Monday, February 02, 2009

Jardin vs. Jardin d'Acclimation: Worth every pretty euro

I visited the famous Jardin d'Acclimation with the kids on Sunday. It is listed in every guide book, every website, every blog that explores things to do with kids in Paris. I've long wanted to go, yet never had the opportunity until some friends suggested it last Sunday.

Remember it is January-- and nothing is beautiful in January-- but this park has the makings of something out of a storybook. Relatively small and quaint, the attractions include a small science museum, carnival rides, a zoo and a train. It has everything kids could want... in an amusement park. I say that specifically because while the park was lovely (if not more than a bit cold), it wasn't really a park at all. I've read umpteen reviews of Paris attractions and, yet, I somehow always missed that this is really an amusement park at its core (think Disneyland or Parc Asterix). The Bois de Bologne is a park. The Jardin du Luxembourg is a park. The Jardin d'Acclimation is not.

The distinction is important for a couple reasons. First of all, although the entrance fee is only 2.50 euros, you pay for everything else separately (45 euros for 30 ride tickets, 5 euros pp for the science museum, 90 euros for brunch or 25 euros for an outdoor lunch). Secondly, if people visiting Paris want to visit a park, I would more readily recommend one of the major parks in the city which are conveniently located near other major attractions and offer special activities for children such as sailing boats, playing on playgrounds, or jumping on trampolines. These parks include the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Tuileries or the Parc Monceau.

When all is said and done, it was a lovely afternoon spent in a beautiful space that will almost certainly become even better in a few months time. Given all my negativity due to the differences between a jardin and the Jardin d'Acclimation, I still have to say it was worth every euro-- every pretty euro.

Jardin d'Acclimation

Address: Bois de Bologne
Metro: Les Sablons or Porte Maillot (a train will take you directly to the entrance from Porte Maillot)

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