Category Archives: kids

Paris october 2008 : opening of the 104, a major cultural event

Last Saturday, October 12, after two years of work and suspense, a great new artistic center, the Centquatre, was finally opened to public.

Part of the event is that it is located in a somewhat derelicted area in Paris 19ème arrondissement. It is named after its address : 104 rue d’Aubervilliers.

Built in 1873, this beautiful glass and iron structure was closed since 1997 after being Paris Municipal Funeral Service headquarters for a century.

Now it’s dedicated to all forms of living art, and its opening was a great success. During the afternoon, it got so crowded that a huge file had to wait in the street to come in.

Actually, the place is made of two glass halls, and has another entrance on rue Curial # 5.

On the rue Curial side, you can look at a large picture showing “the chaos” during the renovation made by the architects of Novembre workshop

Now, on two levels and 39000 m2, there are 18 artists workshops, two rooms of 200 and 400 hundred seats, besides the glass halls.

There are organized children activities, and on the opening day, many plaid with a scale model.

Among the many works in progress on that day, some will be going on:

Nicolas Simarik offers you to recycle your old keys, or to make a double of the one you carry with you. Then you get in exchange another key, the key of the centquatre . This key opens one of the boxes along the wall, composing an After Calendar, where you’ll find a surprise : an invitation to discover some unusual place in Paris.

Key gathering goes on up to December 31, Wednesday to Sunday from 12 to 20.

On both sides of the halls are long narrow English courtyards, transformed into evoluting gardens by Coloco, a group of three landscape architects. People of the neighborhood have been collecting local plants which now grow in these courts.

Convex mirrors on the wall give distorted reflects of the place.

Composer Gerard Pesson has created for the occasion Pompes/Circonstances, several musical pieces which will played on each new moon.

On Saturday 12, a musical action was performed by  Spat Sonore

They will be part of the first performance of Pompes/Circonstances, on October 28 at 19.

And next performances will take place on each new moon evening up 2010.

There is also restaurant and a bookshop, where of course you can find Pompes Funèbres by Jean Genet.

Le Centquatre is opened everyday, Tuesday to Saturday from 11 to 23, Sunday and Monday from 11 to 20. All information, program, history of the place – also available in english version – on .

104 rue d’Aubervilliers and 5 rue Curial, 75019 Paris. Metro Riquet. Entrance is free, but concerts, exhibitions and some events are 5 or 7 € . Information and reservation at 33(0)153 35 50 00 Monday to Friday  14 to 18, or on You can also buy tickets on the spot.


Enjoy the beach in Paris : Paris Plage

Paris Plage has been going on since 2002 : every summer, Paris river banks are covered with sand, parasols and desk chairs.

If you go for water sports, you’ll find some activities for adults and for children as well around Bassin de la Villette : on Quai de Loire, adults can take a small boat or ride on a pedal boat (from noon to 8 PM), and 10 years old children can go sailing (9 AM to 11.30 and 13.30 to 17). Over 12 can also row (from 9AM to 11.30 and 17 to 20)

And if you feel hungry, why not have a pic nic on the water front?

Care for a dance ? Go to the other bank, to 45 quai de Seine, Balapaname is open everyday 17 to 20.30, up to 22 on week ends.(Metro Stalingrad)

If you want to play golf, go to Paris town hall

In front of it, you’ll find a nine holes mini golf. Metro Hôtel de Ville.

And nearby, at Pont-Marie, children over 7 can take a bath. But to take a swim on the Seine, go to Josephine Baker outdoor swimming pool.

photo Marc Vernhille

It’s just below the Great Library, on quai François Mauriac, Metro Quai de la Gare ou Bibliothèque François Mitterrrand. All informations on :

And if you care for music, up to August 17, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 5 PM up to Midnight, Indétendance offers free concerts on Pont Sully. (Metro Sully-Morland). For program, go to :

And if you’de rather just rest  a while, please do.

Paris Plage is running up to August 21, more information on : –

Saturday June 21 : Fête de la Musique in Paris

It is the shortest night of the year, and as in most of the cities, it’s Fête de la Musique in Paris, where it was created in the eighties.

