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Why You Should Visit Paris With Kids

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The French capital is more than just glitz and glam, it’s a great choice for your next family holiday…and this expert guide to visiting Paris with kids is here to prove it.

Mother and child by the Eiffel Tower for Paris with Kids Article

Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Paris With Kids

I love Paris. It’s hard not to. Over the years, I’ve visited as a French expat, a young couple in love, a marathon supporter, a young mum, fledgling travel writer, grizzled travel writer and even a kid myself. Name a stage of life and I’ll have embraced Paris in it.

But today’s article is about how you can best visit Paris with kids. Because it’s something that’s often overlooked.

Paris is a fantastic place to visit with children. Its child-friendly attractions – coupled with its rich history and artistic heritage – make it an ideal playground for young minds and curious souls. Plus, you can visit my favourite theme park in France Read on to find out which one, it’s probably not what you think!

This parents-approved guide contains everything you need to know about where to stay, what to see, and how to make the most of your Parisian adventure with children of all ages.

When is the Best Time To Visit?

Paris is a year-round destination, with each season offering a unique experience. 

Summer brings great weather perfect for outdoor activities, but visiting in warmer months also means larger crowds and longer queues. 

Winter, though chilly, transforms Paris into a wonderland with twinkling lights and festive markets.

We then have spring, where cherry blossoms and tulips delight, even if April showers are common. And finally, autumn. A favourite of mine, this season brings with it orange leaves and a cool sense of calm.

My take: If you prefer milder temperatures and shorter queues, visit in late spring (May) or early fall (September-October). These shoulder seasons also host family-friendly events. 

Hotel Le Walt Room Interior in Paris
View from Hotel le Walt of the Eiffel Tower

Where Should I Stay in Paris With Kids?

When it comes to family-friendly stays Paris has plenty of options, from luxurious hotels to cosy Airbnb apartments.

For a touch of Parisian luxury, consider the Hotel Lutetia. Located in the chic Saint-Germain-des-Pres district, this iconic hotel offers spacious family hotel rooms and suites, a dedicated children’s concierge, and a babysitting service for parents seeking a romantic night out. The hotel also has a kids’ club with engaging activities, ensuring that younger guests are entertained.

If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, the Hotel Relais Saint-Germain is a great option. Nestled in the heart of the Latin Quarter, this boutique hotel offers interconnecting rooms, ideal for families with older children. The hotel’s central location puts you within walking distance of major attractions like the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral, making it easy to explore the city centre with young kids.

Tip: When choosing from the many family-friendly hotels in the city, consider factors like location, amenities, and proximity to public transport. If you plan to use the metro, look for hotels or apartments near a metro station for easy access to the city’s attractions. 

Metro sign on a wall in Paris - Paris with kids
The Metro in Paris is easy to use and well signposted

How To Navigate Paris With Kids

Paris has an efficient public transport system, making it easy to navigate with kids. The metro – with its extensive network of lines – is a convenient option, but be prepared for crowds during rush hour. It’s also something of a nightmare with a pushchair or stroller, unfortunately.

Buses offer a scenic alternative, allowing you to take in the city’s tourist attractions while resting little legs. And Google Maps can help you work out when and where to get on and off.

Purchase a carnet of tickets for discounted travel or consider a Paris Visite travel pass for unlimited use of public transport within a designated zone.

For a more adventurous mode of transport, consider renting bikes. Many companies offer child seats and trailers, making it a fun way to explore the city at your own pace. After filming your biking adventures, you can edit videos online for free to save money and create lasting memories for your family.

Alternatively, sign up for a family-friendly guided tour that caters specifically to young explorers, incorporating games and interactive activities to keep them engaged. 

France - Paris - Bicycle in street scene near Dupleix Metro in Paris with view of Eiffel Tower

The Iconic Landmarks You Need To See

Often associated with romantic getaways and artistic endeavours, Paris reveals a different personality when explored through the eyes of a child.

Mother and child by the Eiffel Tower for Paris with Kids Article

The Eiffel Tower

No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower, the symbol of the City of Light.

From the top, you can see panoramic views of the city centre, the Champ de Mars, and the winding Seine River. That said, it is a hefty climb and long queues are involved. It’s often better to enjoy the Eiffel Tower from the ground and to see the city skyline from somewhere else instead.

