Paris is a uniquely cosmopolitan city—the true essence of culture and sophistication, so it may not be your first choice of destinations in which to travel with your children. But, Paris is filled with many family and child friendly places and activities—the French have kids too, right? So if you and your spouse are looking for a getaway that is both romantic, and family friendly, don’t overlook Paris as an option!
Depending on the ages of your children, several of the famous Paris attractions are free, which means you can save your money to savor croissants with your kids! Structuring your trip to include alternating days of “child focused” activities, with those of a more grown up feel, may also be an excellent way to explore the city with your children, so that the whole family has a fulfilling trip to the City of Lights.
If your children are feeling disgruntled or at all homesick entice them with a trip to Disneyland Paris! Similar to the famous American theme park of the same name—this is Disney with a twist. Disney Paris is two theme parks in one—Disneyland Park, and Walt Disney Studios Park. The former is the theme park you’ve come to expect from Disney, while the latter is more focused on cinema and the film industry—and attractions specifically related to Disney films.
In Paris it’s not all about Mickey, check out some of the other fun and interactive Amusements Parks.
Aquaboulevard is an aquatic indoor recreational park on the edge of Paris. With waves, slides and swimming pools. Perfect place to cool down during summer and a little break from all the museum visits. Outside of Paris near the Charles de Gaulle Airport there is a fun amusement park to visit called Park Asterix. It is open 10 AM - 6 PM.
During the summer months, Paris’ famous Jardin du Luxembourg offers pony rides and has an old fashioned carousel that will surprise and delight your children. Kids will also enjoy the puppet theater and playground at the park's southwest end. After playtime you can stroll through the beautiful gardens.
There are definitely sites that are family and kid focused, but there is also no reason why you can’t take your children to some of the famous sites of Paris such as the L’Arc de Triomphe or La Tour Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower).
Both the L’Arc de Triomph and La Tour Eiffel are excellent places to take your kids for some Paris themed fun. With both of these attractions there is the opportunity to teach your kids a bit of history, as well as giving them spectacular views of this incredible city. The added bonus is that with both attractions, you’re able to walk up a portion of the structure. This way your kids can burn off some of their energy, giving you a break and making them a bit easier to handle when you sit down in a bustling Parisian café for your post sight-seeing break.
The Louvre is a world famous art museum that is a fun destination for any age. There are tour guides in Paris that can arrange a special private tour for just your family and incorporate a fun scavenger hunt for the kids, as you take in all the history and beauty this museum as to offer. The Louvre is fun, but how about some museums geared for the kid's specifically? Here is a list of fun, educational an interactive museums.
Centre Pompidou - They organize movie screening for kids every Wed at 2:30pm and also houses the National Museum of Modern Art, Children's Gallery, Movie Theaters and restaurants and cafes.
La Cite des Sciencs et de L’industrie - Science and modern technology museum with a special section for children called La Cite des Enfants. This is an amazing kids museum that has been completely renovated. It's designed to help children develop and discover the world around them, and to introduce them to science and technology through a series of hands-on activities. There is an area for 2-7 year-olds, with entertaining early-learning situations and activities. And an area for 5-12 year-olds, where youngsters can discover science and technology in a series of activities. There's also an aquarium, a submarine, and a planetarium.
Space and Air Museum - The Space and Air Museum is 10 kilometers north of Paris near the Le Bourget Airport in the direction of Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Paris Wax Museum Musee Grevin - One of Europe's oldest wax museums (started in 1882) and today boasts around 300 life-sized wax figures, from Leonardo da Vinci to Marilyn Monroe and current French President Nicolas Sarkozy. This is a fun outing for kids and parents.
Natural History Museum - An interesting and educational museum with exhibits about the past, present and future.
Time to be entertained, how about a trip to the Circus? The Cirque d’Hiver is an old fashioned circus complete with flying trapeze, horseback riding and acrobatics. The Bouglioune family have run a circus in this coliseum since the 1930’s.
Have you been to the top of every monument in Paris and want to try something new? How about a hot air balloon ride on the Aeuro Paris? This gas balloon is tethered, but it still sails up almost 500 feet and gives you a fantastic view of the city. It is kid friendly and is only 10 Euros per person.
How about vising a zoo in Paris or even better an African drive through Safari at the Thoiry African Reserve…now we’re talking! You can seen exotic animals as you drive through the Safari, go through their fun Maze or just explore the historic Château where the African Reserve is located. Something for everyone and definitely something to write home about.
Still want something out of the ordinary? How about a cooking class for the kiddo’s? They can meet other kids and learn how to make some culinary delights from a French Chef...oh la la!. Definitely something they can brag about to Grandma and Grandpa when they get home. At the Coulisses de Chef they have Wednesday classes from 3 Pm to 5 PM for children seven and up.
If you have picky eaters on your hands, you need not fear taking them out to restaurants. Encourage your children to try new things, but many meat dishes can be ordered plain, or without sauce, “sans sauce” in French. “Sans” means “without”, and “sauce” is spelled the same in French as it is in English- just add a French accent and always remember to say s’il vous plait (please)! For culinary treats that your children will love try the following places and don't forget to try a crepe or two - they are très magnifique!
Angelina - Favored by locals and tourists alike for its famous & fabulous hot chocolate! See for yourself if it’s the best hot chocolate, as many have claimed.
Address: 226 Rue de Rivoli, Metro: Tuileries
Berthillon Ice Cream - Paris’ favorite ice cream—your kids are sure to become as addicted to it as much as the French children are!
Fauchon - The quintessential Parisian gourmet food market. Pick from prepared foods and desserts, or purchase the makings for your own picnic.
Paris may be considered the most romantic city in the world, but you can also make it into a wonderful destination for a fun family getaway! After your exploration in Paris how about a barge vacation with the family? France has a wonderful canal system all throughout this glorious country. You can pilot your own barge, similar to a houseboat. There is no license require, the boats cruise five miles per hour and the kids can help with the locks. Or if you want a little pampering after all your jet setting in Paris you can step aboard a fully crewed hotel barge and let the experienced crew take care of you and your family. It is a fantastic way to add some inherent adventure to your sojourn to Paris. Your attentive crew will prepare gourmet meals for you, pamper you and tend to your every whim, while also escorting you to a variety of destinations for your daily excursions catering to every age. Let the experts at the Barge Connection help you find the right barge to accommodate the whole family. http://www.bargeconnection.com
Paris is one of the world’s most romantic cities, but it is not just for lovers anymore. There are countless things that are specifically family friendly and will welcome you and your kids with open arms. Exploring Paris with your children is and enriching experience for you both, but keep in mind that many hotels do offer baby-sitting services if you and your spouse do want to sneak off for a romantic Parisian evening!