Visit the Art Deco Palais de Chaillot for boasts, skulls, Gothic doorways, and a multimedia fish experience.
The Palais de Chaillot houses three museums and a theater. Cross the vast esplanade (1) between the building’s wings – very popular with skateboarders and Rollerbladers – to admire the Eiffel Tower. When it’s hot, children love splashing in the fountains below.
In the west wing choose between the Musée de l’Homme (2, 17 place du trocadéro), where kids can learn about prehistory and human evolution, and the Musée de la Marine (3), which displays ship models and marine paintings. The main attraction is the extravagant Imperial Barge, built for Napoleon in 1810 in just 21 days. Look through the window to the workshop where model ships are restored : tiny ropes are twisted on a rope machine; cannons are cast in molten metal.
In the east wing, the Cité de l’Architecture (4, 7 rue Albert de Mun) combines contemporary architecture shows with spectacular full-size plaster casts of famous historic monuments. It’s like a mini-tour of France, as you walk through the carved doorway of a romanesque church in Moissac and the Gothic cathedral at Chartres.
Outside, explore the grottoes and paths of the Trocadero gardens below, then visit Cineaqua (5, 2 avenue des Nations –Unies), an aquarium that’s more like a theme park (beware high entrance fee). You’ll find cartoons projected on the walls and animated films screened in the theater. You can hardly believe that the thousands of fish swimming around as you walk through a glass tunnel are real – until you see the sharks at feeding time (4 p.m. daily).
Metro Station : Trocadero (Line 6, 9), Iéna (Line 9)