Jardin Villemin and Canal St Martin

Adventures in Paris: Little Amsterdam?

A few years ago I read about an up-and-coming area of Paris with a canal cutting through it—Canal St. Martin.  I read a few reviews and it seemed worth checking out.  It was frequently described as charming and authentic, a hidden gem and bohemian.  Interesting, right?  Knowing that the canal had a series of locks (écluses) was also appealing, because our boys’ mechanical minds would enjoy seeing them in action. Read more

Adventures in Paris: Disney magic

After several weeks of seemingly non-stop Paris tourism—which was great, but wore the kids a bit thin—we decided to indulge them in something they weren’t expecting, something truly special.  We took the kids to Disneyland Paris.  I know, I know, on the surface it seems a bit silly—go all the way to Paris with all its great sites, history, and culture, and then go spend a day at Disneyland?!  We had this same conversation with ourselves as we considered it.  But after researching it a bit, and with the invitation from some friends who would be in town from the UK, we figured it was worth a try. Read more

Catacomb fun

Adventures in Paris: empire of death

Ten years ago when I was in Paris with some friends, a group of them headed off to the Catacombs (or Catacombes, as the French call them).  It sounded interesting, but time was short and I wanted to catch some other sites before our trip was over.  This time around, though, having mentioned it to the boys, there was no way we could skip it!  Millions of bones and skulls have quite the draw for 6- and 7-year-old boys! Read more

Les Etoiles du Rex - Entrance

Adventures in Paris: the big screen and royal gardens

Paris obviously carries a reputation for glamour and glitz.  One aspect of the glitz we hear about in U.S. entertainment news are the Cannes Film Festival and movie premiers in London or Paris.  What better way to get a taste of this with a visit to the largest cinema theater in Europe, full of history, atmosphere, and art deco style!  Le Grand Rex, completed in 1932, seats 2800 people, and its 2700 square-foot screen is the largest movie screen in Paris.  Impressive, to be sure.  Especially impressive, though, when coupled with the twinkling stars on the ceiling and the host of movie stars and producers who have sat in the audience. Read more

Marche d'Aligre

Adventures in Paris: Marché d’Aligre and the Promenade Plantée

There are a lot of open-air markets around Paris.  In fact, there are whole books about them!  There are bird markets, book markets, antique markets, produce markets, meat, fish, and other food markets, and many more.  So finding a great one can feel like a big task.  In our travels, we found that the Marché d’Aligre was a great size—not too big, not too small—in a good part of town with a fun add-on kid activity just a few steps away. Read more