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- Paris with Kids? Mais Oui!
- 1. Jardin des Tuileries
- 2. Atelier des Lumières
- 3. Montmartre
- 4. Eiffel Tower
- 5. Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées
- 6. Jardin du Luxembourg
- 7. Ride on a Bateaux on the Seine
- 8. Chocolat Chaud at Angelina Paris
- 9. Creperie
- 10. Disneyland Paris
- Getting Around Paris with Kids
- Napping and Time Change
- Money conversion
The City of Lights might be known for romance, but Paris with kids, even little ones, offers its own special experience. With much to see, taste, and explore, kids as young as toddlers can fall in love with Paris. Here are 10 kid-friendly activities your family will enjoy.
Paris with Kids? Mais Oui!
Ooh la la! Paris holds a special place in my heart. My husband and I were living there near the Marais when I was pregnant with my first son. We returned to the United States before he was born, but we brought him for his first visit when he was a two and a half-year-old.
While Paris may seem like a place for adults, it offers quite a lot for kids, including toddlers. Here are 10 of my favorite kid-friendly spots for les enfants:
1. Jardin des Tuileries
Long lines at the Louvres may not be for toddlers, but right nearby is a spot they’ll love. My son needed a place to run and stretch his legs, and the Jardin des Tuileries is one of the best places in Paris to do this.
Green space, two ponds with ducks for feeding, and a great place for a picnic or to take a break, it is a wonderful location for a “la pause” and to relax alongside Parisians. There is also a great playground there that my son loved, and it is a fantastic way for kids to interact with other people their size from around the world!
From June to August, kids can enjoy carnival rides, a Ferris wheel, and cotton candy during the family-friendly Fête des Tuileries. From November to January, kids will love the Magic of Christmas event, with Christmas Market stalls representing many regions of France, a puppet show, an ice rink, Ferris wheel, and treats and sweets.
TravelingMom Tip: There are seats around the pond areas. Grab an extra baguette and feed the ducks!
Get them excited: Read Madeline by Ludwig Belmelmans to see some scenes of Paris including this park.
2. Atelier des Lumières
If you are visiting Paris in the summer, it can be very crowded and exceedingly hot. Even if you go to the Louvre, there will be so many heads in front of the Mona Lisa, you won’t get close enough to see hers. Instead, visit the Atelier des Lumières, an extraordinary immersive art experience only in its second year, created by Culturespaces.
We recently visited their original family-friendly exhibition of Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux-de-Provence, and it was magical. Showcasing the same work in Paris, Atelier des Lumières is on the site of the Foundry (a former metal casing factory). It is an amazing experience for toddlers, where they will feel they are inside the works of the art. My kids were mesmerized watching the artwork projected on walls and the floor in the darkened room, as it appeared to be dancing to choreographed music. It was far more interesting to them than an afternoon at the Musée d’Orsay.
The exhibitions change and until December 2019, they are showing Van Gogh, the starry night; Dreamed Japan, images of a floating world (Japanese art); and Verse (a contemporary piece.)
TravelingMom Tip: Buy tickets in advance online. Otherwise you may have to wait in a long line. It is a great place to cool down – or warm up – depending on the time of year you are visiting Paris.
Need to know: Tickets are FREE for kids under age 5. Prices for adults are 14.50 €, seniors are 13.50 €, and youth over 5 are 9.50 €. Link for tickets:
Get them excited: Read Katie and the Starry Night by James Mayhew and see Katie step into Van Gogh’s work.
Montmartre is one of the most special areas of Paris, not to miss with little ones. My son loved this area for several reasons:
- At the base of Montmartre is one of Paris’s gorgeous carousels. My son couldn’t pass up taking a spin. He also loved taking a ride up the funicular to get to the top of Montmartre. I was happy not to push the stroller up the ramp. Once you are at the top, turn around and capture the breathtaking views of Paris!
- Montmartre is hilly and full of cobblestone streets, so you can hop aboard The Little Train (the white train) that tours around the area. Roundtrip tickets for adults are €6, children under 12 are €3.50. It typically picks up at Moulin Rouge.
- The area of Montmartre is cute and picturesque, full of cafes, shops, ice cream vendors, patisseries, and artists. You can have an artist paint your child’s portrait right in the square. It is also a great place for a snack break at an outdoor café (my son loved a croque monsieur or a chocolate croissant!).
- Before you leave Montmartre, stop in the Sacré-Cœur, the majestic Roman Catholic cathedral that is symbolic of Montmartre and one of Paris’s most famous landmarks. My kids love seeing the ornate architecture and art of a French cathedral, and Sacré-Cœur was one of their favorites. It is absolutely majestic in its own right, but given that Notre Dame cathedral is currently closed due to the devastating fire of April 2019, it is worth a visit to see this amazing site.
