16 Can’t Miss Things to Do In Paris With Kids

 

mother daughter visit to paris eiffel tower
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Are you headed to Paris as a family? Luckily for you, Paris is magical with little ones and grown ups alike. We’ve visited Paris as a couple, with a newborn, and with 4 young kids, and we’ve loved it every time. There are tons of amazing things to do in Paris with kids!

My biggest tip when visiting Paris with kids, especially during busy times, is to book early! Time slots sell out and it’s just easier and smoother to schedule in advance.

Here is our list of the best things to do when visiting Paris with kids that you can’t miss!

Four kids in Paris

Where to Stay In Paris with Kids

There are lots of options for family-friendly neighborhoods in Paris. Here are some of our favorites!

If you’re looking for a spot that’s close to the main activities and in the hustle and bustle of city life, I especially love the 6th arrondissement (St. Germain Des Pres). It’s easily accessible to some of our favorite Paris kids activities and is just so beautiful and quintessentially French. The 4th arrondissement is also a great option that has is right in the middle of great activities and transit options.

If you’d rather be a little further away from the main city area with its noise and busyness, the 19th arrondissement is a great option. There’s lots of green space and opportunity to wander in a lovely and more residential area. Parc de la Villette and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont are both located here and are wonderful for families to walk around and play.

16. Visiting Montmartre & Sacre Coeur with Kids

This entire area is a blast when traveling to Paris with kids. Little ones will love taking the funicular up to the Basilique du Sacre Coeur, observing the artists in Place du Tertre, or just running up and down steps while you do some people watching and take in the sweeping views of the city. You can see the Eiffel Tower far off in the distance. It is a very family friendly area during the day. It’s a great and interesting way to get the blood flowing to stave off jet lag if you’re just arriving in Paris, too. (Here are some tips for getting over jet lag with kids!)

Montmartre & Sacre Coeur Walking Tour
Afternoon in Montmartre, family trip to France

15. Parc des Buttes Chaumont when Visiting Paris With Kids

Perfect for a Sunday (or any day, really) stroll, this public park is ideal for families. The suspension bridge (designed by Gustave Eiffel) is lovely to cross, the path to Temple de la Sybille is lush, and while it won’t be tourist-free, you’ll likely spy more Parisians than foreigners. Visit the Parc des Buttes Chaumont to let the kids run loose and enjoy the family friendly atmosphere. It’s a nice break from museums and one of the most relaxing things to do in Paris with kids. It’s also one of the best things to do in Paris with toddlers to let them run around and take a break from not touching famous artwork.

PARC DES BUTTES CHAUMONT visit on family holiday to Paris

14. Notre Dame Cathedral when Visiting Paris with Kids

Notre Dame Cathedral is located on the Île de la Cité on the Seine River and is not to be missed on your holiday to Paris with kids. While the inside of Notre Dame is not currently open to the public, the famous cathedral is still worth a stop. Gaze at the still-standing towers, or observe it from the side on its island while you stand on the banks of the Seine. Kiddos will love counting the flying buttresses of Notre Dame Cathedral and imagining ways to fix its broken parts is always fun for kids visiting Paris.

Update: After a big fire, several parts of the cathedral are still closed to the public. It’s still worth walking by to enjoy the view from the outside!

Notre Dame, Paris for kids

13. Exploring the Marais when Traveling to Paris with Kids

If you’re looking for tasty, inexpensive, casual food, the Marais is your neighborhood. Walking & eating are our favorite ways to explore a city and the Marais combines both of those perfectly. It’s great for families with young kids wishing to eat dinner earlier than the typical French time, as many eateries here are open all day. Known for ethnic cuisine, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food is easily available in the Marais. Or if you want something typically French, stop into Breizh Cafe for the best galettes & crepes in town. Just be prepared to go early or wait in a likely-long line.

Visiting Paris with toddler

12. Day Trip to Chantilly on a Paris Family Trip

When visiting Paris with kids, it sometimes is nice to get away from the city for a bit. A short and easy train ride from the center of Paris, a Chantilly day trip is the perfect Paris family activity. Chantilly boasts a chateau, horse stables, the 2nd largest collection of antique paintings (after the Louvre), and the best (and most original) whipped cream around. It’s a smaller and far less busy chateau than Versailles, but feels classically French. Kids will be delighted by walking through the castle-like grounds and watching the horses. Then don’t forget to cap off the visit with gobs of delicious chantilly cream in the place where it was invented!

