What to do in Paris with young children

May 5, 2017

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In this blog, Pauline Deschamps and Madeleine Diebolt of CBBC Avocats, Paris, a leading French international and family law firm, suggest child friendly activities that a non resident parent might want to consider following the relocation of his or her children to Paris.

After a relocation, you might need to visit your children in Paris. Sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for a week-end, depending on the visitation rights that have been granted to you. It can be a stressful time for a parent because, of course, you don’t have your creature comforts around you and perhaps you don’t have family or friends in Paris. Moreover, you absolutely want your children to have a great time and you want to make the most of your time with them.

There is no intention here to give you legal advice but instead to offer you the opportunity to build strong memories with your children and, perhaps, thereby strengthen your case if you want to enlarge your visitation rights at some stage in the future.

If your children are younger than two years old, the best option is to go to a park if the weather allows it. Paris is full of small local parks and you will always find one near your hotel or flat. If your children are very young it might make sense to rent an apartment rather than book a hotel because you will spend a great deal of time there and you will want your children to feel at home. Airbnb is a good option. Many theatres now offer shows for very young children, starting at two years old (usually a play will last 20 to 30 minutes). To find out what is showing at the time of your stay, you can buy L’officiel des spectacles or le Pariscope (you can also find it online: http://www.offi.fr/enfants and http://www.pariscope.fr/spectacle/enfant).

If your children are between two and five years old and it is a sunny day, obviously the parks are still the most appropriate places to visit. Most parks have games for children and some of them also offer puppet shows and pony rides such as Parc Montsouris, Jardin d’acclimatation, Jardin du Luxembourg, and Parc Monceau. In the summer, you can also take them to the fair in the Tuileries garden. Of course, a zoo is always a wonderful experience for children. The Vincennes zoo is quite large and quite expensive but it can keep you busy for an entire day. If you want to stay only for two or three hours, go to the menagerie du jardin des plantes. It is a smaller zoo closer to the centre of Paris and it is also less expensive (the area with the orangutan is amazing). On a rainy day, you can go to an aquarium for example. There are two main options in Paris: Aquarium de Paris in the western part of Paris (the sharks are always quite an experience for children) and The Aquarium tropical de la porte dorée located on the eastern part of Paris (you can see crocodiles there).

An increasing number of museums are suitable for children, even quite young ones. You can easily take children to the musée du quai branly (the masks are amazing), the musée de la marine, the musée de la chasse et de la pêche (many stuffed animals). Some museums also offer special activities for children such as the Centre Georges Pompidou (modern art), Musée de l’Homme and the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution (museum of natural history). Also, most of the temporary exhibitions in the museums offer classes for children generally aged five and more (ateliers) in connection with one or several topics relating to the exhibition.

If your children are older than five years, Paris is yours! Of course, you can take them to the Bois de Boulogne or the Bois de Vincennes where you can rent a bicycle or a rowboat for a reasonable price. To offer them a little bit more of culture, you can take then to the amazing new Louis Vuitton foundation before your stop at the nearby jardin d’acclimatation where you will find an incredible amusement park. Be careful, it can get very crowded on sunny days. Don’t forget the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie that will make science look like a lot of fun for your children (it is an interactive museum that kids usually love), the geode (cinema in 3D) and the Egyptian antiquities in The Louvre.

If you have more time and if you can afford it, you can also take them to Disneyland. It is just a short train ride away from Paris and you can make an entire week-end out of it. For evening entertainment, the Opéra national de Paris as well as the Cité de la Musique offer musical events for children aged 5 and more. The cinema is also a good option.

Finally, there are many child-friendly restaurants where you can take your children for a meal. If you like Asian food, you can take your children to Chez Hé  (they offer a huge indoor playground for children); for brunch we recommend the Buddah bar or the pavillon des oiseaux at the Jardin d’acclimation, both offering activities for children (Magician, coloring, videogames, etc.). You can also check the websites below for additional information and suggestions.

You will find that many of the museums and parks mentioned here have an English website: (http://www.cite-sciences.fr/en/, http://www.louvre.fr/en/homepage, https://parczoologiquedeparis.fr/en, https://www.mnhn.fr/en etc.). We also encourage you to visit the timeout website for more ideas: https://www.timeout.com/paris/en/things-to-do/Paris-for-kids

With thanks for this informative blog from Family Law in Partnership to Pauline Deschamps and Madeleine Diebolt, CBBC avocats, Paris. Pauline Deschamps is a partner and Madeleine Diebolt is an associate at CBBC avocats. Pauline specialises in complex litigation and enforcement proceedings. Fluent in English and Italian and a trained collaborative lawyer, Pauline favours amicable solutions whenever possible but pursues robust litigation if no settlement can be found. Madeleine Diebolt is experienced in dealing with complex cases of international divorce as well as relocation, international abduction, parenting issues involving child contact and residence, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments etc. She speaks both French and English fluently.