Paris has been described as anything but a place for kids: a city for lovers, a cultural Mecca. Yet you may be surprised to find out how prepared the French capital is to entertain children. Even in what is considered to be an adult activity, touring museums.
At the Louvre Museum, the largest museum in the world and a must-see in Paris, kids aged 4 and up can take part in one of the many children’s workshops.
The Musée d’Orsay (Orsay Museum), which has one of Europe’s best collections of impressionist art, is another example. Each Sunday throughout the summer, the museum organizes games, mimes and storytelling for children 12 years old and under. The program is designed to teach children about the masters, such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec.
At one such event, the Orsay museum organized a card game called Jeu de l’oie or the Goose game. Kids are divided into teams. Each team is given several cards, which correspond to a work of art. Cards in hand, the children search the museum for the masterpieces.
When the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art inaugurated the exhibition entitled J’en rêve or I dream, which included the work of 48 young artists from around the world, it also organized several activities for kids. At one event, Camille Henrot, one of the artists, reworked her film by drawing and scratching on the negative. Children participating in this workshop created their own works of art.
While many of the activities are conducted in French, language is unlikely to prove a barrier to participation. For example, instruction is only a small part of Learning to Create Glasswork, a children’s activity offered at the Musée National du Moyen Age (Middle Age Museum).
But there are other ways to making learning fun at museums in Paris. Rent audio guides designed specifically for kids and available in several languages. Take a family tour, often times conducted in a language other than French. Or organize a private guided tour for your family.
Many museums in Paris, such as the Louvre, are free for kids under 18 years of age. Avoid long lines, buy a Museum Pass valid for up to 1, 3 or 5 consecutive days, and visit more than 70 museums and monuments in and around Paris.
Pick up a copy of Objectif Musée, available at Paris museums, or Paris-Île-de-France avec des Yeux d’Enfants published by the tourist office. Both are in French only. Objectif Musée lists all scheduled activities for children organized by the state museums while Paris-Île-de-France avec des Yeux d’Enfants lists fun things to do with kids in Paris.