Paris is a city filled with history, culture and great food and is one of, if not the most visited cities in the world! Traveling with kids is a challenge but can also make your vacation that much more special. In a city like Paris you want to make sure that mom and dad can have themselves some great wine and get to the Louvre while the kids can get some of that history and culture, as well as having the time of their lives.
Sounds like a daunting task, I know, but Paris is the perfect place for kids of all ages to learn, relax and have fun. Here are some of our tips to help you make the most out of your time in Paris with the little ones.
Getting kids to museums is never an easy feat. That is why we recommend getting a tour guide to liven up the experience. Context Travel has great docent guides that have experience with kids and will get them excited about history and art. They can do walking tours, museum tours or even day trips to Versailles.
Our friend, Daisy de Plume, runs THATLou which stands for Treasure Hunt At The Louvre. If you haven’t already guessed by the name, Daisy orchestrates fabulous scavenger hunts throughout the Louvre. Truly fun for the whole family, you are divided into teams and race through the world’s largest museum trying to find as many of the pieces of art on the list as possible. The THATLou Sunday series is on the first Sunday of every month when entry into the Louvre is free but Daisy can also do hunts upon request if given enough advance notice.
If you are more of a DIY traveler, download the Time Traveler Tours application; an interactive mobile iTinerary that brings history to life through story and games. Each self-guided tour takes the “time-travelers” to a moment in the past where a narrator-guide tells their story of passions, secrets and scandals of the time, keeping the whole family interested for hours!
Paris is famous for its culinary delicacies! Don’t think that you have to eat at McDonalds or chains like Hippopotamus with your kids while in Paris. There are many great restaurants that can be enjoyed by all members of the family. We suggest that you make earlier reservations (7-7:30pm) and make sure you ask about kids options beforehand to ensure problem-free dining.
Here are some great restaurants that are kid-friendly and will still give mom and dad that fabulous French dining experience.Breizh Cafe 109 rue Vieille du Temple, 3e This modern offshoot of a Breton crêperie with top quality products is perfect for a family meal with the kids. The kids can choose which of the extensive list of ingredients they want in their galettes and mom and dad can sip on one of the 20 artisanal ciders offered. The nonstop serving hours from noon to 11 pm can be a lifesaver if you find yourself with starving kids mid-afternoon in the Marais. Le Relais de l’Entrecote 20, rue Saint-Benoît, 6e 101, boulevard du Montparnasse, 6e 15,rue Marbeuf, 8e At Relais de l’Entrecote, your choices are steak or steak with a heap of unlimited golden fries to go with it. No reservations accepted at this Parisian staple restaurant so arrive early to make sure you don’t have to wait. Les 400 Coups 12 Rue de la Villette, 19e Seasonal fare for both adults and kids with a play area, child-size dining tables, child-size portions of the delicious adult food and more. Stay for just coffee or a full meal in the attached dining room. Pink Flamingo Pizza 105 Rue Vieille du Temple, 3e 67 Rue Bichat, 10e 23 Rue d’Aligre, 12e Ok, so not exactly French, but Pink Flamingo is not just any pizza place. Delicious and creative pizza choices like gorgonzola, figs and ham or grilled bacon and pineapple chutney to accompany the classics. Free balloons for kids and delivery to your apartment or to a park or outdoor location! Perfect for summertime picnics.
There are some really fabulous playgrounds in Paris like the one on the southwest corner of the Jardin de Luxembourg or the huge one in Parc la Vilette. These pit-stops at the playground can also be combined with other fun activities in the area like sailing boats in the fountain at the Jardin de Luxembourg or spending a few hours (or the whole day!) exploring the Cite des Sciences and Cite des Enfants on the northern end of Parc la Vilette. Many parks also offer puppet shows called Guignol Marionette. The shows are in French but still would be fun to watch and easy to follow along for non-French speakers.
Using the Bateaux Parisiens for an hour-long tour of most of Paris’ monuments from the Seine is a great activity for the whole family. You can also use the Batobus as a hop-on-hop-off transport throughout Paris for the day.
On the many rainy days in Paris, there are some great indoor activities like the Musee de la Magie or the Cineaqua aquarium. To get the kids interested in the culinary delights of the city, why not take a cooking class that the whole family can enjoy. Cook’n With Class offers a French Dessert for Kids class as well as custom classes by request.
On those rare warm sunny days, why not head over to the Bois de Boulogne and rent a row boat in one of Paris’ largest parks?
We also recommend that you read books like Madeline, Eloise in Paris, and This Is Paris to get the kids excited about the city. They will recognize the monuments from the books and this will make the trip a much more interactive experience.
If mom and dad are looking for a romantic night out on the town, Paris is crawling with English-speaking study abroad students that are always available to babysit. They can even be hired for the day or the afternoon in case you wanted to pop into some exhibits sans enfants.
Enjoy your summer in Paris and make the most out of your time with your kids in the magical City of Lights!