The local children’s museum, the Cité des Enfants, is a gem, and does not fail to delight kids from 0-12 years old. Especially in a city filled with so many ‘grown up’ museums, it is so refreshing and exciting for kids to be somewhere that touching and interacting is encouraged!
The permanent exhibition at the Cité des Enfants is divided into two age groups – 2-7 years, and 5 – 12 years, with each section filled with age appropriate activities.
Here’s the scoop:
This space is all about touching, experimenting, and exploring. YES! The exhibit is built around several main themes – discovery and movement of their body and objects, the physical world like water and light, and teamwork.
From the museum’s website: “Your child can test their flexibility and their senses, watch themselves in the mirrors, listen to their emotions, play with balance, sounds and letters, and explore pathways and mazes, setting their body in motion.” Not bad, right?
My son LOVED the water section, when he got to don a plastic apron and work with other kids to move balls, fill up buckets, and a ton of other projects.
This section is also filled with hands on, age appropriate activities. Parents are less involved in this section, so kids can be autonomous.
Some activities: “they can measure how fast they run, test their balance, have a makeover, work with a friend to complete a mission, learn to write "house" in Chinese... play a television presenter”… I have not gotten to go to this part yet, since my kids are too young, BUT seeing this list makes me excited to go!
Lastly – there is new space, the ‘Cité des Bébés’ for children less than 2 years old. This area is FREE (!), and built around activities to develop motor and cognitive skills. The space is filled with toys made of natural materials (No plastic. No screens.), and they have a space for nursing and meals set aside.
Check out the website for the latest events – they have classes on baby sign language, readings, dance class…. (The page for the Cité des Bébés is unfortunately only in French for now).
Even (especially?) for the free activities, reserve online in advance!
The sections for 2-7 and 5-12 operate around ‘sessions’ of an hour and a half.
Book your tickets and sessions online, via their website, especially on weekends and holidays. If you are visiting Paris, try to go during the week when kids are in school – you may get lucky and have the exhibits to yourself.
Cité des Enfants
30 avenue Corentin Cariou, 75019, Paris
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 9:30 to 6:00 (check website for hours of each specific exhibition as they vary!)
Full Rate: 12 euros ; Reduced Rate (Under 25, over 65): 9 euros ; Free for Under 2
A cloakroom on level 0 is available for your personal belongings; it is free on presentation of your ticket.