Our Paris mom shares ideas for a kid-friendly winter break
If your family is planning a trip this winter, you might be wondering what kind of kid-friendly fun is available during the off-season. At this time of year, visitors can often see a simpler, more authentic side of the city, and with significantly less crowds, too!
Towards the end of February, most schools in Paris close for their vacances d’hiver, or winter holidays. This means that, from mid-February through early March, the capital city is buzzing with all kinds of activities, designed to keep French families engaged:
An English-Speaking Cooking Class
Nothing says “Paris” like a pastry, and with the “Parent and Kid Cooking Class” at L’Atelier des Sens, you and your kids can learn the art of the éclair! Open to children between 6 and 12 years old and taught entirely in English, this course promises to teach little chefs how to make the traditional chocolate cream confections. The best part? At the end of the two-hour course, they can take their homemade treats home with them!
Location: 32 rue Vignon (the 9th arrondissement)
Date & Time: Ongoing (Check the website for openings)
Metro/RER: Madeleine or Havre-Caumartin
Admission: 36€ (about $41) per person
A Festival Celebrating French Farms
When you’re done making (and eating) éclairs, it’s time to have some eco-friendly fun at the Salon International de l’Agriculture, or the International Agriculture Show. Dedicated to food, farms, and everything in between, this unique exposition is unlike any event in Paris.
This year, the ever popular Salon will offer over 100 educational, entertaining activities for little ones of all ages. Whether they’re playing games, watching performances, or getting up close and personal with animals, your kids will have fun learning about biodiversity, sustainability, and the environment. It’s a wonderful introduction to how seriously the French take this aspect of their culture.
Location: Paris Expo Porte de Versailles (the 15th arrondissement)
Date and Time: February 23-March 3, 9am-7pm
Metro/RER: Porte de Versailles-Parc des Expositions
Admission: 14€ (about $16) for adults; 7€ (about $8) for kids ages 6-12
A Musical Mardi Gras
Although it has found fame in New Orleans, Mardi Gras—or “Fat Tuesday”—has been celebrated in France since the Middle Ages. While, today, the country’s biggest carnival takes place in sunny Nice, you and your family can get into the Mardi Gras mood here in Paris, with a festive “Jazz for Kids” show.
In addition to live New Orleans-inspired music, you and your family will be treated to a goûter, or snack, at this special 50-minute event. Perfect for toddlers (recommended for children between 2 and 3 years old), “Jazz for Kids” allows parents to experience an authentic Parisian jazz club without leaving the little ones behind.
Location: Sunset Sunside (60 Rue des Lombards)
Date and Time: March 3, 5 pm and 7 pm
Admission: Tickets can be bought online and cost 10€ (about $11.20) per person. The snack, which consists of a drink, sweet, and cake, costs an additional 5€ (about $5.60) and can be purchased at the time of the performance.
Stay Warm and Toasty With an Impressionism Tour
While seeing the city’s amazing art is a great idea any time of the year, it’s especially appealing in the winter months, when weather can be unpredictable. We recommend taking an interactive tour designed especially for children, like Paris Muse’s “Meet the Impressionists: Orsay for Families.”
This tour of the Musée d’Orsay is an ideal way for kids under 12 to experience one of Paris’ most beloved museums, and to learn first-hand about why the Impressionists painted the way they did. As they gaze at masterpieces like Renoir’s sun-dappled Ball at the Moulin de le Galette and other 19th-century en plein air paintings, they’ll be transported back in time—and to warmer days!
Read more about our Meet the Impressionists: Orsay for Families and our other family tours.
Even in the middle of winter, Paris offers lively activities for children of all ages. Whether they’re perfecting their patisserie skills, celebrating a family-friendly fête, or having hands-on fun with art or agriculture, there is lots going on to keep your little travelers warm.