When one thinks of Paris, many things come to mind: the Eiffel Tower, croissants, the Louvre, the lovely buildings, the blossoming trees, excellent customer service. I’ll tell you what does not come to mind, unless you are a sophisticated consumer of the world’s finest indoor/outdoor water parks, and that is Aquaboulevard, delighting French children and wandering expats alike at the end of line 8.
Aquaboulevard is not a secret, but I have found that it is universally known among parents of children, somewhat well known among Parisians, and not at all well known among everyone else. Let me describe it: Aquaboulevard is a massive water park, with both indoor and outdoor facilities. Its activities include many water slides, a “wake box,” and “la corde,” which appears to be a rope.
I did not know this at the time of my reconnaissance, but apparently there is also a Sauna Parc accessible for an additional €9 over the €33 entry fee, comprised of three saunas and a hammam.
I do not know if I can describe why I found it so wonderful, except to say that the Paris I interact with on a daily basis is a Paris more concerned with élégance and less concerned with water slides. It challenges the reigning orthodoxy of what the city is supposed to be. I don’t know — I remember when I first moved to San Francisco how much I enjoyed going to the IKEA in Emeryville or the Target in Daly City. Sometimes it is nice doing exactly the thing you’re not supposed to do.
There is also a movie theater.
As a child of New Jersey, I have found my safe space in Paris.
Aquaboulevard is a five-minute walk from Balard, the last stop on ligne 8.