In Paris, the 19th arrondissement is set up for children the way other public places in the city are set up for armies on the march or art lovers. Though it's a subway ride or a good long hike through interesting neighborhoods from the Louvre or Notre Dame, staying at the Holiday Inn Paris-La Villette at 216 Ave. Jean Jaures makes sense for a family: Nonsmoking rooms sleep up to four (not always a given in those romantic hotels on the Seine), the subway stop is just steps from the hotel entrance, picky children can get their McNuggets at the nearby
A short walk through the park leads to the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, a science museum about three times larger than Boston's, with interactive computer simulations, planetarium, a 3-D movie, and audiophones in English. The park has bridges over the city's canals -- which means barges to watch -- and enclosed playgrounds divided by age group. They include waves of rubber for running and falling on, interspersed with climbing structures. One area features a three-story ''dragon" whose tongue is a spiraling slide.
Families whose tastes range beyond fast food can find a range of excellent ethnic restaurants in the nearby neighborhoods. Chinese and Vietnamese food are popular in France. And chocolate croissants for breakfast? Wow.
Holiday Inn Paris -La Villette; 011-33 -1-4484-1818; www.holiday-inn.com/paris-villette.