Paris's dynamic modern science museum is just the tip of the Villette complex.
Paris's big modern science museum is bright, shiny and always packed with kids, and cleverly mixes serious educational stuff introducing scientific principles, fun exhibits and current issues and debates from renewable energy to space satellites. The main Explora section has galleries devoted to energy, genetics, light, sound, mathematics, space, design and innovation. The special Cité des Enfants on the ground floor with sections for 2-7s and 5-12s is good for younger kids, older ones will want to explore Explora, where there are plenty of interactive exhibits, so you can investigate sound waves, optical illusions and make the Mona Lisa talk. Just outside the science museum are the Géode imax cinema in a shiny silver geodesic sphere and a moored submarine. You can easily spend a whole day at the Villette. The Parc de la Villette (www.lavillette.com), which extends either side of the Canal de l'Ourcq, is packed with unusual themed gardens – including sound and mirror gardens – playgrounds, music and circus venues and lawns for picnicking. On the southern side of the park is the Cité de la Musique (www.cite-musique.fr), containing an imaginatively presented music museum and concert hall.