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Any wow ideas for kids in Paris, besides Disney

Any wow ideas for kids in Paris, besides Disney

Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:01 AM
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Any wow ideas for kids in Paris, besides Disney

We are travelling to Paris in June with two kids age 5 and 8. I would like to plan one outing as a total fun surprise for them. At first I was considering Disney (I know, Iknow- but, they love Disney here- we have been once). They don't know there is Disney there, so I have to admit it would be a fun surprise for them. However it is not high on my personal list of how to spend a day in Paris.

Then I thought of hot air ballooning over the countryside... Sounds great. Has anyone done this? I noticed one website didn't recommend for children under 7.

Any other spectacular thoughts?
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:15 AM
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The five year old might not be able to see out of the basket in the hot air balloon. Personally, I wouldn't do it.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:25 AM
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The Science Park at La Villette has lots of interactive stuff for children the ages of yours. It might be fun, too, for them to get there on the Canal St. Martin boat and see how the boat goes through the locks. Also, there are pony rides in some of the Paris parks and I have often seen young children enjoying that.

I think the ballooning should wait until they are older and besides, have you checked the cost ? It's horribly expensive.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:29 AM
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Your kids are too young for some of the best "kids stuff" like Segway or fat tire bike tours. There are lots of great things for kids/parks in Paris. But for one "special" surprise - and it is probably blasphemy - but I'd go w/ a day at Disneyland. You take the RER directly from central Paris and the station is right at the park. So, if it were me, and since you say they love Disney, I wouldn't even tell them were we were going. It would just be the excitement of a train ride and when they get off - there is Disneyland.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:50 AM
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I would skip Disney in Paris, leave it for the French and Brit kids that find it much harder to get to the ones in the U.S.

We never told our child that there was a Disney there, keep the secret. Hit a Disney store on the Champs-Élysées if you really must get a fix, but I would focus on the wonders of authentic Paris.

We spent two weeks in Paris for my daughters 6th birthday and had a blast. There are MANY wonderful and wow things to do with kids.

I think they are a little young for the balloon ride, we were not allowed to take one in Cappadocia this summer and our daughter was 6. They won't be able to see over the basket either.

You can look to our blog about all the fun things that we found to do that may give you some ideas.Our trip report starts here:

There are lots of great kids books on Paris that will make it more exciting to for them.

The petite train, Bois de Boulogne park and magnificent huge playground, plus Le Jardin d’Acclimatation are something they will LOOOOOVE.


Going to the Eiffel tower at night ( & having a picnic nearby in the day) will be a hit, especially if you read about it before hand.

Angelinas ( where Linnea from Monets garden goes) was a HUGE hit to try their wonderful hot chocolate.

Looking for Madelines house and playing with French school kids was a lot of fun for mine.

We love the book Story Book Travels that makes up kids itineraries based on good children's literature. Once we got the idea, we have made up lots on our own. There are TONS of great kids books on Paris which will add to your trip,before, during and after.

Walking up the Arc de Triumph and to the bell tower in Notre Dame will be fun for kids and you can not miss the Mona Lisa ( HUGE hit for us). Go late in the day when there are no crowds.

We are bookaholics so we looooved Shakespeare and company. It is an adorable place to get cosy in the children's book section and read and rest a while.

I think Museums are important even with kids this age, but the key is to keep it fun and see the highlights.


The metro can be great fun for kids with all the musicians to tip and people to watch.Have them help you with the maps!

We focused a lot on art that involved Monet because we knew we wanted to go to his garden again. It is a great place for kids and adults and easy day trip away.

What makes it spectacular for kids is really the doing of ordinary things in extraordinary places. Playing with French children in a beautiful Parisian parks, or trying a fancy hot chocolate, or reading a book in an ancient Paris shop, climbing old stairs,,metro,shopping, ice cream in a special place, even Macdonalds or Pizza in Paris is fun.

The boat ride is lots of fun and I like it best at night. The merry-go-rounds are lots of fun for the whole family.Get one of those Paris for kids books or look at this site:

Make sure they are prepared to do lots of walking and will hang onto your hand ( the narrow streets and wild drivers will make that more essential than at home).

You will have a great time!

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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:55 AM
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dcmom, find my trip report from last spring "A Magical Vacation with two little girls" or something like that. We went with a 5 and 7 yo... they loved being in Paris!

The whole trip was a wow! without doing anything like Disney (we've done Disney here, so we didn't feel like spending time and money to do the same thing again).

Our girls loved:
- the Eiffel Tower (and we brought the little 5E metal trinkets home -- they love to play with them!)
- Fat Tire Bike Tours
- museums (in small doses)
- parks and playgrounds... in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, across from Notre Dame, Marais, the Palais Royal black and white things.