Get them excited: Read Babar’s Guide to Paris by Laurent de Brunhoff.
4. Eiffel Tower
Quite simply put, no visit to Paris is complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower (especially if it is your first time). It is symbolic of Paris and France. This was the highlight of my toddler’s visit when he was two and a half, and my kids’ when we visited last year.
You can either go up the elevator or stairs. With kids, I recommend the elevator, though you will need to climb a few stairs at the very top. You can buy tickets to just get as high as the second floor or all the way to the summit.
My kids loved seeing the panoramic views of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower. They noted how the people and cars look like ants. They also loved looking down at the Seine river from this unbelievable view. If you have time and your little one is up for it, there are some interesting fun facts about the tower and its history dotted along the way up and down (especially if you take the stairs down.) This is especially interesting for older kids.
After the Tower
When you are finished, there is another carousel right below the Eiffel Tower. Speaking of carousels, if your little ones love them, there is a Fairground Museum (Musée des Arts Forains) near the Châtelet metro with several old-fashioned carousels.
TravelingMom Tip: Buy tickets in advance online! You will not want to wait in line for tickets, particularly if you have a little one in tow and are there in the summer. Tickets typically go on sale up to two months in advance. I advise making a note in your calendar on the day they go on sale and try for the day and time you want. You can then plan your other activities around those tickets. Don’t forget to head up to the Trocadero afterward to get your picture with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Need to know: Tickets vary in price depending on how high you go and whether you choose the stairs or the elevator. Prices for tickets with elevator to go to the top: Approximately: 25€ for adults; 12 € for kids ages 12-24; 6€ for kids ages 4-11 years old; FREE for kids ages 0-4 years old.
Purchase tickets from the official site.
Get them excited: Read An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis to see the Eiffel Tower.
5. Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées
Paris is known for fashion, and where else can you find some of Paris’s finest boutiques but on the Champs Elysées? It is a famous street worth taking a stroll because it is one of the most majestic sites of the Bastille Day Parade! It is also adorned at the top with another of Paris’s most well-known landmarks – the Arc de Triomphe.
My son loved climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe to get yet another extraordinary view of the city. A word of caution though – you can only reach the top by stairs so if your little one is tired, or you have a stroller with you, you may want to skip it.
Otherwise, the Champs Elysées is another great place to pick up a souvenir, window shop, or enjoy another outdoor café for a break from all that walking.
Get them excited: Read Little People, Big Dreams: Coco Chanel by Sanchez Vegara, Maria Isabel and Ana Albero.
6. Jardin du Luxembourg
Another wonderful space for a picnic or children to run free, the Jardin du Luxembourg – also called Luxembourg Gardens – is ideal for little ones. My son loved the playground in the park. It is currently under renovation but is expected to reopen later in 2019. It was one of my favorite experiences traveling with him, where he couldn’t speak French with the local children, but they all understood the language of play.
Inside the park, there are puppet shows on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2 p.m., and every day at 4 p.m. during French school holidays. There are also model sailboats to rent and sail in a large pond, which my son delighted in watching. Even the older kids love it!
There are several gardens and statues to admire and a café and food stands where you can buy refreshments to take away. They even have pony rides! It was a great place for us to take a break and enjoy a mini picnic.
If your child loves gardens (and animals), you may also want to check out Jardin des Plantes, which has 11 of them and a zoo!
Get them excited: Read This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek.
7. Ride on a Bateaux on the Seine
The Seine river is a major part of the Parisienne landscape. And there’s no better way to see the views of Paris than down the river Seine on a Bateaux river cruise. My son loved the chance to enjoy the city sites this way. Plus if it is nap time, this is a great place for kids to relax while you enjoy the sites.
The Bateaux river cruise rides are about an hour-long down the Seine and are typically narrated by the captain. If you are looking for a bit more of an experience, and don’t mind it in French, there are “enchanted cruises” with characters in costume who put on a show for you while you ride. Kids may enjoy the experience, and it is a great way for them to be exposed to the French language.
TravelingMom Tip: You can look for combo tickets where you have both the boat ride and the hop on-hop off the bus around Paris, which is a way to see the city while taking a break from all the walking.
Need to know: There are several companies that sell tickets. Bateaux Mouche is one of the more popular ones and you can buy tickets online. Ticket prices start at 6€. Bateaux Parisienne offers the enchanted cruise and you can book online. Prices start at 13€.
Get them excited: Read Everybody Bonjours by By Leslie Kimmelman.
8. Chocolat Chaud at Angelina Paris
Paris is known for its decadent and gorgeous desserts worthy of a gift. If you want to enjoy a special treat, visit Angelina Paris, a specialty café famous for their almost pudding-like chocolate Chaud (hot chocolate.) Of course, my son – who loves all things chocolate – savored this very special treat. They also have numerous other delights, such as macarons, pastries, and tartes, and their special Mont Blanc dessert.
