It’s La Toussaint à Paris. What are we gonna do?
That’s the big question! Two weeks, 14 days full time with the offspring! Time to get limbered up Mamas and focus on morphing into full-time entertainer mode. Of course, it’s tempting to stay indoors, huddled together in the warm, utilising the TV or some other digital device or toys/activity in the house, to keep the little munchkins occupied. But you and I both know that the ‘verging on going insane’ moment is gonna happen and we need to avoid this at all costs. So get out and enjoy Paris with the kids for just a few hours a day, then come home and relax while the exhausted bears – who are so tired from their fun jaunt, end up just passively chilling on the sofa reading a book or just drawing! Yeah! MLP knows that the cookie doesn’t always crumble like this but hey, you gotta have hope!
Help thankfully, is at hand! MLP has been investigating the best way to keep the kids busy and help you get the most out of Paris during les vacances de la Toussaint. In addition to this, MLP has produced the top 50 things to do in Paris over the Autumn so don’t forget to check that out too.
The Maison Européene de la Photographie is hosting two excellent -looking courses for kids. From 22 – 24 October, kids aged 6-11 years can take part in ‘Selfiecolor’ with artist Cecily. They will learn all about her work and make their own self-portrait photos. This course takes place over 3 days and kids will attend from 10am till 4pm each day and bring their own lunch. The cost is 110 Euros for the three days and reservations should be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For older children aged 12 – 15, photographer Pauline Hisbacq will run a course Marabout Visuel at the same venue from 24 – 28 October, from 2.30pm to 5.30pm each day. She will present her work and introduce the kids to story-telling through photography. The cost is 110 Euros for the full course and reservations should be made as above.
Les Ateliers du Carrousel
The Arts Decoratifs museum runs fantastic workshops called Les Ateliers du Carrousel and they have some great courses for kids this half-term, running over several days. For 6- 9 year olds, artist Helene Duplantier will be running a painting and drawing course 24 – 27 October, with kids attending from 10am – 12.30pm each day. She will take the children into the museum for inspiration and then up into a studio to create their own work. For the 10-13 year old crowd, Emmanuelle Favard will run a similar course at exactly the same dates and times. The cost for these four-day courses is 170 Euros. In addition, painter and sculptor Pascale Veyron will run a ‘Modelage’ course for 9-14-year-olds which runs 20 – 22 October, 10am until 1pm each day, costing 155 Euros for the three-day course. To enrol your child call 01.44.55.59.02 or email email@example.com . What a great way to keep your kids busy in central Paris in the mornings and perfectly located by the Tuileries for an afternoon of fun once they’re picked up.
Perhaps your kids are in a French school and you like to use the school vacations to top up their English literacy. Roaming Schoolhouse offers a Halloween Day Camp running from 24th – 28th October, with drop-off available from 8.30am and pick-up until 6pm. The actual classes run from 9.30am until 5.30pm and include art, drama, science, sport and perhaps an outing in the city. Kids should bring a packed lunch. This day camp is based at Ecole Sainte Catherine in the 5th district and costs 375 Euros for the full week (with a reduction if you enroll more than one child). It’s a great all-day solution to half-term child-care and also a good way to achieve English immersion (cheaper than a trip back to the UK or USA!), with an emphasis on reading and writing.
If you have very sporty kids and you want them to get some special coaching in tennis, golf or soccer during the Toussaint break, the Energy Academy will pick them up in a minibus from your home (dependent on you living in a western district of Paris or a western suburb) and take them out to the Academy, for a full day of sports coaching before dropping them home again. Be warned that this service does not come cheap! But kids give it a great review and parents love the door-to-door service and the fact they do not even have to transport the kids.
Musee de Poche
Pauline Lamy’s wonderful kids’ museum in the 11th district never fails to deliver an excellent holiday programme. Their ‘Art en Jeu’ programme aimed at 6 – 12 year-olds involves the kids being taken around Paris in the mornings to the city’s different museums and then spending afternoons back at the Poche’s own studio to create their own artwork. All you need to do is drop your kids off at 41 Rue de la Fontaine du Roi in the 11th district at 9.30am and collect them at 5pm.
