3 of the best family walks

3 of the best family walks

The best way to enjoy Paris is to slip on a pair of trainers and get walking


A child-friendly city, many of Paris’s principal sights are concentrated in a fairly compact area, making it easily walkable with kids. Parks are also conveniently located near monuments or museums. Don’t balk at the well-trodden areas: with their innocence and openness, children will help you to view them from a fresh new perspective.


1. Place du Carrousel to Place de la Concorde

On the east side of the Place de la Concorde, you’ll find the gate to Paris’s oldest gardens, Le Jardin des Tuileries (entry AED 5; en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71304/Jardin-des-Tuileries ). Originally designed in the late 1500s for Catherine de Medici, wife of Henry II, the Tuileries Gardens, on the site of an ancient Gallo-Roman clay pit and medieval tile factories, encompass just over 60 acres. The gardens became a public park some time after the French Revolution and the people of Paris have been flocking to them ever since. A walk from Place du Carrousel to Place de la Concorde will take approximately 90 minutes.


Aside from Catherine de Medici, who commissioned an Italian garden on the grounds of the Palais des Tuileries (a royal palace destroyed in the 19th century), various kings and queens have left their mark here. But it is King Louis XIV’s plans for the garden that are mostly in evidence today. With majestic elms bowing forward, the air scented by sweet mulberries and pomegranates, statue-studded formal gardens, contemporary art installations, gurgling fountains, fish-filled ponds and an aviary water-feature complete with toy sailboats for rent, it’s a truly delightful spot that’s perfect for the whole family.


Once you reach the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, you’ll find entrances on either side to the Galerie du Carrousel and the Musée du Louvre (louvre.fr); this entrance to the Louvre usually has shorter lines.


2. Quai d’Orsay

Jardin du Luxembourg (en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71393/Jardin-du-Luxembourg) makes you want to up sticks with your family and relocate to the City of Lights. So quintessentially Parisian, the moment you enter, you start to fantasise about a new life with bilingual kids dressed in Bibaloo culottes and Louise Misha tops. With a huge playground, Charles Garnier’s carousel, sailboats for hire, marionette shows and pony rides, it’s nothing short of idyllic. A 20-minute walk away on Quai d’Orsay takes you to the Musée d’Orsay (musee orsay.fr) or, if you’re with older children, the city’s spine-tingling catacombs. For the full effect with spellbinding commentary, book a tour with Paris Walks (prices from AED 60; paris-walks.com).


3. Curated walks

If you think an organised excursion is more likely to keep your kids in line, then book a three-hour walking tour with viator.com that’s tailor-made for families (prices from AED 492). Parisian mothers have handpicked a host of their favourite activities to do with their children. These include a trip to the tropics at La Grande Serre (lagrandeserre.com), a giant greenhouse turned urban jungle, as well as opportunities to get behind the wheel with pedal-powered car races and boat rides. The kids choose the actual route themselves, so who knows where you’ll end up.


Better still, leave the little ones in the capable hands of the guides as you slip off to savour a café noisette – to be enjoyed while still steaming – and a flaky apricot-and-custard oranais that you won’t have to share.


Source: Condé Nast Traveler




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