Children’s kingdoms

Vaux-le-Vicomte © Milochau
At the end of the year fun fairs and monuments deck themselves out with lights and offer numerous attractions to seduce kids and parents. Illuminated gardens, winter sports, parade and shows,… The choice is vast.

[ Practical ]

- Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
Getting there : 50 km from Paris on autoroutes A86 and A5 till exit 14 Voisenon, then on roads D82, D636 and d215 till the castle.
RER D Paris – Melun then taxi. Shuttle bus from Paris departing at 13.30, information : 0160396066.
Open till January 4th from 11.00 to 18.30, till 17.00 on December 24th and 31st. Closed on December 25th and January 1st.
L’Oiseau Bleu performances at 11.30, 14.30 and 16.30
Children 6-16 : 9,50 €, adults : 12,50 €, without the performance L’Oiseau Bleu. 22 €, 25 € including the performance
Tel : 0164144190
- Stade Charléty
1 Av Pierre de Coubertin, 75013 Paris.
Open till December 31st from 13.30 to 18.00 from Monday to Friday, and from 13.00 to 18.00 on Saturday and Sunday. Closed on December 25th.
Free admission
- Stade de France
Children 4-12 : 9 €, over 12 : 12 €, families : 36 €
Open till December 31st from 10.00 to 14.00 and from 15.30 to 19.30.
- Disneyland
Getting there : RER A till Marne la Vallée
Open every day. Christmas show till January 6th.
Children 3-11 : 42 €, adults : 50 €
- Parc Asterix
Getting there : 30 km from Paris on autoroute A1. RER B till Roissy and CIF bus. Shuttle bus from the Louvre in Paris at 9.45, information : 0826301040
Open from December 20nd till January 4th. Closed on December 24th, 25th 31st and January 1st
Children 3-11 : 27 €, adults : 37 €
- Europa Park
Getting there : TGV till Strasbourg + train till Offenburg, then shuttle bus.
Open till January 6th, close on December 24th and 25th
Children 4-11 : 23 €, adults : 26 €. Evening tickets valid for entrance from 16.00 : 12 € / 15 €.
For children, and above all the youngest ones, there is no other period of the year which is awaited with so much impatience as Christmas. No question of disappointing them. It means parents have to find activities to please them, enchant them and make them dream.

Vaux-le-Vicomte © T.Joly
 Illuminated gardens
For 2008, the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte has everything it takes to do just that. From December 20th to January 4th this 17th century building located 50 km from Paris will be specially adapted for Christmas and offer several shows and displays for kids. Enchantment starts on arrival with snow falling in the honour courtyard where the central alley is lined with white Christmas trees while all around the gardens are decorated with lighted garlands. Inside, all the rooms are adorned with twinkling balls, lights, festoons and Christmas trees. A warm atmosphere reinforced by the logs burning in all the fire places. The high point of this decoration is the Grand Salon which houses a Christmas tree over 8 metres high. At its feet a little present awaits every child. Just next door, in the outbuildings a theatre company performs three times a day L’Oiseau Bleu, an interactive show based on a 17th century tale. And after the performance the kids are invited to visit the castle dressed up in costumes.

Stade de France © Agence APF
 Two ski resorts in Paris
In the capital itself, the Charléty stadium becomes a ski resort with a downhill ski piste, a cross-country trail and a sledge track. Tyrolean traversing and ropes course also wait for the most adventurous visitors while young kids can learn how to walk with snowshoes and to build an igloo. The Stade de France too becomes a ski resort till December 31st. Around a giant Christmas tree 25 m high, a 70 m long ski trail, a path for Nordic ski, a surf simulator, an ice cascade, a sledge track and a large skating rink will all be set up. With Christmas trees, Swiss chalets and mountain restaurants to complete the setting. You’ll think you really are in the mountains. Always under the surveillance of professionals, children can also be initiated to summer mountain activities like wall climbing, via ferrata, tree trails and Tyrolean traversing. This event being sponsored by Milka children can end the day by discovering the secrets of chocolate.

© Europa Park 2007
 Christmas outfits
As every year, several amusement parks put on their Christmas outfits. At Disneyland Paris the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle becomes a shimmering ice palace, the Fantillusion night parade takes place in a setting illuminated by thousands lights and the enchanted Candleabration ceremony includes a stunning ballet performed by Disney Princes and Princess and a glittering final. At Parc Asterix, the arena becomes a skating rink; a winter setting for the usual fights and jokes between the Gauls and the Roman legionaries. For something more refreshing, there is a 3D movie which takes visitors on an adventurous trip to the Far North. As for the Christmas market, it is filled with stalls owned by all the nationalities the hero, Asterix, met during his travels.
And finally, in Germany, but not too far from Strasbourg, The Europa Park will undergo a metamorphosis with thousands of Christmas trees, festoons and twinkling balls; decorations which light up the Christmas market, skating rink, sledge track and ice bar. The park also offers several shows and plays host to a Marc Chagall exhibition, featuring 69 Greek legend themed lithographs.

December 19, 2008
Pascal Lefeuvre