The best museums to visit as a family
8 July 2019
Traveling means discovering the spirit of a place, its various countrysides, its numerous tastes… as well as its culture! Old stones, masterpieces or other temporary exhibits: every museum is full of emotions and things to discover as a family. Little Guest is giving you everything you need to add a cultural touch to your trip…
Would you rather a contemporary art city-trip in Cape Town, a family treasure hunt in the footsteps of great renaissance painters or a journey to the Belle Époque in Paris? For a perfect cultural escape for young aesthetes and their parents, we have selected a few important cultural locations to go with our favorite hotels. A museum, an ambiance, a hotel: inspiration will flow freely!
1 – BELLE-ÉPOQUE PARIS
City of lights, fashion capital, gourmet paradise… Paris is also a cultural heritage city with exceptional architecture to discover, or rediscover. After seeing the Eiffel Tower, symbol of the belle époque, the Musée d’Orsay’s galleries offer a great look at the artistic trends between 1850 and 1914. Among the impressionist, naturalist, and symbolist paintings, you’ll see Monet’s elegant Woman with a Parasol, the famous Luncheon on the Grass by his acolyte, Edouard Manet, as well as the oil paintings by Paul Gauguin, who transports you to Polynesia. To wander around the musée d’Orsay is to surround oneself in a period rich in masterpieces and, during the visit, to be able to taste Parisian bohemian life!
For parents that wish to prepare their family visit, Les p’tits Mo proposes numerous different options. Art lovers can even reserve an entire day at the museum for children between 6 and 12 years old (online reservation required). After a guided visit, budding artists can participate in a hands-on lesson in the workshop. Special mention for “Make a face” and “Into the car, Mr. Monet”, which children will keep asking for more of! Useful information: free for children under 18; “Child and company” price 11 €/adult; 14€/adult
To stay in the 1900’s ambiance, the boutique hotel Les Dames du Panthéon is an extremely inspiring spot. In addition to being in a perfect location, the hotel highlights women throughout the ages. Whether they were courtesans, romantics, or intellectuals, different muses inspired the decoration in each room. How could you not be in the artistic spirit while staying in Edith Piaf’s suite? Aesthetes will love the Junior Cocotte suite, which surrounds its guests in an atmosphere worthy of the belle époque: stretched silks, bright red velvet sofas… irresistible! The vintage furniture and shimmering colors envelope visitors in a comfortable nest while inviting them on a journey through time.
With its connecting rooms and various amenities reserved for younger guests, Les Dames du Panthéon hotel has established itself as the perfect place to stay during a cultural family city-trip.
To reach the Musée d’Orsay, it just takes a thirty minute walk through the streets of Saint Germain des prés It’s even faster by public transportation! Along the way, don’t forget to check out the Pantheon…Location.
2 – FLORENCE, ARTISTIC CAPITAL
The city of the Médicis, Florence is one of the most beautiful Italian cities and every building and every alleyway carries traces of the city’s lavish past. A temple of Renaissance paintings, the Uffizi Gallery opens its arms to you. To describe it, indispensable isn’t a strong enough word… this museum is one of the oldest in the world and is home to true treasures.
Here you can see elegant Giotto’s highlighted in gold, Madonnas with angelic faces, and of course Sandro Botticelli’s Venus. Equally mysterious and mythical, she bewitches you with her hair in the wind. Don’t miss the famous room 15, which houses Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation. In 2019, they’ll be celebrating the 500th anniversary of this genius artist’s death: a wonderful occasion to commemorate him!
To make your visit even better, the society “Musement” offers personalized activities for children. Among the activities, a treasure hunt to learn about the museum’s masterpieces and their history. What better way to sharpen your curious children’s attention! Useful information: free for children younger than 18; tickets starting at 16.50 €/ adult.
Trompe-l’œil frescos, elegant colonnades, white died, red veined marble, bas-reliefs… At the Four Seasons Florence, the tone is set the moment you step through the door! A sculpture in white marble welcomes guests, while the opulent decor in the hotel’s rooms plunges dreamers into the heart of the Renaissance. Located in a 15th century Palazzo, the Four Seasons Florence is a location full of history, just a few streets from the historic city center.
A very Cinquecento ambiance fills the hotel from the floor to the… ceiling. The arches in the Royal Suite, decorated with authentic frescoes, will certainly please any art lover.
