This itinerary is for those who brought kids on the trip and want them to remember something different than endless boring shops, cafes where there's nothing for them to eat or dull museums. Paris has places exciting for all ages.
Loulou is located in the most touristy part of Quartier Latin, where every house is home to a cafe or two, however, they are all tourist traps. Loulou is an exception and escape. While its exterior of a friendly diner is nothing special, it is just a disguise – otherwise it would be packed. Firstly, their waiters seem to be the best in town, very friendly and always ready for a chat, unless the place is full. Then, they have the most delicious burgers and bagels being cooked all day long – the thing appreciated by locals and tourists. Come in the morning when the place is half-empty to get a great coffee and breakfast, by noon there will be a crowd. Once you eat here, you will have an urge to come back again and again. They have vegetarian options – salads, vegetable bagels as well as yummy smoothies. Pancakes, meat and fish – everything is perfect. If it is warm, pick a veranda seat (a small tip for busy folks – the plug for your laptop is under the sofa at the left-most table near the façade). An ideal working space: the sun lit veranda, great food and coffee, free wi-fi and no hints that you should leave. As for dinners – at night, there are many tables so no need to book one. Loulou is great for any occasion, but avoid lunch time during the weekends, otherwise you will spend thirty minutes in a line.
You will not be allowed to lie on the grass of the Botanical Garden but for sure can walk around century-old cedar trees, shrubs and flowers or enjoy the scent in a huge rose garden. The largest territory is taken by the Zoo – little, but nice. Deer, pink flamingo, koala and kangaroo - you won’t will sorry for them as animals are properly looked after. Here you will also find a Natural History Museum and the super exciting Paleontology Museum with skeletons – from dinosaurs to almost all existing vertebrae. You can look at the fauna in the Great Gallery of Evolution and flora in Orangery – they often arrange shows, like exhibition of orchids. March-April is the best time to come when magnolia, apple and cherry trees are in bloom to say nothing of other flowers. However, gardeners work all year long so have something to showcase even in winter.
Not that many people reach the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy but it's actually worth visiting. Under a huge glass roof you will find skeletons of practically all existing vertebrae. Walk across its galleries, listen to squeaky floors and stare at curiosities from fish and birds skeletons to giant turtles, whales and dinosaurs – a great experience for kids and adults. No hi-tech – just bones and calligraphic signs. Better come on a sunny week day (except Wednesday) – the museum will be half empty and you will enjoy a special atmosphere of sun-lit glass displays.
Find Merci concept-store and have a look – right by it you will see Grazie pizza and cocktail bar opened by the son of Merci founder. This dark NYC-loft space has the best pizza in Paris (I'm serious) cooked in a huge oven. The only problem – better book a table two days in advance. However, you can always have a cocktail by the bar facing a stuffed peacock. If you visit on a weekday, get a seat on a leather coach by enormous windows, order a pizza and delicious Italian wine (you can buy it if you like). And Pozzetto. lemon sorbet is a must-have dessert.
When bohemian Parisians have kids, nephews or grandchildren Bonton becomes their number one destination. The three-floor concept store is not far from Merci and is its copy but for kids. It has everything – furniture, family barber shop, toys, a floor of clothes and everything for a party. High ceilings, bold colors and perfect details – an ideal family store in the outskirts of Marais.
Paris is seeing a new generation of boutique owners whose motto is – fashion is life. Broken Arm is one the pioneers of this new wave, website De Jeunes Gens Modernes in flesh – this multibrand temple of fashion is abundant with creations by young designers. Its trendy café (good coffee, breakfasts and lunches) as well as collaborations with the hottest Paris artists make this store the brightest spot on the shopping map of the world's fashion capital.
Le Marais' largest park is actually a cozy square and a green oasis, which is a rarity in this neighborhood. Local moms with kids come here to play, hipsters to sunbathe, shoppers to have a rest and folks from nearby offices to eat their lunch. You will also spot local boys playing table tennis and old guys feeding ducks and strolling by a small pond. Sounds idyllic and in fact is. After a walk in Marais the only thing you want is to chill on the grass and get some sun, watching relaxed Parisians of all ages and backgrounds.
The biggest and the most cutting-edge Paris park is far from the city center but is accessible by metro. This hyper-urban garden of a city crossed by Ourcq Canal connects the City of Science and Industry in the north with the City of Music and Les Grande Halle in the south. In between are vast lawns, playgrounds, theme gardens (the garden of mirrors, winds, dunes, bamboo, equilibrium, children's fears etc), concert and water facilities, trees, statues and contemporary sculptures. Lawns are for picnics, football, capoeira or just chilling out. In July, you can watch a movie for free in a lawn movie theater and in the fall listen to some jazz at Jazz à la Villette. The park is also home to La Géode crystal ball movie theater, live music and odd sculptures on a football pitch, which elements together form the gigantic buried bicycle sculpture if you look at them from a pedestrian bridge above the canal. The park architect Bernard Tschumi wanted it to become a meeting point and it has worked out: a mixture of new and old buildings, water, plants, оpen and closed spaces, city and nature, the place brings together people of all kinds and is loved by almost everyone.
An Italian restaurant hidden in a quiet patio right by the noisy Place de l'Opéra. It's dark but stylish and almost always packed (to dine here make a reservation and ask for a window seat). The crowd looks posh the same as interiors and everybody orders pizza – so huge it is served on two big plates. Take one to share but you can cope on your own – the dough is really thin and it’s not that stuffed. The remaining menu is traditional Italian and everything is perfect.
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