La Villette

The Parc de La Villette in north-eastern Paris is a welcome oasis of open piazzas, hilly gardens, futurist buildings, and green lawns by the Canal de l’Ourcq, one of the last “boatable” canals of the city.

For the young set, the highlights of La Villette are the age-specific playgrounds and the Cite des Enfants (or City of Children). Located on the ground floor of the Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie, the Cite des Enfants is a children’s museum focused on scientific hands-on experiments.

It is so popular that to take my two girls there, my friend Judith had to reserve a two-hour visit on a given day by internet.

As we were sitted in the waiting room, we heard the announcement by loudspeaker: if you are between 3 to 7 years old, follow the orange line, if you are between 5 to 12 years old, follow the other line.

All the kids rose at once and we proceeded towards the exhibits.

My 3-year-old loved the “Goldilocks” room about size where she could “try” five different sizes of chairs, five different sizes of coats, and five different sizes of tricyle. The oversized and micro-small versions of each item delighted her.

My five-year-old preferred more muscular activities in the “building room” and the “garage room” where she lost track of time building fake brick walls or buckling herself to “drive” a four-seater wooden car.

As we progressed in the exhibits, we neared the end of our two-hour slot so we took them to the “water, fire and air” room. What a splurge!

Water cannons, river running in the ground, buckets to fill and more had my girls squeal with delight. Sadly all good things have an end.

After the loudspeakers announced that we had to vacate the premises to make room for the next batch of happy children, we headed to the playground where my girls and dozens of kids happily bounced on white log-shaped trampolines.

The Garden of Dunes and Garden of Winds, two of eight theme gardens in the park, allow plenty of opportunities for kids to shake their sillies out.

On our way out, we decided to pay a visit to the polka dots exhibit of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the Grande Halle de La Villette.

This was a must-see for my girls as the giant plastic spheres acted like magnets on them after they saw them through the big windows of the exhibition hall.

Hey, the color pink, polka dots and round open bubbles that can be seen like houses?

One of the open bubbles had pink spheres lit from the inside and was mirrored all around. What a blast!

My two little girls ran around, switching “houses” and inviting people in until at last I had to tear them from their polka dot world.

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Laure Latham

Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.

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