A true urban retreat, the Four Seasons Florence was designed to make families feel at home! The Pio Kids-Club welcomes children between 4 and 12 years old free of charge with various recreational activities such as drawing workshops and cooking classes. Nothing better in a city of art and gastronomy!
From the hotel, you can reach the Uffizi Gallery in just 20 minutes by car. For those who prefer crossing the city by foot, a short 19 minute walk through the streets of Florence will get you to the temple of the arts. Location.
3 – IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF YVES SAINT LAURENT IN MARRAKESH
Looking for an oriental escape? Marrakesh is one of these southern pearls where craftsmanship, heritage, and the art of living come together. After a walk in the sultriness and colorful bustle of the souq, the delicious freshness of the alleyways of the Majorelle Garden is welcome! Named after its creator, the French painter Jacques Majorelle, this wooded park highlights the art-deco and Moorish architecture of the pavilions and the artist’s workshop. This unique arrangement of colors is a breath of fresh air in the heart of the city! Wandering around there is like walking around in a Matisse painting, with tawny colors and supple lines. The presence of the mythical couple Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, who acquired this little slice of paradise during the 80s, remains between the scent of jasmine and the palm groves. An extra touch of soul in already such an amazing place!
In addition to freshening up by the fountains, children love the explosion of color from the bougainvilleas and water lilies mixed with the cobalt blue walls. Without even mentioning the cacti that they will enjoy seeing (from afar!) Useful information: free for those younger than 18; 7 € /adult.
To complete your walk in “YSL”‘s footsteps in Morocco, stop by the museum named after him. Opened in 2017, the Yves Saint Laurent Marrakesh Museum presents an impressive stock of textiles, timeless couture outfits and sketches for a trip to the heart of his inspiration. Useful information: Starting at 9.50€ / person).
In the heart of the Red City, the Selman Marrakesh brings together traditional Moroccan lifestyle with luxury and intimacy. A true palace of one thousand and one nights for families looking for relaxation and exoticism. Imagine a superb terracotta building where the zelliges are part of the Mashrabiyas… the decoration is by Jacques Garcia, the most artistic interior decorator who is also responsible for designing the Mamounia, another mythical Marrakesh location.
The Kids-club is good enough for your little sultans, who will love the numerous play areas as well as the workshops that are offered. The cherry on top: the horse drawn carriage rides with ponies from the hotel’s stables.
From the hotel, you can reach the Majorelle Garden in just 20 minutes by car! Location.
4 – SUNFLOWERS IN AMSTERDAM
As a time of commercial and artistic explosion, the 17th century is considered to be the golden age of the Netherlands. The canals in Amsterdam carry the charm of this prosperous period while the museums preserve its treasures. After having explored the Rijksmuseum, a sanctuary for Dutch paintings, why not take a trip to the 19th century and visit the Van Gogh Museum? The brightly colored canvases and the incredible sensitivity of this champion of modernity are a feast for the senses. Throughout the rooms, a universe colored with southern accents unfolds before you: landscapes, still lifes, portraits… without forgetting the Sunflowers, genuine little suns!
To follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps as a family, guided visits are scheduled regularly. Vincent’s Travelling Case is full of little games and exercises that will make your visit even better. Useful information: free for children younger than 18; 19€/ adult.
In perfect harmony with the city’s traditional architecture, the Pulitzer Hotel brings together luxury, comfort and charm of the canals in Northern Venice. The spirit of the Flemish masters permeates the hotel: portraits of the bourgeoisie and other still lifes decorate the walls and give it an unmatched quality. The decoration in the rooms blends muted colors with vibrant tones, such as slate blue with lemon yellow, and mimics the most beautiful chiaroscuros from the Flemish renaissance. We absolutely fell in love with the art Collector’s Suite where the walls, covered with works of art, allow you to experience multiple centuries of paintings. Surrounded by these masterpieces, your nights will surely be inspiring! The hotel’s interior gardens are the perfect playground for children, who can play and exercise there without worry. In one of the gardens hides a giant swing and a rocking horse!
By traveling along the canals in the city center, you can reach the Van Gogh museum on foot in just 25 short minutes. It is easy to get there using public transportation as well. Location.
