Paris with Kids
I spent a summer in France visiting a pen pal when I was 15 years old. After that trip I swore I would never go back. Never say never! Today, I absolutely adore France! And what I love even more is that it’s so kid friendly. Our family visits France several times a year and have really come to love the food, people and sights.
Paris is magical. I will always love Paris because it’s the first city I ever visited out of the country. Our family can’t get enough of the city of lights. Paris is the number one tourist destination in the world so it can get a bit crowded. That’s why we have put together a small guide to help you plan your trip.
The Eiffel Tower is beautiful both in the day and night. Going to the top of the Eiffel tower is fun but if you are looking for a good view the parks below are some of the best. We especially like to cross the bridge and go to the Palais du Chaillot. There is also a carousel and playground nearby to add a little fun for kids while touring. Here you can get some great photos of the tower, have a crepe and let the kiddos play in the park and ride the carousel.
Be sure you buy tickets in advanced for the Eiffel Tower. You can get them here and be sure to book early. The lines in the summer can get very long.
The Louvre is amazing. You can literally spend days here! But the average person probably just spends half a day looking at the main works of art.
For older kids thatlou.com has a complete treasure hunt for you to go on in the Louvre which is really fun for families. You do have to book this online and it does cost about 15 Euros but well worth the fun!
Be sure to buy your tickets in advanced for the Louvre here .. If you don’t have your tickets mailed to you, you can pick them up at many different locations in Paris. If you have the museum pass you will not be able to bypass the long security lines so be sure to buy individual tickets online.
Just outside the Louvre towards the Champs Elysee is the Jardin du Tuileries. This is a wonderful park to unwind a bit, get a cold drink and sit in the shade. It also has a playground and a trampoline park.
Champs Elysee / Arc de Triomphe
We were in Paris just a day before the Tour came down the Champs Elysee so it was wild! I love the Champs Elysee because it’s such a meeting place for everyone. There is a little bit of everything going on. Most people miss the Champs Elysee and head straight for the Arc d’Triomphe but I highly suggest taking a stole down it just to see what its all about, then head to the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc is stunning and if you happen to be in Paris on Bastille Day there is a HUGE French flag hanging from it ! You can also go to the top of the Arc and have a great view of Paris.
Notre Dame is well worth the visit but the lines may be long. The stained glass alone is one of my favorite things in Paris. You can walk up to the top of the towers and take in an amazing view and architecture. The trek up is a very narrow staircase with lots of stairs but you are able to see so much of the cathedral that you can’t from the ground. I love walking around the Notre Dame and checking out the flying buttresses in the back of the cathedral. There are also benches to rest and a park with a playground for kids. Across the street is ice cream so it can make for a fun place to take a break and let the kids play a bit.
I highly suggest going to Saint Chapelle. It’s magnificent! The stained glass is magical. My girls are very young when we went but they really loved it! Even Ava at 1 years old kept pointing at the glass saying “oh wow”. I can’t stress enough how important it is to buy your tickets in advanced for this one. You can go here to get your tickets. Even with the museum pass you will still have to wait in the long security line. With individual tickets you will bypass all lines and go straight to security.
This is probably my favorite area in Paris. Montmartre is filled with funky shops, art and food. You could spend an entire day walking around. One of our favorite things to do in any city is to take a day and wander with no plan and the area around the Sacre Coeur is the perfect spot to do just that. The basilica can be a bit crowded but its easy to get in and out and the lines aren’t too long. You can also climb to the top and get a total view of Paris since it's the highest point in the city.
We actually never made it to Versailles. The lines were too long and my girls were way too grumpy. There is an option to buy a more expensive ticket with a “private” tour that will take you to rooms that are not on the standard Versailles walk through. You are also able to bypass the long lines by buying this ticket, so it’s well worth the extra money.
Places to visit off the griD
This is a fabulous place to take kids, not to mention its completely beautiful. It’s about a 25 minute train ride from Gare du Nord and you can spend the whole day there! They have a horse show that is very fun for kids. There is a huge stable, a chateau, complete grounds and more. It’s easily a day trip and if you want to avoid the crowds of Versailles go here. It was one of my girls favorite things to do.
For kids from 6-12 years old you can go to Ecole Cuisine for a fun cooking class with your kids. The classes are held for ages 6-12 and parents must take the class with their kids but it’s loads of fun for the whole family!
Brunch at Arrosoire: Sunday brunch at this restaurant is super fun for kids because there is a magician that comes to your table and gives you a little show. Besides the fact that it’s in a really fun area of Paris.
Tips for traveling to Paris
1. Buy tickets in advanced! I can’t stress this enough. Especially if you are visiting Paris in the summer. You can get a museum pass which is good at a lot of places but it doesn’t get you to the front of the line like buying individual tickets does. Buying the individual tickets takes more time but when you are able to bypass a 4 hour line, it’s so worth it!
2. Transportation depends on the age of your kids. One time we went to Paris we took the hop on hop off bus and it worked wonderfully. It wasn’t peak season so there were plenty of seats on the bus so it made traveling around to the main tourist sites quite easy. Last week we tried the hop on hop off bus and it was a nightmare. It was way too crowded, hot and people were quite rude about our stroller. So we ended up taking taxis. With small kids and babies I suggest either the hop on hop off or taxis. When the kids get a bit older the paris Metro works great and is very fast in getting you from point A to point B. But with strollers taxis or the bus is best.
3. Food. French food is a bit tough with kids…At least the real french food it. My girls absolutely love French waiters. LOVE THEM! They are always so sweet! This helps (at least for us) with encouraging the girls to eat. I have very picky eaters but we were always able to find some pasta or something the girls loved to eat on the street.
4. Hotels. Paris hotels are not cheap, especially in the summer. In off season you can get a very nice hotel for a good price but in peak season it’s difficult to find a hotel in general. Book in advanced if you are going in the summer. We booked our hotel 3 months in advanced and it was completely booked just after we booked our room. So make sure you plan ahead. Air B & B is also a good option but if you are looking for something with A/C then I suggest booking a well known hotel chain as many apartments don’t have A/C in paris and if the weather is hot the A/C is essential to cool down.