Fun activities for children in France
PUBLISHED: 12:49 16 March 2016 | UPDATED: 13:09 16 March 2016
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Need to keep your children entertained on your holiday to France? Choose from these 22 activities kids will love
1. Take them to a Museum
Taking your children to a Museum is great way to keep them entertained and interested in a new subject. There are plenty of child-friendly museums in France that will stimulate and fascinate your children, but here are three they will love.
Musée Haribo, Uzès, Gard
Find out about your childrens’ favourite sweet treats in the famous sweet manufacturer’s own museum. Located near Uzès, the museum takes visitors around an interactive exhibition which calls upon all our senses with a final, all-important stop at the gift shop.
Cité de la Science et de l’Industrie Paris, 19th
This great museum immerses you into the world of science with plenty of interactive displays and a special kid’s area. It explains some of the basic principles of science such as how the brain works, or energy innovations, thanks to games and experiments that everyone can take part in.
Musée de la Magie, Paris, 4th
Take a historical and magical tour of the subtle art of illusion from the 18th century to today. Magicians guide you through the exhibition of unique magical objects and props and let you try out the optical illusions or get lost in the hall of mirors. The visit ends with a magic show.
2. Visit an outdoor museum
When the weather is fine outside, you can make the most of the sunshine by taking your children to run around an outdoor museum which combines fresh air with a little dose of culture!
France Miniature, Elancourt, Yvelines
Get the kids to learn the geography of France and well as some of the most famous monuments and sites in this fun, open-air miniature map of France. Your children will feel like giants as they go from Paris to Brittany to the volcanoes of the Centre in just a few steps.
Guédelon, Yonne, Burgundy
Both a museum and a castle, this exceptional site will take you and your children on a trip back in time. Since 1997, builders have been constructing a castle using medieval techniques and materials. You can witness how people lived and worked at the time and see how far the castle has to go yet!
Machines de l’Iles, Nantes, Loire-Atlantique
This remarkable site brings together Jules Vernes’ imagination, Leonard de Vinci’s architectural genius and Nantes’ industrial history. Located in the former shipyards, the outdoor museum showcases the entire creative process behind the creation of the mechanical creatures on display.
3. Tire them out at a theme park
Every child loves adrenaline-induced rollercoasters, spinning carrousels and life-size soft toys. There are many theme parks in France offering all of those (and much more) that will garantee plenty of excitement to tire your kids out by the end of the afternoon.
Futuroscope, Poitiers, Vienne
One of France’s most recently built theme parks, the Futuroscope is extremely popular for its thrilling rides and unique experiences that call upon every senses. 2016 brings plenty of new activities, including a spectacular aquatic evening show performed by the Cirque du Soleil.
Vulcania, Saint Ours les Roches, Puy-de-Dôme
For your little explorers, this park is sure to fulfill their craving for exploration and adventure. Children can learn about volcanoes, dinosaurs and the deep sea but also experience a fun and interactive exhibition specially designed for 3 to 7 year olds.
Parc Asterix, Plailly, Oise
This unique park plunges you into the universe of the French comics and the friendly Gallic characters of Asterix and Obelix just 35km away from Paris. Complete with thrilling rollercoasters, calm boat rides and swinging ships, the park is full of references to the iconic stories.
Puy du Fou, Les Epesses, Vendée
This historical theme park has spectacular shows that are performed several times a day, showcasing major historical events in French history including shows about the vikings, the battle of Verdun or King Arthur’s knights. In between shows you can visit themed little ‘villages’ or petting farms.
Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée, Seine-et-Marne
The magical land of Mickey is the most famous park in France and definitely worth a visit, if only to see the faces of your little ones light up at the sight of Minnie or Donald Duck. Look out for deals that let young children come for free and try to avoid the French school holidays!
4. Splash out at a water park
Best visited when the weather is warm and sunny, water parks are great fun for all the family and an outstanding way to get everyone out and about. By the end of the day, you’ll end up with sleepy but ecstatic children.
Aquariaz, Morzine, Haute-Savoie
High up in the mountains, Aquariaz is an aquatic paradise for visitors of all ages. Children can splash about in the colourful water playhouse, which features geysers and water slides, while you can relax in the outdoor Jacuzzi with uninterrupted views of the valley.
Aqualud, Le Touquet, Pas-de-Calais
This vast park has no less than 13 giant slides that twist ans turn just a few yards from the shore and has an impressive wave pool that comes to life every half hour. Children can play in the water playground and shoot other people with water canons to their heart’s content.
Aquasplash, Antibes, Alpes-Maritimes
Located close to the beaches, Aquasplash is part of Marineland and boasts 2,000 meters of slides. There is something for all the family here, including the Spaceboat which spirals three times before spitting you out into a whirlpool, and gentler water games and mini-slides for the younger ones.
5. Go animal-spotting in an animal park
Visiting a zoo or an aquarium is great idea for an outing as you will need the whole day to go round and see everything. It’s are a great opportunity for children to see animals they wouldn’t see at home and to make them aware of the importance of endangered species’ conservation.
Nausicaá, Boulogne-sur-mer, Pas-de-Calais
Discover what lies beneath the sea at the National Sea Centre. With 36,000 animals in 4.5 million litres of water on a site covering 5,000 square metres, Nausicaá is an impressive display of marine life in all its beauty. From penguins to sea lions and sharks, there’s something to fascinate everyone.
Beauval, Saint-Aignan, Loir-et-Cher
Voted the best animal park in the country, Beauval’s zoopark is home to over 6,000 animals including giant pandas which are found nowhere else in France. As well as an interesting visit, the park offers shows and animations where you can will be told about the life and habits of the animals you see.
Zoo de la Flèche, La Flèche, Sarthe
This park has all the usual animals and shows found in a zoo but offers a unique accommodation experience once the day’s visit is over. From 2017, you can stay in several lodges within the zoo itself and spend a night surrounded by grizzli bears, arctic wolves or cheeky lemurs.
La Vallée des Singes, Romagne, Vienne
See primates of all shapes and sizes up close in La Vallée des Singes close to Poitiers. In 16 hectares of parkland, around 400 monkeys live without a cage in sight. You can walk among the monkeys, watch them feed, sleep and play. A great way for children to appreciate the species.
La Ferme au Crocodiles, Pierrelatte, Drôme
The sharp-teethed inhabitants of La Ferme aux Crocodiles lay in silent menace as visitors walk on bridges above their enclosure. The park is home to nine species of crocodile, giant tortoises and various tropical birds and offers a chilling visit. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the crocodiles feeding!
6. Get them outside
With such a wide variety of natural landscapes, France has plenty of fun outdoor activities that enable you to discover the country’s natural treasures while also doing some serious exercise!
With nearly 17 million hectares of forests, France is ideal to experience the thrills of accrobranche where intrepid climbers ascend into trees and move through the canopy on ropes and platforms. Le Bois de la Folie in Burgundy, for example, has some great ziplines and plenty of challenging routes.
There are so many rivers, lakes and gorges in France to explore while paddling your own canoe or kayak, that it would be a shame to miss out on such a fun activity. Children can have their own individual kayak or hop into a canoe with you, which means that you’ll have to do most of the work!
Exploring a place by bike is one of the nicest ways to see a new country because you will reach locations that you can’t get to by car. France has a vast network of cycle route offering a safe and family-friendly cycle experience. Why not try cycling along the coast or past the Loire castles?
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