Winter in Paris with kids
These days my mind keeps drifting off to Paris. With the colder months of the year on our door step, let’s look at fun things to do in Paris with kids in winter. I would love to go explore the newly re-opened Picasso museum with our family, but there are many more winter fun activities in Paris. This is what my favorite itinerary looks like for winter in Paris with kids.
At the end of October 2014, the Picasso museum in Paris reopened after being closed for 5 years. Visitors can enjoy over 5.000 of Picasso’s works. But the museum collection does not only comprise paintings and sculptures made by the Spanish artist himself. On display are also 150 works from Picasso’s own art collection, for instance paintings by Matisse, Renoir, Cézanne and others.
When we visit a museum with our kids, whether art or historically oriented, we try to keep it short and sweet. We aim to be in and out within an hour, maybe an hour and a half if they are very interested (which happens!). The goal is to catch their attention, not to put them off museums for the rest of their lives… Something that will certainly spark their interest in Picasso’s work is when you tell them that he finished his first masterpiece at the age of nine (!): Le Picador (Bullfight).
“The Musée Picasso Paris presents a remarkable testimonial on Picasso and his creative process. The rare diversity of his collections is an invitation to endlessly explore the powerful work of this artist— at once a painter, sculptor, ceramicist, photographer and writer—through a multitude of thematic tours and experiences.”
Cubist Picasso Paper Bag Puppet craft
All works of art come without an explanatory label. The museum was redesigned with the idea that visitors should just ‘look’. And that is just perfect for a visit with children. In my experience, a comprehensive puzzle tour definitely helps children get a grasp of an art museum. But without one, they will find enough that fascinates them in the works of art, whether it is funny, scary or even just plain weird. If you would like to prepare the museum visit for a bit with your children, have a look at the Makingartfun.com website. There is a Picasso coloring printable and Cubist paper bag puppet, both fun activities with younger kids. More ideas are available on their Pablo Picasso page.
Head off to metro station Saint Paul after your visit and take the metro line 1 to Palais-Royal station. A few minutes’ walk from there, you’ll arrive at the Place Colette for a Parisian style lunch.
Lunch at Cafe le Nemours
I always try and prepare for a nice place to have lunch. Often it is just fine to grab a snack along the way. But with kids, you sometimes find yourself looking for a warm and cozy place to rest. Especially when visiting Paris in winter with kids. After lunch there will be plenty of time to play and enjoy the outside. So if you are looking for a typical French restaurant that is and popular with locals and offers French cuisine, then look no more. Café Le Nemours is one of the most famous restaurants in Paris, it’s kid-friendly and serves crepes. The place can get quite busy so best call ahead to make a reservation. If you want to have a look at the Café Le Nemours from your screen, why not make a virtual tour of Place Colette.
Play time in the afternoon
We found a perfect playground at the centre of the Tuileries Gardens this summer. It’s spacious, safe and is great fun for children from 2 up to 10. You can easily spend an hour or more at this playground. Bring some drinks and chill for a while.
For the thrill-seekers in your family, there’s a ferris wheel too at the Tuileries Gardens. From mid-November through mid-February you can find La Grande Roue at the east end of the Champs Élysées at Place de la Concorde. But you’ll see it soon enough… My daughter and I went for a ride this summer, when the ferris wheel is part of a small carnival. I was completely terrified, my fearless five-year old had the time of her life. We made three revolutions, which was more than enough for me, to be honest. There were no waiting lines at the time. Supposedly you get to spend more time in the ferris wheel if it’s busy, for it takes time to have all people get on and off.
And that will finish a wonderful winter day in Paris. Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to visit Paris around Christmas time and enjoy the festive lights. If you have any more thoughts on visiting Paris with kids in winter time, please express them in the comments below.
The playground at the Tuileries Gardens is free of costs. You can find it in the centre of the park at the Rue de Rivoli-side. The ferris wheel is located close to the Louvre-side of the park. Its opening hours are: Open every day from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. from mid-November to mid-February. More information you can find on its website La Grande Roue. It will cost you € 10 for adults and € 5 for children 10 years old and below.
The Picasso museum is located in Le Marais, my favourite part of Paris, on 5 Rue de Thorigny. Entrance to the Picasso museum is free on every first Sunday of the month. On other days adults pay 11,-, the museum is closed on Mondays.. If you would like to use and audio guide, available in French, English and Spanish, you pay 4,- euro’s extra. Under-18’s can visit the Picasso museum for free.