Top 10 Things to do in Paris with Children
Bonjour, mon ami…
Paris is one of the most romantic places in the world. It’s got museums, art galleries, beautiful food and drink and a wonderful atmosphere throughout the year. You can stroll down the Champs-Elysees, cruise along the river Seine and enjoy an evening in the Latin Quarter where they have live music and gorgeously quaint restaurants.
Unless considering Disneyland, people don’t often think of Paris as a place to take children. But the magic of Paris is something that will stay in their memories and hearts forever. A subconscious memory that will be aroused when they walk past a café that smells the same as the one they sat outside on the cobbled streets of Rue Montorgueil. It’s a starting place for them to find a love for art, history, architecture and really learn to enjoy cultural experiences that are on their doorstep.
Paris is the perfect place to embrace with children. There are places to go you will love as an adult, you can introduce your children to Parisian life and there’s plenty to do as a family. I’ve listed the top 10 excluding the Louvre (I think it’s a great place to go with older children but unless you pay for fast track the queues are phenomenal and actually if you enjoy art it’s quite nice to do alone).
1. Jardin du Luxembourg
Paris is renowned for it’s beautiful parks, there are plenty with traditional entertainment, artists creating and wonderful puppet shows. The most enchanting by far is Jardin du Luxembourg where there’s 23 hectares of parkland, gardens and orchards.
What is special about Jardin du Luxembourg is it’s history. Napolean dedicated the park to the children of Paris and ever since it’s been designed with them in mind, with many of the historical games and activities still there today. Including, prodding sailboats on the octagonal Grand Bassin pond, watching puppets perform, riding the carrousel, going on a pony ride and exploring the vast gardens.
On a sunny day this is simply a perfect day out. Enjoy a lazy morning, relax into Parisian life, take a stroll, enjoy all the entertainment and find beautiful restaurants, cafes and bars with freshly baked bread, beautiful cheeses and a large glass of wine! For the kids, get them a crepe filled with almost any topping.
2. Paris – Musee d’Orsay – Scavenger Hunt
The Musee d’Orsay is an art gallery that sits alongside the river Seine, housed in Gare d’Orsay, a former and very impressive railway station dating from 1848- 1914.
The gallery is home to the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, including work by Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh and many more.
With an attention span of a nanosecond, for a child this might sound less than impressive but the two hour scavenger hunt includes activities for them to learn and discover. Who said education has to be boring?! They will learn all about iconic masterpieces and have fun too.
When you’ve finished, take a stroll or cruise along the river and talk about all the wonderful things they’ve learned that day. As a parent, it has got to be one of those days when you think your parenting has surpassed itself.
3. The Latin Quarter
Hop on a train, the trains are completely different to the ones here in the UK, an adventure from the start. Granted, the Latin Quarter is more of an indulgence for parents, it’s still a mesmerizing experience for children too.
Home to the Notre Dame, Paris Patheon and Saint-Etienne-Du-Mont church, a walk along the cobbled streets is a lovely experience for everyone. Buy them a little children's camera and let them capture their own memories.
Here you will also find the Jardin des Paris, a botanical garden that is home to 10,000 different species of flora. A wonderful place to walk (and let them run) around filled with beautiful flowers and scents from all over the world.
Perhaps the best thing to do in the Latin Quarter is to just enjoy the many cafes, restaurants and bars. From live music to beautiful food and drink, there’s an incredible atmosphere- one that will put everyone in a good mood.
4. The Champs Elysees
The Champs Elysees is one of the most iconic avenues in the world, with beautiful shops, cafes and restaurants. A cultural hotspot; it boasts cinemas, theatres and exhibition venues.
It’s one of those places that is definitely more for parents but children will be captivated by the experience.
With the smell of cafes and restaurants, going in and out of luxury shops, enjoying the scenery and soaking up Parisian life, it’s a small memory that I’m sure will help mould their future selves into well rounded people with a passion for art, culture, history and all the other wonderful things there is to soak up somewhere so special.
If you go at Christmas, the Champs Elysees is lined with a Christmas market and festive lights, a magical experience everyone will enjoy.
5. Les Calanques De Cassis
The Les Calanques de Cassis is an hours drive from Paris, just outside Marseille. Made up of beautiful secluded bays, blue jewel waters and stunning countryside. It’s a really nice place to go to unwind after a busy couple of days in Paris.
The remoteness of the bays means you can often find one that is quiet and tucked away, making it a really lovely place to go with young children. Hike, Kayak, go on a boat ride or play in the sea- there’s plenty of wonderful memories to be made.
6. The Eiffel Tower and Champs de Mars
You will probably only go to Paris a handful of times in your life, so visiting the Eiffel Tower is a must. It’s not only a symbol of Paris but when it was designed and executed it was a symbol of French know- how and industrial genius. There’s also an amazing view at the top!
The Eiffel Tower sits next to the Champ de Mars, a peaceful green space where you can go for a walk or have a picnic. If you plan the day right, it can be relaxing and a lovely experience.
If you have young children, get a fast track pass so you don’t experience the crowds around the Eiffel Tower for very long and take some food and drink to enjoy after. You will also find the Manege 1913 on the Champ de Mars, one of the oldest carousels in Paris. Carousels are an important part of Paris’ scenery and the kids will love them too!
7. Cruise along the river Seine
A city break in Paris is all about sightseeing but it’s almost impossible to see everything with children. They have little legs, a short attention span and they get tired quickly.
A river cruise is the perfect opportunity not only to see spectacular views and to take it all in but they will absolutely love it. You can put your feet up and if they get tired they can have a nap in a warm space too.
There’s options to do a city tour on the river, Paris by night, there’s a crepe tour so you can enjoy food and views… there’s lots of different itineries to choose from. If you can’t find one you like, you can also hire a boat and explore the various canals, hopping on and off as you please.
8. Citroen 2CV Tour
It might be a bit of a squeeze but I love this idea! Jump into a Citroen 2CV and get chauffeured around beautiful Paris. They pick you up from your hotel and take you to the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon, the Latin Quarter, and Montmartre.
In reality, you could have a maximum of two children and two adults but it would be a fun adventure with stop offs pretty much anywhere you’d like to go.
An authentic village in the heart of Paris, Montmarte has museums, vineyards, windmills and Sacre-Coeur!
It’s a really quaint and lovely place to go, renowned for being arty and a place artists have always enjoyed; including Van Gogh, Picasso, Miro, Manet, Renoir and many more. You can wander around former artists’ studios and even head to Dali Paris.
For me, this is an absolute must on any Paris bucket list. There’s a windmill that hosts the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian shows, the Sacre-Coer (a place of worship that houses the largest mosaic in France) and everywhere you go are romantic terraces and gourmet cooking.
Once you’ve ticked off a few of the sights, there’s many beautiful gardens to explore, dozens of professional artists and cartoonists happy to draw your portrait, wonderful bistros and a little train the children will absolutely love. A perfect day out.
10. Disneyland Paris
Some people love it, some people hate it but every child will have an absolute ball. It needs no introduction, it’s something we do to create magical childhood memories for them and a place to take them at least once so they have it in their memory bank for years to come.
If you’re anything like me, I would prefer to spend a day there and then do all the other amazing things Paris has to offer. A day ticket is only £94 per person compared to just over £1000 per person, per night with a minimum stay of three nights if you want to stay in the resort.
One night would be enough so you could venture into the heart of Paris but a one night stay isn’t an option. Without a doubt, it’s definitely on the to-do list when heading to Paris as a family.