Paris is One Big Playground

Paris is an ideal destination for a family vacation. To the French, family is sacred and they adore children. Families spend a lot of time out and about together, both nuclear and extended families. This is in large part because Parisian apartments are small by most American standards, unless you live in Manhattan, and they don’t have yards.

This limited ‘living space’ means that Parisians spend a lot of time enjoying the city’s countless parks, gardens and green spaces. They act as a type of second living room for the locals. When you are planning a trip to Paris, be sure to factor in time to relax and unwind while you enjoy the natural (and architected) beauty of these places. We find that picnic lunches, picnic dinners, or evening strolls are an inexpensive and enjoyable way to pass the time.

If you have kids in tow, then I recommend making time for a visit to one of Paris’ many playgrounds. Most neighborhoods have at least a small playground, but there are a few that are worth seeking out and they can be found not too far from the major attractions. It makes for a wonderful reward for the little ones after a long day of museum viewing or a much needed play and lunch break in between attractions. Here are some suggestions with nearby major attractions noted.

Conveniently Located Paris Playgrounds

1) Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, 1e, M: Concorde, Tuileries

CC courtesy of MJ MacKinnon/Alex Smith
CC courtesy of MJ MacKinnon/Alex Smith

A large playground with multiple exits mostly composed of an enormous rope-and wood climbing structure starts with an 8-foot, almost entirely vertical ladder without open rungs. There’s a metal merry go-ground, lily-pad like jumping platforms, a slide, rope hammocks, and more. Nearby Attractions: Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Place de Concorde

2) Jardin du Luxembourg, 6e, M: Odeon, Saint Suplice, Mabillon

photo sourced at Travelpod.com
CC courtesy of Travelpod.com

The garden itself is beautiful and vast with plenty to keep the kids busy. They can sail boats in the central pond, ride ponies, and run on the park’s winding trails. Most of the grass is off limits (Pelouse Interdite). The playground has an intricate system of climbing structures and slides. There’s only one exit. There is a cost of 2.60 euros for kids over 18 months, 1.60 euros for adults. Nearby Attractions: Luxembourg Gardens, Saint-Sulpice Church, Cluny Museum, Montparnasse Tower, Montparnasse Cemetery.

3) Jardin des Enfant aux Halles, Forum des Halles, 1e, M: Les Halles

CC courtesy Mairie de Paris
CC courtesy Mairie de Paris

This is a fantastic adventure playground for 7- to 11-year-olds with great tunnels and slides. The children are supervised by professional child-carers, so you can have a bit of a break yourself. Kids are limited to 1 hour and there is a 100-kid capacity. You must place your name on a list to reserve a time, but there is no entry fee. Nearby Attractions: Louvre, Pompidou, Rue Montrorgueil, Musée des Arts et Métiers.

4) Parc du Champ de Mars, Quai Branly – Avenue de la Motte Picquet, 7e, M: École Militaire

CC courtesy of Wikimedia
CC courtesy of Wikimedia

The Champs de Mars has a small playground perfectly situated close to the Eiffel Tower with an elaborate climbing structure, slide and sandbox. Here you find a carousel, puppet theater, pony rides, basketball and music. Nearby Attractions: Eiffel Tower, Trocadéro,  Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides.

5) Suzanne Buisson public garden, 7 Bis Rue Girardon, 18e, M: Lamarck Caulaincourt or Abbesses

CC courtesy of Wikimedia
CC courtesy of Wikimedia

Hidden at the top of the Montmartre hill, this public garden has a very nice petanque area. It offers peace and quiet as there are very few people walking by. An area terraced in 1951 in art deco style it has a statue of St Denis in the centre of the garden, a children’s playground and fresh open space and benches to be still for a Montmartre moment. Nearby Attractions: Montmartre, Sacré-Coeur,  Musee de Montmartre, Place du Tertre