La Ville Lumiere was baptized so for a reason. Not only because the beautiful bright lights that beacon from every building at night but because for centuries Paris has been a muse and a center of enlightenment and creativity to many.
Having lived in France as a student and later visited it often after I got married and we lived in Germany (4 hour train ride for cheap? Yes please!), Paris has always been inspirational to me. On my previous visits I made it a point to make a stopover in as many museums as I could. I cannot say I have been to even one third of all the amazing museums offered by this ville but at least I have seen the most popular ones; Louvre, Orsay, Musee de l’armee, Marine, Versailles, etc.
I had always day-dreamed of one day taking my kids there and letting them run around the jardin des tulleries with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop. Last summer we were so blessed to be able to visit Paris for a few days and I knew exactly where I wanted to take the boys. Since they were still quite petit to really appreciate the magnificence of the very small Mona Lisa we decided to visit a couple of museums that would appeal to them; whether because of their accessibility and lack of breakables and their potential to engage the boys if even due to bright colors. I have previously told you about our visit to the Sewer Museum, which was stinking fun and now I have to endorse the Museum of Modern Art, or Centre Pompidou as one of the best museums for little ones.
From the moment you approach the Place Georges-Pompidou you are surrounded by an eclectic yet modern vibe. People are walking around, riding their bikes and just relaxing and having a good time. The place is a very popular spot for students to just hang out and eat their boulangerie-bought goodies while sitting on the floor facing the museum.
The building itself is a piece of art. It is very original and quite different from normal Parisian architecture. The building piping is externalized and is portrayed in a different color depending on its function. Each of the floors is vast and full of life and capable of being modified in minutes.
Without planning it we were lucky to visit on a first Sunday of the month so the ticket to the permanent exhibit was free. It is usually quite reasonable a 13 euros per adult. Children under 13 get in for free. They have a consigne where you can leave packages and visiting with a stroller is not a problem since they have elevators everywhere. The only downside was that we didn’t get to go on the cool escalators on the façade.
I remembered from my previous visits that they had a space dedicated to children. This is the first time we visited it and I was pleasantly surprised to find so many volunteers willing to explain to the children the different sections of the exhibition. The exhibition is dynamic and changes every few months and when we visited they had a very cool video-exhibition of children and their understanding of different words. They had a small play area where children could do stencil and stamp art and Evan really enjoyed the break from all the walking.
Toddlers will be toddlers and as soon as Evan got bored we went to visit the permanent exhibitions with the toddler in the stroller and the baby on his carrier. The bright colors and unique pieces of art attired both Joshua’s and Evan’s eyes. Evan was inclined to run around but I thought it was too crowded and that he would give into temptation and try to touch one of the 3D displays.
We walked around for about an hour and a half and basically stopped whenever we could. We were following Evan’s cues so it was all about anything that looked mechanic or super colorful. We didn’t see some of the most important pieces but Evan was actually having tons of fun and really appreciated it. Joshua loved looking at all the bright colors and was a very good baby.
When we were done looking around we visited the souvenir shop for a few minutes. I was inclined to buy one of each of the things they sold there since they were awesome but I restrained myself and just got a notebook with Dali’s works and a couple of postcards.
I can’t wait to go back when the kids are older and see how they react differently to what they see. The Centre Pompideu is a great place to initiate kids in the appreciation of arts
- Try to go on a first Sunday of the month! It’s Free! If you do, go early because it starts getting crowded around noon.
- Although there is a restaurant there, there are many delicious restaurants in the surrounding area. Plan your day around a visit plus lunch in the arrondisement.
- Never leave your toddler unattended because he/she will very likely end up sitting on one of the architectural exhibitions of touching one of the very intriguing pieces of art. (not that that happened to us… cough cough…)
- If you really want to see all the most important pieces of art, get a book or app with a guide so you don’t miss them.
- The toilets here are great! So make your pit stop before you visit the nearby Notre Dame or walk around St. Michel.