Paris for kids – ideas for a magical trip to the city of light

Paris for kids – ideas for a magical trip to the city of lightThis article may contain compensated links. Please read disclaimer for more info

Do you remember your first trip to Paris?

I do. I was 20 years old and had never seen a city so beautiful, even in the middle of winter.

Flash forward a few (!) years, and we took the opportunity to take our twins on a weekend trip to Paris to share with them a love for a city that charms with every visit.

Here are my finds and tips to help you plan your first family trip to Paris.

Planning your trip to Paris with kids

Planning a family trip to Paris with Hotel Adele et Jules

As with all family travel, doing some thoughtful planning in advance will make for a trip full of wonderful memories. You know your kids best, so consider how much walking they are prepared to do and the activities they prefer as the cornerstone of your travel plans.

With that in mind, here are some tips for a memorable first family trip to Paris.

When to go to Paris with kids

View of the Louvre from the big ferris wheel at Placed de la Concorde

Spring in Paris is a cliché for a reason. Bright blue skies and sunny days mean easy travelling for families and the city is at its beautiful best.

Of course, there is never a bad time to visit Paris, but I would avoid the peak tourist seasons in June and July when the crowds swell and mid-winter when a little of the magic fades, and you are restricted to indoor activities.

I once visited in August and while it is mid summer many Parisians have left the city for their summer break, and it is not as busy as you might expect.

Where to stay in Paris with kids

Where to stay in Paris - Hotel Adele et Jules

Pick a central arrondissement (area) close to a Metro station with a bustling local cafe and restaurant scene. Even better if you find somewhere close to a park or playground, though this is not so easy in Paris.

For short city breaks, we like the convenience of staying in a hotel. After a full day of sightseeing and museum hopping, a bright hotel room with luxuries like a coffee machine and fluffy bathrobes is the perfect way to unwind.

Boutique hotel in Paris - Hotel Adele et Jules

We stayed at the chic and welcoming Hôtel Adèle et Jules in the up and coming 9th arrondissement. The hotel is down a quiet lane in twin Haussman era buildings. With perfectly Parisian balconies and stylish decor, the hotel ticked all the boxes for a memorable stay.

Our junior suite was perfect for a family with young children. The twins snuggled into the large sofa bed after splashing about in the generous bath. There was even a little footstool for them to reach the basin in the bathroom.

Bathtime at Hotel Adele et Jules

Families with older children can take advantage of several interconnecting rooms at the hotel. These rooms offer privacy for both parents and kids with the security of a single entrance.

We collapsed into one of the most comfortable hotel beds I have slept in, having enjoyed peeking at the rooftops and beautiful lights of Paris from our room.

Attention to detail and signature touches at Hôtel Adèle et Jules are an important part of the experience. We enjoyed a generous breakfast and complimentary afternoon tea service in the charming lounge. Guests are also invited to use the hotel gym facilities, and there is an honesty bar for those midnight cravings.

Hotel Adele et Jules lounge and breakfast area

Just a 3-minute walk from the Grand Boulevards Metro stop on Line 8, we quickly got to all the sights we wanted to see from Hôtel Adèle et Jules.

The hotel is well situated near Paris’ beautiful passages shopping arcades and a vibrant neighbourhood full of restaurants and cafes. The concierge and front desk staff will point you to the best local venues, and it is also possible to buy ‘skip the line’ tickets for some of the top museums with them.

How to get around Paris with children in tow

Metro station sign in Paris

Paris is a city that is easy to walk around though that is not always the best approach with children whose little legs tire quickly. Take the Metro – the system is fast, efficient and a cinch to navigate.

We got excellent value from our three-day Paris Visite transport pass that also covers the bus and funicular at Sacre Coeur. You can buy the pass covering zones 1-3 at Metro stations. This will cover most of the best places to visit in Paris.

If you plan to visit Versailles or take public transport to Charles de Gaulle airport, you will need purchase a ticket for zones 1-5.

Public transport is free for children under 4 years old with reduced rates for those under 11.

