Entertainment & Arts > Amusement Parks

Find more family entertainment ideas in the Family Fun page of the Activities section.

4-6 rue Louis Armand, 15th
M° Balard
Tel 01 40 60 10 00

This indoor water park maintains summer-temperatures year-round, with water slides, wave pools and tropical décor under a gigantic glass atrium ceiling. Arrive early in the morning to avoid lines. Wednesday afternoons and weekends are the most crowded. The water park is attached to a commercial center with foodcourt, arcade, newsstand, cinema, and a sports shop where you can buy a bathing suit if you need one. Watch out for the extras: lockers €1, parasol €5, beach lounger €5. There’s a bit of a walk from the metro, but bus 38 (via Gare de l’Est and St-Germain-des-Prés) arrives right outside the entrance.

Open Monday-Thursday 9am-11pm , Friday-Saturday 9am- midnight , Sunday 8am -8pm. Entry €22, €12 for kids 3-12 (no kids under 3 are allowed in the water park; Speedo-type bathing suit required for the guys).

Parc Astérix
(north of
Paris on the A1, between Roissy-CDG Airport and Senlis)
Tel 03 44 62 34 34.

This popular amusement park is similar to its Disney competitor in style, the major differences being the theme (based on the French comic strip, Astérix & Obelisk) and the rides (Parc Astérix has a seven-loop rollercoaster and a giant wooden rollercoaster). There are different areas of the park dedicated to Ancient Greece, Old Paris, and Gallic Village Life, and shows throughout the day including live dolphins, falconry demonstrations, and Three Musketeers swordfights. Restaurants in the park serve wild boar (sanglier), Astérix’s favourite food. There is certainly a commercial side, with Astérix’s winged helmet replacing the mouse ears, but it’s definitely not as omni-present as Disney. In the artisan’s village you can watch real stone and wood carvers, and stained-glass and pottery-makers. Aside from the map, there’s nothing in English, so be prepared to learn a bit of French. Try and go weekdays outside French holidays (avoid August if possible). There’s a three-star family hotel next door owned by the park: Hôtel des Trois Hiboux”.

Open April-early October, 9:30am-7pm daily in high season, 10am-6pm on Wednesdays and weekends in low season. Tickets €34 for visitors 12 and up, €24 for kids 3-11, and free for children under 3. (Discounts for two-day passes, hotel-park passes, or “Forfait Parc Astérix” which includes entry and train/bus ride to the park). Parking €6. There is a bus every half-hour from Roissy-CDG Airport (Gare Routière, quai A3). From Paris , take the RER B3 to Roissy-CDG1 and transfer to the bus.

Disneyland Paris & Disney Studios
Marne-la-Vallée (east of
Paris on the A4, exit 14)
Tel 01 60 30 60 30.

Disneyland Paris (formerly known as EuroDisney) received bad press when it opened in 1992, but today the park receives more visitors than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower combined (and more than half of them are French). If you’re already familiar with the original Disneyland in California , this park will feel a bit smaller (no ‘ToonTown, no Matterhorn , no New Orleans Square ). The rides have been moved around a bit into Main Street and four “Lands” with a focus on the modern Disney characters (like Aladdin and Pocahontas). On the plus side, Discoveryland (Tomorrowland’s French counterpart) has a slick, copper and turquoise Jules Verne décor with a vamped-up Space Mountain that even goes upside-down. To avoid long lines, grab a free FastPass ticket which lets you jump to the front of the line at designated times. Next door, the recently-opened Disney Studios is still trying to establish itself. With a striking resemblance to a Southern California shopping mall (it’s meant to look like a Hollywood studio), Disney Studios has a few “behind-the-scenes” attractions, one super-fast rollercoaster, an elaborate stunt show and Disney characters doing improvised “scenes” with audience participation. The predominant use of French in the parks is more obvious at Disney Studios, but they do their best to translate everything with very artful use of Franglais. It’s possible to use a one-day ticket to visit Disney Studios with the option to visit Disneyland for the last three opening hours, but unfortunately it doesn’t work the other way around. The parks are part of the Disneyland Paris Resort, with multiple theme-hotels, a golf course and the Disney Village .

Open daily 10am-8pm (opens at 9am on weekends, and stays open until 11pm on summer weekends, Disney Studios closes at 6pm ). One-day tickets for either Disneyland or Disney Studios are €43, €35 for kids 3-11, free for kids under 3. The three-day pass which allows access to both theme parks is €115, €95 for kids 3-11. By RER A4 from Châtelet-Les Halles or Gare de Lyon to Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy (€12 round-trip, €6 for kids 4-10).

Disney Village
Just across the street from Disneyland (right at the entrance to the RER station) is Disney Village, an entertainment complex focusing on dining and nightlife with a Disney theme, and no entry fee. Try to ignore the Planet Hollywood, tired Rainforest Café and the golden arches. More worthy of your attention is Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (with some spectacular horseback stunts), the Hurricanes nightclub, and King Ludwig’s Castle Restaurant. There’s also a 15-screen cinema (English films Monday nights), Disney stores (same souvenirs sold inside Disneyland and Disney Studios), and the Disney Lake (pedal boats in summer and ice skating in winter). Most of the restaurants and bars are open until 1am , and Hurricanes stays open until 5am . Just don’t forget the last train back to Paris is at 12:20am !

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