Urban Oasis In The 12ème

Stroll around Paris’s family-friendly 12th district and discover its hidden gems.

A Kid-Friendly Local Perspective On Paris

Trail Map
Who Created This Tour?
Elizabeth Newcamp

Elizabeth Newcamp is the author of Dutch Dutch Goose and a big proponent of family travel. With just two children, Elizabeth and her husband visited 34 countries. She and her family have spent the last three years in Delft, Netherlands, where they welcomed her third boy and traveled all over Europe. Follow Elizabeth on Instagram at @Edjn

What You Should Know Before Taking This Tour

This trail is stroller-friendly by Parisian standards, which means you’ll have to collapse and haul your stroller in a few areas: up to the elevated park called La Coulee Verte and also at Bercy Village, you’ll have to cross a road with bridges that only has stairs.

Generally speaking, Paris isn’t very stroller-friendly. Parisians love the Baby Zen Yoyo, because it can collapse so small so easily. For stroller recommendations, check out our article about best strollers for air travel.

If you like wear your baby, this is the place to do it! For ideas on which baby carrier is right for you, check out our article with our favorites.

Make sure to check the weather and dress accordingly. This is a casual day-time trail and there is a lot of walking involved so make sure to dress comfortably. 

On this trail you really have to budget for the museum and lunch stops. 

For the Musée des arts forains, children under 3 years of age are free, children between 4 and 11 years of age are 9 euros, and adults are around 17 euros. 

This trail is great for all ages. Elizabeth from Dutch Dutch Goose did this trail with her kids between 1 and 6 years of age.

In order to visit the Musee des Arts Forains, you must reserve a tour. There is only one English-speaking tour a day. When Elizabeth took this trail, the Musee des Arts Forains English tour was at 10:30 AM, so she started the trail on the elevated park at 9:30 AM. Just make sure to check what time the English tour is (unless you speak French in which case it matters much less), and make sure the rest of the trail hinges on that. That said, if the English tour is at a very inconvenient time, they will absolutely allow you on they will absolutely let you on a French-speaking tour with booklets and you’ll get to see everything. 

Yes! Make sure you reserve your tour for the Musee des Arts Forains, the only way to visit this unique museum. If you understand French, there are tours all day, but there is only one English tour a day and in our case it was at 10:30AM. You need to reserve ahead here http://arts-forains.com/en/online-booking.

It  does not have to be an exceptionally gorgeous day for this trail, but better to take this trail on a dry day, so that you can enjoy the parks on the trail. 

About The Urban Oasis In The 12ème Trail

Much like other parts of Eastern Paris, the 12th arrondissement, which stretches between the Bastille and the Gare de Lyon has undergone a huge revival in the last few decades. The 12th arrondissement, one of the larger districts of Paris, is blessed with vast outdoor space coupled with a family-friendly feel, off the beaten touristy track. Explore this trail if you’ve already seen Paris’s major sites or if you’re looking for a more local perspective of what living in Paris really could be like.

This trail was suggested by our Parisian ambassador Carole, but was followed and adapted by Elizabeth from Dutch Dutch Goose who traveled there on a hot summer day with her three boys ages 1-6. Starting off on the elevated park Promenade Plantee also known as the Coulee Verte, this is the world’s first elevated walkway built over former a railroad stretching the length of the 12th arrondissement running atop the Viaduc des Arts. This walkway which is beautifully taken care of and a lovely place for kids to stretch their legs, is a unique vantage point into Parisian life.

If you have time after this walk, you’ll notice lots of art galleries below the viaducs, another testament to the tremendous transformation this neighborhood has undergone.

Next up is the Musee des Arts ForainsThis little museum is a true Parisian gem, which an ode to the Parisian spirit of celebration and fun. This unique museum is one your kids will love, and so will you! It is made up of renovated vintage entertainment and fairground stuff found in junk yards and repaired. In order to visit this museum, you do have to reserve ahead and there is only one English tour a day.

Make sure to check the website or call ahead to find out when that tour is. In Elizabeth’s case, it was at 10:30 AM, but that can always change. You also have the option to take the French tour, with the guide books in English.

After the museum, you’ll likely be hungry. Head down to Bercy Village, essentially an outdoor mall, with a village feel. Replete with shops and restaurants, this is an excellent stop for a bite. After lunch, pop over to the Parc de Bercy, built on the city’s old official wine warehouse, stretching 70 hectares. The park has three playgrounds, an expansive road garden and vegetable patch to keep the kids occupied.

The trail itself stops here, but if you’re looking for more 12th arrondissement fun, why not head over to the Bois de Vincennes, the “right lung of the city”, a spacious wood and park that caters well to families. Between the number of attractions including a zoo, a botanical garden (Parc Floral), row boats, a small farm, and a Buddhist temple, you’ll have plenty to visit here.

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