8 Best Kid-Friendly Parks in Paris in the Fall

21 September 2016 Activities & Destinations 2 Comments

 

Paris in the fall is a great time and place for a family holiday. Less tourists, nice weather, and the colors of the trees are amazing. And what better way to see those changing autumn colors than by taking a stroll inside one of the many parks and gardens of Paris?

With kids in tow, you won’t want to visit just any park or garden. Think about it: when you were an 8 year old child, would you have liked to take a walk through “beautiful” French style gardens?parks-in-paris-boat-in-the-fall

I don’t think so…

But what if there were something special for children inside those parks?

Ah, now we’re talking!

Below is a list of the 8 best kid-friendly parks in Paris in the fall. Not only will your children enjoy spending time there, but you, as an adult, will love discovering the beauty and history of these parks in Paris that  make them so special.

So what can you expect from these family-friendly parks?

Here are a few convincing arguments: a small zoo, an oversized playground, exotic greenhouses, a fun fair…

From a park that was once called “illusion land” to a garden that was designed for kids by Napoleon, discover the 8 best kid-friendly parks in Paris in the fall.

 

Jardin du Luxembourg: a family-friendly park designed for children

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The Jardins du Luxembourg (or Luxembourg Garden) is located on the left bank, between the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain neighborhoods.  This local favorite, created in the 17th century, is the perfect combination of both French and English style gardens.

 

Why is it a kid-friendly park?

Although the Jardin du Luxembourg is not entirely dedicated to children, it was redesigned especially for children by Napoleon in the early 19th century. The kid-friendly spirit is still present nowadays…jardin-du-luxembourg-kids-playground

In the summer and early fall, kids can enjoy toy sailing boats that you can rent and see glide on the park’s main pond in front of the Luxembourg Palace.

There is also a puppet show, a merry-go-round and ponies that children love to ride.

But the main highlight is the large playground in the middle of the park. For a few Euros, your children will have a great time playing with everything there is: swings, see-saw, slides etc.

The grass is off limits in the Jardin du Luxembourg so don’t leave your kids wandering off.

 

Why is it a must do for adults?

It’s rare to see both French and English style gardens in one park, and that is one of the reasons the Jardin du Luxembourg are so special.

The French gardens face the palace, which was built in the early 17th century. They consist of a beautiful alignment of trees, ponds and flower arrangements, and a collection of 20 white statues representing the Queens of France. The Medici Fountain is also one of the highlights here.

The English style gardens lay to the West and are wonderful to visit during autumn. Scattered in the park are many statues, including a small proof version of the Statue of Liberty, created by Bartholdi himself.

How to make the most of the Jardin du Luxembourg:

Take a walk through the French gardens in front of the Palace, and then relax in the English style gardens where the entrance to the playground is located.

 

Jardin des Tuileries: a kid-friendly park in the heart of Paris

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The Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden) is located right between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, at the bottom of the Champs-Elysées. Visited by many as it offers a perfect and enjoyable walk from the Louvre to the west of Paris, it is also a great place to bring your children.

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Why is it a kid-friendly park?

Although there is a fun fair in summer (La Fête des Tuileries), it is taken down at the end of August. But there are other great assets in the fall: a small playground located in the middle of the park (near the Tuileries Metro station), and a merry go round right next to it.

Here too, the green grass is off limits, but the alleys are wide enough to run around and have fun! Truly one of the best kid-friendly parks in Paris in the fall.

 

Why is it a must do for adults?

The Jardin des Tuileries is part of the Historical Axis, which is the perfect alignment of the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées, the Obelisk on Place de la Concorde, the Louvre and more recently, the Grande Arche de la Défense in a far distance.

The Tuileries Garden is also home to 2 nice museums: The “Musée de l’Orangerie”, dedicated to Impressionists and featuring some of the huge Waterlily paintings by Monet. Museums. The “Musée du Jeu de Paume” has interesting exhibitions, mostly photography.

