The captivating carousels of Paris in December

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Paris has lovely carousels year round, with an extra 20 carousels offering free rides the final 2 weeks of December.

Today, the Travels with Baby Traditions series takes us to Paris, where resident mom Camille Spanjaard whisks us past the loveliest carousels in all the city – a definite highlight of Paris in December. Camille is the founder of Baby’Tems baby equipment rental agency in Paris, and she recently partnered with Babychou, a long-term and short-term babysitting specialist.

I’ll not make a generic article on what to visit in Paris with your little ones nor explain about the magical (but over-crowded!) Chrismas decorated department stores’ windows nor the (free) ice rinks (as these are for older children and adults… ), but I will give you what MY kids are looking forward to the most (after the expected Chrismas gifts!) in December in Paris…the merry-go-rounds. 

Actually there’s a multiplication of carousels in Paris at this time of year. And besides those present all year round, kids will discover various other merry-go-rounds appearing in addition to those from December 17th till January 1st of 2012, during which time Paris is making 20 of its carousels free for everyone (note: the carousels listed here are not among those free).Since I (or more precisely, my kids) have repeated experience with a lot of them in Paris, here are my children’s top 3 favorite carousels, chosen because they are special… and with one on each side of Paris…

1st Place is for the “Dodo manège”, in Jardin des Plantes (5th arrondissement) … kids will be able to turn sitting astride a dodo, a gorilla or a sivatherium (have a look here to find out what animal it is…)…the kids like it because there’s no other place you can experience this!

2nd Place is for the oldest one in Paris: after visiting the Eiffel Tower, have a walk in the Champ de Mars … with the Eiffel Tower in your back, go to the right of the park, you’ll find a tiny (but so cute !) merry-go-round with wooden horses only…and no electric engine. 2 guys are needed to start it…pushing it manually. Once launched, one turns the handle while the other one is installing the game (rings that kids need to catch with their stick).

3rd Place (but certainly not the last place…it’s so hard to make a selection among all Paris carousels tested) is the traditional one at bottom of Sacré-Coeur (place Saint Pierre)… for its view on the basilica and its proximity to great baby friendly places. ok, this one is rather my favorite rather than my kids’ one…

Thanks so much to Camille for contributing this post and to Amélie Dupont of the Paris Tourist Office for these photographs. For more tips on planning your visit to Paris with your baby or toddler, don’t miss Camille’s feature “5 Best with Children Under 5: Paris,” and find more of her insider tips for travel to Paris with tots in the Baby’Tems blog. Visit our previous World Tour stops at Rome, Guatemala and Copenhagen.

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Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli
Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks

All content of this blog (c) Shelly Rivoli 2007 – 2011

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