Kids and the City

If you have any spare time between the 3rd and 5th of June and happen to be in Paris, do check out the children’s fair “Kids in the City” on rue Francs Bourgeois in the 3rd. The fair was put together by the lovely Estelle who also runs Nordinary — one of my favourite webshops here in France.

She has managed to group together some of the best and innovative brands in France and all will have a little stand at the fair, some with collections designed exclusively for the event. You will also be able to pick up some yummy cupcakes and some bonbons from my favourite sweet shop Le Bonbon au Palais.

I am really looking forward to discovering lots of new companies,  many of whom I have never heard of.

See you there!

ALSO IN THE AREA:

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MerciWowoNew Bonton store

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Velib’

The Argonaute

A girlfriend of mine came to visit us in Paris with her 2 boys who were 8 and 10. I was at a complete loss on how to entertain them. Playing with my girls entertained them mildly,  but when their mother and I suggested hitting the shops we had a bit of a mutiny on our hands…and who could blame them?

So I did a bit of research and it turns out there is a ton of fun things for boys to do in Paris, that I had never, ever heard about… one of them was the Argonaute, a  1950s submarine that was decommissioned in the ’80s and is now a museum. I had never been inside a submarine before and to see how a crew lived underwater for weeks on end and how a submarine works was fascinating. (more…)

ALSO IN THE AREA:

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Butte de ChaumontParc de la VilletteLa Maison des Petits at 104

Le Petit Bazar

In an arrondissement far, far away from my usual stomping ground, I stumbled upon a great little place: Le Petit Bazar.

It’s a shop, a tea room, a space for ateliers and courses — a concept dreamed up by two friends… These girls decided to change careers and dedicate themselves to something both were passionate about: an organic, healthy lifestyle and all things kid related. Together they started le Petit Bazar about 18 months ago and it has been a great success story so far. Most of the clothes on sale are organic and/or fair trade and also very lovely. There is a great selection of toys on offer and also some vintage kids furniture. To top it all off, you can sit down for a cup of tea and let your little one roam the premises.

It is such a fab  idea to unite a kids concept shop with a tea room and a space from which you can run ateliers. I do hope they open some more Petit Bazars all over Paris! (more…)

Les 400 Coups

400coups_5There has been a revolution in the Parisien café scene! Les 400 Coups, a family café, has recently opened its doors! When I heard about this phenomenon I just had to pack up my kids, jump on the metro and experience this place in person. Here in Paris, cafés with play areas are virtually nonexistent — my kids have gotten used to sitting at a table and amusing themselves with a silver spoon and a sugar packet; though after a while they do get a wee bit bored. So off we went to Les 400 Coups and it was fantastic. The food might not be haute cuisine but the coffee was great and the moment we got to the café, the kids started playing in the play area and I did not hear from them for a good hour. And for you moms who cannot be separated from your laptop there is even wifi. (more…)

ALSO IN THE AREA:

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Parc de Belleville

Marché des Enfants Rouge

1Courtney and her family were over in Paris visiting from London and we wandered around the North Marais, doing a bit of shopping, people watching and coffee drinking. It really reminded me about how much I love this little area. I want to write a thousand and one posts on all the lovely little places you can find around here…

I cannot believe I have not written a post about the Marché des Enfants Rouge yet. It is one of the oldest markets of Paris, founded in 1647 and has been converted into a fabulous market/food hall.

Food from all over the world is available… from Morocco, the Caribbean and Japan and it all gets consumed on big communal tables outside the food stalls. There is also a great organic fruit and vegetable stall and a beautiful flower stall. (more…)

ALSO IN THE AREA:

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WowoKids and the CityPink Flamingo

Parc de la Villette

villette.jpgIt is finally warm here in Paris and we are all loving getting out there amongst the action and not being cooped up inside. This is the first year that I have two mobile children who both want to explore the world, so I am getting to know the parks in Paris better and better.

I have just discovered the great outside play park at La Villette. La Villette is the place you can find the fantastic Science Museum for kids (I still have not been, but I need to go, so I can let you guys know my verdict on it). There are more than 10 different themed gardens at La Villette — the one my kids loved is called “Jardin des Dunes et des Vents”. (more…)

ALSO IN THE AREA:

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The ArgonauteButte de ChaumontLa Maison des Petits at 104

La Maison des Petits at 104

104.jpgI have received several emails from you guys asking if I know of a good indoor play area for toddlers… and I didn’t! There is a serious lack of them here in Paris. That is… until now. On Saturday I took my girls to the brand new play area called “la maison des enfants” in an amazing new arts centre in the 19th arrondissement of Paris called 104. Granted, it is a bit off the beaten track in a residential part of Paris, but it is worth visiting if you need your little one to get rid of some surplus energy on a rainy day.

