The six-storey Haussmann buildings and relentless traffic of central Paris can feel claustrophobic at the best of times, so when you have a family in tow escape is often the only thing on your mind. Luckily you don't have to travel far to find sprawling parks, where the kids can let off steam while you catch your breath. Are we there yet?The Parc de Sceaux is the perfect blend of geometric French garden and natural forest (though the wilder sections are fenced off). The canal that runs through the middle offers some glorious views, while the many benches and water fountains create a nice environment for idle Sunday strollers.
How to get there: Take the RER B to Parc de Sceaux. Reachable from Route de Senlis, the canal walk is as peaceful as it is brief, and pram-friendly to boot. The path has more character than the wooded area around the nearby château, and a few thoughtful touches – such as the informative placards identifying the varied flora – spice things up for kids. Sadly, a sizeable chunk of the path remains private; but you can extend your walk by continuing into the botanical gardens.
How to get there: Take the RER D to Chantilly-Gouvieux. From here, make your way from Avenue du Maréchal Joffre to Rue du Connétable, then Route de Senlis.
Paris for families
Hospitable Parisian hot spots, where kids are welcome and well catered for Breizh Café With its modern interior of pale wood and its choice of 15 artisanal ciders, this outpost of a restaurant in Cancale, Brittany, is a world away from the average crêperie. For the complete faux-seaside experience, you might start with a plate of creuse oysters from Cancale before indulging in an inventive buckwheat galette such as the Cancalaise, made with potato, smoked herring from Brittany and herring roe. The choice of fillings is fairly limited, but the ingredients are of high quality - including the use of Valrhona chocolate with 70% cocoa solids in the dessert crêpes. This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best dishes in Paris. Click here to see the full list. L'Estaminet Bobo, yes, but still lovely. Insulated from the honking horns of the city, this place is a true oasis in central Paris. This small, organic canteen is warm and welcoming, a tavern for weary urban travellers in the heart of the Enfants Rouges market. Though somewhat difficult to find, it is far from secret – especially in summer when the colourful chairs come out to allow customers to enjoy the aromas of the market. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays, and the ‘traditional’ menu (€20) is hearty and original. In addition to hot drinks and organic apple juice, take your pick from scrambled eggs, salad, assorted cheeses and cold cuts, fruit salad, cottage cheese, scones and jam. A plate full of variety and goo
Great days out with the little ones in the capital - that won't cost you a cent! 104 (Centquatre) It's more than a century since Montmartre was the centre of artistic activity in Paris. But now the north of Paris is again where the action is - albeit a couple of kilometres east of place du Tertre, in a previously neglected area of bleak railway goods yards and dilapidated social housing.104, described as a 'space for artistic creation', occupies a vast 19th-century building on the rue d'Aubervilliers that used to house Paris's municipal undertakers. The site was saved from developers by Roger Madec, the mayor of the 19th, who's made its renovation the centrepiece of a massive project of cultural and urban renewal.There aren't any constraints on the kind of work the resident artists do - 104 is open to 'all the arts' - but they're expected to show finished pieces in one of four annual 'festivals'. And they're also required to get involved in projects with the public, the fruits of which are shown in a space next door. Parc André Citroën This is one of Time Out's top 50 things to do in Paris this summer. Click here to see the full list. This park is a fun, postmodern version of a French formal garden, designed by Gilles Clément and Alain Prévost. It comprises glasshouses, computerised fountains, waterfalls, a wilderness and themed gardens featuring different coloured plants and even sounds. Stepping stones and water jets make it a garden for pleasure as well as philosophy. The
With two parks to explore (Parc Disneyland and the special effects-oriented Parc Walt Disney Studios), as well as the Disney Entertainment Village (restaurants, bars and nightclubs), numerous hotels, and restaurants, the whole adventure can seem daunting. Here, we pick out some of the best bits for kids of all ages, as well as rides, restaurants and hotels for the whole family.For young childrenLittle ones get a kick out of Fantasyland, in the main Parc Disneyland, where the Cheshire Cat and the wicked Queen of Hearts await in Alice's Curious Labyrinth. It's a Small World takes you on a musical adventure past automated toy soldiers and animals. Meanwhile, over in Discoveryland, kids love helping Buzz save the world from little green men in the delightfully noisy Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.For older children (and daredevils of all ages)Disney's latest adrenalin ride, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Walt Disney Studios, Production Courtyard) takes the brave to the top of an old Hollywood hotel, before sending them plummeting down a 13-storey lift shaft; and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in the Back Lot takes off at mega speed, before hurtling round hairpin turns and loops to the funky rhythm of Aerosmith.For all the familyWithout doubt, the best family ride is the Pirates of the Caribbean in Parc Disneyland's Adventureland, where you will experience a ghostly pirate attack. Also fun is Star Tours, a Star Wars adventure in Discoveryland that sees you dodgin
Families are well catered-for in Paris with dozens of museums offering regular kids’ activities as well as permanent collections that enthrall little and big minds alike. And if all else fails, there’s always Disneyland... Musée de la Poupée This small, private museum and doll hospital enchants little girls with its collection of some 500 dolls (mostly of French origin) and their accompanying accessories and pets, which are arranged in thematic tableaux.A few teddies and quacking ducks are thrown in for young boys, and storytelling sessions and workshops (along the lines of making doll's clothes or miniature food for dolls' houses) are held at 2pm on Wednesdays (in French, reserve in advance; €8-€13). There's even a clinique pour poupées if your doll is falling apart at the seams. Musée de la Monnaie de Paris Housed in the handsome neo-classical mint built in the 1770s, this high-tech museum tells the tale of global and local coinage from its pre-Roman origins, using sophisticated displays and audio-visual presentations. The history of the franc, from its wartime debut in 1360, is outlined in detail. Musée de la Poste From among the uniforms, pistols, carriages, official decrees and fumigation tongs emerge snippets of history: during the 1871 Siege of Paris, hot-air balloons and carrier pigeons were used to get post out of the city, and boules de Moulins, balls crammed with hundreds of letters, were floated down the Seine in return, mostly never to arrive. The second section