If people ask me whether Paris is a child-friendly city I tend to say no. But Paris is so incredibly irresistible that this has never kept me from doing my very best to make my children love and enjoy Paris as much as I do. Compared to other cities, it just needs a bit more research and insider information to set up a nice list of activities to keep the little ones happy. These are my 5 favorite things I like doing with my kids. Please, spread the word, let’s grow a new generation of Paris lovers!
1. Le Musée en Herbe
Of course, Paris would not be Paris if it wasn’t all about art and culture, this place is actually a museum to make children get used to museums … but in a very fun and accessible way with great themes, guide tours, and workshops for children starting from the age of 3. Check out the website to see the current exhibition. If you are interested in more culture for young children, have a look at the program of Le 104 as well (Les Toutes Petites Visites and La Maison des Petits are great and so très très intellectual).
2. Kapla Center
Young and old can build their own Kapla world, with or without the help of professional Kapla experts at this former photo gallery in the 11th arrondissement. Open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and during holidays. Reservations are obligatory, which is great since you will not end up in a too crowded space. Good to know: you can hire Kapla experts to take care of your child’s birthday party at your place! 27 rue de Montreuil 75011, www.kaplacentre.com
3. Cooking like a Chef
To create mini-chefs, The Ritz Escoffier school offers cooking lessons for children in the prestigious restaurant’s kitchen. They will not only be as proud as their parents, but also leave with the result and an official Ritz Escoffier diploma, which looks great in your living room to impress your guests. (110€/2 hours).
For more daily cooking, there is always an Atelier des Chefs near to where you live with great lessons for kids (38 € / 1h30 lesson during which they learn several recipes) www.atelierdeschefs.fr
4. La Cité des Enfants
This is one of my son’s favorite activities. A great place for children from 2 to 7 years old to play and learn at the same time. They can test their flexibility and senses, watch themselves in the mirrors, listen to their emotions, play with balance, sounds, and letters and explore pathways, setting their body in motion… Be prepared, you will have a hard time taking them back home. And have a good night sleep before, as it is quite exhausting for the parents. Try to go early in the morning or during lunch hours, it can get crowded. It is part of the Cité des Sciences, there are many things to do for older children and parents, like the Géode with its giant screen. www.cite-sciences.fr
5. French Touch Fishing
Do you know Street Fishing? Fred Miessner is a fanatic street fisher who just loves fishing in the Seine and Canal Saint Martin, and guess what: he just loves teaching children how to fish. Classes are organized in an “improvised” way and take place every Wednesday between 12h30 and 14h00. Just contact Fred through the website and he will give you more information. From 7 years old and only during the fishing season: 1st of May till the end of February. If you are jealous, I am sure you can join them as a parent as well.