Paris Outings for Little Kids
5-year-old non-French speaker used as test subject.
- •Centre Georges Pompidou.This is my top kid hack for Paris: on a rainy or too-hot day, you can't beat the Pompidou. Even without buying a ticket, it's got a decent cafe and hugely fun glass elevators to ride up and down. A/c, which is atypical for Paris. And some nice ateliers/workshops for kids, and this summer a phenomenal Jan Koop installation just for them.
- •Cite des Enfants at the Cite de Sciences et l'Industrie.Combines the best features I've seen at children's/science museums in Boston/CT/NY. Has a/c. You have to reserve in advance, online, for a specific time (which is a pain), but they do this to limit crowds, which makes the experience better in the end. The adult museum upstairs is not bad, either.
- •Palais de la Decouverte.Good science museum. Lots of demonstrations, in French, but with bolts of electricity, and such, that need no translation.
- •Musee de la Magie.50% cheesy/weird, 50% fascinating historical stuff, with a magic show, in French, that my kid couldn't really follow.
- •Aire de jeux at the Jardin de Luxembourg.Great playground that charges a small entrance fee. Next door is a wonderful old-school carousel. (Bonus: there's a Suharu Aoki not far away, for great pastry.)
- •Jeuxclub at Passage des Princes.Excellent Lego store, plus lots of little Europe-specific toy cars for a cheap present.
- •Le Centquatre.A really appealing arts and community center with maybe the nicest creative playroom for toddlers (up to 5) I've ever seen. Helps to know French for that, as you have to sign in, etc. It's fun to walk around and watch performers practicing, and see whatever installations are there, too.