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From outdoor movie screenings in the summer to spontaneous breakdance performances and interesting temporary exhibitions in the Grand Hall, this is perhaps the most vibrant and culture-centered park in all of Paris.
Spanning both sides of the Canal de l’Ourcq, the Parc de la Villette has huge, sprawling lawns perfect for picnics, friendly soccer games, martial arts practice, and letting children run off some of their energy. Away from the large open spaces, lush wooded areas provide shade and a more secluded spot to talk, and also lead to a few of the music venues – Le Zénith, Le Trabendo, and Le Cabaret Sauvage – on the park’s property.
Wide sidewalks run the length of the canal, making the Parc de La Villette a favorite among joggers and families on bicycles to come get some exercise along the water. You can also rent small electric boats to cruise the canal – always a nice way to spend a summer evening in Paris.
The park also has plenty of playgrounds, including a special kids’ area called the ‘Jardin des Vents et des Dunes’ with play spaces for children from 0-13 years, and a huge, crazy slide shaped like a monster which is sure to thrill your little ones.
But the Parc de la Villette is much more than just a park; it’s also home to several cultural centers and museums.
Standing at the entrance to the park, the Grande Halle de la Villette welcomes all kinds of conventions and temporary exhibitions, everything from the World Tattoo Expo to the King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh which is on show now. The shining silver Philharmonie de Paris is where you can catch incredible classical music concerts or visit a museum of musical instruments.
The neighboring Cité de la Musique proposes musical-themed temporary exhibitions on everything from 80s French pop to Charlie Chaplin and the Music of Picasso. And on the north side of the Canal de l’Ourcq, you’ll find Europe’s largest science museum, the Cité des Sciences along with its mirrored Géode IMAX theater.