However, if you are bent on doing something truly kid-oriented, I had also bookmarked:
- Parc Asterix -www.parcasterix.com
- Buttes- Chaumont Park
- the Science Park that Sherbrooke mentioned

google "Paris kids" and you'll get some ideas and articles....

have a great time!!!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:59 AM
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Just about all the things WTnow mentions are places/sites one would see just in the normal exploring around Paris. Angelina's, the metro, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, parks, boat rides, museums, etc. You are probably already planning to see/do all of those.

Of course they will enjoy all of those - and you really don't need to add anything else. But it sounds like you want one special "WOW" surprise day. For 5 and 8 yo's Disney fills the bill.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:13 AM
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I'd skip Disney anywhere however there is a great many things for kids to do in Paris, be it the Zoo, the merry-go-rounds or eating new & unusual food (like crepes). Check out Fodor's "Around Paris w/Kids 68 things to do".
Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:17 AM
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There is (or was) a tethered hot air balloon in the Parc André Citroën. I do not know the age limits.

I second the Science Museum in the Parc de la Villette.

It might not have the wow factor you seek, but on a breezy day you might want to rent a little sailboat for them to sail in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik might give you some other ideas.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:53 AM
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I was going to suggest the sailboats in Jardin du Luxembourg, but Michel beat me to it.

I would think the 5 year old would enjoy the carousel at the Eiffel Tower. Definitely take them at night to see the tower when it's sparkling with lights. Magical at any age.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:54 AM
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Oops, I meant Michael, not Michel. I was translating in my head.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:54 AM
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No, don't go to disneyland Paris. I do not understand why you would spend all the money on a flight to Paris only to do disneyland ( waaay more expensive and not as nice as home).

Keep the Europe theme. If you must do an amusement park than do Parc Asterix or take a train to Brussels and do mini Europe.

They will have just as much fun there as Disney and have a much more authentic European experience instead of the disney anywhere one.

My daughter ( and all the Parisian kids) just loooved Le Jardin d’Acclimatation and the enchanting little train ride that took us there. THAT is plenty enough amusement park spectacular ( plus tons of charm) for kids that age and enjoyable for the adults as well.

Immerse your children in culture, not disney...they get plenty of that without even trying through endless commercialism aimed at kids. My child who never had a TV knew what a disney princess was before 2!

I say spare the junk food, junk parks and junk books as much as possible,

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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 09:04 AM
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I did not mean you personally, but more about why any American would go to Paris Disneyland.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 10:08 AM
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I might nix Disney on the grounds that they'll be looking for the things at US Disney and won't find them all and be disappointed. (However they may also think the differences are interesting?)

I've not been to Parc Asterix but from what I can tell, it sounds like a good way to get the fun park experience.

And I'd bet you'd be wise to avoid either on weekends (I know that applies to Disney).
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 10:33 AM
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The Grand Guignol puppet show has been delighting children for years. Here's a link in French, sorry I couldn't find it in English.

Also the Jardin d'Acclimatation
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 02:37 AM
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Topping to add my thoughts. We have been to WDW numerous times. We took our 9 and 8 year old to Disneyland Paris yesterday to give them a fun kids day out. WDW isn't for everyone and has its flaws. But, disinterested employees and incredibly rude patrons that push and shove, cut lines and smoke constantly will be a real turn-off for anyone expecting Disney Magic.

The bathrooms are dirty and we saw only one employee attempt to sweep up. At least she was interested enough to get 1/3rd of the trash.

We love Paris as a city and you expect a certain level of Parisian demeanor even at Disney. I think you can make a fun game out of trying to find a Disney employee that smiles.

Paris is great with kids. But, if thinking your kids will find Disney Paris to be just like WDW or Disneyland, you will be mistaken. My kids love amusement parks but grew very tired of the rudeness and ambivalence of the place.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 03:45 AM
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I still think that for a Wow you can't beat Disney for a 5 and 8 year old. I was at Luxemburg last week and did not see one child. The man at the boat rentals was looking very sad. I'm not saying you shouldn't go there as I have been when there were children playing with the boats and it is lovely.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 04:29 AM
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no, no, no...Ryan I hope you're wrong. about the smiles at disney in Paris, I mean. We're Aussies and took our family to Disneyland (LA) a few years ago. We l-o-v-e-d it! I've always told friends that one thing you can rely on is that every employee smiles!!!
Also,dcmom8, I'm still planning our family Europe trip for Oct-Dec this year and plan to fit in Disney for a couple of days near the end, I truely hope that it's as much fun as we found our first visit to Disneyland, although I must admit I had reservations about it 'diluting' the cultural experience!
Your trip will be wonderful either way!!
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