5 – ABU DHABI, THE AMBITIOUS CITY
A little less in the spotlight than its shining neighbor, Dubai, Abu Dhabi has numerous perks for an arty break. The opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, at the end of 2017, caused a lot of discussion because of its great location and possibility of becoming the next big cultural destination. Nothing but the impressive dome on this middle-eastern Louvre, a lace made from metal by Jean Nouvel, is worth the detour. This abnormal institution stands as a museum-city on the sea at the convergence of numerous cultures. Its collections span from the prehistoric to contemporary art: Egyptian art echoes the colorful canvases of Paul Klee, all while passing by Arabic calligraphy.
The “art search” program allows an artistic awakening for budding art historians. On a similar note, the aptly named “children’s museum” will awaken children’s curiosity and creativity with interactive workshops and themed visits. Good news for artistic families, the museum offers free family-oriented activities the last Friday and Saturday of each month!
You can find the St Regis Abu Dhabi with its elegant silhouette and towers creating sleek lines on the edge of the sea. Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, this prestigious establishment brings together tradition and modernity. Its remarkable marble hall, a mix of Anglo-American influences and magnificently elevated with touches of gold, speak to the hotel’s splendor. For younger guests, the Treasure Island Kids Club, free of charge starting at 4 years old, allows children to have fun inside and outside. Young adventurers can open the Club’s pirate’s chest and discover all the toys it has to offer before diving into the personalized pool that is reserved just for them!
From the St Regis Abu Dhabi, you can reach the Abu Dhabi Louvre in just 20 minutes by car. Location
6 – SINGAPORE: WHERE ART MEETS SCIENCE
Beneath its impression of being a city of business, Singapore offers an unusual charm just waiting to be discovered. Futuristic architecture, gastronomy, multiculturalism: the city nicknamed the “garden city” by its neighbors has much to discover.
If you are passing by the iconic Marina Bay Sands, continue on your way to the Art Science Museum. The surprising shape of this suspended steel flower, created by Moshe Safdie, is a lesson in architecture all on its own.
Behind its doors, the Art Science Museum houses numerous surprises! Multiple digital installations reveal a series of immersive universes: The opportunity to walk through a cloud of butterflies in a room covered in virtual flowers that open under your feet, the opportunity to draw on the walls or make a masterpiece evolve in real time… Technological and education, the Future World exposition invites visitors of all ages into a fascinating parallel universe. Without even considering the joy of sliding down a color changing slide or playing with light up balloons in the dark! Useful information: 9€/children younger than 12; 13€/adult; Family price: 35€.
To discover the city-state, the Capella hotel is the perfect place to stay. This intimate address, located less than 15 minutes from the center of Singapore, invites families to stay in maximum comfort on the edge of the China Sea: A resort ambiance in a calm, preserved environment. The hotel, located near the amusement parks on the island of Sentosa, also offers family painting classes. A great activity to share in before heading off to explore the city’s museums!
The hotel is just 20 minutes away from the Marina Bay Sands by car. Location.
7 – CAPE TOWN, THE FOREFRONT OF CONTEMPORARY ART
When you think of South Africa, normally natural reserves and safaris are what come to mind. But why not escape the crowds for a moment and visit an exposition in Cape Town? To switch up your surroundings during a day in the city, the MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) is a sure bet. Unusual and ambitious, it is also the largest museum dedicated to contemporary African art in the world. Its radical industrial aesthetic put this concrete cathedral at the forefront of trends, especially for fans of installations, artistic videos and happenings! Special mention for the brightly colored pop universe created by the artist Athi-Patra Ruga that remind us of the colorful building of the picturesque neighborhood Bo-Kaap not far from the museum. On that note, why not take advantage of it and make a detour after visiting the museum and exercise your artistic talents in this extremely instagrammable location?
Need the keys to enter into the universe of contemporary art? The Children’s Tour, which is both entertaining and education, is perfect for families who want to learn more. Useful information: 12€ /adult, free for children younger than 18.
To bring together a natural escape and the culture, head to the Mont Rochelle, an amazing resort located at the foot of the Klein Dassenberg mountain. An idyllic countryside stretches from one side to the other of this intimate establishment, broken up by large wine growing estates. The Mont Rochelle is the perfect place to stay for gourmet families and lovers of wine making.
In addition to its baby-club and kid’s-club, the hotel also offers game rooms equipped with televisions and a selection of DVDs as well as an outdoor pool that will certainly become your children’s home base!
To get to Cape Town, a small one hour trip by car is necessary: the perfect time to explore the South African vineyards and its mountains that touch the clouds! Location.
Mylène, 28 years old, art lover and travel addict, from Strasbourg, France