Reserve Chateau of Chantilly Ticket
Paris with baby

11. Hidden Gem Things to Do in Paris with kids: Musee de la Musique

This was very much a surprise hidden gem in Paris for our family; all of us aged 10 months to 81 years were delighted by it. Nearly 1,000 instruments are on display in the permanent collection, and the very excellent audioguides provide ample information. The child audioguides were excellent, with lots of examples of instruments being played in a kid-friendly presentation. Plus, the hands-on exhibits were so fun. Despite being a bit off-the-beaten-path, it’s one of the best hidden gems in Paris with kids. I highly recommend this family friendly Paris museum.

It’s included with the Paris Museum Pass, which I highly recommend, especially if you’ll be there for a shorter visit in Paris with kids.

MUSÉE DE LA MUSIQUE hidden gem in Paris

10. Visiting Versailles with Kids

A trip to Paris with kids isn’t complete without heading to this iconic palace. Keep in mind that it will be crowded and the place is big. We loved going out to the more peaceful Queen’s Hamlet and Petit Trianon, but they can be a bit of a trek when visiting Paris with kids. I recommend coming early and visiting the main palace first, then purchasing a ticket on the Little Train to visit the other stops. Be sure to take sunscreen and lots of water as you’ll do a fair bit of walking outside if you’d like to enjoy the gardens. (Here’s a full family packing list that we use on trips from 4 days to 4 months!)

Traveling to Paris with baby

9. Visiting The Louvre with Kids

The Louvre is an icon, and for good reason. As the largest art museum in the world, the museum houses countless important works of art. And the glass pyramid outside is fun to see in and of itself! The experience can also be completely overwhelming, however – especially when visiting the Louvre with kids. On top of being enormous, it’s typically crazy crowded, especially if you’re there in high season (which sometimes feels like all the time). Here are a few tips on how to visit the Louvre Museum with kids.

The best way to do it, in my opinion, is to do an active morning activity, then take an afternoon nap, and visit the museum during its evening hours (on Wednesdays & Fridays). We had the Mona Lisa almost completely to ourselves for 10 whole minutes on a Friday night near closing! Another really great option is to book priority entrance – this is for sure what to do if you go during the day during a busy season.

If you do go during the day, limit yourself to a couple hours and try to get out to lesser visited parts of the museum. We love the underground fortress area, the Napoleon III apartments, and the regalia. The gift shop has an excellent family guide that has short, fun activities to visit different sections of the museum. After your visit to the Louvre, your kids may need to run around and the Jardin des Tuileries at the front of the museum is a great place for that.

(And here are some more tips for taking your kids to a museum.)

Reserve Louvre Tickets
Louvre family trip to Paris

8. Visiting Sainte-Chapelle on a Family Paris Trip

There are few more visually stunning buildings in all the world, in my opinion. That blue stained glass is just breathtaking. Adults and kids alike will be awed as they walk up the steps and enter into this gorgeous cathedral. To make this a family friendly thing to do in Paris with kids, we like to keep our visits short, and to give our kids something in particular to look for. We talk about it a little bit beforehand and treat it like a game of I Spy!

Sainte Chapelle with kids

7. Bateaux-Mouches: Best Things to Do in Paris With Kids!

All our kids and adults love this fun boat ride with some epic Paris views. These wide, sturdy Bateaux Mouches boats are a perfect way to experience the magic of Paris from the water and get an overview of some main landmarks. Buy your tickets in advance to get a bit of a discount and save any stress at the boat. You will travel down the Seine river right near the Eiffel Tower which will allow for some unique views. It’s a great way to get a quick tour of Paris with kids while on your trip.

