When travelling to Paris with children, most people think of Disneyland. However, there are plenty of things to see and do in Paris for the little ones to enjoy their trip. If you organise it well and bear in mind that you have to change a few things, the city can be very entertaining for the whole family.
From its spectacular gardens, many of them with attractions for children, to the monuments themselves, there are enough attractions for the experience to be engraved in the memory of the youngest members of the family. Here are some tips and suggestions to make your trip a success.
Disneyland Paris, a visit you can't miss if you're going with children.
The jewel in the crown when visiting the city with children is, without a doubt, to make the most of the trip for everything there is to do and see at Disneyland Paris.
This theme park is perfect for hours of fun, although it is important to buy a pass to avoid the queues if you don't want to spend more time waiting than you do at the most popular Disneyland attractions. With Disney's restaurants and services, it will be hard to take the children out of the park when the visit is over.
A personalised guided tour of Paris is the most convenient way to travel with the family
When you visit a city as big as Paris, with so many places to see and with a lot of distance between them, tiredness can make children have a hard time.
One of the ways to avoid this while still visiting the places you want to visit is to start by taking an organised tour or an excursion around Paris, in case you want to go out of the city. If you are going with children, my advice is to choose one of those that allow you to customise the tour. After all, you are the one who knows your children best, so you will know which places will attract their attention.
Moreover, this way of visiting the city will allow you to get to know it a little better and then move around on your own, without forgetting the informative work of the guides. Many of them are used to having children in the group, so they will certainly know how to arouse their interest in what they are seeing.
The tourist bus, another great option for getting around with children
If you find the metro too complicated to go with children, the city offers a really interesting alternative: the Paris tourist buses.
These will allow you to get to know Paris comfortably and at your own pace, without crowding the little ones. As there are several of them, with different stops, you'll have no problem getting to almost any place you want to visit, with the advantage that you can get on and off as many times as you like.
What's more, the top of the bus is uncovered, which is something that children tend to love. Lastly, many have an audio-guide in Spanish so you can get information about the places you pass through.
Finally, a similar option to the tourist bus is the batobus. This is a boat that travels along the Seine, stopping at the most important monuments on its banks. Children are sure to enjoy going around the city on a boat.
Take them on an unforgettable experience: the Eiffel Tower with children
Travelling to Paris with children doesn't mean not visiting the **city'**s most important monuments. However, if you want them to enjoy themselves and not get bored, you have to change the way they see them and introduce activities that they can look forward to.
The views from the Eiffel Tower, for example, can be fascinating for the little ones. Going up is always a good idea and, what's more, at the entrance they will be given a game starring a character called Gus Gus with whom they will discover some interesting facts about the monument.
One of the factors you should bear in mind when taking the children on this plan is the climb up the Eiffel Tower. The stairs, although spectacular, may be too long for the little ones. On the other hand, the lift option is much more comfortable and, therefore, more appropriate for them.
What I would never pass up is the possibility of going up the Eiffel Tower with a guide who will explain all the secrets and curiosities of the tower.
A must: Notre Dame
The same is true if you can take them to the terraces of Notre Dame Cathedral. Not only will they be able to admire the view, but you can also tell them the Disney version of the story of the famous hunchback.
Don't stop at the monuments: other experiences for the little ones
As well as the obligatory visit to the great Parisian icons, there are other lesser-known activities that children can enjoy for a while.
- Don't miss the Paris Zoo, also known as the Vincennes Zoo. It is a huge space with five bio-zones distinguishing the native animals of each continent and where you can discover more than 180 animal species.
- Visit the Paris Aquarium, one of the oldest in the world, where you can literally touch the fish. Explore the depths of the sea among more than 13,000 species, see the mermaid show or the shark pond. A perfect place to go with children.
- Visit Le Grand Rex Studios, a former art deco-style cinema. This is a great option for film buffs, both young and old, as you can tour the studios, see first-hand how the special effects of films are developed and see the archive of photos of your film idols.
- Take a ride in the Ballon de Paris, a hot air balloon that rises 150 metres above the French capital. If you want to live this experience, all you have to do is go to the Parc André Citroën from 9:00 in the morning.
- Grevin Wax Museum: Almost all children love wax figures and this Parisian museum is no exception.
- FlyView Paris virtual reality experience: although children under 6 years old are not allowed, if you go with children over 6 years old, you can be sure they will enjoy the experience of seeing Paris in a totally different way.
Parks and gardens: outdoor fun
Those travelling to Paris in spring or summer will be able to enjoy the city's gardens. When travelling with children, these green spaces are perfect for allowing them to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Many of them also contain play areas that will delight the little ones.
