg Gardens are the second largest public park in the city.  It is famous for its Medici Fountain,  marionette theatre, sculptures, free musical performances and model boat sailing for children.  There is a large fenced in playground for young children as well as a vintage carousel which is the city’s oldest ride.  The garden also features in Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables as the place where the two lovers in the story originally meet.

Contact details –

Address:  Jardin du Luxembourg, 75006 Paris. Telephone : +33 (0) 1 43 26 46 47. Website: http://www.senat.fr/visite/jardin/

Getting there –

GPS : 48.8469529 / 2.3372850000000653
Metro: Odéon
RER: Luxembourg

7. Jardin des Plantes

096The Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden in France and is situated in the 5th arrondissement of Paris.  It is a large and very well laid out garden and includes many attractions such as the Menagerie, the Natural History Museum and the Grand Gallery of Evolution.   The Menagerie is a well kept and easy zoo to visit.  It has a reptile house, ape house, insect hotels, herd of reindeer and much more.  A fun fact about this zoo is that although it is not the biggest zoo in Paris, it is the zoo that kept Parisians alive during the 1870 Prussian siege – when the people were forced to eat the zoo animals to stay alive.  The first to be eaten were the two elephants Caster and Pollux, whose trunks were sold to the wealthy as a delicacy.  These two elephants are claimed to have been siblings and were very popular for giving rides on their backs to visitors to the gardens.

Contact details

Address: 36 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 75005,  Paris. Telephone : +33 (0) 1 40 79 54 79. Website: www.mnhn.fr

Getting there

GPS : 48.8414229 / 2.3562147000000095
Metro: Jussieu
Bus: 24, 57, 61, 63, 67, 89, 91
RER: Gare d’Austerlitz

 

8. Bois de Vincennes

bois-de-vincennesThe Bois De Vincennes is a wonderful place to visit if you want to get away from the bustle of the city and reconnect with nature.  Known fondly as the ‘lungs of Paris’ it offers over 27km of walking trails which are ideal for cycling , horse riding and walking.  There are two fitness circuits which are complete with exercise apparatus – the first is a a shorter circuit of 1500m and is suitable for beginners while the second circuit is more challenging at 2500m and with 18 fitness apparatus installed along its circuit. The Bois De Vincennes is what remains of  ancient forest belt that was  always used as a royal hunting ground before the royals abandoned it in favour of hunting at Versailles.  Now, the Bois de Vincennes has a floral park, (created in 1969 for the international flower show), a zoo, a racecourse and houses the Institut National des Sports.  One of the main attractions is to hire a row boat and get out onto the lakes to see things from a different perspective.  There are also lots of child-friendly activities and festivals on offer such as a medieval castle, rollerblading, a farmyard,  a zoo and numerous theatres which have been set up within the forest.

Contact details

Address: Bois de Vincennes,  75012, Paris.

Getting there

GPS : 48.8329459 / 2.434256600000026434256600000026
Metro: Porte Dorée
Bus: 46, 86, PC

 

9. Aquaboulevard de Paris

Aquaboulevard-019.fullsizeAquaboulevard is the biggest urban water park in Europe.  Safety and hygiene is paramount and there is a permanent team of life guards on duty.  The water is constantly pumped around for cleaning and treatment ensuring the pools are constantly being refilled with fresh water.

The Aquaboulevard has both indoor and outdoor facilities and the outdoor attractions are only open during the summer season.  There is a sandy beach complete with straw huts imported from Mauritius, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis, two wave pools, 11 gigantic water slides, rapid rivers and a big array of water games.  A giant size replica of a whale named Jonas, hangs above one of the pools and captivates the imagination of kiddies.  Aquaboulevard is part of a multi-sport complex and also has several tennis and squash courts, a 14 screen cinema complex and 7 restuarants.   Please note that for safety reasons, children under the age of 3 are not allowed to enter and children under the age of 12 have to be accompanied by an adult over 18.

Contact details

Address:  Aquaboulevard de Paris, 4-6 rue Louis Armand,  75015, Paris. Telephone : +33 (0) 1 40 60 10 00. Website: www.aquaboulevard.fr

Getting there

GPS : 48.8331535 / 2.2775232000000187
Metro: Balard
Bus: 39-169
RER: Boulevard Victor

 

10.  Rollerblade through Paris at midnight.

parirollerblogFor a perfect Friday night out with older children or with teens, join the Pari Rollers, a group consisting of hundreds of rollerblade fanatics, who meet every Friday night at 10pm at Place Raoul Dautry in front of the Tour Montparnasse.   This 3 hour skate through Paris-by-Night is open to everyone provided you are not a complete beginner and that you have the stamina to keep up the pace.  The route changes every Friday night but the roads on the current route are closed to traffic during the skate, making it an enegertic, safe and completely unique way of experiencing Paris.

There is a beginners version of the skate and it held every Sunday at 2.30pm from the Place de la Bastille.

Contact details

Address: Paris Roller, 16 boulevard Saint-Germain,  75005, Paris. Telephone : +33 (0) 6 25 21 09 99. Website: www.pari-roller.com

Getting there

GPS : 48.8495905 / 2.354051400000003
Metro: Cardinal Lemoine

 

 

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