Meanwhile they will be whizzing around the city with Pauline to take in the Magritte exhibition at the Pompidou, Ben at the Musee Maillol or even a trip to peek inside the Opera Garnier. It’s a wonderful way to open up the city’s art to your kids and have them create their own masterpieces. Half-days based entirely on the little museum’s own premises are available for younger children. Also you can do just one day or sign up for the whole vacation. Reserve in advance on 01.48.06.73.24 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
La Petite Academie
La Petite Academie is offering a fantastic sounding arts day camp in the 6th district between 20 October and 2 November. The theme is a virtual tour of the most beautiful museums of Paris and Amsterdam and each day will feature a different artist. We have the sign-up form for you to register your child. Half days and full days are offered and kids should bring a packed lunch if they are attending all day.
Workshops for kids at Jardin d’Acclimatation
Pumpkin-carving, Hallowe’en jewelry-making, baking – it’s all happening this vacation at the Jardin d’Acclimatation. You can take a look at the full programme to see what might be fun for your child. One workshop lasts two hours and costs 22 Euros. Or you can sign your child up for a whole day of fun, including attendance at two workshops and lunch, for 50 Euros. Call 0140679905 or email email@example.com for more information.
Build and Play
During the school holidays, the Kapla centre will be running workshops every day, Monday through Saturday. Kids love the ambitious building projects they get to do at the Kapla Centre in the 11th district; and parents are always suitably impressed by the Eiffel Tower or similar that’s waiting to greet them when they pick their kids up! Sessions cost 15 Euros and it is essential to reserve a spot by calling 0143561338. Sessions usually run at 10.30am, 2.30pm and 4.30pm but you should check with them directly for vacation timings.
Yes! This brilliant farm is open every day for kids over the holidays. Friends have been telling us that it’s great for fruit and vegetable picking, plus there are animals and so much to explore. There are tonnes of workshops too and they will be going pumpkin crazy in preparation for Hallowe’en. From October 24 -31st, the kids can come and dig up the pumpkins grown on the farm and take them home! Click the red link for all the info.
Fermes de Gally, Saint Cyr L’Ecole, Route de Bailly à Saint Cyr L’Ecole 78210. €3.60 to enter the farm plus €3.40 for the workshop. €4.20 for adults.
Animouv’ at the Paris Zoo
The Paris Zoo in the 12th district of Paris will host a special event for les Toussaints called ‘Animouv‘. Families will get to attend special guided tours and participate in activities exploring the way different animals move. You will need to reserve spaces by calling 0170945025 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out this fun Playground
Yes, Mamas! 1000m2 of adventure awaits your offspring delivered over four floors apparently! Slides, go-karts, trampolines, foam ball cannons, games rooms, bowling, Lego room, hockey rink! Sounds amazing! Perfect for kids up to 12! They also have special sessions where you can leave the kids and go and enjoy some me-time to your hearts content. Where is this magical space located? Just outside the heart of Paris. Guilli Parc Ville! RER C stop – Saint Michel-sur-Orge.
Guilli Parc Ville, Centre commercial Ville du Bois – 5 Rue de la Croix Saint Jacques
The Paris Aquarium
Admittedly it’s not cheap but for sea life-loving kids it is definitely a fun day out. Shark feeding on selected days plus a whole host of sea creatures to gawp at. Workshops and a special selection of family activities are on offer for les vacances!
Aquarium de Paris– Cinéaqua – Avenue Albert de Mun, Paris. €20.50 adults, €13 for kids. Under 3’s are free and there is a special family of four pass for €55.
Château de Breteuil is a beautiful castle in stunning grounds and the team there are all set to offer stories, activities, tours and make-believe, for the holidays. Within the castle itself and also in their extensive gardens.
Adult € 15.90 , Children 6-18 years € 12.90. Free for children under 6 years Château de Breuteuil, 78460 Chevreuse.
Alternatively, you might want to visit Chateau de Chamarande. From October 26 -30 they are letting children redesign some of the rooms! You get the chance to discover the place as a family then the kids can go wild with creativity! It’s FREE too! Oui! Make a reservation and you’re in!
Chateau de Chamarande, 38 Rue du Commandant Arnoux.
All hail the Pompi!
Yes, an old favourite, but c’mon the Pompidou centre is always a winner with the children. MLP’s twins love it for the external escalator alone! But there is so much going on for kids over the holidays and for teenagers too.There are workshops called ‘tales backwards’ which are designed by Jean-Roch Simon which upset the scenario stories and legends like Little Red Riding Hood , The Three Little Pigs , The Minotaur. Plus special performances for teens. Overall it’s a fun space to hang out.
Centre Pompidou, Place Beaubourg, 75004, Paris 4. 11am-7pm daily except Tuesdays.