BATEAUX-MOUCHES ride family vacation to Paris

6. Best Paris Museum with Kids: Musee De L’Orangerie.

While there are certainly many bigger museums in Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie is one of the best museums in Paris with kids. Its small size makes it very family friendly. As it is small enough that it’s doable in an hour or two. Plus, the giant Monet paintings are both visually impactful and resonate with children, who may even be familiar with the artist. It also houses one of the best gift shops in Paris!

MUSÉE DE L'ORANGERIE, family in Paris

5. Île Saint-Louis on a Paris Kids Trip

This lovely island in the Seine has managed to hold onto some of its typically Parisian charm. Primarily a residential neighborhood, Île Saint-Louis is perfect for wandering without an agenda of sites to see. Best to do it with a cone of Berthillon ice cream, a contender for the best ice cream in Paris. Lots of shops claim to sell it, but best to go to the original. A stop here is always on our list of things to do on a trip to Paris with kids.

Berthillon, favorite things to do in Paris

4. Visiting Musee D’Orsay with Kids

While the Louvre is a must do for its important works (my kids never would’ve forgiven me if we’d skipped the Mona Lisa, which they’d heard all about in school) and for the fun pyramid, the Orsay, I think, has a much better user experience. Make no mistake – it’s still a LARGE museum. The building (a renovated train station) is a bit more open and fun, making the Orsay Museum with kids a much more pleasant experience. Plus, the Impressionist collection is one of the best in the world, and kids are often familiar with and excited about a few of those works. Be sure to make a stop at the Musée d’Orsay on your trip to Paris with kids.

Musee d'Orsay, family Paris vacation

3. Best Family Friendly Paris Activities: Jardin D’Acclimation

You’ll note that Disneyland Paris is notably not on this list. Truthfully, we considered visiting. We like Disney. But at the end of the day, we decided that we weren’t willing to give up a truly Parisian day for a day that is inherently crafted through an (at least partial) American lens. So on this trip, we skipped Disneyland Paris. We’d heard of Jardin d’Acclimation, a local amusement park, and decided to give that a shot instead. Turns out it was just what we wanted. Our kids loved this Paris park. There were amusement park rides (although nothing huge – it’s not for major thrill seekers), as well as a couple water play areas, a darling Guignol puppet show, and tons of local families (not tourists). It was a delight.

Day in Jardin d'Acclimation on family trip to Paris

2. Kid-Friendly Paris Activities: Eiffel Tower + Carousel + Trocadero Fountains

I know there are people out there who think the Eiffel Tower is lame. I’m not one of them. And neither were my kids. They were all awed by the Eiffel Tower, and loved going to the top. We couldn’t reserve enough tickets in advance by the time we checked, so we just went there the morning of and were able to walk to the landing, and take the elevator to the very top. Dan purchased the 2nd elevator tickets while we hung out by the Trocadero Fountains on the Champs de Mars; we played in the spray, although we did see some people in swimsuits hopping in the fountains at the bottom (no idea if that’s legal). If you can, I’d highly recommend booking tickets in advance so they don’t sell out and so you avoid the wait. (Here’s a link to book the walk up.)

Our entry time was about 45 minutes later, and there was no line to walk up (in July). At just shy of 700 steps, it took us a little over 10 minutes, and our 7, 5, & 3 year olds managed just fine (I wore the baby).

Then on a different day, we came at night to ride the carousel and see the Eiffel Tower sparkle. I may or may not have had a child who claimed it was the best experience of his life. We all loved visiting the Eiffel Tower with kids!

Visiting the Eiffel Tower family holiday

1. Number one Thing to do in Paris with Kids: Jardin Du Luxembourg

On our last day after nearly a month in Paris, we let our kids choose whatever they wanted to do. And they voted to repeat the boats at the Luxembourg gardens. If there’s something more quintessentially Parisian childhood, I don’t know what it is. It is, in our opinion, the very best of all the things to do in Paris with kids. The pond is regularly surrounded by local and foreign families alike pushing wooden boats with long sticks in the shadow of Luxembourg Palace. It’s charming and simple and perfect with a side of baguette.

JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG, favorite kid-friendly France activity

I hope this list of the best things to do in Paris with kids is helpful! I’d love to hear – what’s your favorite kid-friendly Paris activity?

Riding carousels near Eiffel Tower

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