Best Things to do in Paris with Kids: The Ultimate Family-Friendly Guide

paris blue sky with clouds

Paris—the city of love, lights, and undeniable charm. It's a place where every cobbled stone and every delicious patisserie seems to tell a story of art and history. But is it a place for kids? Mais oui! Contrary to the mistaken belief that Paris is a playground strictly for the romantics and the intellectuals, the city actually boasts a multitude of enchanting activities tailor-made for little adventurers.

If you're planning a family trip to Paris, you'll find yourself in a kaleidoscope of experiences, from the highest heights of the Eiffel Tower to the imagination-sparking depths of the scientific marvels at Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie. In this guide, we'll journey through the best things to do with kids in "La Ville Lumière", to ensure that your family trip to Paris is as illuminating for your children as it is for you. Let's dive into an adventure of a different kind, one that promises to be both enriching and entertaining.

The Marvels of Paris for Young Explorers

The Eiffel Tower: A Pique-Nique in the Air

paris dog photo framed


The Eiffel Tower needs little introduction, but seeing it through the eyes of a child is truly special. For a unique experience, eschew the queues for the elevator and take the stairs—exciting for kids and a great way to burn off some energy. The Eiffel Tower offers breathtaking views of the city that can be marveled at from various vantage points. Kids love the twinkle of the tower at night, and in the daytime, pack a pique-nique to enjoy on the Champ de Mars below. Don't forget to watch out for the roving vendors selling caramelized nuts—the sweet smell is a siren call kids can't resist!

Seine River Cruise: Paris from the Water

seine river cruise

See the city from a different perspective on a cruise along the Seine. With child-friendly options that include audio guides tailored to the little ones, it's an educational adventure that brings the city's iconic landmarks to life. Sailing under the many bridges and admiring the Cathedral of Notre-Dame with their very own eyes is sure to spark their sense of wonder and imagination.

Le Jardin du Luxembourg: Where Sailboats Grace the Water

This enchanting garden with its leafy lawns, pony rides, and puppet shows, is the quintessential Parisian experience for kids. But the centerpiece of Le Jardin du Luxembourg is undoubtedly the large ornamental pond where children can rent small sailboats to push with sticks—an activity that's been a favorite of little Parisians for generations.

Educational Adventures at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie

Educational Adventures at the Cité des Sciences

A Palace of Discoveries and Exploration

The Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie is the largest science museum in Europe and an absolute must-visit for families in Paris. Its mammoth collection of exhibits offers a hands-on approach to the marvels of science, technology, and industry. Little ones can immerse themselves in the Explora exhibitions, which cover everything from natural history to the human body and space exploration. Expect to spend a full day here, but don't be surprised if your kids ask to come back for seconds.

Planetarium: A Voyage to the Stars

Part of the Cité des Sciences is the educational and fascinating planetarium, where kids can journey through the cosmos, learn about the solar system, and even touch a meteorite. The dome-shaped screen and simulated space environment is bound to inspire future astronauts.

The Sounds of Science: Le Labo

Le Labo is an interactive sound and light workshop at the museum that helps kids (and adults) understand these phenomena through play and experimentation. It's a hit with younger children, who can create their own sounds, record their voices, and play with different instruments in a safe and controlled environment.

Art and Creativity at the Ateliers de Paris

Family Art Workshops: Creation and Culture

Understanding and appreciating art is an important part of any Parisian experience, which is why the Ateliers de Paris offer family art workshops with a twist. While parents can learn about the intricacies of a particular art style from a knowledgeable guide, the kids receive a separate, age-appropriate education that's both fun and enriching. Meanwhile, everyone has the opportunity to create their own masterpieces, inspired by famous works of art.

Culinary Delights for the Young Palate

Chocolate Making: A Sweet Parisian Experience

Delve into Paris' rich chocolate-making tradition with a tour and workshop at one of the city's renowned chocolatiers. Learn about the art of chocolate making, and perhaps more importantly, taste your way through truffles, pralines, and bars. After all, what kid doesn't love chocolate?

Market Tours: From Farm to Table

A guided tour of one of Paris' bustling street markets is a great way to teach kids about where food comes from and to immerse them in local culture. They'll love tasting samples, learning about new fruits and vegetables, and perhaps bargaining for a treat.

Exploring Paris' Unique and Quirky Sights

Bestiary of Paris: City Animals

Paris is a surprisingly animal-friendly city, with several places where kids can get up close and personal with their favorite creatures. Visit the menagerie in the Jardin des Plantes, the city's oldest zoo, which features a number of exotic and domestic animals. Or wander around the Montmartre district to catch a glimpse of the resident wallabies and peacocks of the Square des Poètes.

