New Indoor Play Space: My Little Paris C'est Magnifique
There’s nothing better than a kids’ play space that keeps the kiddos entertained while you sit back, relax, and enjoy a perfectly crafted latte. Actually, one that's indoors and opened just in time for the summer heat might be a little better! My Little Paris Cafe and Play in San Gabriel is just that place, with a French-themed menu and a huge play area filled with cool toys. This European experience requires no plane ticket, just hop on the freeway to enjoy a spectacularly entertaining (for kids) and relaxing (for parents) outing.
One side is a gorgeous (and super clean!) play space, and the other side is a fabulous cafe.
A Play Space with European Flair
My Little Paris is owned and operated by a couple from Paris that recently relocated to Los Angeles. The play space soft-opened in May, and when I visited with my girls, it was offering its soft-opening menu. The owners (who also worked as the front-area hosts, play-area monitors, and servers in the cafe) told me that there are plans to continue to add to the already great play area and expand the menu. The play area is geared towards children between the ages of three and nine, though there’s a space for toddlers and infants that is separated from the main play area. The play space is well-stocked with well-made toys from mainly European brands, adding to the European flair.
The giant Lego room may one day become a ball pit.
So Many Nooks To Explore
From a dress-up station to several train tables, my daughters were engaged throughout the visit. There are two wooden indoor playsets with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Each of the playsets has a slide and ladders for climbing. The kids were particularly captivated by the primitive dumbwaiter on each of the playsets, cooking up meals at the play kitchen and then hoisting them up to their waiting “customers” at the top of the structure. My oldest, who is seven, loves playing store and My Little Paris gave her the opportunity to be a grocery store clerk, ringing up items and restocking the shelves for the “shoppers” that would come through her checkout stand.
At the back of the play area is a room filled with Duplos and oversized LEGO-style blocks. This delighted my girls and a friend they made while visiting, the three of them building towering structures from the blocks. The owner told me the room with the blocks was originally intended to be a ball pit before COVID struck and that once conditions are right, it may return to that function. The baby and toddler area is filled with walkers and age-appropriate toys.
Need to refuel? The food is fantastic. (And a liquor license is in the works...)
The Food? Chef's Kiss
Now for the food, which was certainly my favorite part of the visit. Sick of eating sub-par food at kid-oriented spaces like the bizarre Frankenstein pizzas at Chuck E. Cheese? At My Little Paris, the food is legitimately great and has an air of French authenticity, with a variety of salads, sandwiches (like the Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame), quiches, and a kids' menu that includes mac & cheese, pizza, ham sandwiches, and more. I had the Parisian Salad, which I’d highly recommend. The salad was huge and had an amazing Dijon vinaigrette over greens, chopped French pickles, Swiss cheese, hard-boiled eggs, corn kernels, and French ham. There’s a full coffee bar and my iced white flat—espresso and microfoam was perfect. I would go here without the kids, just for the food.
Pizza for the kids, and something a little more adult for the parents. Photo courtesy of My Little Paris
My girls had the pizza and mac & cheese, with the pizza being the favorite only because the mac & cheese, also being pretty authentic, was a tad too sophisticated for their palates (but I loved it!). They offer a My Little Combo & Play, which includes an entrée, drink, and dessert with a two-hour play pass included. They’re still getting their liquor license to sell beer and wine, so that will be on the menu shortly—And I hadn't thought this could get more enticing.
It's so refreshing to see wood everywhere, not plastic!
It's the Little Things: No Slip Socks and Immaculate Conditions
The Eat & Play session is good for two hours of admission to My Little Paris (make a reservation online, which is good for a family of up to 5 people, and required the purchase of one entree per adult) while a Private Session reserves the space for 90 minutes, allowing up to five children on weekdays and six children on weekends. There are also several private party packages available, ranging from the “Alma Basic” to the “Élysée Platinum.”
The play space has a few rules to keep the area clean and everyone safe. Socks are required in the play area, with non-slip socks recommended. My three-year-old didn’t have non-slip socks and while she avoided any major spills, she did slip here and there during our visit. While you can sit at the table while they play, My Little Paris does require that you supervise your children while they’re in the play space. There’s no running, which will help with the slipping—my littlest was so enthused about playing that she forgot this rule occasionally. You have to sign a waiver before your kids can play, which is found on their website as well as physical forms on-location.
Clean, clean, clean. There's a lot to love here, but the cleanliness level is a standout. Photo courtesy of My Little Paris
Because My Little Paris is so new, it’s immaculate on the inside and all of the toys are in great condition. The bathrooms were very clean and as a dad, I appreciated that the men’s room has a diaper changing station (even if I’m past the diaper-changing stage of parenthood).
Admission is $10 for the first child and $8 for siblings; kids under two are free.
COVID-19 Protocols: Everyone except children under the age of 2 must wear a mask in the play area and guests are asked to sanitize their hands when entering. Staff are required to wear masks at all times and use gloves when handling food. Tables are sanitized after each visitor leaves and are placed six feet apart. The play area is cleaned and sanitized every two hours, depending on the number of visitors.
All photos by author unless otherwise noted