Touring in Paris!
 Golf courses in the Paris region   Taking your children to Paris....
  • In France, golf still has the reputation of an exclusive game only for the well-offs and it is not very easy to play golf in Paris but it is possible ! To find out, try (with more than 600, France has the largest number of golf courses in Europe)
  • Practice grounds in Paris :
    • Hippodrome d'Auteuil 75016 tel 01 44 30 70 00 ; 8 am to 8 pm except days of horse races
    • Hippodrome de Saint-Cloud tel 01 47 71 39 22, including a 9-hole golf course
    • Jardin d'Acclimatation (within the Bois de Boulogne) tel 01 45 00 16 64 ; 9:30 am to 7 pm or 9 pm
  • We play (not very often) at the Golf de Maintenon (40 miles West of Paris), in the park of the castle which once belonged to Madame de Maintenon, the last wife of the Sun King. The golf course is crossed by a HUGE aqueduct which was built to transfer water to the castle of Versailles (40 miles away). A nice golf course but definitely too many water hazards...
  • Play glof in a wonderful site where the club-house is a historical castle ! There are two beautiful chateaux golfs near Paris.

Cinema in Paris

  • Paris has more movie theater than any other big city in the world : 420 screens ;
  • among them, some have something special : Le Rex (the largest, with a very kitsh setting), Le Louxor (Art-Deco Egyptian style, with a friendly restaurant on top), La Pagode (a Japonese pagoda built in 1896, transformed intro a movie theater in the 1930s, unfortunately under refurbishment for a a few years),etc.
  • the French are cinema-goers : 3,1 films per year (Germany : 1,7, Italy : 1,8, UK : 2,7 and Japan : 1,3) and USA : 3,7
  • around 1,000 feature films a year are shot in the streets of Paris

USEFUL TIPS.....Paris is a great city for cinema-lovers : many movie-theaters (over 300 movies every week), films in English and old movies. The former American Center designed by Frank Gehry (55 rue de Bercy 75011) is now the Musée du Cinema and the French Cinemathèque. It is a fantastic place : read about it in Paris Diary. A lesser-known place to see many movies in a row, or to view a particular part of a movie in a comfortable seat with an individual screen is the Forum des Images, where you can spend the whole day for around $3 ; there are several thousand movies about Paris or taking place in Paris that you can select with a key-word and watch on an individual screen (currently under renovation : re-opening January 2007). Rue Champollion, in the Latin Quarter, is THE street for classic films... Another great movie theater is Cinema Denfert 26 Place Denfert Rochereau 75014., with high quality program. Many movie theaters (chains like UGC but also independent theaters) offer passes representing up to 25% discount.


Other activities in Paris or elsewhere ...

  • Ile de France Walks is an informal, bilingual group organizing a variety of walks, mainly on Wednesdays, in the greater Paris area. Membership is free: send an email to enroll.
  • Why not visit a manufacture of typically French products? More than 2,500 industrial firms welcome tourists : read more.
  • More to come ....


Around Paris, visit places where famous people lived ...

  • The house of composer Maurice Ravel in the charming little village of Montfort L'Amaury (30 miles W of Paris)

  • The house and last studio of sculptor Auguste Rodin in Meudon (3 miles SW of Paris)

  • This site has a special section for houses of writers

  • More to come


The French and children

  • Generally speaking, French children are more controlled than American children. Kids are expected to behave well in public places and particularly in restaurants.
  • In France people, including children, snack much less that in the US and everybody is expected to be hungry at meal time or wait for meal time to eat. (read why "French children don't throw food")
  • The French love children (remember : their birth rate is the highest in Europe, with Ireland!) but their attitude is different from American's : a little more strict and directive (read more about French education).
  • When among adults, American children do not behave like French children : they tend to monopolize attention and the French are not used to it. People often refer to children as "bien élevés" (literally "well brought up") as the the key criteria to judge children  and it puts the focus on the way parents educate them. In France, strongly reprimanding children and raising your voice when necessary to show that you are serious is not at all a no-no and saying NO to a kid is not either (it is even considered indispensible to their education). Read my column about American children.

Children and French food : DOs & DONTs

  • American children are generally not curious about food and they want to eat what they are used to eat. Do not force them to eat French food (you probably won't succeed anyway). The place they'll enjoy the most is probably a McDonald's restaurant (remember : it's their vacation, too).

  • But if you take them to a French restaurant, do not ask multiple changes in the courses, because "Johny does not like that" or "Betty is allergic to that" : why don't you simply order what's on the list ?

  • Except if you are absolutely sure that your beloved kids will enjoy it, DO NOT take your children to an expensive French restaurant : he/she will not enjoy it, he/she will think it's too long and he/she might ruin the pleasure of other people in the restaurant (remember : it's your vacation, too).

Places in Paris to go with children : some suggestions

  • The Musée de l'Armée (in the Invalides, 7th Arrondissement) is for gun-lovers and armors freaks
  • For teenagers : the catacombs (Place Denfert-Rochereau, 14th) are a guaranteed hit !
  • The Luxembourg Garden (6th Arrondissement) appeals to all ages
  • Musee Grevin (9th Arrondissement) : the French Madame Tussaud
  • The Museum of Dolls, a block from the Pompidou Center : a huge collection, workshops for dolls' lovers, etc.
  • Near the (old) opera house, the Passage des Princes (3 boulevard des Italiens) is a little mall with several shops withs toys and all sorts of games.
  • The Jardin d'Acclimatation (near Porte Maillot,16th Arrondissement) is an amusement park accessible with the metro (merry-go-rounds, etc and a Guignol theater i.e. a muppet show)
  • The Jardin des Plantes (5th Arrondissement) is a very nice place to go as it includes several different places of interest for various profiles of kids : a zoo, a Grand Gallery of Evolution, big green houses of tropical or desert plants, a big 17th-century garden and, right in front, the beautiful Paris mosque with its picturesque restaurant and tea room(couscous, oriental pastries, mint tea, etc).
  • If you go to Versailles, remember it's very impressive but huge and quite tiring for children (and for their parents too). Same thing with the Louvre.
  • You don't have to go on top of the Tour Eiffel : the view is spectacular but a two-hour line is exhausting with children… ; do NOT buy anything (souvenirs, water,…) from street dealers and beware of pickpockets.

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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