Take a trip to the Far East with exotic food, and visit an underground temple in Paris’s Chinatown.
Begin on avenue d’Ivry, the heart of Paris’s largest Asian community, where the tower-block architecture, Chinese shop signs, intriguing produce, and bustling streets give the feel of Hong Kong. Kids adore the giant supermarkets – the two biggest are Paris Store (1, 44 avenue d’Ivry) and Tang Frères (2, 48 avenue d’Ivry) – to ogle the banana leaves, mangosteens, unidentifiable vegetables, obscure jellies, and watermelon sweets. Climb the stairs to the Olympiades esplanade (3), with its pagoda-like pavilions and shopping malls containing Chinese music, video stores, and deliciously kitsch gift stores. Return to ground level and turn right, under the mall, onto rue du Disque. A few stairs on the right lead to the Autel du Culte Buddhiste (4). Watch as people leave offering of fruit, rice, and cooking oil and light candles or incense before several altars with gilded Buddha statues. Return to avenue d’Ivry. Aux Merveilles d’Asie (5, 92 avenue d’Ivry) has a tasteful selection of artifacts and irresistible three-legged frogs thought to bring good fortune. Many restaurants offer a mix of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian food. Let kids try out their chopsticks on Vietnamese noodle soup at Pho 14 (6, 129 avenue de Choisy). Afterward, take them to the Parc de Choisy (7), which has two playgrounds and sandboxes. If you’ve come prepared, turn left onto rue des Deux Avenues, right onto avenue d’Italie, and left down rue Vandrezanne to place Paul Verlaine, where you’ll find indoor and outdoor swimming pools at Piscine de la Butte-aux-cailles (8, 5 place Paul Verlaine).
Metro Station : Place d’Italie (Line 5, 6, 7), Porte d’Ivry (Line 7), Porte de Choisy (Line 7), Porte d’Italie (Line 7), Tolbiac (Line 7), Pyramides (Line 14)