If the treats aren’t enticing enough, the ornate décor of the café is worth a visit and to feel especially Parisienne. It was designed by a French architect in the Belle Époque style.
There are several Angelina Paris cafés around the city, but the original is in Tuileries. So, after this chocolate indulgence, we took our son over to the Jardin des Tuileries to run off the sugar.
Get them excited: Read A Walk In Paris by Salvatore Rubbino.
Another French specialty that my son loved is a delicious crepe for dinner and dessert. In the Latin Quarter, a lovely neighborhood of Paris, there are several creperies to enjoy dinner. Small and cozy, my son loved the ham and cheese crepe for dinner, because it was followed by a Nutella crepe for dessert!
On our most recent visit, a resident cat took up a seat at the table next to us, which was as enjoyable for my kids as the crepe itself. It is not uncommon to find a cat or dog staring at you in a restaurant in Paris.
TravelingMom Tip: There are several creperies on rue Saint Andre des Arts in the 5th Arrondissement. Dinner starts later in France, usually around 7 pm, so double-check opening times before you set out for dinner.
Get them excited: Read Ruby Red Shoes Goes to Paris by Kate Knapp.
10. Disneyland Paris
If you are a fan of Disney and come all the way to Paris, a visit to Disneyland Paris is a must. Just about a 45-minute train ride from central Paris, you could technically make it a day trip, though you may not ride everything. You could also choose to spend a night or two there, and you would hit most of what the theme park has to offer, depending on crowds.
My son absolutely loved Disneyland Paris because, well, it’s Disney and what’s not to love? It has two sections – the Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Studios Park. Disneyland Park looks very similar to Disneyland California. There are many of the same rides and a few that are unique to Disneyland Paris. There are several Disney hotels, with various themes, and you will feel every bit of Disney with a bit of a French flair while you are there. My son loved that it even had more typical French foods at the restaurants and quick service.
I will note that it is a very odd sensation going from being in the heart of Paris to what feels like you stepped right into Florida. It can be a bit disorienting. But, it is worth doing if you have the time allotted while in France. If you are seeking an amusement park that is uniquely French, there is Parc Astérix near Paris.
TravelingMom Tip: There were much fewer Fast Passes than you find at Magic Kingdom in Florida, so some of the ride waits were long. Like any Disney park, get there early and take advantage of any extra magic hours if staying at one the Disney hotels. You can also buy a ticket that includes the price of a shuttle ride from Paris.
Need to know: Ticket prices vary depending on your package. You can purchase them here.
Get them excited: Read Beauty and the Beast by Disney.
Getting Around Paris with Kids
Parisians are known for walking, and tourists to Paris often discover how walkable Paris is. But it is a lot for toddler feet. You can bring a stroller to Paris, but keep in mind that some of the sidewalks are narrow and there are a lot of stairs (and not as many elevators) for places like the Metro. Often bathrooms are downstairs as well. Streets are sometimes cobblestone.
If you bring a stroller, I recommend the lightest option, such as an umbrella stroller. If you have a double stroller, I recommend one that is front/back rather than side-by-side. When using the Metro, you need to be able to fold it down to get up and down the stairs. You can use the bus as well and park your stroller in the wheelchair/stroller area.
I would also bring a baby carrier, such as an Ergo, as it may be easier for getting on and off the Metro. That said, with all the walking, this may become difficult for you. We did a combo of toddler carrying in an Ergo and using a single umbrella stroller for taking our son around Paris.
You can get a Paris Pass, which gives you unlimited entry to 60+ attractions and unlimited rides on public transportation. Depending on your plans, this could save you money. Read more here.
Napping and Time Change
When traveling with kids, especially toddlers, attempting to keep some sort of routine is important. But returning to your hotel room for an afternoon nap can be a challenge if you are on the other side of the city.
This is where we relied on the stroller and Ergo. My son was, thankfully, a wonderful stroller napper. The city sounds seemed to put him right to sleep. There are many cafés throughout Paris where you can sit for a coffee while your little one has a snooze. You can also set up camp in one of the parks for a quieter place, but it is a great time to do as the Parisians do and sit with a coffee watching the city go by.
We have some great tips for helping you and your little one beat jet lag, so you can get on with enjoying your trip: READ MORE.
The currency of Europe is the euro. Currently, the euro to US dollar conversion is approximately 1€ (Euro) to $1.13 (USD). If something costs 10€, it will be the equivalent of $11.30. You can usually use your credit card in France, but you should contact your credit card company in advance of traveling. You can also withdraw cash from ATMs throughout Paris. Check with your bank prior to departing to find out if they work with a partner bank in France, which may lessen the fee. We prefer this to converting money at a change bureau.
If you are planning a few days in Paris, here is a three-day itinerary for visiting Paris with a family that can help you plot out your trip: click here.