Paris has been one of my dream destinations for a long time. And finally, in August 2015 my children and I visited this beautiful city for three nights and four days before spending the rest of a scorching summer in Berlin and its surroundings.
Paris has so much to offer that you will need at least three days to explore this gorgeous, breathtaking city. You can see historical places in nearly every corner you go. The people are friendly and welcoming, and most of them are speaking English.
We booked a beautiful little apartment in Montmartre with 9flats.com – the alternative to hotels. If you need more information how 9flats.com works, please read more in my ultimate guide to cheap family holiday apartments in France.
As you can see on the images, our accommodation was reasonable, especially during the main holiday season. And we loved this cute place with comfortable beds, a kitchen, and a TV. The supermarket, the best patisserie ever and a few lovely restaurants were just a couple of minutes away. The owner was fantastic; he arranged for us to check in a few hours earlier than usual because our flight arrived at 5 am. So you can imagine that the four of us were pretty tired.
The supermarket, the best patisserie ever and a few lovely restaurants were just a couple of minutes away. The owner was fantastic; he arranged for us to check in a few hours earlier than usual because our flight arrived at 5 am. So you can imagine that the four of us were pretty tired.
The owner was fantastic; he arranged for us to check in a few hours earlier than usual because our flight arrived at 5 am. So you can imagine that the four of us were pretty tired.
How To Get Around In Paris With Kids
We arrived at the airport Charles de Gaulle. From there you can take a taxi, the bus or the RER (train) to get to the Paris city center. I decided on the public transport since a cab would have crashed my bank account. 🙂
In general, the public transport system is well structured and easy to navigate. There are a few options on ticket prices available. You can buy single tickets or a Paris Travel transport card valid either for one, two, three or five days. This card will give you unlimited access to the bus, Metro, Tramway and the RER network. Children under four years travel free which is fantastic. An Adult ticket for three days costs Euro 28.50/$32 and for a child (4 to 11 years) Euro14.20/$16. You will also get a booklet with reductions on certain tourist attractions.
An Adult ticket for three days costs Euro 28.50/$32 and for a child (4 to 11 years) Euro14.20/$16. You will also get a booklet with reductions on certain tourist attractions.
There is also another pass available that costs more but entitles you to a one-hour boat trip on the river Seine, a 1-day-sightseeing bus tour and many other incentives like access to more than 50 museums. The Paris Passlib costs Euro 129/$144 for an adult valid for three days.
Please keep a few important things in mind when you use the Metro: the tickets are tiny so be careful not to lose them. It was a bit of a mission navigating my kids through the metro entrance gates.
The gates are quite narrow, and it is tricky to get bulky luggage through as well. I always collected the tickets as soon as we passed the gates, put them away and pulled them out again when leaving the Metro station.
You have to do a fair bit of walking when you change metro stations. Even I got tired not to mentioned my kids who were 5, 9 and ten years old at the time.
Also, be prepared to climb lots of stairs. There are not many elevators or escalators around. Once you get your luggage to the apartment or hotel, it gets easier.
Things To Do In Paris With Kids
#1 Visit The Eiffel Tower
A visit to Paris would be incomplete without seeing the world-famous Eiffel Tower. It is THE Symbol for France and Paris. It was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It took two years, two months and five days to complete this massive building.
Every year, 7 million people visiting this historic monument, around 75% are foreigners. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?
Admission: If you take the lift up to the top, fees are: Adult: 17 Euro; 12-24 years old pay 14.50 Euro and children 4-11 years: 8 Euro
Going up the stairs to the 2nd entrance (115m high) costs Adult: 8 Euro; 12-24 years: 5 Euro and children 4-11 years: 3 Euro.Children under four years can enter for free.
Opening Hours: Daily, from mid-June until September you can climb the stairs or use the elevator from 9 am till midnight. All other months it is open from 9.30 am – 11 pm.
Getting There: Metro Station Bir-Hakeim or Trocadero, by Bus or even by Boat.
Tip: Try to be there early in the morning to avoid large crowds and the Summer heat (if you go in July/August) Enjoy the beautiful view from the top or have a little picknick next to the Tower. It is fun to watch the souvenir sellers, people from all around the world and just taking in the busy and friendly atmosphere.
#2 The Louvre
The Louvre is such an impressive complex. It is the largest museum in the world. When we got there, I was in awe of the stunning architecture, how the historical and contemporary styles compliment each other.
If you visit the Louvre with your children, it is best to plan in advance. Otherwise, it will be too overwhelming for you and your family. You could either focus on a few paintings and chat about them with your children or could choose from 28 visitor trails. Some trails are based on a theme, or on a selection of works and differ in length (from one to three hours).
Admission: One of the best parts is that admission is free for everyone under 18 years of age. Everyone else pays 15 Euro.
Opening Hours: Daily (except Tuesday) from 9 am – 6 pm. Wednesday and Friday you can admire the most beautiful artwork until 9.45 pm
Getting There: Metro Station: Palais-Royal Musee du Louvre, by bus or boat.