For a more relaxed experience, spread out a picnic lunch on the Champ de Mars and let the kids run free while you soak in the best views of the tower.

Tips: To avoid long lines, book your tickets online in advance, especially during peak season. Consider visiting the tower at night, when it sparkles with thousands of golden lights, creating a magical atmosphere that will enchant children of all ages. Take the lift up to the viewing area at Tour Montparnasse for the easiest (and best!) view.

Arc de Triomphe

A 2-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, the imposing Arc de Triomphe stands sentinel at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. 

Pay your respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier buried beneath the arch, whose flame is rekindled every evening. 

For a unique perspective, ascend to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. The climb is rewarded with breathtaking views of the city, including the top of the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées stretching out before you. 

Notre Dame Cathedral

While a devastating fire in 2019 has temporarily closed its doors, Notre Dame remains a symbol of the city’s enduring spirit. Even with the ongoing restoration, it’s still worth visiting to see the magnificent Gothic architecture from the outside.

Share with your children the tales of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell-ringer from Victor Hugo’s novel, and point out the intricate details of the cathedral’s facade, such as the chimaeras perched atop its towers. 

Sainte Chapelle

Nestled on the Île de la Cité, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Notre Dame, lies the Sainte-Chapelle, something of a hidden gem.

This 13th-century chapel has some of the most exquisite stained-glass windows in the world, their colours and intricate designs creating a kaleidoscope of light.

Imagine stepping into a giant jewellery box, with sunlight filtering through the jewel-toned glass, casting rainbows on the stone floor.

The Sainte-Chapelle is a relatively small and intimate space, making it a manageable visit for families with young children. 

Place de la Concorde at night - Paris with kids
The Place de la Concorde has a fascinating if gruesome history

Place de la Concorde

Leaving the historic Île de la Cité, venture to the area next to Place de la Concorde, a grand open space that’s perfect for letting the kids loose on sunny days!

Today, the area is named after friendship, but this was once the site of the guillotine during the bloodiest years of the French Revolution. But don’t worry about overwhelming your little ones with too much history – let them simply enjoy the freedom to run and play in this vast expanse.

During the warmer months, the Place de la Concorde often hosts a Ferris wheel, offering a unique aerial view of the city’s iconic landmarks. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica.

And on a warm summer evening, the square’s sparkling fountains create a magical atmosphere for a family stroll.

Woman looking at water lilies in the Musee Orangerie Paris

The Best Family-Friendly Museums in Paris

Paris is home to some of the world’s most renowned museums and many offer engaging activities and exhibits designed specifically for children, making for a fun and educational experience for the whole family.

Louvre Museum

The Louvre, with its vast collection of art and antiquities, might seem like an overwhelming choice for a family outing, but don’t be discouraged. It’s still worth visiting this world-renowned museum.

Embark on a treasure hunt through the galleries, following clues to uncover masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Encourage your little ones to sketch their favourite artworks or create their own interpretations. Try out some travel journal ideas for kids from here.

The Louvre’s Egyptian collection, with its mesmerising mummies and hieroglyph-covered sarcophagi, is always a hit with children. Let them unravel the mysteries of ancient Egypt and imagine themselves as intrepid explorers.

Musee d’Orsay

Housed in a beautifully repurposed railway station, the Musée d’Orsay offers a delightful journey into the world of Impressionist art, and is a perfect escape if you encounter a rainy day. 

Let your children marvel at canvases from Monet, Renoir, and Degas, their brushstrokes seemingly dancing with light and colour. Don’t miss the museum’s collection of sculptures and decorative arts, which offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of Parisians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

For a special treat, take a break at the museum’s charming cafe, where you can enjoy a delicious snack while admiring the stunning views of the Seine River.

Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou, with its exposed pipes and escalators snaking up the exterior, is sure to pique the interest of curious kids.

Inside, the museum’s modern and contemporary art collection offers a world of shapes, colours, and textures to explore.

The Centre Pompidou also hosts a variety of workshops and activities specifically for small children. From hands-on art projects to interactive storytelling sessions, there’s always something to spark their creativity. 

Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle

Calling all dinosaur enthusiasts and budding palaeontologists! The Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle, or the Natural History Museum, is one of the best places to visit for families with a passion for the prehistoric world. 

