Contrary to popular belief there’s actually plenty to do in Paris with kids. And it doesn’t have to be Disney related. Her are our top 5 picks of where to take the children for a little indoor entertainment when it rains...
The Gallerie De L’evolution
Grande Galerie de L’Evolution © Facebook
Right at the back of the Jardin des Plantes, France’s first Botanical Garden you’ll find the Musee d’Histoire Naturelle’s with its snazzy Grande Galerie de L’Evolution. Its impressive taxidermy collection (which sounds awful but is really quite fantastic to look at) counts 7000 preserved animal specimens displayed in a huge, stunning metal and glass 19th-century hall.
The contrast between the animals, their cutting edge display and historic home is a pleasure to see in itself. Kids will also like the Galerie des Enfants with its interactive biodiversity exhibits. Another building worth visiting is the Palaeontology department, a must for young dinosaur fans. Open 7.30am to 8pm. Free entry. Menagerie €8 adults, €6 kids. www.grandegaleriedelevolution.fr
Aquarium tropical du Palais de la Porte Doree © Daniel Thierry/Paris Tourist Office
Set just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, at the Trocadero, the Aquarium is the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon. Featuring all sorts of underwater life, ranging from giant rays to tiny seahorses, it’s best known for its impressive shark tunnel, in which you can spend hours watching the fearsome creatures glide by.
It’s also got a ‘live’ Pirate Show performance, which little boys will appreciate, a ‘fish petting’ pool, various workshops and 16 movie screens with fascinating natural world movies. Adults entry fee €20.50, children 13-17 €16 and 3-12 €13. Under 3s go free. www.cineaqua.com
Les Catacombes © Henri Garat/Paris Tourist Office
Up for a little ghoulish sightseeing? The catacombs date back to the 18th century and are also known as the “Empire of the Dead”. Paris’ old cemetery, a maze of caves 19 meters down, is home to about six million sets of remains. It’s hard to imagine, when walking the Parisian pavements that a repository for Parisians’ bones lies below but today you can visit the labyrinth of tunnels and crypts which lies deep under the capital’s streets. A bit strange and a bit spooky, this is best kept for fearless teens in search of a few thrills. www.catacombes.paris.fr
Related: Paris' most unusual tours
Centre Pompidou Museum
Centre Georges Pompidou © Daniel Thierry/Paris Tourist Office
Another must see in Paris, a stone’s throw from the newly overhauled Halles area, this contemporary building famous for its exterior ‘tubes’ (home to the escalators which are fun in themselves for much smaller visitors) also has a lesser-known specific kid’s gallery: the gallerie des enfants which features different exhibits with interactive bits and pieces for younger visitors to mess around with.
Inside, you’ll also find a library and big name temporary art exhibits. The top floor is worth a visit just for the view, and if you fancy a break, the rooftop Georges café is the perfect spot for a coffee with one of the finest panoramic views of Paris. Admission prices vary depending on the exhibits. www.centrepompidou.fr
Hot chocolate at Angelina’s
Angelina's © Marc Bertrand/Paris Tourist Office
One of Paris’ most famous addresses, Angelina’s on the very chic Rue de Rivoli has become an iconic address. The smart tea rooms, designed by famous belle époque architect Edouard-Jean Niermans, are all about sophistication and elegance. This is THE place to bring the kids for a cup of their famously rich hot chocolate – so rich you could almost stand a spoon in it.
Angelina's has become a right of passage for well-heeled kids and it’s easy to see why, the glitzy surroundings and mouth-watering patisseries won’t fail to impress. Don’t come at peak hours though as the queues outside tend to snake around the block. www.angelina-paris.fr