Total Drama for the Kids
You could enrol your children into theatre camp over the holidays. This year the (ACT) American Children’s Theatre in Paris has a wonderful Halloween themed acting camp, called Monster Mash for Les Toussaint.
Lots of singing and dancing fun for kids of all ages, with full and half day options usually available. Camps are held at the American Cathedral at George V in the 8th district. ACT is a highly respected drama club for kids and if your little one needs to channel their drama in the most productive way possible, this could be a great option. Register directly with American Children’s Theater. October 19-28.
Family tour of the Musee d’Orsay
The Musee d’Orsay will welcome 8-12-year-olds and their families for a special visit to see their most famous masterpieces at 3pm on Wednesday 26 October. This is a great way to get your kids around the d’Orsay to see the highlights of what can otherwise be an overwhelming museum for children. You will need to reserve your places online and please be aware that accompanying adults will also need a regular ticket or pass for the museum in addition to their reservation to attend the tour.
Wall to Wall climbing
Instead of you ‘climbing the walls’ with stress, let the little people do it at this relatively new development not too far from Cité de la Science. It’s a climbing gym built in modular form and covers 850m2. It’s designed for novices and the more experienced climber. From 5 years old its perfect and you can join in too. This new space is an extension of the well know climbing space provided by MurMur Panti.
MurMur Pantin – 55 rue Cartier-Bresson 93500 Pantin. Weekends, holidays and afternoons €14. Mornings €8. Open from Monday to Thursday 9:30am until 11pm.
Family tours at the Musée Du Luxembourg
Family tours are taking place at the Musée du Luxembourg this vacation. This is a great opportunity to get the kids inside the museum to explore the work of Henri Fantin-Latour. He is best known for his still lifes and group portraits. This exhibition looks at his creative process and includes previously unseen photos. And the location couldn’t be better, leaving you perfectly placed to take in the autumn colours of the Jardin du Luxembourg after your tour! Tours take place at 2.30pm on 21, 23, 28 and 30 October.
Dreams of America at the Orangerie
On 26 October at 3pm at the Orangerie museum inside the Tuileries Gardens a family visit and workshop for kids aged 5 yrs + and their families will explore the current exhibition of American paintings from the 1930s. We should warn you that this is not the most cheerful of American eras, so the trampolines, playground and the carousel at the Tuileries might be in order immediately afterwards! Maybe even a pitstop for hot chocolate at Angelina on Rue du Rivoli too.
Cité des Sciences
Cité des Sciences is a terrific destination for the Toussaint vacation. They have a myriad of workshops and events going on, including on primary colours, a brain quiz, the art of the Middle Ages and architecture! While you’re out there, take the chance to enjoy what the rest of the Parc de la Villette has to offer. It’s an MLP favourite.
Percussion from Brazil at the Philharmonie!
On Tuesday 25 October at 10am kids aged 8 years old + will be able to tale part in a Brazilian-style percussion workshop. We think this sounds like a lot of noisy fun! Check out the information for signing your kids up.
Special youth event at the 104
First, we should say how much we love the space that is the Cent Quatre (104) centre. It’s the unsung hero of the arts in Paris and is just such a great place to hang out with the family. There is a show aimed at kids aged 11+ which explores the imagery of advertising and media that we are bombarded with in the world today, and the power those images have. It takes place at 4pm on 22 and 23 October.
If you have a creative child at home who has a real talent for or interest in, painting, drawing and sculpture, then you might want to consider enrolling them in a workshop at La Petite Academie. You have the choice of full day and half day sessions, designed for children aged 4 to 14. From October 20 until November 2 in the 17th district of Paris.
Circus training workshops are on offer in the 14th district of Paris this year. If your offspring want to learn how to juggle, work the tightrope, swing on a trapeze or ride a unicycle, then this could be a great option. The workshops are designed for 5-12-year-olds. Find all the details on the Ecole de Cirque Flip Flap website.
Story Telling Games
Perfectly pitched at the younger ones, the Little Tykes Theatre has sessions on offer that will bring to life on old Chinese folktale called The Magic Paintbrush. Children will engage in games and some fun improvisation. Go to the Little Tykes Theatre website for more information.
For more fabulous ways to enjoy les vacance de la Toussaint in Paris, read through our 50 fun things to do in Paris this Autumn with the kids.
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This post was created with the wonderful contribution from Jennifer Hamerman