Paris: The Playground
Paris is a wonderful city to share with children. San Francisco-based writer Stephanie Levin-Gervasi, who traveled to the city with her daughter, Camille, offers her kid-tested tips, along with advice from the travel experts at Fodor's.
Paris is an easy city to navigate. Arrondissements, or neighborhoods, are referenced by the last two digits in the zip codes. Paris par Arrondissement guides or maps are inexpensive and available at all kiosks and bookstores. Fodor's waterproof Citypack Paris guide includes descriptions of top attractions plus a detailed Paris street map and metro map.
Hotels and Rentals
To obtain a list of the city's 75,000 hotels, contact the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, 127 Avenue des Champs-Elys?es-75008, Paris; www.paris-touristoffice.com. To explore apartment rentals, go to www.citadines.com or www.pierre-vacances.fr.
Getting around in the city: Paris Visite passes are available at metro stations for one to five consecutive days of travel on buses, metro, and RER trains plus museum discounts.
Bateaux Mouches: The popular sightseeing boat on the Seine departs at Pont de l'Alma.
Traveling outside the city: France is one of 17 countries that use Eurail and Europasses for multiple-day trips; tickets must be purchased before you leave for France. 800-4-EURAIL, www.raileurope.com.
Favorite Family Attractions
Arc de Triomphe, 8eme, Place Charles-de-Gaulle. Commissioned by Napoleon, this memorial arch includes a rooftop terrace with a great view of the city. (Kids enjoy climbing the 300 steps to the top.)
Cit? des Sciences et de l'Industrie, 19eme, Parc de la Villette. This cutting-edge museum of science and industry includes a planetarium, IMAX domed theater, and French naval submarine. www.cite-sciences.fr.
Centre National D'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, 4eme, Place Beaubourg. The Pompidou Centre, which includes the National Museum of Modern Art, delights kids with great architecture, interactive art exhibits, and outdoor entertainment. www.centrepompidou.fr.
Eiffel Tower, 7eme, Champ-de-Mars. Worldwide symbol of Paris, with a 50-mile view on a clear day, the tower includes a post office in which postcards being mailed get a Tour Eiffel postmark. www.tour-eiffel.fr.
Parks and Playgrounds
Jardin des Plantes, 5eme, 57 Rue Cuvier. This beautiful botanical garden boasts a carousel, a small playground, and a gallery of animal evolution.
Jardin des Tuileries, 1er, between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. Perfect for a family respite, these beautifully manicured gardens boast pony rides and a large Ferris wheel in the summer months.
Jardin du Luxembourg, 6eme, Rue de Medicis. In this lovely park, a favorite of Parisians, you can enjoy free concerts and puppet shows and stroll through the glass-walled Orangerie greenhouse.
For detailed descriptions of other great family outings in Paris, including nearby restaurants and fun facts, check out the pocket-size guidebook Around Paris With Kids from Fodor's. (www.fodors.com)
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