Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cite des Enfants/ Parc de la Villette

This "City of Children" as it's called contains a wide variety of child-focused activities- cinemas, parks, a science museum, a mini aquarium, and even a concert venue. Like most family venues in Paris, you buy a separate ticket to each activity, though they do coordinate it so you only need pay once.

The highlight for the under 12s is the Cite des Enfants, a hands-on science museum where various rooms enable children to conduct their own experiments on water, wind, movement, etc. You purchase a ticket to either the 2-7 year olds' museum or the 5-12 year olds' museum. The tickets are timed, so you line up in a queue and once you are in, you have about an hour to explore the space.

There is also a larger science museum which older kids find interesting. At this time there is a Crime Lab exhibition which encourages kids to use science to do their own detective work. There are also exhibits on the human genome, energy consumption, and the effects of light and shadows. In addition there is are movie theaters featuring science-related shows, the IMAX movie theater, a large park with a few playground spaces and a small aquarium.

While the newer spaces are well-done and up-to-date, the older areas are beginning to look a bit dated. In addition, I found the queue spaces to be lacking in things to keep kids interested, which is disappointing. If you are in Paris for more than a week, it may be nice to let the kids air out a bit at this child-focused venue. There are a variety of restaurants/cafes on site for easy access (though the Quick across the square has a substantial play space). If you're here for less than a week, however, it seems a waste of time to leave the city to do something you could do at home (it is basically an all day event- similar to Versailles- up to 2 hours travel time round trip).

Cite des Enfants/ Parc de la Villette

Address: Avenue Corentin-Cariou, 19th
Metro: Porte de la Villette


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