There is a wide range of activities for children after school. Indeed, French schools are set up in such a way – with many being closed on Wednesdays – to facilitate extracurricular activities for their students. Many schools schedule their own sports and cultural offerings for evening, Wednesdays and/or weekends. Activities range from club-level sporting teams to special art classes.
In addition to the child’s school, there are many structured activities offered by the many art and science museums in Paris, many of which will offer special lectures, programs and hands-on activity classes for children after school, on weekends or during school holidays; however many will be offered in French only. In addition to the ones mentioned in the Cultural Activities, these museums also provide interesting workshops for kids:
- Le Palais de la Decouverte – http://www.palais-decouverte.fr/fr/accueil
- Palais de Tokyo – http://www.palaisdetokyo.com/en/little-palais
- Musee d’Orsay – http://www.musee-orsay.fr/fr/accueil.html
- Musee de la Poupee – http://www.museedelapoupeeparis.com/?lang=fr
- Musee Des Arts Decoratifs – http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/francais/activites/ateliers-stages
The large numbers of parks, public swimming pools and bike trails in Paris means that children need not participate in organized activities to get some exercise and fresh air, and the amusement parks close to Paris – Disneyland Paris (http://www.disneylandparis.com/), Le Jardin d’Acclimatation (http://www.jardindacclimatation.fr), Parc Asterix (http://www.parcasterix.fr/) and La Mer de Sable (http://www.merdesable.fr) mean that special excursions are also in easy reach.
For more formal programs, in sports and cultural activities, consult the list below. Remember that your own clubs and sports centers will often offer programs for children, so be sure to ask there as well as in your child’s parent association at school.
- Jardin d’Aventure des Halles, l’allée Victor-Baltard, 75001 Paris, 01.45.08.07.18, (http://jardindaventure.free.fr/pratique.htm) This outdoor play center is open Tuesdays-Sundays throughout the year, and provides a one-hour play session for children from 7-11 years old. It is closed to adults (except on Saturday mornings); children are looked after by a well-trained staff who lead them in group games and activities.
- The Little Gym, 1560 Route de Quarante Sous, 78630 Orgeval, 01.39.75.51.39, (http://www.thelittlegym.eu/fr-en/gymnastics-and-fun-activities-children-aged-4-months-12-years) This center, in the western suburbs of Paris, offers a range of gymnastics and activity classes for children from infants to 12 years of age.
- Club Hippique du Jardin, Route de Neuilly à la Muette, Bois de Boulogne, 75116 Paris, 01.40.67.96.66 (email@example.com) Individual, group and private horseback riding lessons for children from the age of 4 and up.
- Gymboree, 4 rue Louis Armand, 75015 Paris, 01.40.71.61.60 and 18 avenue de la Jonchère, 78170 La Celle Saint Cloud, 01.40.71.61.60 and now also at Le Jardin d’Acclimatation (http://www.gymboree-france.com/) At all locations Gymboree offers playdates and mother-toddler groups and activities ranging from developing motor skills to music for children from 0-6.
- Centre de Danse du Marais, 41, rue du Temple 75004 Paris, 01.42.77.58.19 (http://www.paris-danse.com) offers various danse classes as well as theatre.
- Les Cercles de la Formes, 15 locations in Paris, (http://www.cerclesdelaforme.com) A grown-up gym with lots of classes for kids ranging from many martial arts to classical and modern dance.
- Musee en Herbe (http://www.musee-en-herbe.com), 21 rue Hérold, 75001 PARIS, 01 40 67 97 66, This child-friendly museum offers workshops for children from 2 1/2 to 103! They have had exhibitions such as Keith Haring and Dali and many other masters. The workshops are designed to help children connect to the art.
- Learning Culture (http://www.learning-culture.net/enfants.htm), 7 Cite du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris, 01.40.46.87.22 Arts, crafts and English-language activities for small groups of children.
- Le Jardins des Plantes/Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, between rue Cuvier and rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, 01.40.79.56.01 (http://www.mnhn.fr/fr/visitez/lieux/jardin-plantes and https://www.mnhn.fr/fr) This museum and garden has a plethora of children’s activities, many of which are hands-on scientific and cultural activities. The website, in English and French, provides current offerings.
- The George Pompidou Center (http://www.centrepompidou.fr) has workshops for children 3-5 with their parents and 6-11 by themselves.
- Cite des Enfants ( http://www.cite-sciences.fr/en/cite-des-sciences ) is a wonderful hands-on science museum for children.
- Les Petits Cordon Bleus, 8 rue Léon Delhomme, 75015 Paris, 01.53.68.22.50, (http://cordonbleu.edu/paris/petits-cordons-bleus/en) The venerable cooking school opens its doors to children several times per year for special 2-hour classes, in English or French. Children get to take home what they have prepared.
- American Children’s Theatre, 15 ave. Montaigne, 75008 Paris, 06.58.54.13.48, ( http://actparis.com) ACT is a children’s theatre company that meets once a week and then performs English production during each semester.
- Le Club des Enfants Parisiens, 57 rue Ampere, 75017 Paris, 01.44.29.12.40, (http://www.clubdesenfantsparisiens.com) This club offers a plethora of activities ranging from cooking and theatre to sports and music. You can also organize birthday workshops in their facilities.
- Wonder City, http://www.wondercity.com/paris.html, is only in French, but is a great search engine for activities for kids. You can search by age, activity, date and more.
- My Little Kids, http://www.mylittlekids.fr, gives weekly tips on activities, shopping, and more. The site is in French.
- Citizen Kid, http://www.citizenkid.com/activites-enfant-paris, is another easy-to-use searchable data base for children’s activities.
See the “Children” section for more helpful links.
For a listing of after school events and summer programs, contact your local Mairie. While the events may be French-only, this would be a great language immersion for your children if they are up to it.