Explore the museum’s vast collection of fossils, minerals, and animal specimens, each with their own fascinating story to tell. Learn about the evolution of life on Earth, the diversity of ecosystems, and the delicate balance of nature. 

And of course, take a moment to marvel at the towering skeletons of dinosaurs, from the ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex to the gentle Triceratops.

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

Prepare for a mind-blowing adventure at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Europe’s largest science museum! Let your children experiment with robots, launch rockets, and even step inside a submarine – it will quickly become one of their favourite places in Paris.

This technology museum’s Planetarium transports you to the far reaches of the universe, while its Cité des Enfants caters specifically to younger children with engaging activities and exhibits designed to stimulate their curiosity. 

Playgrounds and Parks in Paris

Paris isn’t just about museums and monuments – it’s also a city home to plenty of parks and playgrounds, where children can let their imaginations soar.

Jardin du Luxembourg

With its manicured lawns, bright flower beds, and iconic fountains, the Luxembourg Gardens are a picture-perfect setting for a family outing. Let your little ones loose to chase pigeons, climb on jungle gyms, or simply roll around on the lush green grass.

Don’t miss the Grand Bassin, an octagonal pond where children can rent and race miniature sailboats. Watch as their faces light up as they navigate their little wooden boats across the water.

For a more theatrical experience, catch a traditional puppet show at the Théâtre des Marionnettes.

Afterwards, refuel with a picnic lunch under the shade of a chestnut tree, or treat yourselves to a delicious crepe from one of the park’s many vendors.

Jardin des Tuileries

Tuileries Garden, right between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, was once the playground of French royalty. Today, it’s a beloved public park where families can enjoy a taste of Parisian elegance.

Take a spin on one of the park’s charming carousels or treat your little ones to pony rides, watching as their faces beam with delight as they trot through the park.

The Jardin des Tuileries also has several playgrounds, each catering to different age groups. Little ones can climb on jungle gyms and swing on swings, while older children can challenge themselves on obstacle courses. 

Don’t forget to indulge in a refreshing ice cream from one of the many stands scattered throughout the park.

Jardin des Plantes

On a sunny day, this botanical garden becomes a labyrinth perfect for adventure.

Discover the enchanting Alpine Garden, with its collection of mountain plants, and the Children’s Garden, designed specifically for young explorers to learn about the world of plants.

And before you call it a day, remember to stop by Jardin des Plantes’ Menagerie, a small zoo home to a variety of animals, including monkeys, birds, and reptiles. 

For more off-the-beaten-track ideas, don’t miss this guide to hidden gems in Paris.

Bois de Boulogne

For a whole afternoon out, escape the city’s hustle and bustle and venture into the Bois de Boulogne, a large park that offers a breath of fresh air and a wealth of family-friendly activities.

Take a stroll or bike ride along the park’s winding paths, admiring the lush greenery and tranquil lakes as you go. Rent a rowboat and explore the Lac Inférieur, or pack a picnic lunch and find a shady spot under the trees.

For a day of thrills, head to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, an amusement park within the Bois de Boulogne. This beautiful park offers a variety of attractions for all ages, from gentle carousels and playgrounds for younger children, to roller coasters and adventure courses for older kids and adults.

And if it is theme parks you’re after in particular, consider extending your time in France and visiting Parc Asterix.

Hand written sign in French selling pastries and baguettes in Paris

Eating in Paris With Kids

Paris may be renowned for its haute cuisine but fear not, even the pickiest eaters will find something they can stomach in the French capital. From buttery croissants to gooey cheese, the city offers a culinary adventure for the whole family.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants

For a fun atmosphere and great food, head to Loulou in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, where kids will love the playful decor and classic diner fare. 

Another great option is Le Petit Plateau, a charming bistro in the Marais that offers a kid-friendly menu with simple but delicious dishes like pasta with tomato sauce and grilled chicken with vegetables. 

If your little ones are craving pizza, Pink Mamma in Pigalle has good food. This trendy pizzeria serves up some of the best pizzas in Paris, with a lively atmosphere and plenty of space for kids to move around.

Picnics With a View

While there are plenty of family-friendly restaurants in Paris, for a more casual and budget-friendly meal, pack a picnic lunch and head to one of Paris’s many picturesque parks. 

