Paris is always a good idea!
We have visited Paris with kids twice now. Once in winter and once in summer. Both visits were absolutely wonderful. Our kids had the most amazing time and our two eldest daughters now rate Paris as their favourite city in the world (and they have been to many)!
The city is huge and jam-packed with kid-friendly things to do. Below is our list, created with the help of our kids, of what we believe are the ‘Top 7 things to do in Paris with kids’.
1. Eiffel Tower
I will never forget the look on my eldest daughters face the first time she laid eyes on the Eiffel Tower! The squeals of excitement from our second eldest, the jumping up and down and pointing from our younger kids. I’ve said it so many times now – there is just something so magical about the Eiffel Tower! The place is always buzzing. The energy is electric and no matter what mood you (or your kids) are in, you can’t help but be happy to be there. On our very first visit, our kids (and myself to be honest) were amazed at the sheer size of the tower and spent the longest time running around under it, chasing pigeons and posing for photos.
Make sure you visit during the day but come back at night. There are grassy areas all around, perfect for a picnic or a game of chasey. The night market is fantastic, selling a variety of souvenirs and mouth-watering food. And of course the hourly light show, with the tower coming alive with 20,000 sparkling lights, is not to be missed.
There is also the option of going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. You can take the lifts or climb the stairs. The views are spectacular but be prepared – the queues can be extremely long!
2. Parks and Gardens
Right throughout Paris, you will find many spacious and beautifully manicured parks and gardens, perfect for a picnic, a run around or simply to admire, explore and take some amazing photos. Our kids top picks are Jardin du Luxembourg and The Jardin Des Tuileries (also known as Tuileries Garden).
Jardin du Luxembourg is an elegant 23 hectare garden full of colourful flowerbeds and impressive statues and fountains. While the impeccably manicured lawns are off limits, the park offers many attractions for children including a merry-go-round, a large playground and our kids favourite – boat rides on the Grand Bassin (large pond).
Paris’ biggest park, The Jardin Des Tuileries is situated between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde (the large public square at the east end of Champs-Élysées), offering exceptional views of both. Once the most fashionable places for Parisians to be seen in, this 28 hectare garden, with it’s perfectly symmetrical paths and landscaped lawns, also has an elegant collection of statues, some dating back to the 17th century. Here you can also find a fantastic playground and carousel and in the summer months enjoy the fun and games at the Fête des Tuileries.
What kid doesn’t dream of visiting Disneyland? Ok, so technically it’s not in Paris, but only 30 kms out it has to be counted! Complete with 2 parks, 7 hotels, a village full of restaurants and shops and a golf course, you could easily have an entire holiday here without going anywhere else. We caught the train in from Paris, a 40 minute ride which took us straight to the gates of the park.
Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, It’s a Small World, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Mickey Mouse, Disney Princesses, Parades and Shows – the atmosphere is buzzing, even in winter, and there is just so much to see and do. Our kids had the best day, and you know what – so did we!
4. Arc De Triomphe
It was a unanimous vote from the kids to give the Arc De Triomphe it’s own ‘spot’ on the list because of just how much fun we had there. Standing in the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc De Triomphe is another of Paris’ landmark icons.
I’m sure a lot of people come to it, have a look, take a few photos and leave, but there is so much more to it. For a start, if you have a car you must drive around it once or twice (or ten times in our case). The traffic is mad. Cars everywhere, cutting across each other in all different directions. It’s daunting, scary and exciting all at the same time!
Walk around the Place Charles de Gaulle, take photos, cringe at the traffic, grab a crepe and take in the amazing views of the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees. There are stairs leading to a tunnel which runs under the road taking you right to the base of the Arc. The Arc De Triomphe honours those who lost their lives during the French Revolution with their names inscribed on the Arc’s walls. Our kids found this, along with the ornate carvings of soldiers and battle scenes, most fascinating. From here you can venture inside the Arc to the museum and out to the very top where you can be treated to some absolutely spectacular views of Paris.
5. Eat, Eat, Eat!
A lot of the time when we travel we try and be very budget conscious when it comes to food (after all 7 mouths to feed can cost a lot). But Paris is the exception (Paris is always the exception)!
Restaurants, cafes, patisseries, delis, markets, the list goes on….. In Paris you cannot walk more than a few metres without seeing (or smelling) something to tantalize your taste buds. We have eaten Pan Au Chocolate under the Eiffel Tower, Croissants by the Seine and Crepes in front of the Arc De Triomphe. In restaurants we have tried snails and frogs legs and I couldn’t even tell you the amount of different cheeses and breads we have sampled from boulangeries (bakeries) and charcuteries (delis). Our kids regularly talk about all of the different foods they enjoyed in Paris!
There are so many fantastic museums in Paris and in most, if not all of them, even the fussiest of kids will find something that interests or excites them.
There is the Museum of Natural History with four levels of animal and creature exhibits from past to present and from all over the world. The palaeontology building is a highlight boasting a large collection of dinosaur bones and replicas and the Children’s Gallery, with it’s treasure hunt exhibit is a lot of fun.
The Musée de la Magie (Magic Museum) is a unique and fun museum, transporting kids into a world of illusion and intrigue.
The Palais de la Découverte is a science museum full of interactive displays and demonstrations. This museum offers so much to see, do and learn and all the exhibits, combined with the planetarium, will keep the kids entertained for hours.
The Louvre may not be on the top of most kids lists of places to visit in Paris, but ours loved it. It is absolutely huge and has such a variety of works, you can be sure to find something that interests them. Our kids got a little lesson in art history while viewing some very interesting pieces and were very excited to see the Mona Lisa up close.
7. Explore! On foot or by bus
Some of our favourite memories of Paris are not of one place in particular, but of our time exploring. We would walk the streets for hours, enjoying the sights, marvelling at the architecture, the shops and eateries, the mix of people and cultures. Where ever you find yourself, there is something new and interesting around every corner.
An open top bus tour is a fantastic option for seeing a lot of the city in a lot less time than it would take on foot. This fun alternative is also a great way to give tired little legs a well deserved rest. With a hop-on hop-off tour you can explore at your own pace and choose which areas you want to see. You also have the added bonus of an accompanying commentary telling you exactly what it is you are looking it and it’s history.
Paris truly is a beautiful city with so much to offer. If your kids are lucky enough to visit this amazing city, I am certain they will find as many things to enjoy as ours have. Merci beaucoup!
While in Paris we stayed in an apartment through Airbnb
Search and book a wide range of other accommodation in Paris here