Historically, this garden used to be the private garden belonging to the Palais des Tuileries, which was built in 1564, but burned down to the ground in 1870. The garden was designed by André Lenôtre, the same landscape architect behind the world famous Versailles Gardens.

 

How to make the most of the Jardin des Tuileries:

Walk through the central alley to witness the famous Historical Axis, and then head out to the sides for a quiet moment or sit in front of one of the two fountains and admire the view. You can also sit inside the small kid’s playground or next to the merry-go-round.

 

Parc des Buttes Chaumont: a fascinating and unusual topography

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The Parc des Buttes Chaumont (or “Buttes Chaumont” as the locals call it) is a very unusual park located in the North of Paris.

Why unusual?

Because of its topography: hills, a lake, a waterfall, little streams and ponds…

A popular local destination for picnics or a morning jog, it is a great kid-friendly park in Paris in the fall.

 

Why is it a kid-friendly park?buttes-chaumont-kids-playing-next-to-the-waterfall

Just like many of the larger Parisian parks, there is a small playground, a merry-go-round and a puppet theater (in French, at special hours). But what makes it really fun for kids are all the “natural” features of Buttes Chaumont.

The dark cave with the waterfall will have kids really excited (they can hop from stone to stone to get from one side of the cave to the other).

And, they will enjoy the island in the middle of the artificial lake. They can always race to the top, where a little rotunda awaits the winner…

 

Why is it a must do for adults?

The island in the middle of the lake is 30m (almost 100ft) tall, and the charming rotunda at the top offers a great view on the surroundings, including the Sacré Coeur and Montmartre in a distance. The kids might not enjoy the view, but parents surely will!

You’ll have to cross the high bridge to get to the island (also called the suicide bridge for obvious reasons), unless you prefer the lower metallic suspension bridge, designed by Gustave Eiffel, the man behind the Eiffel Tower.

If you want to have a drink, make sure you head out to the Rosa Bonheur on the upper grounds of the park. It is a really nice, old fashioned yet trendy “guingette”, where many locals stop for a coffe, a glass of wine or a quick snack.

 

How to make the most of Parc des Buttes Chaumont:

Exit the metro at Botzaris metro stop, and enter the park there. First, try to get to the island and the “Temple de la Sibylle” rotunda, then make your way down to visit the cave and waterfall before lying down in the grass in the lower part of the park, next to the playground.

 

Parc Monceau: A park once called “Illusion Land”

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In the rich and posh area of Paris, not too far away from the Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe is where you will find Parc Monceau.

Once called “Illusion Land” at the time it opened as an amusement park in the 18th century, it is now a place where wealthy Parisians meet and spend their sunny days. Although quite small, the park does have some really nice activities for kids as well as interesting curiosities for adults.

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Why is it a kid-friendly park?

There is not much left of the 18th century “Illusion Land” apart from relics of past constructions that once made it a very exotic park. And those relics will not really fascinate the children. Instead, what they will like are the pony rides, and the large playground.

The large green grass areas are a perfect place to place ball or a ball and racket game. The kids can even have fun by bringing their scooters or skate boards as there is a special area for that near the playground.

 

Why is it a must do for adults?

The beauty of the park is Parc Monceau’s main asset. And those relics I mentioned will surely draw your curiosity. In the same place, you will find a small pyramid, a stream, a lily pond (Naumachie), a Corinthian Colonnade, a Venetian bridge… You will even see some of the remains of the Paris’ old City Hall, which was also burned down in 1870 during the French civil war (La Commune).

And just in case you are wondering, the beautiful rotunda at the main entrance of Parc Monceau was built as a tollhouse in 1784.

 

How to make the most of Parc Monceau:

Head to the Parc Monceau with baguette bread, some cheese and cold cuts, a few vegetables, some rosé wine and fruit juices and sit down on the green grass. Make sure you bring a football or another outdoor game for children, and everyone in your family will be happy!