All the equipment is brand new and fantastically well designed. There are drawing pods for older kids, a soft play area for smaller ones, dolls, tea sets… The centre is free, though they do limit the amount of kids coming in, so that it doesn’t turn into complete madness. The “maison des petits” is also planning to host ateliers lead by the artists in residence of 104.

On the same premises there is a great bookshop with a huge kid’s section and reading area, and out in the courtyard there is a pizza van and a café. As of yet, most of the centre is still empty and undeveloped but I reckon that in a few months it is going to be buzzing and full of life.

- Emilie

ALSO IN THE AREA:

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The ArgonauteParc de la VilletteButte de Chaumont

An Old Institution

bibli1.jpgMy 3-year-old is a lover of books and her personal book collection is threatening to drawf mine. A week ago I decided it was time to take action so I took her to the local library. I have been kicking myself ever since that I had not thought of this before!

I had completely forgotten about public libraries. I vaguely remember going with my mom when I was a kid, but the thing I remember most is the musty smell of old, humid books in a scary Victorian building. My more recent memory of a library was a place to whisper sweet nothings and flirt at university; not much book reading was done.

Our local library here in Paris is a very distant and very modern cousin of the libraries of my childhood. Clean, bright and organised, there is a huge children’s section with little tables to sit at. All the books are kept at ground level so kids can browse through them all by themselves. I didn’t realise how much my daughter would love it — she was in heaven, discovering old favourites and new treasures. There is even a small international book section with English children’s books. Membership is free for anyone, so my daughter is now the proud owner of her first library card. (more…)

Forum des Images

forum.jpgAfter being completely refurbished, the Forum des Images finally reopened its doors a couple of months ago. Founded about 20 years ago, the Forum is Paris’ premier film library and cultural cinema venue.

The new Forum is fantastic, and a stark contrast to the ugly Forum des Halles shopping centre that houses it. (The Forum des Halles is now also up for a major refurbishment, so hopefully what is known as the eyesore of Paris, will finally disappear). It does mean that the Forum des Images is right in the centre of Paris and very easily accessible.

One of the major attractions are the children’s film screenings. There are screenings every weekend and on Wednesdays. At the moment, during mid-term holidays, there is a very popular children’s film festival on. Films start from 18 months onwards. The choice varies from classic art school films to old classic Disney films. (more…)

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Les Fourmis RougesParis PlageParis Plage

A little museum just for little ones

musee.jpgI am really enjoying the fact that my oldest daughter is morphing into a little person with whom I can actually start having interesting conversations with. Don’t get me wrong, we are not spending hours discussing the details of the theory of relativity, nor does she have a particular view on who should be the next US president, but she has started asking interesting questions and describing what she is feeling and seeing, which is really rewarding after 2½ years….

The flip side of this is that she is not content anymore to play for hours with a tupperware container filled with a couple of pasta tubes, but now needs to be stimulated and entertained. This is not always an easy thing to do especially now that the summer is over. (more…)

ALSO IN THE AREA:

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Nuxe SpaL’Apriori tea room

Natural History

galerieevolution.jpgThe summer is over, school is about to start and it is time to get back to enjoying the cultural delights of Paris! I am a bit jumping onto Courtney’s bandwagon here as her post about the Natural History Museum in London inspired me to pack the family in the buggy and head down to the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution in the Jardin des Plantes here in Paris.

It was a complete success! The gallery originally opened in 1889 but was completely refurbished in 1994 to become the Galerie de l’Evolution. It is a perfect place to take kids because it isn’t overwhelmingly big, but every animal they could ever want to see is displayed (7,000 in total)! (more…)

ALSO IN THE AREA:

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Le Bonbon au Palais

Agence Ludique

agence.jpgOrganizing a kid’s birthday party is always a logistical nightmare in Paris. How do you fit all of these little people who take up so much space into a flat!? Lets face it, I love to throw a party, but not enough to have my flat turned into a bomb site.

This is where the Agence Ludique comes in. A little house hidden down a shady courtyard in the Marais district hosts birthday parties and ateliers for kids.

My friends, Rebecca (of the Chic Shopping Paris fame) and Heather cleverly outsourced their kids’ birthday party to the Agence Ludique and it was a huge success. The girls got to make magic wands and play at being fairies. In our house this is still the most talked about event of the year.

Birthday parties can even be hosted in English and Spanish. They also offer workshops on weekends and Wednesdays from the age of 3 onwards. The workshops vary from fun activities like dancing lessons to having a professional cocktail waitress teach kids how to make fruit cocktails, depending on the day.

I almost wish I was a 3-year-old myself so I could go…

- Emilie