Pieces for chorus by French composers in Cour d’honneur du Sénat (Luxembourg garden) at 4 PM, chamber music in Parc de Bagatelle Orangerie (Bois de Boulogne) at 2PM : afternoon concerts in beautiful gardens for classical music amateurs. And in the evening, you may go on with Psyche by César Franck in Musée d’Orsay or Gounod’s Requiem at Eglise de la Madeleine (both at 20.30)

If you’re travelling with kids, head north up to Cité de la Musique : from 2 PM up to 22, all kind of concerts and activities for very young ones and for their parents.

If you’re a jazz fan, you’ll hang around rue des Lombards, starting at 9 PM, the three clubs in the street pay a tribute to Stéphane Grapelli. You pay for one show and attend the other free.

If you don’t fear the crowd, you’ll be Place de la Bastille : world music, rap and videos, beginning at 20.

You may also wander at random. Public transports run all night long (for 2.50 euros), but some stations will be closed at usual time. Maps and information in RER, train and metro stations.

For 0.35 euros, buy this week’s Officiel des Spectacles (tiny bible for all Paris shows issued every Wednesday) and have major Paris programs (filed by arrondissements) in your pocket.

Otherwise, for all information on all events around and in Paris go to :

Magic Méliès : a magic exhibition at Paris Cinémathèque

It is a good opportunity to go to Paris Cinémathèque, enjoy its beautiful architecture signed Frank Gehry and its pleasant surroundings in the modern east Paris.

Just started on April 16, a new exhibition “Georges Méliès, magicien du cinéma“. Even if you’re not particularly interested in film archeology, you’ll be amazed and amused, and so will be your kids.

You can watch about eight films, made by Méliès between 1896 and 1912.

Here a man watches le mélomane (1903) next to a panel showing the illusion of motion made from still pictures of a walking woman.

a magic lantern

and Méliès first camera.

The ice monster in A la conquète du Pôle Nord (1912) on screen over a scale model of the studio, with the giant monster figure.

the vessel to travel up to North Pole, the link between theatrical machinery and film.

A television crew filming le voyage dans la lune (1902)

A photogram showing the scientific team visiting the moon.

A colorized film, les 400 farces du Diable (1906)

a dancing skeleton hanging next to Une partie de carte (1896) on screen. Melies humorous fantasy is mostly based on devils, skeletons, chopped heads…(laugh with death and fear).

Besides films, scale models, dresses, props and cameras, story boards, drawings and paintings of film sets are wonderful.

La cinémathèque française, 51 rue de Bercy 75012 Paris, metro Bercy Information : tel 33(0)1 71 19 33 33 and

Exhibition Méliès : Monday to Saturday 12/19, up to 22 on Thursdays, Sunday 10 /20, closed on Tuesdays and May 1. Price 5 euros.

To see films by Georges Méliès, three programs : April 25, at 20, salle Henri Langlois, program 1 : colored pictures, May 4 at 16, salle Henri Langlois, program 2 : Méliès the enchenter, May 25 at 16, program 3 (untitled). With piano accompaniment.

Special programs for children “illusion in films” every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon at 3 PM, from April 30 to June 14. Also on Saturday May 31 and June 7, a workshop “illusion”, for kids between 6 and 8. More information on

Paris Museum for kids : Galerie des enfants in Beaubourg

There is a specific place dedicated to kids in Paris Centre Pompidou entrance hall, just under the design shop :

Here seen behind “Mother” by Louise Bourgeois, it is called “Galerie des enfants”, and as for adults, it shows temporary exhibitions and activities.

Going on now : l’oeil sur l’échelle (the eye on scale) is both a photo exhibition and a playground signed by Edouard Sautai, a young artist who in his photos and videos mixes by optical techniques urban or country landscapes with scale models or small junk materials which seem larger and fit in their surroundings.

Children pick up pieces of toys and junks from boxes to make their own construction in front of an urban “trompe-l’oeil”,  exactly the same way this image was made.

Exhibition “l’oeil sur l’échelle” up to June 30 everyday except Tuesday 11 am to 19, reception for workshop 14.30 to 16.30 (for children from 6 to 12) Centre Pompidou, place Georges Pompidou, metro Hôtel de Ville or Rambuteau. Price 10 euros for one child and one adult. Information :Tel 33 (0)1 44 78 12 33 and on

More about Edouard Sautai on :

And of course, if the weather is fine, go for a walk around on the fountain with mobiles by Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely on place Igor Stravinsky, just nearby.