Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

We took our kids to Paris in 2016 as part of our 30-day trip to Europe that coincided with our daughter’s “I Do Take Two” – she and her husband had a small ceremony in the states with her U.S. family, then had a big, beautiful wedding in Nottingham with our son-in-law’s family. Since we were going anyway, we decided to visit some of our favorite places – Berlin and Wiesbaden, Brussels, and of course, Paris. We only had a few days, so hit the hot spots – the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and paid homage to Jim Morrison at Pere Lachaise.

But if you have more time to visit (we’re definitely planning to go back), here are 8 wonderful reasons to visit Paris with your kids.

1. The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont Playground – A giant-sized playground-cum-landscaped park, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is full of streams for playing and has a pavilion on the top of a hill. The gigantic place also offers an alcove with a waterfall gushing out of it and a breathtaking view atop a suspension bridge above the water.

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Kids are sure to love the place, what with donkey rides and funfair events encircling the main pond. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a unique, green area certainly worth a casual family stroll.

Numerous birds share the space, such as black-headed gulls, moorhens, and mallards, which enjoy its heights and also the lakewater’s freshness. If you’re traveling to Paris anytime between autumn and spring, you’re sure to spot the long-tailed songbird jerking.

2. The Ménagerie  Zoo – Lying in the heart of the Jardin des Plantes, the nation’s most significant botanical garden, the Ménagerie Zoo is home to plenty of big cats including snow leopards, and red pandas and is exceptionally child-friendly. Easily accessible, the zoo also has orangutans, kangaroos, snakes, a 100-year-old turtle, and a variety of birds including vultures, ostriches, and flamingos.

Inside this living book of diverse wildlife, you’re sure to experience tenderness during your encounters with animals, letting you reconnect with nature. These unforgettable moments also make kids aware of the vital need to protect and preserve biodiversity. You can also take guided tours to understand common and rare types of animal behavior.

Younger kids will enjoy themselves at a petting zoo here, full of farm animals, while the older ones can spend quality time at the Microzoo, zooming in on tiny organisms.

3. The Jardin d’Acclimatation Amusement Park – A huge success with kids, the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a 19-hectare amusement park is best to visit during summer. Packed with kids’ attractions like pony rides and puppet shows, the park also houses a livestock farm and an aviary.

The Jardin d’Acclimatation features 4 fabulous roller-coasters, flying chairs and 18 hectares to stroll on. Summers offer kids ample scope to chill out with water-themed rides.

While the “Enchanted House” entertains toddlers, radio-controlled boats and mini-golf areas fascinate the older kids. What’s more, the park has, in its vicinity, a mini train with pushchairs running right up to its entrance.

4. The Grévin Wax Museum – Offering a wacky yet useful experience of French civilization, the Grévin Wax Museum houses more than 300 wax shapes. The figures include those of historical characters like Napoleon, political figures like Obama and singing superstars like Celine Dion. What’s more, kids could have their pictures clicked by the side of waxworks of these celebrities!

Image by Iva Balk from Pixabay

The fascinating museum takes kids through the history of France via its numerous waxworks. On the museum tour, you will also get to learn the detailed process of making the wax figures.

Last but not least the Grévin Wax Museum boasts an incredibly opulent marble staircase leading up to an equally exuberant hall of mirrors throwing light from every angle. Under dimmed lights, the hall creates eye-catching optical illusions of a temple, mysterious forest and a palace made of gold.

5. Disneyland – With a French-speaking Mickey Mouse and making a perfect fairytale family vacation destination, Disneyland Paris is full of classic attractions, entertainment events, and street processions.

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Your magical tour of Disneyland covers two parks, namely, Parc Disneyland and Parc Walt Disney Studios, Disney Entertainment Village, and countless restaurants. At Disneyland, kids can meet all Disney characters including Goofy and Captain Hook.

The little ones can enjoy themselves at Fantasyland that brings Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to life, while the older kids can indulge in adventure rides like the “Star Tours” where they need to dodge objects and fly at full speed for destroying the Death Star.

Don’t miss out on “The Pirates of the Caribbean”, the most popular family ride in Parc Disneyland, where spooky pirates will attack you.

Disneyland offers a unique experience in autumn due to Halloween as well as Christmas celebrations.

6. Aquarium de Paris – Situated opposite the iconic Eiffel Tower and brimming with interesting collections of marine life, Aquarium de Paris offers an extraordinary experience for kids as well as adults.

With approximately sixty tanks and ponds where you’ll find more than 7000 sea creatures, all from the French waters, seek out clownfish, the favorite aquarium pets, the poisonous puffers, and the endangered species of stingrays.

What’s more, the aquarium with its glass walls touching the floor caters to even toddlers as they’re able to see inside without you having to pick them up.

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Kids will love, in particular, the shark tunnel, the dwelling of twenty-four toothy sharks as well as the petting pond where they can fondle warm and friendly sturgeon fish as they thrust their long funnel-shaped noses outside the water.

7. Parc de la Villette Playground – A 55-hectares playground located in northern Paris, and full of slides and jungle gym-style, fun-filled activities the Parc de la Villette is a full-fledged, kid-friendly attraction. Children will find plenty of games as well as carnival rides to spend any additional time while relishing cotton candies.

Watch your kids shooting down Chinese dragon slides as you experience the beauty of this urban delight. Red-colored pavilions dotting the playground serve as huge climbing frames and also as a kids’ art center.

Summertime attracts large crowds to a film festival held on the lawns, in the open air.  Parc de la Villette has 10 themed gardens having reminiscent names like the “Garden of Mirrors”, “The Garden of Mists”, and “The Garden of Acrobatics”.

8. The Cat Cafe – “Le Café des Chats” – The first cat cafe in Paris offering a relaxed ambiance for you and the kids to savor your coffee and pastries while being around cats, Le Café des Chats is home to a dozen, beautiful cats.

The two-story cafe serves as a stable shelter for abandoned cats, thus contributing to animal welfare. With plenty of comfortable sofas and a large variety of pastries on the menu, kids will have a memorable time here, while gently interacting with the cats.

Children can also learn about the cats’ different personalities by reading a card about every individual cat, displayed near the tables. This way children will surely get to know the cats better while enjoying watching them play around the place.           

Bonus tip: Be sure to get a scratch-off map of the world so that once back home, you can add Paris to your travel memories.