Things to do in Paris with kids

Once you have found the perfect base for your family trip to Paris, it’s time to choose your activities. We like to explore an area each day and enjoy a mixture of culture, sightseeing and parks when we visit cities.

So, in this guide, you will find lots of answers to your question – what to do in Paris with kids?

Where to find child-friendly views of Paris

Things to do in Paris with kids - Eiffel Tower view from Trocadero

Are children romantics? Oh yes, they are. They love the elegant feel of Paris with its wide boulevards and of course searching out the Eiffel Tower wherever they are in the city. There are so many splendid views of the city; the trick is to find the ones you will all enjoy the most.

I think on any first visit to Paris it is a must to head straight for the Trocadero to see the iconic tower in all its glory. Then stroll down the steps through the Jardins du Trocadero towards the tower, perhaps stopping for a carousel ride along the way.

Make sure you have pre-booked your Eiffel Tower skip the line ticket and zoom up the elevator for panoramic views of Paris.

View of Notre Dame from boat cruise on the Seine

Having seen the city from up high, it’s time to take to the water and join an hour-long cruise down the Seine. You can buy a combined Eiffel Tower and cruise ticket which I strongly recommend as the queues here are long also. We learnt the hard way!

As you cruise down the river, count the number of bridges and spot the funny faces on Pont Neuf.

Pont Alexandre III

The journey takes you past the Place de la Concorde where from November to May you can ride the Grande Roue de Paris (Paris Ferris Wheel). We loved the bird’s eye views of the Tuileries Gardens, Eiffel Tower and down the Champs Elysée from the 60-metre high wheel.

Another favourite Paris viewing spot is below the Sacre Coeur basilica in Montmartre. You can also climb to the dome for sky high views though note there are over 300 steps to the top.

Printemps rooftop view

Before sunset, make your way to Printemps department store on Boulevard Haussman where, on the 9th-floor rooftop terrace, you can sip champagne as the sun’s rosy glow lights up Paris. There are non alcoholic beverages for the children of course!

There were lots of kids there when we visited, and the vibe is relaxed and fun. Do note – there are no toilets on the rooftop so make a bathroom stop before you go.

Take in Paris from these vantage points

Arc de Triomphe – the views down the Champs Elysée are priceless, and there is no charge for children 17 years and younger. Be aware there are many steps to climb

✪ The views from the south towers at Notre Dame are also scenic but be warned there are 420 steps and no lift

Montparnasse Tower offers stunning 360 panoramic views of the city, its monuments and boulevards

Parks and gardens of Paris

Jardin du Luxembourg

Family travel in European cities is so much easier when you know where to find spaces for some outdoor fun.

There were lovely parks and playgrounds near all of the major attractions we visited.  Our favourites were at the base of Sacre Coeur, in the Jardins du Trocadero and throughout our wander through Montmartre.

Some of the parks deserve a special mention

We took a stroll through the natural beauty of the Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the 19th district. It was a beautiful sunny day, and hundreds of Parisians lounged on the lawns by the lake looking up at the beautiful Temple de la Sibylle. Children took rides on ponies and played in a huge sandpit.

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

The Jardin du Luxembourg is home to one of the most famous playgrounds in Paris. Here you pay a small fee to enter a magical world of play equipment, a vintage carousel and a little lake where you can watch small wooden boats float about a lovely pond.

luxembourg gardens paris

In the Jardin des Tuileries between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde we enjoyed relaxing on the garden chairs watching the ducks. There is also a playground in the north-west corner.

Paris parks for kids

Related  Family travel: Awesome city parks and playgrounds in Europe

Carousels of Paris

Paris carousel

Luckily for my children, I have a slight obsession with carousels in France. I have no problem stopping for rides because the vintage carousels have such a unique charm. You will find beautiful carousels near the Eiffel Tower and near the funicular at Sacre Coeur.

For those who love a quirky ride, the Dodo Manège in the Jardins des Plantes has a triceratops and you can practice your jousting skills at the vintage carousel in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

At the Musée des Arts Forains you can indulge your carousel obsession in this museum dedicated to fairground attractions. Note – bookings are essential as the museum is accessed via a tour.

