Here’s the trouble with Paris and children and wintertime.
1. It’s dark.
2. It’s cold.
3. It’s usually raining.
4. By the time kids get out of school, it’s late. and dark. and cold. and usually raining.
So, both parents and children are completely unmotivated to go anywhere. Well, at least, that’s what happens in my house.
But since my kids’ school happens to be just next to the Musée Grevin, Paris's wax museum, I took them there to mill around before cocooning in our apartment.
On the whole, young kids won’t find it the most entertaining on earth but it’s worth a visit if you’re wanting some indoor activity. For kids 8 and up, I’d bet the museum is probably pretty cool. And I found the 19th century museum's gilded baroque architecture and red-walled interior, both elegant and slightly tarty.
For kids, the fun of the museum begins while standing in line for the tickets. Some smart person, probably a tired parent, designed the entrance with several ‘fun house” mirrors scattered about, so that kids can amuse themselves by laughing their squat or elongated appearance during the wait.
But beware: once you enter the museum, if you have very young kids, the fun may stop briefly. Unbeknownst to me, the ticket price includes a lights-and-illusions show, which scared the bejesus out of my then-4-year old.
See, at the very start of your visit, before you’ve seen a waxen anything, you’re shepherded into a large room with ornate mirrored walls. Then the doors are shut, the lights go out and you’re treated to various optical illusions and light displays.
Fake butterflies descend from the ceiling...green vines suddenly grow around columns.... all kinds of things happen. It’s supposed to be awesome and magical but Lil’Dawg found it weird and terrifying. I had to talk him in a bright, cheerful tone throughout the whole thing to keep him from slipping into outright panic.
Anyway. Just a word to the wise.
Things improved after the light show, but the boys seemed interested without being wowed.
The problem isn’t that the wax works aren’t good – they are startlingly life-like and often arranged in poses so realistic sometimes you’re not sure who is part of the exhibit and who isn’t – but that younger kids have no idea who most of these people are.
Like, I was very excited to check out Brad Pitt and George Clooney. But the kids were bored and rushed by them (which is why the picture is so blurry, sorry.)
Boris Karloff as Frankenstein was a great hit, however.
As was, surprisingly, young Mozart.
And any person that happened to be holding a gun.
So, if you’ve got a rainy day on your hands, I say check it out. Why not? But with young kids you may want to do some prep work first. Show them a few pictures of Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
Address: Musee Grevin (Wax Museum of Paris)
Metro: Richelieu-Drouot (Lines 8, 9); Buses 39, 48, 67, 74, 85.
Hours: 10am - 6:30pm (Mon- Fri.) 10am - 7pm (Sat.) During summer, opening hours are longer, from 9am - 7pm. Check here to be sure.
Price: Kids under 6: free. Kids 6-14: €15; Adults: €22.
(Yikes, right? Crazy. But the museum is currently having a "winter special" where if you order online at least 5 days in advance you get 25% off the price. And there are discounted prices for senior citizens, students, etc. as well)