- Jardin des Tuileries: located near the Musée d'Orsay and the Louvre, these gardens have a Ferris wheel, swings and a merry-go-round. It is an ideal place to intercalate between visits to the museums.
- Luxembourg Gardens: in addition to the beauty of the park itself, this garden is famous for its famous puppet theatre, so much so that it is usually full of Parisian families on the days when there is a performance. There is also a merry-go-round and you can go sailing.
- The Champ de Mars: it is right at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, so you can spend some time there after coming down from it. It has several areas with swings, as well as food stalls if you fancy a little family picnic.
Museums yes, but with limitations
One of the doubts you'll probably have when you're preparing your trip to Paris with children is whether they'll be able to keep up with the pace of some of the museums. Obviously, it doesn't seem the best thing to do to force them to spend a whole day at the Louvre, for example, but you don't have to give up these visits either.
Besides the fact that many Parisian museums are free for children under a certain age, if you prepare your visit well and shorten it, they will certainly be able to enjoy it. Following the example of the Louvre, the first thing you should do (after buying your tickets in advance to avoid queuing) is to delimit the rooms you want to visit.
Another important aspect is to check whether the museum has activities for children, as in the case of the Louvre. For example, the Louvre sets up family points on Sundays with entertainers who give tips on how to visit the museum so that children don't get bored. You can also book a guided tour of the Louvre and let them know that you are going with children so that it can be taken into account.
Other museums to visit with children
There is a wide range of museums in the French capital and some of them are more fun for children than others. Here is a short list of those that may be more suitable for children:
- Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie de Paris. In this great science museum you can learn by investigating with experiments, optical illusions and scientific exhibitions, as well as visit the planetarium. The best way to educate while having fun at the same time!
- Rodin Museum. Its smaller size, plus the fact that part of the collection is located in its beautiful gardens, can be an advantage when visiting with children. The gardens are also equipped with sun loungers and places to buy an ice-cream.
- Natural History Museum. Undoubtedly, this is one of the museums that can attract children the most. Its galleries hide a large number of objects related to the natural world. Visiting the Palaeontology Gallery, with its dinosaur fossils and sabre-toothed tigers, is very attractive.
- The Museum of Magic. Much less well known, this museum in Le Marais is one of the best places to take the kids. At the ticket office they surprise them with a little trick and the interior is full of artefacts related to the world of magic.
Find events for children in Paris
Like any large capital city, Paris offers a large number of shows for the youngest members of the family. Spending a morning or an afternoon watching one of them will make their experience more enjoyable.
These shows range from puppets to magicians, singers to storytellers. Here are some of the most popular ones for children:
- Les Pestacles: every year between June and September, the ParcFloral de Paris is filled with concerts and musical shows for children.
- Workshops and games at Paris Plages: Paris' famous river beaches have a variety of events for the little ones to enjoy during their stay. Among the most fun are the activities of the BHML (libraries outside the city walls).
(libraries outside the walls).
- Cirque Bouglione, the oldest circus in Europe: between October and March, the Cirque Bouglione company opens its doors to offer its new repertoire. It is located in the 11th arrondissement, in the Bastille area.
- Little Villette programme: in the park of La Villette you can enjoy activities for children and teenagers all year round, from circus performances to film screenings, magic and puppet shows.
Amusement parks, beyond Disneyland Paris
Despite its well-deserved fame, Disneyland Paris is not the only amusement park to visit during a trip to the French capital. Thus, Asterix Park is really interesting for the little ones. Less crowded than the previous one and with a more didactic vision, many people think that it is more interesting and fun than Disney.
Within Paris itself, you can visit the Jardin d'Acclimatation, a park where activities combine attractions with culture and nature. Here you will find a circus and educational workshops, as well as the chance to see farm animals, a puppet theatre or go on a boat trip.
How to get around Paris with children
Even if you've booked an organised tour for some visits, the question of how to get around Paris will still be important if you're travelling with children.
The obvious first choice is the extraordinary Paris metro, but in some cases it won't be convenient. Stations (some of which are real tourist attractions) do not have lifts, so if you're travelling with a pushchair you're going to have a lot of difficulty. In addition, the entrance doors are usually narrow, so you will have to ask for a special door to be opened if you have a large pushchair.
If your children are older, the metro can be a valid option. You just have to be careful not to lose sight of them in the busiest stations and just before arriving at the stop you are interested in.
On the other hand, if you are staying for more than two days and plan to use this transport a lot, the cheapest option is to buy the Ticket t+ card, which gives children a 50% discount. Children under the age of 3, on the other hand, can use the underground free of charge.