1. Ride a carrousel – I can think of four carrousels in Paris right off the bat. It’s a kids’ paradise for carrousels. Some are clunky, just better than super-market level affairs (Square de Boucicaut near the Bon Marche), others are majestic in their “emplacement” (across the street from the Eiffel Tower), and others melancholy, like the one in the Tuilleries, which wouldn’t surprise me if it played Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves) in the calliope version. Our rule for our kids is “one carrousel (or manege) a day, whenever you spot one.
2. See the stuffed animals at Deyrolles. All the joy of a zoo, except that all the animals are stuffed and it’s absolutely free. If you’re wandering around the neighborhood around the Musee d’Orsay with (or without) kids, make sure to stop in at Deyrolles at 46, rue du Bac, right near the Montalembert. This taxidermy and outdoors supplies shop has been open for 100 years. It was recently rescued by the owners of the Prince Jardinier to save it from destruction. Lucky thing too — it’s a wonderfully quirky store that will amaze you and a real step back into time when budding Darwins ensnared, collected, and catalogued all manner of animals.
3. Canal Saint-Martin (5 years old and up depending on how ancy your child gets).
From L’Arsenal near the Bastille, the boats disappear into a 100 year-old stone tunnel for about 1 kms. On the other side of the tunnel, you’re treated to a leisurely ride with an unfolding street show of French life unfolding in front of you. Slowly you’ll get to La Villette, at the north eastern border of the city, which is a fun museum for kids if you’re not burnt out by then. You can take the boat all the way back or walk through the Vilette to the metro to get home. . Port de l’Arsenal. Metro: Bastille. Canauxrama: Bassin de la Villette, 13, quai de la Loire. 75019. Reservations: 01 42 39 15 00. 9:45am-2:30pm. 12 euros. 10 euros for up to 12 years old. Under 6= free. The boat has recently discontinued refreshments, so bring along your own snacks, coffee, picnic, or drinks.
4. Unicorn Tapestries at the Cluny Museum or Musée National du Moyen Age – Count yourself lucky if you happen to see the Unicorn tapestries (Dame à la Licorne) at the same time as a class of little kids. Along with the Unicorn Tapestries of the Cloisters in New York, these are among the most inspiring and “fun” tapestries in the world.
Additionally, there are the newly designed gardens inspired by the Books of hours, by tapestries and paintings of the Middle Ages. The garden is a series of smaller gardens, each one with a theme: medicinal herbs, love, and food. 6, place Paul-Painlevé. 75005. Tel: 01 53 73 78 00. Open daily except Tues., 9:15am-5:45pm. Metro: Odeon or Cluny.
Article is a work in progress…