The best experience we had in Paris for our children, was spending an entire day in the beautiful Parc de la Villette. Specifically we loved visiting the Children’s Museum – or the Cite des Enfants.
The Cite des Enfants – Paris Children’s Museum
We had a fabulous visit to the Cite des Enfants (Children’s Museum). This is a very hands-on museum on the ground floor of the Cite de Sciences (Science Museum). We bought tickets ahead of time as it can be a popular attraction. The link for tickets is here. The Cite des Enfants Is divided into 2 sections – half for children 2-7 years old and another for 5-12 year olds. We did the 2-7 side.
This museum is awesome!!! Your ticket buys you 1.5 hours inside. They had areas to explore the senses (sight, sound, smell etc.), emotions, ball play, balancing items, writing words, animals, water flow, and physical movement. Warning: your child might get a little wet. A handy hint – go to the back by the maze or water play area to start and then wind your way forward – that way you aren’t always in the most crowded section. I cannot recommend this museum enough – the highlight of our Paris stay!
Practical Info for the Cite des Enfants:
Open from Tuesday to Saturday, the Cité des enfants runs through sessions.
Sessions are 1hr30 mins long (1hr15 mins during the Autumn half-term and Christmas holidays).
Booking is strongly recommended during French Holidays.
From Monday to Friday: 10:00 – 11:45 – 13:30 – 15:15
Saturdays and Sundays : 10:30 – 12:30 – 14:30 – 16:30
Full Rate: €9
Reduced Rate: €7 (under 25 years; 65 and over; college students)
Internet booking fees: €2 per order
To buy Tickets online click here.
Recommend you check their website for most updated info.
How to Get There:
The museum is located in Parc de la Villette in the 19th arr. The closest metro stop is Porte de la Villette – line 5 and Corentin Cariou – line 7.
The Cite des Sciences – Paris Science Museum
Then, we spent the entire rest of the day exploring the park and the surrounding canal area. A part of the Cite des Enfants was being worked on, so as a compensation our tickets allowed us access to the first floor of exhibits in the broader Science museum.
We liked the mathematics section (even if the lessons were over their heads my children enjoyed the hands-on activities, and especially liked the science of sounds area. The whisper cones were fun to try out – the kids thought it was hilarious to whisper “poop” to each other. The kids also loved the piano and drum rooms.
And then, I got to see the Solar Impulse exhibit! Yes! This was hugely exciting for my family. We have been fans and following the round-the-world on solar power travel of Solar Impulse II ever since it took off from Abu Dhabi last year. To see something that made history up close – it flew across America on nothing more than solar power – was exhilarating. What if all planes will run off renewable energy by the time my children are adults? I hope so!
There was so much to do and see in the museum. We had a little snack at Burger King – which is ready for a surge of kids after each Cite des Enfants session ends. We enjoyed the little aquarium next to the burger king too. And had some nice downtime in the children’s section of the library. The attached Geode building holds a humongous IMAX theater – perfect for rainy day in Paris.
The Park – Playgrounds and Merry-go-Rounds
Outside in the park are the best playground in Paris. Seriously – these are some world class playgrounds. Just look at this dragon slide! Then there are nice walking/biking paths, picnic areas, ball fields, and the canal with small boats going up and down. There are also circus/performance areas, a symphony hall, and a music museum within the park. For a list of events check out their website : Parc de la Villette
We adored the Merry-go-round here, which we declared the finest of Paris (based on our extensive research of 2 others). It has a cool steam punk vibe with features on sci-fi writers like Jules Verne (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).
After a long day in the park, you can walk down the canals a bit to explore the neighborhood. There are may fine restaurants and cafes along the canal, when you can spot boaters and men playing boules ball games.
Have you been to the Cite de Enfants or Parc de Villette? What did you think? Any other must-see parks or child-friendly museums in Paris? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more information on Paris with Kids? Check out these reports from Jo Jacks:
As Featured On: My Favorite Trip Linky