Holding the title of Paris’ largest park at around 25 hectares, Parc de la Villette is made up of a series of themed gardens, known as ‘prairies’, set around the banks of the l'Ourq Canal. There’s more on offer than just an idyllic setting, though – the park’s interactive play areas, cycle paths and event spaces, along with one of the city’s most popular museums offer plenty of options for a family day out.
The park is characterized by its modernist sculptures and installations, including around 35 fire-engine red follies dotted along the canal banks, a striking sight against the futuristic silhouettes of the park’s buildings. Three concert halls reside in the park – the Zenith Concert Hall and the Cite de la Musique, both important music halls, and the striking Grand Hall, a former livestock showground transformed by architects Bernard Reichen and Philippe Robert into a popular cultural center and performance arena. The City of Science and Industry, Europe’s largest science museum, is also on-site, fronted by the iconic Omnimax cinema, La Géode - a building constructed inside a giant silver ball. Film and music fans can even enjoy alfresco entertainment during the summer months, when the nearby Prairie du Triangle is transformed into an open-air cinema, and a number of music concerts and festivals are held in the park grounds.
Even the gardens themselves continue the postmodernist theme, designed by renowned architect Bernard Tschumi and including a Dragon garden, presided over by a towering ‘Dragon slide’, a firm favorite among visiting children; a Mirror Garden, where mirrored panels have been erected among the trees to dramatic effect and a pretty Bamboo Garden where shaded paths trace a scenic walk through the woodlands.