Museums and monuments of Paris

Notre Dame Paris

As the weather was so beautiful on our visit and our children only small, we limited our indoors activities to a few short visits.

There is something about Impressionist paintings that captures children’s imaginations so I recommend a visit to the Musée D’Orsay where you can view the works of Degas, Monet and Renoir. Kids also like to peek out of the clocks at the top of the museum for views over the Seine. The museum is free for children under the age of 18.

If it is raining or cold head to the Pompidou Centre for a modern art fix. The Pompidou has specialist galleries for children from the ages of 2 and is also free admission for children under 18.

Sainte Chappelle Paris

We were entranced by the beautiful stained glass windows of Sainte-Chappelle. The beautiful rose window dating from the 15th century was a favourite.

The cathedral of Notre Dame is fun to look at even from the outside with gargoyles and statues gazing down. Explore the Île de la Cité and area around the cathedral and Sainte-Chappelle for fascinating glimpses of old Paris. Don’t miss the bird and flower market on Place Louis Lépine.

Paris flower and bird market and Metro

Other child-friendly museums include the sculpture garden at the Musée Rodin and Monet’s waterlilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie.

Explore Montmartre

Place du Tertre Paris

I love simply wandering Paris, and there is no better place to this with kids than the winding cobbled streets of Montmartre. Take the funicular from Place Saint-Pierre to the base of Sacre Coeur. You can use your Paris Visite transport pass for the ride.

At the top, enjoy the views of Paris below and the wedding cake like basilica above before taking a stroll through the village of Montmartre, once an enclave of artists and performers.

Explore Montmatre Paris with kids

Stop and watch the street performers and admire the artists at work (or are they?) in the square at Place du Tertre.

Meander down the hill, stopping to duck into little boutiques. Before you hop onto the Metro at Abbesses take some time to admire Le mur des je t’aime (the love wall) in Square Jehan-Rictus. There you will also find a little playground.

Pre-booking attractions in Paris

In early Spring people were lined up for what seemed like a very long wait (over an hour at least) for most of the major attractions we visited. I don’t know about you, but standing around waiting with a couple of restless children is not my idea of a happy trip.

Consider pre-booking tickets for the main attractions in Paris. For the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and Louvre this is a must. We recommend online tours booking site Get Your Guide who have a long list of skip the line tours for Paris.

What and where to eat in Paris with kids

We did a big foodie trip to Paris without the kids a couple of years ago, but with the family in tow, another approach is needed.

Breakfast at Hotel Adele et Jules Paris

Eating breakfast at the hotel meant we had a great start to the day. Check the offering at your hotel before you arrive as some only offer a simple continental breakfast. At Hôtel Adèle et Jules there was a fantastic spread including cereals, eggs, fruit, yoghurt, mini croissants and even noodles. That kept the kids going for a couple of hours.

Related  Paris food guide - How to plan your ultimate foodie trip to Paris

After breakfast, we relied on snacks and picnic lunches to keep us going throughout the day. Near the Jardin du Luxembourg we picked up a delicious takeaway lunch including baguettes, salads and pastries from Dalloyau at 2, place Edmond Rostand.

You could also visit foodie street Rue Mouffetard close to the Jardins des Plantes or one of the smaller local markets like the Marché Raspail for fresh fruit and bakery items.

Eating icecream in Paris

We found the small French bistrots we tried for dinner welcoming to children. Our kids were even presented with a little Eiffel Tower key ring each at one. Standard French fare for kids is steak haché (burger without the bun) or chicken goujons (posh for nuggets). Kids meals usually come with some salad as well as fries.

We often buy a main meal and split it for our children and this was no problem either. Omelettes are another alternative and make a delicious and nutritious lunch or dinner.

Berthillon Paris - best icecream

Of course, no trip to Paris is complete without crepes, macarons or a visit to Berthillon near Notre Dame where you find the most delicious ice cream in the city.