 

Jardin d’Acclimatation: A kid’s paradise

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The Jardin d’Acclimatation offers a unique experience to its visitors, both young and old. Across the 49 acre (20 hectares) of land, you will find a zoo, an amusement park and an educational garden. Needless to say that for children, it’s paradise! Located in the Bois de Boulogne, in the far western side of Paris, don’t miss this unique park if you have already seen Paris’ classic monuments and parks.

 

Why is it a kid-friendly park?jardin-dacclimatation-child-pool

The Jardin d’Acclimatation is not just a kid-friendly park in Paris. It is a park designed for kids. It is open all year around, but some attraction of the amusement park might be closed during the winter. In the fall, everything is open and it a lot less crowded than in the summer.

One area that closes when summer comes to an end is the “water area”. It is not a pool, but a large area where children can play with water cannons, fountains, etc.

As for the zoo, don’t expect a large one with exotic animals, but it’s still really entertaining for children. You will see a bear, but the animals here are closer to the ones you will find in a farm: goats, chicken, turkeys, pigs etc. It’s always nice to feed them!

 

Why is it a must do for adults?

Apart from watching your children have the time of their lives there, and sharing these great moments with them, the Jardin d’Acclimatation does not offer any particular attraction for parents.

But there is something that is well worth seeing: the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which is right next to the Jardin d’Acclimatation. It can even be fun for older children as the architecture is amazing (the “rooftop” terraces offer nice panoramic views), and the exhibitions there (modern art) can sometimes be breathtaking.

 

How to make the most of the Jardin d’Acclimatation:

From Porte Maillot metro station, there is a small train that can bring you to the Jardin d’Acclimatation. Spend at least half a day there, enjoying the attractions, the animals and the eateries. Finish with the Fondation Louis Vuitton, maybe not for an exhibition, but at least for the impressive architecture.

 

Bois de Vincennes: The forest of many secrets

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The Bois de Vincennes (« forest of Vincennes »), is located at the far eastern side of Paris. Although it is not inside the city limits, it still belongs to Paris and it is therefore considered the biggest part of the capital. There are many lakes, forest-like areas and green fields, which all add up to making it the perfect stop to take a break from the hustle of the city and relax.

The natural aspect of the Bois de Vincennes is one of the reasons why it is in our list of the best kid-friendly parks in Paris in the fall. But it’s surely not the only one. It’s also home to Paris’ biggest zoo, a Buddhist temple, a botanical garden and… a children’s farm.

 

Why is it a kid-friendly park?bois-de-vincennes-kids-playground

There are 3 main reasons as to why it is a kid-friendly park:

The Zoo de Paris is a must-do with children. Renovated in 2014, it is now a state of the art zoo with a wide variety of different animals, including lions, rhinos, giraffe, leopards and manatees. Spending a few hours is the zoo will keep your children highly entertained.

The botanical garden, also called the “Parc Floral” is a great area for kids, and you even have a large playground in the back of the park, with picnic tables all around for a great sunny autumn day.

The children’s farm, located in the southern part of the park, can also be considered as one of the highlights of the Bois de Vincennes. At “La Ferme Georges-Ville”, children can get up close and personal with cows, pigs, rabbits, sheep and goats. It is free and open weekend afternoons only.

 

Why is it a must do for adults?

Walking along the paths inside the Bois de Vincennes is really enjoyable, and you can always lie down on the grass and take a break. But for those who want to discover something cultural, the Château de Vincennes should not be missed! This medieval castle built in the 14th century was used by some of the kings of France. It is the largest medieval castle still standing in France! Can you imagine that what is now the Bois de Vincennes was once a private hunting ground for the royal family?

 

How to make the most of the Bois de Vincennes:

To visit the botanical garden, and the medieval castle, exit the metro at line 1’s terminal station Château de Vincennes. Visit the castle first (the kids will love being in a real medieval castle) and then head out to the Parc Floral.

If you prefer the zoo, it is best to exit the subway at Porte Dorée (line 8), take a short walk around the lakes (and rent a row boat if you can, it’s always nice) and enter the zoo. There are picnic areas in the zoo, as well as several restaurants.

