Enjoy some time with the family: most of Paris’s parks and gardens have play areas for children!
There are some 600 in total! There is something for all tastes and all ages: swings in Parc Montsouris, rollerblading and scooter lanes in Parc Monceau, table tennis tables in the Jardin du Ranelagh, balancing beam and merry-go-round at Parc de Bercy …
It is no surprise that the Jardin d’Acclimatation features among the hit-parade of children’s favourite playgrounds. Inaugurated in 1860 in the Bois de Boulogne by Napoléon III, it is the oldest leisure park in France.
This old-style park has retained a sense of charm that makes it unlike any other park. Here, kids are king. They have a 19-hectare area full of exciting things to see and do in a luxurious verdant setting.
On the programme, lots of games, some of which are free and others for which there is a charge. Major attractions include the Rivière enchantée, which has been popular with children and grown-ups since 1927, the tantalizing distorting mirrors, the little train … Not to be missed!
Situated in the Bois de Vincennes, the Parc floral de Paris is not only home to a wonderful collection of 3,000 different varieties of plants; it also has a lovely play area for children! They can have lots of fun, for free, playing on slides, swings, roundabout … as well as on the Amazone Tower with its huge 6-metre-high slide! Paying attractions include a tree-climbing trail, a ride on the Taxis-Brousses circuit, a ball pool, a mini golf that is a miniature version of Paris, the famous ‘Rosalies’ (quadricycles), and the new attraction the ‘Trésors du Parc’ which is like a modern treasure hunt.
Boasting an ideal location between Concorde and the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens has lots to offer. It is an ideal place for a walk with the children. With 2.5 acres, there is plenty of room for kids to burn off some energy: cycle rides, races along the wide paths, ball games, hide-and-seek behind the trees ... Plus, for a few euros, they can bounce on a giant trampoline or ride on the merry-go-round with its wooden horses.
Completely renovated in 2010, the Grand Couvert playground is accessible for free. A wooden hut perched in the trees can be reached through nets and climbing. After all the effort, a well-deserved descent on a slide.
And remember, every summer, the Tuileries Gardens turn into a big funfair: it has been hosting the Fête des Tuileries for twenty years. A not to be missed family outing!
The Year of the Dragon
The Parc de la Villette, the largest green area in the capital, has no less than three playgrounds for kids! The Jardin des Vents et des Dunes will delight young tightrope walkers with its air mattresses, zip-lines, trampolines, swings and other slides.
The Jardin des Voltiges is devoted to ropes and climbing. Finally, the highlight: the Jardin du Dragon, which reopened in April 2015 after eight years of renovation work: the huge 25-metre-long dragon now delights kids with its tongue, which forms an enclosed tubular slide 11-metres-long. Children jostle with excitement to ride down it!
Saddle up your pony
Kids love pony rides! There are various options for young riders who wish to indulge in their passion in the capital. Animaponey organizes pony rides in the most beautiful Parisian green areas: Bois de Vincennes, Bois de Boulogne, Parc Montsouris, Parc Georges-Brassens, Parc Monceau, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, etc.
In Paris, the equestrian centre of La Villette also offers many activities, including birthday events. On the edge of Paris, the equestrian centre of the Jardin d'Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne is open to all children from the age of 4. On the programme: games and special events, lessons and introductory pony rides.
In the autumn, don’t miss the Paris Ponies initiative, organized over a month at the Parc de Choisy in the 13th arrondissement. In this veritable temporary equestrian centre, children from 3 to 14 years can enjoy free pony rides and various activities relating to the world of horses.
New age games
Today, activities and traditional games for children are being rethought out. New spaces are being imaginatively-designed with fun experimental facilities.
In 2014, a new play area ‘Là-Haut’ was created in the Parc André-Citroën, in the 15th arrondissement. Aimed at teenagers, this ‘up in the air’ trail is an ingenious combination of boards on stilts of different heights and rope apparatus that children must cross to reach a 3-metre-high observation point.
Located in the heart of Paris, the Terrain d’aventures in the Jardin Nelson-Mandela (formerly the Jardin des Halles) has a 2,500 m² discovery trail, for children from 7 to 11 years. Main features: unique play equipment, monumental sculptures that challenge young minds and fire the imagination, rest areas, etc.
In the 20th arrondissement, the Parc de Belleville also has a ‘new generation’ park for pre-teens from 8 to 12 years. Completely atypical, this climbing trail built on a slope is interspersed with slides, aluminium tubes, climbing nets, climbing area, hatches and balancing beams.
On the Left Bank, the recently laid out Berges de Seine are a new landmark play area for kids. Main features: a vast expanse of oudoor games, many of which are drawn on the ground: world map, hopscotch, chess, maze, huge ‘Jeu de l’oie’ (board game) … Budding climbers can have fun on the Little Adventurers trail with its mini climbing wall. And young artists can express their talent on a 20-metre-long slate wall. So, chalk at the ready!