The City of Lights is often referred to as a dream honeymoon destination or the city for lovers. But Paris is also a great destination for kids, especially those that prefer city culture, food and trying new things. But of course a city with chocolate pastries on every corner makes everyone happy.
Yet, a city the size of Paris can also be daunting for travellers of any age. However, even if you don’t speak French, the city is easy to travel with fast public transportation, great food and beautiful outdoor spaces. If you aren’t convinced yet just check out these best things to do in Paris with kids.
The Eiffel Tower
You cannot holiday in Paris without a visit to Eiffel Tower. However, with children you may want to do it a bit differently. The Eiffel Tower has notoriously long lines, it can take hours before the climb to the top. Younger children won’t appreciate the wait or the view. Instead plan a picnic lunch at the garden under the tower, Champs de Mars. You’ll have a beautiful view of the tower without the tantrums.
It’s a slice of local life and you won’t be the only one enjoying the surrounding famous lawn that was one a military drilling ground. Here kids can roam freely and visit the playground and carousel on the south end. Don’t forget to buy lunch before heading to Champs de Mars as there aren’t many food shops around. But if that’s not possible there are restaurants nearby.
If your kids are a bit older and have a bit more patience you can pay for tickets in advance and skip the line. These tickets sell out quickly, but you can buy them up to 3 months in advance.
Disneyland Paris isn’t quite in Paris, but instead 32km east of the city in Marne-la-Vallée. You can stay in one of the resort hotels or take a 30 minute train from Paris directly into the park.
There are two theme parks. Disneyland Park is similar to the Magic Kingdom in Florida and is great for younger children. It features Snow White, Dumbo and other famous Disney characters children will recognize, even in French. Whereas the second park, Walt Disney Studios Park, is better suited for older children with rollercoasters and other thrill rides.
If you have children of different age groups, it is possible to visit both parks in one day. However, like in the United States, lines are long so it’s worth splurging on the Fast Pass in order to skip the line, especially as Disneyland Paris is significantly less expensive.
Natural History Museum
While museums can sometimes be tiresome for families on vacation, the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle will keep kids of all ages entertained all afternoon. It has something for everyone with a number of exhibits from a butterfly exhibit to a virtual reality room where kids can wear a headset and parents can follow along with a screen of what they are watching.
The Galerie des Enfants is perfect for kids aged 6-12 as they can touch everything and all of the exhibits have descriptions in both English and French. But despite the technical innovations, the highlights for most families is the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution and Galeries de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie which have collections of animals and skeletons.
Family passes are available for groups of 4, however, to avoid the crowds skip weekends and Wednesdays as French children have the day off.
Jardin de Luxembourg
Paris is a city of gardens, which makes it perfect for sunny afternoons with the family. Not only are they budget friendly, but they often have lots of activities for kids. The Luxembourg Gardens are one of the most famous in Paris. The entrance is free and there are plenty of things to do at a very reasonable price.
There is a classic marionette theatre and pony rides along with a gated playground for kids. But it’s best to take a quick walk around the grounds to decide what you’d like to pay for as the small fees can compound quickly.
Cover photo credits: Thomas Ricker