Imagine a tiny Disneyland on the outskirts of Paris, but run by the city and founded a good one hundred years ago. So, actually not like Disneyland at all!
The Jardin de l’Acclimatation in the Bois de Bologne is Paris’ own kiddie fun park, and it is great. My eldest daughter is finally old enough to enjoy it, so this past weekend we headed off for a day of fun-filled activities. I really recommend a visit if you ever happen to be in Paris with kids.
I will say it has the most random mix of attractions I have ever seen, but who I am to complain? The kids loved it.
These are my top tips to visiting the park:
Make an entrance by jumping on a little steam train that runs from Porte Maillot all the way to the park. Why not start as you mean to go on, as my friend Sam would say!
If your kid is three years and over, take them on the roller coaster and on the water ride. I have never seen my daughter so excited. It might be a little tame for grown-ups but for a small kid it is the best thing ever! For older kids there are a couple of bigger roller coasters and rides.
In the summer there is a big splash basin for kids to cool down in, with sprinklers to run through. Parents get to lounge on the sun loungers and eat crepes, while kids go crazy.
There is a little farm with cows, goats, hens and pigs. For my kids, who are growing up in the centre of Paris, a real live pig is as exciting to see as a real live elephant. In between all these domestic animals there are also some lamas. (As I mentioned before there is a certain randomness that is part of the charm of the park).
If the weather is good I would recommend bringing a picnic with you, though there are restaurants ranging from fast food to full on three course meals.
If possible try to go during the week as the Parisians are in the know and it can get a bit crowded during the weekends and Wednesday.