Bois de Boulogne: Green grass and wide open spaces

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The Bois de Vincennes’ western counterpart is the Bois de Boulogne. Again, it is not a real forest per say, but it really is one of the lungs of the capital. Just like its eastern counterpart, the Bois de Boulogne has big grass fields, forest-like areas and lakes. Aside from the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the northern part of the park, the Bois de Boulogne is also famous for having the Roland Garros French Open tennis courts at its southern tip.

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Why is it a kid-friendly park?

The main reason why the Bois de Boulogne is a kid-friendly park is because of the Jardin d’Acclimatation mentioned above. But that’s not the only reason of course. The large grass fields on the western side of the park are a perfect area to play soccer or run around. And the forest makes it a nice place to play hide and seek.

All the way to the south of the Bois de Boulogne are interesting greenhouses with lots of different exotic plants. These “Serres d’Auteuil” as they are called can be quite fascinating for children.

 

Why is it a must do for adults?

The highlight is the Fondation Louis Vuitton, also mentioned in the Jardin d’Acclimatation paragraph. Another highlight is the Jardins de Bagatelle, a beautiful park within the park with magnificent flower arrangements (it’s the biggest rose garden in Paris) as well as a little royal palace inside.

 

How to make the most of the Bois de Boulogne:

Unless you really want to discover a specific area, like the Jardin d’Acclimatation, the Fondation Louis Vuitton or the Jardins de Bagatelle, the best way to enjoy the Bois de Boulogne is simply to take a walk through the park and enjoy the quiet surroundings. Rent a rowing boat (10€, closed in winter) and buy some food so that you can enjoy a quick picnic lunch on a deserted island in the middle of the main lake.

 

Jardin des Plantes: Of Galleries and greenhouses

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In the 17th century, King Louis XIII ordered the creation of a garden dedicated to medicinal plants. What started as a “simple” garden quickly became an active biology research center, and it is still the case today. The park itself still welcome an incredible diversity of plants (including a prehistoric plant!), but what makes it kid-friendly are all the museums and activities around the park.

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Why is it a kid-friendly park?

The Jardin des Plantes now belongs to Paris’ Museum of Natural History, which also comprises of the Great Gallery of Evolution, the Gallery of Paleontology, the Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology, the zoo and the Great Greenhouses. All these areas are perfect for kids, and offer the best of both entertainment and education.

Seeing the huge skeletons of the mighty dinosaurs or whales, discovering the animals of Africa or feeling like you are taking a walk in a hot and humid tropical jungle: those are some of the things that children (and parents) will happily experience here.

 

Why is it a must do for adults?

All these activities and experiences are just as fun and interesting for adults as they are for children. You will look at the attractions of the Jardin des Plantes in a different way, and learn a lot from them. Look closely at the skeletons of animals in the Gallery of Paleontology for example: You’ll notice that they were all gathered a couple hundred years ago…

 

How to make the most of the Jardin des Plantes:

Doing everything in one day is possible, but it can be very tiring. On a nice sunny day, the zoo (“La Ménagerie”) should be on your to-do list, as well as the greenhouses.  You’ll want to head out to the Great Gallery of Evolution and the Gallery of Paleontology on a cloudy day when traveling with children.

 

DO you want Family Twist to organize something for you? Let us know what you are interested in and we’ll make sure to turn your stay in Paris into an unforgettable moment for all your family!

2 Comments

  1. Liz 3 weeks Reply

    HI There, I just wanted to ask what park is in the opening picture for this wonderful article? The slide built into the hill looks fun! Thank you.

    • admin 3 weeks Reply

      Hello Liz,

      Thank you so much for you comment.
      The picture was taken in the “Parc Floral”, a botanical garden located in the Bois de Vincennes – the details are in the middle of the article.
      It’s actually all the way in the back of the Parc Floral, and yes, the whole park (and not only the slide on the hill) is great for the whole family.
      We hope you enjoy it!