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Fun for Kids in Paris

Aug 17, 2007
Although Paris is perceived as an adult destination, there are many parks, museums, and sites to interest families in the City of Light. Some of the major attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower and a boat ride down the Seine are as enjoyable for children as they are for adults. In addition, there are a number of activities throughout the city that cater especially to families and children. Among them are:

Luxembourg Gardens

Located on Paris' Left Bank just behind the Luxembourg Palace, this 60-acre green oasis holds a plethora of delights for children. Chief among them are the classic "Punch and Judy" puppet shows held most afternoons in the park. The dialogue is in French, but the plots are timeless and easy for even the smallest child to understand. Also within the park is a traditional, gilded carrousel, complete with painted horses and gold rings. The park's central pond has small sailboats that can be rented for just two euros and most days will find a score or more of young girls and boys goading their craft along with sticks.

Pompidou Center

Just the look and the shape of this Paris modern art museum are fun for kids. The ductwork and pipes are all exposed on the outside of the structure, painted in bright colors. The escalator, located also on the outside of the building, offers sweeping views of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and other Paris landmarks. The Pompidou Center was very controversial with the conservative Parisians when it opened in 1977. The museum is light and airy, in stark contrast to the classic Louvre. The Pompidou's 50,000-piece collection focuses on 20th and 21st century art, with a large number of works by Picasso, Miro, and Kandinsky, among others.

Parc Asterix

Located about 20 miles north of Paris, Parc Asterix is the quintessential French theme park. Based on the French comic book character, Asterix the Gaul, the park is known for its many roller coasters and other Gallic-themed rides, such as a bobsled ride, water ride, and haunted mansion. Parc Asterix is smaller than Disneyland Paris and is easily visited in one day. To get to the park, take the RER train to Charles de Gaulle airport. There's a shuttle from there to the Parc Asterix.

Cite des Sciences et Industries

The biggest science museum in Europe, this modern hands-on center, boasts the latest in futuristic equipment as well as an Omni-Max theater and planetarium. Part of the Parc de la Villette complex on Paris' east side, the seven-acre museum has a full-scale model of the Mirage French jet fighter, a children's Science City, and a series of hydroponic greenhouses. Just outside is La Geode, a giant entertainment sphere that shows films on nature, travel, and space.

Paris Zoo

Located in the Bois de Vincennes on the southeastern edge of Paris, the Paris Zoo features a huge variety of animals, housed in natural-like settings without bars or cages. Large moats and natural barriers separate the animals from the visitors. There is a veldt for the African animals, an Alp-like peak for the mountain goats, and air-conditioned pools for the penguins. The park is easy to get to from the city center; it's at the end of the No. 1 Metro line.
About the Author
Gerald Robinson has a passion for Paris and provides help for planning and enjoying travel to Paris at his website, www.paris-travel-insider.com . The content is derived from his trips to Paris and exhaustive research.
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