- Due to extra security checks, it is not recommended to bring suitcases and luggage to the museum.
- Enjoy free Admission to the permanent collections on the first Sunday of each month from October to March.
#3 Jardin du Luxembourg or Luxembourg Gardens
Now it’s time to have some play time for the kids, and you as parents can relax and lean back after a busy day of sightseeing.
There is no better place to go to than the Luxembourg gardens with plenty of chairs under big trees.
Take a glance at the Luxembourg Palace or watch your kids putting boats into the pool.
Take a stroll to the Marionette theater and watch a puppet show; at 2.30pm, 3.30pm or 4.30pm. Or your children can enjoy a pony ride. There is even a gorgeous vintage carousel. My kids couldn’t get enough of it.
You will also find a big playground next to the carousel. It is fenced off, and you will have to pay a small fee for your children to enter. If your kids are independent, they can go by themselves, and you can wait outside by the fence. Otherwise, you need to pay as well.
Opening Hours: Daily, 7 am – 1 hour before sunset.
Getting There: Metro Station: Odeon
Extra Tips: 1) Most attractions have a small fee. 2) Victor Hugo featured the Luxembourg Gardens in his famous novel Les Miserables. History wherever you go. 🙂
#4 Notre Dame De Paris
Notre Dame De Paris means “Our Lady of Paris” and is probably one of the most well-known church buildings in the world. Who hasn’t seen the movie “The hunchback of Notre Dame” with Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida based on the novel by Victor Hugo? If you didn’t, now is a good time.
Notre Dame is one of the first Gothic cathedrals. You will find it on the Ile de la Cite. The construction started eight centuries ago in 1160 and finished in 1345.
The cathedral is open for free from 7 am – 9 pm in Summer and 7.30am -7.30 pm in Winter.
Even though the queues were quite long, we only had to wait a few minutes to get inside this impressive cathedral. To see the French Gothic architecture, the famous gargoyles, and beautiful glass stained windows took me back in time. In within the cathedral is a treasury. For a small fee, you can admire some of Catholicism most important
In within the cathedral is a treasury.
For a small fee, you can admire some of Catholicism most important relics like ornaments of the fourteenth century, artwork, furniture and other valuable items.
From Notre Dame Cathedral it is just a short stroll to the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine called “Pont Neuf” (New Bridge) The bridge opened to
traffic in 1604 and was eventually completed in 1606.
And while you are on the Ile de Cite, the Island in the middle of the river Seine, you might find it interesting to know that the Island is the birthplace of Paris, 250-225 BC.
Did I mention there is history wherever you go in Paris?
#5 Galeries Lafayette Hausmann
And now it is time to do some shopping. The best and most beautiful place is the upmarket French department store “Galeries Lafayette”. You can shop till you drop Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am – 8 pm and on Thursdays till 9 pm.
Find all the famous designer stores like Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Dior and much more are under one roof.
The children’s department is on the 5th floor. Check out the shoe corner, toys, and children’s designer clothes. On the same floor, you will also find Baby changing facilities with changing tables, a sink, microwave and feeding chairs.
Tip: Grab something to eat from one of the delicious takeaway food areas and head with your family to the rooftop on the seventh floor. Enjoy your lunch and a spectacular view of Paris.
Here is an extra special tip: the Galeries Lafayette offers a free child minding service. It is somewhere hidden on the fifth floor, and I only found it by coincidence. I was able to leave my three kids there for over an hour to do some shopping for myself.
It was marvelous; no cranky kids who don’t enjoy walking through a huge store. Pure bliss. My munchkins had so much fun coloring and making masks. They even wanted to go back the next day!
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am – 8 pm and on Thursdays till 9 pm
Getting There: Metro to Chaussee d’Autin.
5 More Things To Do With Kids In Paris
These five activities are on our to-do list for our next visit to Paris. It was important to me to keep the balance between sightseeing and playtime for my children. It is just so much you can do in three days.
Visiting the Cineaqua is a great activity, especially on a rainy day. The kids will love the shark tunnel with 25 of those majestic fishes and also the petting pool. The glass walls touch the floor, so even the littlies can get to see inside, and the parents don’t have to lift them up. It is a fantastic attraction for children and parents alike.
Besides the aquarium, you will find a two-screen-cinema, hence the name, that shows movies and National Geographic documentaries
The Cineaqua also offers shows like ‘Meet a Mermaid’ (10 min) or ‘Meet our Mascots’ (30min) as well as fun, creative workshops.
Admission: Adult: Euro 20.50 / $23.00; Children 3 to 12 years: Euro 13.00/$15.00; Teenagers 13 -17 years: Euro 16.00/$18; under 3’s are free
Open daily: April – September from 10 am – 7 pm; October – March from 10 am – 6 pm
Getting There: Metro Station: Trocadero
Tip: Every Sunday from noon till 2 pm you can enjoy a delicious brunch at the Cineaqua. Watch the fishes while you indulge in yummy croissants and baguettes.