The Sewer Museum: A Unique Subterranean Adventure

A museum may not sound like a child-friendly activity, but there's something about the Sewer Museum that makes it surprisingly fascinating. Here, kids can explore the tunnels that lie beneath the city streets, learning about Paris' fascinating underground history and infrastructure. It's a fantastic way to combine education with an underground adventure.

Park and Outdoor Fun

Parc de la Villette: A Haven of Modern Entertainment

This sprawling park in the north-east of the city is home to the Cité des Sciences and offers a multitude of family-friendly activities. From the giant red jelly-like structures of La Géode to the cutting-edge exhibitions at the Philharmonie de Paris, there's plenty to keep both kids and adults entertained. In the summer, the park becomes host to open-air film festivals and children's theater performances.

Bois de Boulogne: A Forest Playground

Nestled in the western outskirts of Paris, this vast forest contains several playgrounds, a zoo, and two amusement parks, making it an ideal place for a day of outdoor fun. Bring a picnic and explore the many walking and cycling paths, or rent a rowboat on one of the park's serene lakes.

Embracing Paris' Festivals and Seasonal Events

Christmas Markets: A Winter Wonderland

The Christmas season in Paris is a magical time, with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and charming Christmas markets. Take a spin on the carousels, admire the merry-go-rounds, and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Parents will appreciate the artisanal craft stalls, while the kids can enjoy special Christmas-themed activities and treats.

Bastille Day Celebrations: La Fête Nationale

If you happen to be in Paris on the 14th of July, don't miss the city's Bastille Day celebrations. The day kicks off with the famous military parade down the Champs-Élysées, followed by picnics, concerts, and an electrifying fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower in the evening. It's a patriotic party the whole family can enjoy.

Journées du Patrimoine: Heritage Open Days

During the European Heritage Days, many public and private buildings, many of which are not usually accessible to the public, open their doors for free visits. It's a wonderful opportunity for both parents and kids to explore the lesser-known corners of the city.

Budgeting and Saving: Tips for Family Travel in Paris

The Paris Pass for Families: Save on Sightseeing

Consider investing in a Paris Pass for the family to save on admission fees. This pass provides access to over 60 attractions and includes the use of public transport, which can be a huge help when traveling with kids.

Picnic Perfect: Eating Well on a Budget

Despite Paris' reputation for high-end dining, some of the city's most delicious food can be found at its markets and bakeries. Opt for a simple baguette sandwich or a selection of cheeses and meats for a picnic and enjoy a taste of Paris at a fraction of the cost of a restaurant meal.

Free and Low-Cost Attractions: Hidden Gems

Paris offers a wealth of free and low-cost attractions that are perfect for families. From the beautiful parks and gardens to the numerous street performers and artists, there's always something to see and do without breaking the bank.

Family Accommodation Options: Finding the Perfect Place to Stay

When it comes to family accommodation in Paris, opt for an apartment or suite to ensure enough space for everyone to spread out. Look for a place with a kitchenette so you can prepare some meals at home, which can be a welcome break for both your palate and your wallet.

Embracing Pre-Travel Planning: Making the Most of Your Trip

Learning Basic French: Bon Voyage Et Bonjour!

Parisians are proud of their language, and taking the time to learn a few basic French phrases can go a long way in making your family feel welcome. There are many apps and online resources to help you and your kids learn the basics.

Timing Your Trip: Seasonal Considerations

Consider the time of year when planning your trip to Paris. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn offer milder weather and less crowding, making them ideal for family travel. The summer months bring long days and warmer weather, perfect for outdoor activities, while the holiday season can be festive but busy.

Transportation Tips: Navigating Paris with Ease

Paris has an extensive public transportation system that is generally very kid-friendly. Kids under the age of 4 travel for free on the metro, RER, buses, and trams. The city's Vélib' bike rental service also offers a number of family-friendly options, including bikes with child seats.

Conclusion: Weaving the Perfect Parisian Tale for Your Family

Traveling to Paris with children can be an enriching experience that introduces them to a new culture, history, and way of life. By choosing the right activities and approaches, parents can ensure that their kids not only enjoy the trip but also come away with a newfound appreciation for the wonders that Paris has to offer. Whether scaling the heights of the Eiffel Tower, delving into the mysteries of science at the Cité des Sciences, or simply enjoying a pique-nique in a Parisian park, the memories of your family trip to Paris are sure to be cherished for years to come. Remember to pace yourself and enjoy the journey as much as the destination, for the greatest joy of Paris lies not just in seeing its sights, but in experiencing its multifaceted soul. Bon voyage et bonne aventure!

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