Coming to Paris with children and wondering where to start? Check out our tried and true ways to enjoy the city with kids.
Spend time in the Luxembourg Gardens: This sublime park is one of the most beautiful places in Paris. In addition to its exceptional flora, it includes playgrounds, pony rides, puppet shows and stands serving yummy chocolate crêpes. Wooden toy sailboats are for rent at the edge of a basin that sits directly in front of the 17th century palace that is now the French Senate. It’s the perfect spot for weary parents to rest their feet and take in beautiful views while the kids play in a very Parisian setting. Our photo features a mini-replica of the Statue of Liberty (now in the Orsay Museum), which was designed and constructed in France and then sent to the US in pieces.
Visit museums in a family-friendly way: Art and history are essential to an authentic Parisian experience, but making culture accessible and fun for children can be daunting. Paris Muse has spent more than a decade developing exceptional educational content that will have your kids so engaged and entertained they won’t even notice they are learning! Check out our children and teens tour options including our newest offering, A Nile Family Voyage at the Louvre, recommended by the New York Times.
Make French food: La cuisine française is also a key part of visiting Paris. Taking a cooking class is a great way to help kids experience the French relationship to food. We recommend La Cuisine Paris, a small school in a charming location near the Seine river in central Paris. They offer a large selection of courses, including a private “pâte à choux,” (“pastry puff”) class to make eclairs, chouquettes (small puffs of pastry covered with crunchy nuggets of sugar) and gougères (cheese puffs). They will pack up all the goodies you make in class in little to-go boxes so you can enjoy your little take-out lunch on a park bench basking in the sunshine. Master Chef Junior 2017, here they come!
Savor French food: Make eating a priority when in Paris. Don’t squeeze lunch in between sightseeing stops, take time to really enjoy food the way the French do. Ask about an open market closest to where you’re staying and use it. There’s no need to attempt a complicated meal, just buy a roast chicken, whatever fruits and vegetables are in season, a selection of cheeses and a baguette, of course! Then stop at a gorgeous pastry shop for a chocolate éclair dessert and you’re done. This is an easy way to give your kids an authentic culinary experience even if they aren’t adventurous eaters. If you’d like to eat out, traditional French restaurants are more accessible to families these days. Paris by Mouth is the definitive guide in English to Paris restaurants and they also offer outstanding food tours for families with kids 10 yrs and older.
Experience the Eiffel Tower: There is something magical about this most iconic of monuments and your children will want to climb to the top. As soon as you know when you’ll be in Paris, book your tickets in advance. This will save you an incredible amount of time waiting in line if your family is determined to climb to the summit. The Tower is also pleasant to experience from a Seine river cruise or while having a picnic lunch in the Champs de Mars park. Views from the Trocadéro square and the museums in the Palais de Chaillot across the river are also breathtaking. The newly re-opened Café de l’Homme is a lovely spot to have a drink and might be the most relaxing place from which to view the Tower.
Take the Metro: The best way to see Paris is to walk as much as possible. However, when traveling with children you should incorporate public transportation as well. This isn’t necessarily about saving time, but more about having fun. Kids enjoy navigating through the city, figuring out which lines travel to which parts of town, and keeping track of tickets. They can even pretend to drive a métro train in the front car of the automated lines 14 and 1.
Take a closer look and keep it fun: If the buildings of Paris could talk they would enchant your family with endless stories of all they have seen. Taking a minute to really contemplate the details of the architecture around you is a powerful way to connect with the busy modern city and its history. Our Time to Explore Paris walk is the perfect way to do that. On the Time to Explore Paris Walk, kids explore the magnificent Marais neighborhood while solving riddles at a Renaissance mansion, finding mason marks on a medieval wall, and uncovering secret traces of France’s famed Revolutionaries. It’s a fun and educational experience: what we do best! The Mission Paris: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure guide for kids is another way to keep the family in a playful mood while making your way through the other renowned monuments and museums.