Traveling with children? These parks will delight!
Jardin du Luxembourg
Rue de Médicis – Rue de Vaugirard – 75006
Everyone’s favorite Paris “local secret,” the Jardin du Luxembourg has it all: an enormous fountain, floral gardens, tennis courts, basketball hoops, bocce ball courts, pony rides, a puppet theater, and Marie de Médicis’ charming palace, which today houses the French Senate. The playgrounds are a major draw, boasting jungle gyms, swings, and even a zip line. Afterwards, have the kids go on a scavenger hunt for the smaller version of the Statue of Liberty, a reminder of France’s gift to the United States. Luxembourg park is an especially popular spot for joggers, picnickers, and shutterbugs.
The Louvre – Tuileries Garden
113 Rue de Rivoli, 75001
No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre, but even the most museum savvy families would benefit from some post-art time in the park. Luckily, just across the street from the Louvre Pyramid is the lovely Tuileries Garden. With its marble statues, fountains, and iconic French manicured trees, these former royal gardens offer a little taste of Versailles in Paris. For a hassle-free picnic, grab take-away sandwiches from the Paul bakery stand just behind the Arc du Carrousel. Let the kids play on the jungle gym and slide farther into the park and the trampoline park just behind the Jeu de Paume museum. Keep an eye out also for seasonal Ferris-wheels, fairground carnival rides, and vendors who rent mini-sailboats for the enormous fountains.
Notre Dame – Pope John XXIII Square
1 Square Jean XXIII, 75004
The tree-lined park behind Notre Dame Cathedral was once the site of the archbishop’s palace, bustling with church life. Today this green space is the best place to appreciate Notre Dame’s majestic apse, the eastern end of the Cathedral held up by towering flying buttresses. The park itself has plenty of benches, as well as gardens and two playground areas: older kids can play on the swing and spinning saucer, while on the south side of the cathedral children ages 2 – 8 can play on the owl, butterfly, or hedgehog. Afterwards, head over the Pont au Double bridge to the Left Bank and Shakespeare & Company Café for a quick snack and pay a visit to this legendary English-language bookstore.
Eiffel Tower – Champ de Mars Park
Avenue Joseph Bouvard, 75007
Come to the enormous Champ de Mars park for the Eiffel Tower, stay for the playgrounds, puppet show, and carousels. There are play areas tucked away in the trees and gardens on either side of the Champ de Mars’s wide-open esplanade, but the playground to seek out is at the corner of Avenue Pierre Loti and Avenue Charles Risler. There kids can climb, slide, and conquer the numerous jungle gyms for ages 2 – 12. Nearby are ping pong tables, a “grab the ring” carousel ride, and a crêpe stand with a seating area. An added bonus: grassy areas are protected in many Paris parks, indicated by “pelouse interdit” (don’t walk on the grass) signs, but not here! A great spot for sun bathers, picnickers, and impromptu soccer matches.