Discover a chunk of medieval wall and a magic museum.
In winter, the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville (1), Paris’s city hall, holds an ice-skating rink plus a toboggan run especially for kids. From mid-July to mid-August, it is covered in sand for beach volleyball as part of Paris Plage, a fake beach set up along the Seine.
Walk east along quai de l’Hôtel de Ville to Café Louis Philippe (2, 66 quai de l’Hôtel de Ville) with tradional French food and a spacious outdoor terrace, or turn left onto rue des Barres for salads and cakes at L’Ebouillanté (3, 6 rue des Barres).
Head north from either restaurant and turn right onto rue François Miron, right onto rue de Fourcy, and left down rue Charlemagne. Running along rue des Jardins Saint-Paul is a long section and two circular turrets of the crumbly looking medieval wall (4) built by king Philippe-Auguste in 1190 to protect the city against invasion. See it up close from the sports ground.
Cross rue des Jardins Saint Paul and go through the archway and courtyard of the Village Saint-Paul to reach rue Saint-Paul. Turn right for the Musée de la magie (5, 11 rue Saint-Paul), a small child-oriented museum of conjuring tricks, optical illusions, funny mirrors, and curiosities – kids particularly adore putting their hands in the lion’s mouth. The visit includes a short magic show (in French, but most tricks are comprehensible to all), with plenty of audience participation.
Turn right out of the museum and left onto quai des Célestins. The small square Henri Galli contains a jungle gym and part of a tower (6) from Bastille prison, torn down during the French Revolution and rebuilt here stone by stone.
Metro Station : Saint-Paul (Line 1), Hôtel de Ville (Line 1, 11), Pont Marie (Line 7), Sully-Morland (Line 7)