Paris is a city that is bursting with history and culture. It’s a haven for holiday makers who want to enjoy the finer things. You can explore art in the Musee d’Orsey and the Louvre to marvelling at the architecture of places such as the Arc d’Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. Alternatively, as a family, Disneyland Paris is a major draw.
What if you want to do something different as a family? Here are four suggestions for what to do in Paris on a budget, or perhaps for a weekend break.
Cycling around Paris
You’ll see a lot of cyclists around Paris, and it’s fast becoming one of the most popular ways to get around the city. You can avoid the Metro and the perplexing roads, just find your way around on the many cycle routes. Much like the rental ‘Boris Bikes’ of London, Paris also has its own system of bike rental that you can pick up and drop off all around the city. This makes it especially handy for just getting from A to B, as well as sightseeing.
It’s important to remember though that these bicycles are designed to be general low maintenance, all-purpose vehicles. Don’t expect the speed or agility of your own mountain bike! Rental bikes are also of a particular size, so very young children would need their own bikes.
Cité des Sciences (science museum)
For an educational family experience, the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie is located in Parc de la Villette, geared around the promotion of the sciences and understanding the world of science. Cité des Sciences is also the largest science museum in Europe, catering to all ages, but is particularly focussed on the education of children and young adults.
There are many attractions within the Cité des Sciences, catering to very young age groups from ages 2 and above. As well as the scientific installations, the museum is also home to a planetarium, an IMAX theatre called La Géode and the Argonaute (S636), which is stationed outside of the museum. Also of note is the bioclimatic facade, which is a series of greenhouses, each of which is 20 meters in height, 20 meters deep and 8 meters wide.
Parc Zoologique de Thoiry
In the grounds of the Château de Thoiry you’ll find a zoo and botanical gardens that will be of interest to the whole family. Although situated some 30 miles west of Paris, located in the picturesque village of Thiory, it is worth the travel. The house itself is beautiful, thoughtfully designed by architect Philiber de L’orme and built in the 16th centurey by alchemist (yes, really) Raoul Moreau, who by profession was also treasurer to the King of France.
The zoo itself is more of a nature reserve, with animals such as bears, giraffes, elephants, zebras, rhinos and many other magnificent creatures. You can also take in the stunning botanical gardens, or enjoy the hedge maze. The Château de Thoiry makes a wonderful family experience that’s a little different from the other ciy-based activities.
The catacombs below the city of Paris are a sight to behold. Thousands of people are buried down there because they ran out of space above ground. To full appreciate them be sure to take a guided tour of the catacombs to hear the history and background of them.