French family fun ideas ... whatever the weather

Samantha David tours the country to find some excellent attractions to entertain youngsters

Families in France increasingly enjoy multi-generational holidays and breaks, and many Connexion readers look forward to those visits from grandchildren.
Spending time with family is always precious – but, outside July and August, especially if the weather is inclement, the question can arise of how to keep everyone amused, occupied and happy.

There is nothing worse than a sighing child staring out of a rain-washed window complaining that they are bored! Luckily, France is blessed with more family-friendly options than anyone could do in a lifetime of wet Sundays.

For pre-schoolers and younger schoolchildren, track down softplay centres online by using the search terms ‘aire de jeux’ or ‘parc de jeux’ or even ‘espace de jeux’. If you want something outdoors try ‘terrains d’aventure’ or ‘terrains de jeux’. Just add your location to the search to see what is available in your area.

Do not overlook the local library, as many put on free story-telling sessions for even very young children. (A great chance for them to start learning French!) Another source of fun can be shopping malls, many of which also organise free workshops and child-friendly activities during the school holidays.

For school-age children and teens, if they really are driving you up the wall, search for ‘mur d’escalade’ and take them off to a climbing-wall centre where an instructor will teach them to climb walls properly. has climbing walls in large cities all over France, teaches children from four years old, and each centre also has a café.

Swimming pools have evolved and the days ...

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