Memories of Paris

La grande rue - things to in Paris with kids

Paris has always been one of my favourite cities and now it holds some of my most cherished family travel memories. We loved our stylish stay at Hôtel Adèle et Jules, and our time spent discovering the beauty of Paris through many splendid views, monuments and parks.

The highlight for us all was our ride on the big ferris wheel at the Place de la Concorde with a much-loved cousin.

“I’m dreaming of Paris tonight Mummy,” my son said to me last night. “Can we go back soon?”

The trip was the perfect introduction to Paris for our children. I hope one day you will visit this magical city with your family and they will fall in love with France and Paris too.


Disclaimer: We were guests of Hôtel Adèle et Jules and as always all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links – for more information on our affiliate policies visit our disclosure page.


Paris travel guide for kids - where to stay | things to do | how to get around Paris

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44 Comments

  1. 29th March 2017 / 8:27 PM

    Your kids are adorable! After getting back from Italy, my son has been asking to go to France next. He wants to learn French in school next year (my dad is fluent and I learned it in school as well). I would love to take him to Paris, it was my first European city back when I was 12… plus it’s PARIS!

  2. 30th March 2017 / 8:15 AM

    I would love to take my kids to Paris one day. I’ve pinned this up for the day I do! Unfortunately our school holidays are in June so…. We will just be there to add to the swelling crowd. :p #FarawayFiles

  3. 30th March 2017 / 8:19 AM

    I love the pic of the twins in bed – so cute! I’ve only been to Paris once and had a terrible time due to illness and keep saying I will give it a second chance – thanks for the reminder #farawayfiles

  4. 30th March 2017 / 8:56 AM

    Exactly, Christine.. it’s Paris!! Wouldn’t it be lovely if your dad came along too. Paris is amazing

  5. 30th March 2017 / 8:58 AM

    Oh no! You must go back. Even when it is super busy Paris is such a wonderful city to explore. I only know one other person who didn’t enjoy their first trip to Paris and that is my niece. They stayed somewhere dodgy I think.

  6. 30th March 2017 / 9:00 AM

    June it is then! Just make sure you get the skip the line tickets otherwise it could be a bit miserable going to some of the major sights. We didn’t go inside much this trip as the weather was so lovely. Just the vibe of Paris is enough

  7. 30th March 2017 / 9:09 AM

    Ah this is making me want to hop right on the Eurostar and go back – it’s three years since my last visit (my daughter’s first, aged 18 months) and a couple have fallen through at the last minute, so I’m overdue a return. It would be lovely to see how different the experience is now she’s older: we did lots of walking (her in the buggy) last time and into the parks, as well as looking over to the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero. This time I’m sure she’d love the carousels rather than just looking! #farawayfiles

  8. 30th March 2017 / 9:25 AM

    I can’t say I remember my first time in Paris as I was born there but left aged 10 days old! However I do remember my first time as a teenager, my first trip with friends without parents – a week in Paris aged 16. Now that was a blast and I will never forget it. It looks like you made the most of a lovely weekend in Paris and found one of my favourite viewing spots. Whenever I go back, I pop up to the roof terrace in Printemps as I often don’t go anywhere near the Eiffel Tower but like to just check in on her from there, just to get that Paris feeling! So glad you had such a great time.

  9. 30th March 2017 / 9:30 AM

    DUDE! You did a LOT with twin toddlers in tow! I’m impressed. You rock. And so does Paris. Really any time of year, but spring is a delight. Le sigh. Ah Paris. Great list and that hotel does look ever so lovely. #FarawayFiles

  10. 30th March 2017 / 9:37 AM

    Can you believe this.. we did it stroller free! OMG – game changer. They walked their little legs off. So in fact they rocked 🙂

  11. 30th March 2017 / 9:40 AM

    Oh now that would have been a wonderful first parent free trip. I am sure it was one of the most memorable ever. I wouldn’t go near the Eiffel Tower either usually but as it was their first trip it seemed like a good starting point and you know what? I loved it! I don’t think I’d been there for over 15 years. Le sigh! Love Paris

