Moving to Paris with kids, especially small ones, is a challenge. There are two things you are left yearning for: indoor play areas for the murky days and child-friendly cafes and restaurants. The latter is quite a headache to find (please let me know if you come across any!). Generally speaking, dining out in the French capital family-style clashes with the cultural priority of the French for individual peace and quiet. If the kids don't sit quietly you are likely to be on the receiving end of complaints, so that's dinner ruined. Thus until our little one is mature enough to emotionally regulate during long dinners, restaurants will have to wait. But what about during the day when the husband is away at work and you, as a stay-at-home expat mom, are left to fend for yourself for many hours on end? When you are dying to take a break at a nice place, where the kiddo can run around and you can enjoy a much-needed coffee and a treat for just a few minutes and if you are REALLY lucky a good chat with a friend? That set me off on a quest to find as many kid-friendly cafes as I could.
Chez Angie is by far one of the most child-friendly cafes I have come across. It is hidden away within Le Club des Enfants Parisiens, a club for extracurricular activities for kids of all ages, in Levallois Perret. It is set beautifully in an internal courtyard which is magical when the weather is good. The children can just freely move around without being concerned that they may run off to the street.
There is loads of space to leave the buggy, either at the club's reception or in the courtyard. You don't need to be a member of the club to enjoy the cafe. Also quite importantly almost everyone in the club is bilingual, even the lovely lady who runs the cafe, so it is easy to navigate the place if your French is lacking.
Don't despair if the weather is not great to enjoy the courtyard. The cafe itself is very spacious and the staff very accommodating. This is one place where you won't be told off if your toddler is a bit cheeky or if your baby is having a good cry.
The menu features hot and cold drinks and home-made treats, which as you can see below my daughter wholeheartedly approves of. On Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays the menu also features salads. For mouthwatering pictures head over to their instagram account (@chez_angie) and facebook page (@ChezAngieParis).
This is a wonderful place that is really considerate towards the needs of children (and their exhausted mamas). The only thing I would change about the place is have it open for longer hours. You may also decide to take advantage of the club itself and its varied programme of bilingual activities for children of all ages, ranging from painting, dancing and cooking to music, singing, theatre and sports. The classes are small (8 children max) and the kids benefit from individual attention. You can also try the classes before you buy. For the little ones there are parent-baby classes which give you a great opportunity to meet other moms and do something fun together. As for the tricky toddler age, where most of the places with extracurricular activities demand that you leave your child with them from the get-go, at the Club des Enfants they allow you a gentle adaptation period. For those of you that have been in Paris long enough, you will know how miraculous this is! Last but not least, in my opinion the quality of the classes is superb. And as a bonus there are classes throughout the year including the school holiday periods.
What gems have you uncovered around Paris that are child-friendly? Please comment below so that we can widely share this information with other parents in need of some TLC.
Chez Angie cafe
within Le Club des Enfants Parisiens
57, rue Ampère
01 44 29 12 40
Metro: Pereire or Wagram (line 3), Pereire Levallois (RER C)
Buses: 84, 31, 341, 92, 93, PC1
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (4-6pm)
Photo credit: all photos are mine unless otherwise stated