6 Petite Paris Things Kids Love
Paris is a city built on a a grand scale, but kids like things on the smaller side, built on a scale they can relate to. Here are six small thins 6YO Tiny Traveler liked in this big city.
A Fun Museum
1. The Museum De Carnavalet offers a bit of a hodge-podge of Paris history, with paintings, antique furniture and even a small guillotine. But her favorite room, on the ground floor, had miniatures of Paris’ neighborhoods at various points in history. She poured over all the details and asked tons of questions and began making up her own stories about what was going on inside these scaled-down villages. The same room also featured old store signs, which were amusing. For example, an antique copper mermaid advertising a fish store.
A Kaleidoscope Chapel
2. Walking into the Church of St. Chappelle on a sunny day is like stepping inside of a kaleidoscope. Even our cathedral-weary child looked up, stopped in her tracks and said, “whoh!” More than 1,1000 stained glass images surround you in the upper chapel of this intimate church. And unlike in the big cathedrals where the windows are hundreds of feet over your head, these are close enough to see in all their mind-boggling detail.
Marie Antoinette’s Versailles escape
3. After you’ve toured Versailles and it’s gardens, venture over to the petite Norman hamlet where Marie Antoinette would pretend to be a peasant amid idyllic cottages, a stream, a water mill and tunnels of trellised grape vines. TT would have been happy to play alongside her and who wouldn’t? It’s charming and a sensory relief after the overload of Versaille. Walk from the hamlet back to the formal Petite Trianon and you’ll find a series of “secret” stone paths criss-crossing through the woods. TT could easily have spent an hour or two exploring all of them.
NOTE: Wear sturdy walking shoes. The grounds are rougher going than you would expect.
A Petite Treat
4.TT made several new discoveries on the pastry front during her two weeks in Paris, but it’s the macarons she kept coming back to. Small enough to eat in a few bites and always displayed in a rainbow of colors and flavors, they quickly became TT’s go-to afternoon treat. You can buy one of every color and decide on your favorite (she favored raspberry and lemon, I liked pistachio). At least once, splurge on the fancy ones at Laduree, an upscale patisserie with several locations. Their macarons really are something special (and make great gifts).
A hidden playground
5. After you are awed by Notre Dame and your child has asked for the third time, “Can we leave now?” walk around to the gated Square Jean XXIII, directly behind the cathedral. There is a small but good quality playground crawling with kids from all over the world. TT romped with a girl from Italy while we ate sandwiches on a nearby bench.
6. Guignol is a little guy in a black coat and is the hero of the hand-puppet shows staged all over Paris. You’ll find him in the Jardin Acclimitation, the Jardin Luxembourg and several local parks as well.
It helps to know French but isn’t essential; all the stories are the same. The Parisian kids love it and audience participation is part of the fun.
What are your favorite little things when you travel?
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