  12. 30th March 2017 / 10:46 AM

    AMAZING! You guys really packed a lot into your weekend in Paris with kids. How did the little ones handle the stairs or the walking around? I am so with you about enjoying the champagne bar at Printemps!! Haha. Paris has captivated my heart since my first visit when I was 15, and every visit since has been incredible, although we did completely wear out our son whilst trying to walk everywhere with his stroller. That hotel looks like a perfect family place to stay! Happy Mother’s Day! #FarawayFiles

    • 31st March 2017 / 6:52 PM

      Ali they were brilliant on the stairs. We had a few scratchy moments but I then worked out if we counted stairs as we walked them it was a lot more fun. Not sure that trick is going to fly forever though! Meanwhile, back home I think the aftermath of Paris has hit and we have a couple of grumps to deal with.. 🙂 Here’s to Paris!

  13. 30th March 2017 / 11:43 AM

    your kids are very lucky:)

    • 31st March 2017 / 6:50 PM

      they sure are Tanja. Very lucky indeed

  14. 30th March 2017 / 11:44 AM

    Blimey you packed loads in! I got back yesterday from a 2 day working trip to Paris and agree Eurostar is the only way! Gare du Nord is only 15 minutes walk from the foot of Sacré Cœur too so another bonus, especially if you are staying in adorable Montmartre. You took some brilliant pictures, especially love your carousel/Eiffel tower one. I will be blogging about my visit to Gare St Lazare on my new train travel blog on track.blog A strange Paris destination you may say but there was method in my madness! Wilbur #farawayfiles

    • 31st March 2017 / 6:50 PM

      Wow Wilbur, I have never walked from Gare du Nord to the base of Sacre Coeur but now you mention it, that seems a logical thing to do. Fantastic news about the new blog. Looking forward to reading your articles

  15. 30th March 2017 / 11:46 AM

    I hadn’t occurred to me that Paris would be quiet in Autumn as so many French people go away. I should have realised that. This is a really big list of things to do and see, something for everyone. #FarawayFiles

  16. 30th March 2017 / 12:05 PM

    I really want to take my kids to Paris. Actually, I really want to go to Paris and the kids go with me to most places so, naturally, they would come. I took three years of French in high school and was really bummed that my parents wouldn’t let me go when my teacher was taking the third years on the annual Paris trip. One day I will make it. #FarawayFiles

  17. Clare Thomson
    30th March 2017 / 1:52 PM

    How I love Paris! I had a great time there with my son a couple of years ago – he loved the boat trip, the delicious French food and some of the quirkier museums. Definitely time to go back with both boys. Paris in Spring is lovely – I don’t like it much in August when so many of the good cafes and ice cream shops are closed. I’d love to try a hotel with complimentary afternoon teas – what a great feature! #FarawayFiles

  18. 30th March 2017 / 2:21 PM

    Oh those carousels – surely worth the trip alone! Packing picnics for sightseeing around the city is such a good idea – I’m going to try to be better at doing this rather than desperately searching for a child-friendly restaurant. #farawayfiles

  19. 30th March 2017 / 5:50 PM

    I took my daughter aged 8 and my sister aged 13 (she is a lot younger than me)in 1993 when it was about 387 degrees in summer which was not much fun! The fought like cat and dog too! Arghhh! I think spring is a great time to visit! (The times I have been since then has been mainly with my husband lol!) #farawayfiles

    • 31st March 2017 / 11:30 AM

      Oh wow, that can’t have been fun. We were blessed with some fantastic behaviour by our two last weekend – it has since disintegrated dramatically!! I had never been to Paris in Spring but I agree, it is the best season.

  20. 30th March 2017 / 9:31 PM

    Aw, Katy I loved reading this. Sounds like it was a special first visit, one they’ll be sure to remember forever. You have some great tips in here for first time family visits, so I am totally sharing with my readers! Hope to make it some day soon with my girls. I’ve been a few times, and the last time when I got home I brought them all sorts of Parisian textiles and goodies and ever since they’ve been dying to go. #farawayfiles

    • 31st March 2017 / 6:48 PM

      Corey it was such a lovely weekend. So much sunshine and laughter in beautiful Paris. My daughter has one of the Parisian Moulin Roty dolls that has the same colour hair as her and it is so sweet. She loves Paris now.. and all the carousels!

