Fodor's Expert Review Parc de la Villette

Eastern Paris Garden/Arboretum

This former abattoir (slaughterhouse) is now an ultramodern, 130-acre park. With lawns and play areas, an excellent science museum, a music complex, and a cinema, it's the perfect place to entertain exhausted kids. You could easily spend a whole day here.

The park itself was designed in the 1980s by postmodern architecture star Bernard Tschumi, who melded industrial elements, children's games (don't miss the dragon slide), ample green spaces, and funky sculptures along the canal into one vast yet unified playground. Loved by picnickers, the lawns also attract rehearsing samba bands and pickup soccer players. In summer there are outdoor festivals and a free open-air cinema, where people gather at dusk to watch movies on a huge inflatable screen.

In cold weather you can visit an authentic submarine and the Espace Chapiteaux (a circus tent featuring contemporary acrobatic theater performances) before hitting the museums. The hands-on one at the Cité des Sciences et... READ MORE

This former abattoir (slaughterhouse) is now an ultramodern, 130-acre park. With lawns and play areas, an excellent science museum, a music complex, and a cinema, it's the perfect place to entertain exhausted kids. You could easily spend a whole day here.

The park itself was designed in the 1980s by postmodern architecture star Bernard Tschumi, who melded industrial elements, children's games (don't miss the dragon slide), ample green spaces, and funky sculptures along the canal into one vast yet unified playground. Loved by picnickers, the lawns also attract rehearsing samba bands and pickup soccer players. In summer there are outdoor festivals and a free open-air cinema, where people gather at dusk to watch movies on a huge inflatable screen.

In cold weather you can visit an authentic submarine and the Espace Chapiteaux (a circus tent featuring contemporary acrobatic theater performances) before hitting the museums. The hands-on one at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie is a favorite stop for families and a must for science fans; its 3-D Omnimax cinema (La Géode) is housed in a giant mirrored ball. Arts-oriented visitors of all ages will marvel at the excellent, instrument-filled Musée de la Musique. The park has even more in store for music lovers in the form of the Philharmonie de Paris, a striking 2,400-seat concert hall designed by Jean Nouvel.

All that's left of the slaughterhouse that once stood here is La Grande Halle, a magnificent iron-and-glass building currently used for exhibitions, performances, and trade shows.

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Garden/Arboretum Park/Playground Arts/Performance Venue Family

Quick Facts

211 av. Jean Jaurès
Paris, Île-de-France  75019, France

-01–40–03–75–75

www.lavillette.com

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