Paris is Child’s Play

This week, dear reader, I’m happy to introduce you to Michael Schuermann. You probably know him already – as Easy Hiker. Not only is Michael and his wife Marlys the go-to people for anything related to fun and easy hikes in Europe, they are also experts on everything Paris! Michael has kindly agreed to write a guest post for us on Paris for kids. Enjoy!

No matter what you believe, kids: Paris is not boring.

It is just that adults sometimes make it look that way.

And to prove my point, I am going to take you to the municipal slaughterhouse today. Only it is no longer the municipal slaughterhouse. It has been converted into a place of fun and games. For children!

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There are two ways of getting to the Cite des Sciences (don’t let that name scare you away).

– You can walk. Take the Metro to the station Republique, walk towards the big Habitat shop on the other side and straight into Rue du Faubourg du Temple. Turn left after two blocks until you reach the canal. Now all you need to do to get to the Cite is follow the waterway for about two hours.

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This is a very pretty walk, particularly on a sunny day. It has the added advantage that, once you arrive at the Cite, your parents will be so exhausted that they will just want to sit down and let you explore the place on your own.

– If you cannot persuade your parents to go for the walk, however (or if it is raining), you can also take a Metro train. Look for line number 7 and go all the way to a station called Porte de la Villette in the extreme northeast of the city. (The Cite is just outside the exit on the other side of the street.)

No matter how you arrive, the first thing you will notice is how HUGE the Cite des Sciences actually is. Much of it, however, can be safely ignored. The cinema, for example, which is accommodated inside the giant iron ball. It has been showing IMax and 3D movies long before Hollywood picked up the idea, but they should really take a deep, deep look into their programme.

Right now, they are screening films with titles like “A Day In the Life Of A Honeybee”, the sort of stuff that your grandmother will think you would enjoy. (And is she right?)

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You may also want to stay clear of the exhibitions they stage on the upper levels of the main building – unless, that is, you happen to have a particular interest in “Innovation and Sustainable Development”.

Or quiver with excitement at the mere mention of “Earthwatch: The Satellite Revolution”.

“The Story of the Universe” in the Planetarium, says the brochure, takes you “on a journey lasting 13.7 billion years”. That sounded fascinating, but unfortunately, we couldn’t join them for the ride because we had a plane to catch the following Tuesday.

No: smart kids go straight to the Cite des Enfants.

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This is where they let you have a go on a sprint track so you can crash full speed into a wall. Where you can operate a mechanical crane to construct and demolish whole cities made from little building-block structures.

Where they give you musical instruments so you can make the walls shake and where they let you loose in a TV studio so you can clown around and shout gibberish at the cameras.

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And finally, there is the Jeux d’Eau section where you can splash around with water and get your big sister all wet. (Tell your parents it helps you understand science.)

Beats a day at the Museum for 18th Century Porcelain anytime, wouldn’t you say?

Easy Hiker

Michael Schuermann aka Easy Hiker is a German born journalist who started traveling at age 7 but discovered hiking much later in life. Get him to start you hiking with tips on where and how to start. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

21 Responses to “Paris is Child’s Play”

  1. Fida 20 October 2011 1719 #

    Fabulous tips! I have to show them to my nieces. They pretty much rolled their eyes when I suggested a trip to Paris :)
    Fida recently posted..Sep 18, Switzerland Culture and Traditions

  2. Christopher 20 October 2011 1854 #

    Quite an interesting view of Paris, something I haven’t seen before. Thank you!
    Christopher recently posted..A Year in Signs 2011

  3. Kiki 20 October 2011 1939 #

    Been to Paris but never knew there is such place. Too bad I missed it.
    Kiki recently posted..Natural Cures

  4. Louise 20 October 2011 2025 #

    Well, yeah, who has 13.7 billion years to spend on just one attraction? Better to get crashing into walls right away. That’s what my little sister would say, anyway :)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 20 October 2011 2109 #

      @Louise – Know what you mean! In this day and age – and with a flight on Tuesday – one really can’t afford to set aside that amount of time…

  5. Laurel 21 October 2011 0936 #

    I had never thought about what their was to do in Paris for kids until I read this. It looks like fun (even for adults). I’m curious about “A Day in the Life of a Honeybee”.
    Laurel recently posted..Food Friday: Where’s the Bread?

  6. Amanda Kendle 21 October 2011 1347 #

    Now there’s something I’ve never done in Paris – and given that the next time I get there will be with a small boy in tow for his first visit, it’s a very handy tip.
    Amanda Kendle recently posted..Weekend Wanderings: A few of our favourite things

  7. Robert 22 October 2011 1359 #

    This looks so cool. My brother and his wife always take their kids to Disneyland Paris when they go to France. This sounds sooo much better.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 22 October 2011 1549 #

      @Robert – I’ve managed to avoid Disneyland Paris so far *fingers crossed*. :)

  8. Abby 22 October 2011 2116 #

    Great read!! I think you’d have fun anywhere. This Paris trip sounds like a blast.
    Abby recently posted..Why solo travel is not for me

  9. Angela 22 October 2011 2313 #

    Great angle on Paris, such a beautiful city, I’ve visited it way too little :)
    Angela recently posted..A trip, a photo – A glimpse of Islam in Tehran

  10. Ana 23 October 2011 1551 #

    How modern! You’d never think it began life as a slaughterhouse!
    Ana recently posted..5 fun facts about Texas

  11. The Travel Chica 23 October 2011 1646 #

    My trip to Paris was so short I didn’t have time to find interesting things like this. Looks like a fun place to take your kids… or just ask like one :-)
    The Travel Chica recently posted..Buenos Aires Odd Jobs: The Tour Guide Part 1

  12. jenjenk 23 October 2011 2151 #

    funny, i’m so selfish that i never even thought about paris through the eyes of a child! you mean, they wouldn’t enjoy spending countless hours at the louvre or shopping for knick knacks? ;)
    jenjenk recently posted..Turkey: The Kind and Friendly Turks

  13. Andrea 24 October 2011 1140 #

    We wandered out to this complex once – I remember it was huge!
    Andrea recently posted..A Reminder About Tax-Free Shopping

  14. Barbara 24 October 2011 1408 #

    Nice post. Cite des Enfants is awesome. Paris has an unbelievable amount of interesting things to do for kids. My niece and nephew visited me in Paris when they were 8 and 9 — four years later, they’re still talking about it. The trick is knowing where to look…
    Barbara recently posted..6 Things to Do with Kids in Paris at Halloween

  15. robin 25 October 2011 1010 #

    Funny – Granada, another romantic location that often comes across as grown-ups only, also has a famous science park to keep the kids happy!
    robin recently posted..Las Nubes

  16. Tina 26 October 2011 1046 #

    I love how this article is addressed to children!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 October 2011 1052 #

      @Tina – So do I. And my 10-year-old did as well. She is relishing the thought of getting her big sister all wet in the name of science.

  17. Jan 15 November 2011 1336 #

    That’s a cool place for my kids and at the same time educational. I have been into Paris several times but i never knew there is that kind of place there. I’ll consider Paris again in my next vacation.

  18. Tiffany 22 February 2012 0818 #

    Great post! Who knew there were so many fun things to do in Paris :) We’ll definitely be referencing this post as we get closer to the European part of our round the world trip.
    Tiffany recently posted..Sailing – How to Test the Waters

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