The Champ de Mars, with its green lawns and Eiffel Tower views, is a popular choice. Alternatively, find a secluded spot in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont or along the left bank of the River Seine. 

Sweet Treats

Indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to one of Paris’ legendary pastry shops. Angelina, on Rue de Rivoli, is famous for its rich hot chocolate, mouth-watering pan au chocolat, and decadent Mont Blanc dessert. 

Berthillon, on Île Saint-Louis, offers a wide array of artisanal ice creams and sorbets that are sure to delight both young and old. 

And for a truly Parisian experience, take your kids to a traditional crepe stand and let them watch as their crepes are made to order.

Fish on sale at a market in Paris - Paris with kids
Visiting a Parisian market is a bucket list experience

Market Adventures

For an immersive culinary experience, take your kids to one of Paris’ bustling local markets or explore the stands on Rue Cler. Let them wander through the stalls, sampling fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and other regional delicacies. 

Many markets also have food vendors offering ready-to-eat snacks and meals, perfect for a quick bite on the go. This is a great way to introduce your children to new flavours and ingredients, while supporting local businesses at the same time.

Beyond the City Centre: Day Trips From Paris

While Paris offers a wealth of family-friendly attractions, there are also plenty of exciting destinations just a short train ride away.

Neptune reclining in front of Palace of Versailles - Paris with kids
A statue found in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

For a taste of French history and grandeur, venture to the Palace of Versailles, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was once home to French royalty. Explore the palace’s opulent rooms, including the Hall of Mirrors, and wander through the gardens, where your children can run and play to their hearts’ content.

During the summer months, the palace hosts the Musical Fountains Show, a spectacular display of water, music, and light that’s sure to captivate young audiences. Consider renting a golf cart to explore the vast grounds, or take a boat ride on the Grand Canal.

Giverny (Monet’s Gardens)

For an artistic afternoon, immerse your family in the world of Impressionism with a visit to Giverny, the former home of Claude Monet. Explore the artist’s beautiful gardens, where vibrant water lilies and weeping willows create a scene straight out of a painting.

Let your children wander through the colourful flower beds, discover hidden nooks and crannies, and perhaps even try their hand at painting their own masterpieces. Giverny offers a unique opportunity to learn about art and nature in a peaceful and inspiring setting.

Child in Parc Asterix on the outskirts of Paris

Parc Asterix

Parc Astérix is one of my favourite theme parks and an ideal day trip destination from Paris for families (actually, I’d go one step further and recommend an overnight stay at the park itself.

Just 35 kilometers north of the city, you will find the whimsical world of Astérix the Gaul.

The park features a variety of rides suitable for all ages, from exhilarating roller coasters for thrill-seekers to gentler options for younger children. Additionally, live shows and character meet-and-greets provide delightful experiences for fans of the beloved comic series.

Read our full Parc Asterix review here.

Child in an arcade in Paris France

Tips For A Smooth Family Trip

Paris, with its cobblestone streets and bustling boulevards, can be a challenge to navigate with children, especially if this is your first trip. However, with a little preparation and a sprinkle of flexibility, your family trip to the City of Light can be a memorable adventure.

Packing Essentials

Comfort is key, especially when exploring the city with little legs. Pack comfortable shoes for everyone, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking.

Dress in layers to adapt to the ever-changing Parisian weather, and bring a lightweight rain jacket or umbrella, just in case. 

Don’t forget to pack snacks and drinks to keep everyone energised throughout the day, and consider bringing along a small first-aid kit with essentials like band-aids and antiseptic wipes.

For younger children, a stroller or pushchair can be a lifesaver, allowing them to rest their tired legs while you continue exploring. 

For older kids, a backpack filled with their favourite activities and snacks can help keep them entertained during long walks or train rides. Again, check out our kids travel journal kit here.

Managing Expectations

Paris is a big city with a lot to offer, but trying to see everything in one trip is simply not feasible, especially with children in tow. 

Instead, focus on a few key attractions each day and allow plenty of time for rest. 

Embrace the Unexpected

Paris is full of surprises, from street performers in the Latin Quarter to hidden courtyards tucked away in quiet corners of the city. 

With a little planning and a lot of patience, your family trip to Paris will be an unforgettable adventure filled with laughter, love and learning.

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