  21. 31st March 2017 / 3:07 AM

    Yes, I remember my first and only visit to Paris. It was part of a tour, so, there was not a lot of time to walk around. However, I have great memories from that trip. Your guide is very comprehensive! I love it. It would be fantastic to go back and discover the city in depth. I won a prize (accommodation and attractions) to the Champagne area, so, I hope to visit Paris next year. #FarawayFiles

    • 31st March 2017 / 6:46 PM

      Oh how exciting Ruth! You did such a great job with your post on the Champagne region. I am sure you will have a marvellous time there and rediscovering beautiful Paris

  22. 31st March 2017 / 4:05 AM

    What a comprehensive list of things to do with kids in Paris! It must be a wonderful feeling being able to return to a place you loved, and being able to share that for the first time with your children!

  23. jphowze
    31st March 2017 / 9:54 AM

    Wow y’all really packed it in! Great advice here. I used to live just off Rue Mouffetard — that area is popular with students and so is packed with creperies, sandwich shops making panini, and casual cafes for cheap eating. I’d also recommend La Musee de la Poupee, a small doll museum near the Pompidou. Fab post! #farawayfiles

    • 31st March 2017 / 6:45 PM

      Locking the Musee de la Poupee in for next time. The weather was incredible so we mostly enjoyed being outdoors. Thanks so much for your kind words

  24. 1st April 2017 / 7:53 AM

    I loved this post! So many great ideas, and so many I still have yet to do. I guess I’ll just have to go back… Your children are beyond precious! The hotel looked lovely. #farawayfiles

  25. 3rd April 2017 / 12:24 AM

    I’ve been wanting to go back to Paris for a while now. Everything you did looks so fun, the carousels are so pretty!
    #farawayfiles

  26. 3rd April 2017 / 3:04 PM

    Aaawww, your son is adorable for saying that he’s dreaming of Paris 🙂 I would really love to return to Paris when it’s not crowded. The first time I visited the city it was early June and sites like Eiffel Tower and Versailles Palace were heaving with crowds. We queued for 1.5 hours to go up to the Eiffel Tower (we were there at 8.30am) and 45 minutes at Versailles even though we had the Paris Pass. I wonder if autumn time would be better? There were some instances when I thought Paris wasn’t what I had expected. But looking at your pictures – the rooftops, Montmartre, make me long for the romantic side of the city 🙂 #farawayfiles

  27. 3rd April 2017 / 8:18 PM

    It sounds like there really is so much more to Paris than a school trip could pack in. A return to the area avec mes enfants sounds in order. #FarawayFiles

    • 3rd April 2017 / 9:21 PM

      AND we didn’t even scratch the surface! Hope you get there soon

  28. 4th April 2017 / 4:14 PM

    Firstly, your pictures are so cute. Secondly, I love reading posts like this, it always gives me a new veiwpoint on a city that I never would have seen before. I hope when I have kids one day I’m still travelling and showing them the world like you!

    • 6th April 2017 / 8:19 AM

      Aww thanks Chiera. I am sure your offspring will have your sense of adventure. Paris is and always will be a fun and exciting city to visit

  29. 10th May 2017 / 3:40 PM

    Thanks for linking to #AllAboutFrance. I’ve just read your comment that your kids walked the whole time. They really do rock!

  30. 11th May 2017 / 2:49 PM

    Ah I am a little obsessed with carousels too they are so cute. Lovely pictures and i cannot wait to go back to Paris with the children #AllAboutFrance

    • 14th May 2017 / 4:58 PM

      Hope you make it to Paris with the kids soon Laura

  31. 4th August 2017 / 9:35 AM

    Paris is such an incredible and magical place! It is so great that you can do so many things with kids!

    • 10th August 2017 / 5:20 PM

      One of my top 3 cities in the world. I was so glad my kids loved it too

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