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!
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.
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?)
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.
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.
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?
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.