Le Musee Gourmand du Chocolat
Who doesn’t love chocolate!!! This museum is the best place to discover everything to do with this delicious treat. Explore over 1000 artifacts from around the world. The Choco-story recounts 4000 years of the history of cocoa.
From the mysterious origins in the Mayan and Aztec culture, from the introduction to Europe and their royalties right through the modern ways of making chocolate.
The demonstration center explains and shows how chocolate is made nowadays. And, of course, you can taste the chocolate afterward.
There are workshops for children and parents available as well. The ticket price of Euro 25 / $28 includes the admission fee for the museum.
Admission: Adults: Euro 11.00/ $12; Children 6 to 12 years: Euro 8/ $9; Children under 6 are free
Opening Hours: Daily: 10 am – 6 pm
Getting There: Metro Station: Bonne Nouvelle
Tips: Children can play a ‘chocolala’ game. When they complete the game, they get a little present at the end. That is very cool!
For an extra fee of Euro 3.00/$3.50 enjoy a real Hot Chocolate, either made with an Aztec or Spanish recipe. Other options are available as well.
Cooking Classes for Kids
If your children have an interest in food, why not taking a cooking class in Paris? They are view companies who offer fantastic cooking classes (mainly for adults) with different topics, from pastry-making to cooking a four-course-meal, etc.
Cooknwithclass has got cooking classes available in English for children aged 6 to 12 years old.
The classes go for 2 hours and teach them how to make French desserts like classic French Jam shortbreads or magic molten lava cakes. Sounds delicious, right? I am getting hungry just by typing it. 🙂
Costs are Euro 75.00/$85 per person. It is not cheap, but the kids get to eat their yummy dessert right there and then. The leftovers (if any!) go home in a takeaway box.
Tip: Keep an I eye on the cooknwithclass.com website. Sometimes they have course specials to fill the classes. You have to be a bit flexible, though.
Getting There: Metro Station: Chateau Rouge
Le Catacombes is an underground cemetery that features the bones of six millions of Parisian citizens, laid to rest by King Louis XVI. The tunnel network is huge with 3000km (1864 miles) long.
The tour takes about 45 minutes, and the temperature is at 14 Degree Celcius. So it might be a good idea to bring some warm clothes.
I guess, the tour is not for the faint-hearted, but I am sure that older children would enjoy a few goosebump sights. According to the website, one has to climb down 130 steps and climb 83 steps. Please note, there are no toilet or changing room facilities.
Admission: Adults: Euro 8.00/$9; under 14’s are free
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm
Getting There: Metro: Deufert-Rochereau
Tip: You should go early in the morning to avoid long waiting lines.
Disneyland Paris and the Walt Disney Studios are always a favorite with families. I don’t have to tell you much about the attractions. There are magical, magnificent and beautiful. I want to focus on how to get there since both parks are 32 km outside of Paris.
There are magical, magnificent and beautiful. I want to focus on how to get there since both parks are 32 km outside of Paris.
Disneyland Paris is open every day from 10 am to 9 pm and the Walt Disney Studios open from 10 am to 7 pm. You can choose to buy tickets for one park or both. Ticket prices vary starting from Euro 47/$ 53 per adult and Euro 40/$45 for children 3 – 11 years old. Under 3’s are free.
To check out the specials I recommend to go to disneylandparis.com for more information and packages.
How To Get There
from the Airport: take the Magical Shuttle Bus
from Paris Centre: RER Line A train from Chatelet, Auber, Etoile. The train runs every 15 min and takes you in 40 min to Station Marne-la-Vallee. From there it is a short 2min walk to the parks.
from your hotel: you can book a package with a coach transfer and an optional hotel pickup.
Other options are renting a car, or you could stay in a Hotel close to the parks.
Tip for your Disneyland visit: Disneyland has got a FastPass system to avoid long waiting time for certain attractions. This is how it works:
- You put your admission ticket into the FastPass machine at the entrance to the attraction.
- Then you will get a FastPass ticket with a return time on it. Off you go and enjoy other things …
- Return to the attraction at the time it shows on your ticket and board the ride via the special FastPass entrance. Yeah, quick and easy!
Summing It All Up
There is so much more to do in Paris with kids. While visiting Paris, I have tried to keep the balance between sightseeing, relax and playtime for my children.
We indulged in beautiful yummy pastry, baguettes, cheese, salami, fresh fruit and expensive ice cream.
One thing is for sure; Paris is not a cheap city. But we managed to keep the costs down by staying in an apartment we booked with 9flats.com – the alternative to hotels.
I always carried a water bottle and some snacks to keep the kids happy. I have found that you can buy yummy baguettes with cheese or salami for a reasonable price as well.
I would strongly recommend avoiding the main season July/August. Paris is crowded with tourists and it is usually very hot.
I also noticed only a few playgrounds. I wished more options in this regard for families. I guess I am a bit spoiled because we spent a lot of time in Berlin which I find more child-friendly.
Please let me know if you found my post helpful or if you would like to add anything.
All the best from Anke
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