Visiting Paris with Children? YES! Absolutely! France’s capital city of Paris is often referred to as the City of Love … a place for romance … a place for the grown-ups. And this can make many parents unsure about visiting with their little ones in tow. But there’s absolutely no reason to worry! Paris has many attractions and activities that are great for younger members of the family. The French are known for being very accommodating to children, and you should have no problem finding somewhere perfect to dine.
To make your trip even plainer sailing, don’t miss these top tips for having a ball in Paris with your kids:
Be Accommodation Smart
Try and book accommodation as centrally located as possible so that you spend less time trying to navigate your way between the sights. Travelling time often equals boredom time, so not only can you make your stay more time-effective, but you can also avoid some of the stresses that come with grumpy and bored kids. Whereas bored and irritable kids can make a parent feel the same, happy kids equate to happier parents – so, everyone’s a winner! If your accommodation is close to a metro station that is also a huge bonus … avoid tired feet first thing in the day when exploring the city!
It may also be worth having a look at private apartments, where you tend to have more amenities than hotels. This type of property can also help you to save money as well as being more independent. The luxury of being able to cook your own meal once in a while, keep breakfast in the fridge ready for the morning, or pop the kettle on whenever you like cannot be underestimated!
If you do opt to stay in a hotel, make sure that they have any additional items that you will need, such as extra beds in the room and cribs for tiny family members.
Make Friends with the Metro
Paris’s Metro is one of the best ways for getting around the city. It is fast, safe, and covers almost all the major areas of interest. It is also cheaper than hopping in a cab. You don’t have to worry about traffic jams on the roads and you can turn it into part of the overall holiday experience.
Grab a metro map and you’ll soon realise that it’s not as difficult as it may first seem. If you will be going a lot of travelling around, make sure you look into the saver tickets for travel.
Don’t be Afraid of the Food when Visiting Paris with Children
French food can seem strange to many kids to begin with, but this is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your children to a tasty selection of other dishes. Try a little of what French parents do with their kids – they feed them almost anything from a very early age, and so are known to be a nation where fussy eaters amongst kids really isn’t a thing.
A great way to get kids to try a variety of things is to order several dishes for the whole family to share, rather than allocating one dish to one person. You can always ask for side plates to make splitting dishes easier.
Consider Sightseeing Tours
There are several operators that run great tours of Paris, enabling you and your kids to get a feel for the city and hit many of the highlights without the hassle of setting out to find them all yourself. The hop on hop off bus tours are particularly great as you can explore where you want to and also make a note of places that you would like to return to later.
A boat trip is another great way to see a different side to the city without wearing kids out. You can all relax on a boat and make your way along the River Seine as you see the different city sights unfold. The glass-bottomed bateaux mouche are particularly popular with children.
Mix Up Daily Activities
Try and include a varied selection of activities each day to keep children engaged and interested. Rather than trying to do all the iconic sights together, followed by museums, etc, spread activities out to try and include a famous sight, a museum, and some time where kids can play and also take a break.
Make the Most of the Pretty Parks
For a large and lively city, many people are surprised to learn that Paris is also home to some really beautiful parks. In the summer months these are ideal for active kids – they can run and play and expend some of that boundless energy! As well as having large open spaces, many of the parks also have play areas especially for the kids. The Luxembourg Garden is an especially good park for children – there is a carousel, toy boating pond, lake, an old mansion, a cool play area, and lots of interesting statues, sculptures, and fountains.
Pack a Picnic
Linked to above, why not pack a delicious French picnic to enjoy some al fresco dining with your brood? Hit up the French bakeries and delicatessens for a true flavour of France. Crusty fresh-baked bread, cheeses, meats, pastries, and fruits all usually go down a treat! If its dry you can sit directly on the grass, but many parks and public spaces also have benches where you can take a breather.
Don’t Forget the Kids’ Travel Guide – Paris
Your kids can learn more about Paris’s top destinations, culture, and interesting facts all with the help of their friendly guide, Leonardo. As well as being educational there are also loads of terrific activities to keep kids entertained and amused. Perfect for filling gaps in any greater times and keeping kids excited about their trip, it is also an excellent journal that they can keep after they return home and look back and remember their great family holiday. The Kids’ Travel Guide – Paris gives a brilliant overview of the city, and the Kids’ Travel Guide – Paris Museums is an ideal way to engage children if you plan to visit many of the big name museums around the city. There’s also a version that includes Paris, Paris Museums, and an overview of France – great for if you plan on travelling around the country a bit more or if you want your children to know more about France in general. Covering food, culture, currency, museums, main attractions, and the capital city, the inclusive Kids’ Guide – France, Paris, and Paris Museums is fantastic!
Use the Paris Pass
For a one-off payment, the Paris Pass gives you access to many of the top sights around the city. It also includes bus and boat tours. It is available for different durations as well. If you are planning to visit many paid attractions it can really help you to save money. It also allows multiple entry into some sights, meaning that you can go back to your favourites if the kids want to. It also makes museums a bit more kid friendly too, as you can break them down into several visits. You also don’t feel so bad if you go somewhere and you leave after a short amount of time because it’s really not living up to yours or your children’s expectations!
There is also a separate pass that focuses just on museums – this would be a good option if you don’t plan on taking tours or visiting many of the other paid sites.
Take Appropriate Clothing
The weather in Paris can be really changeable! One moment it can be quite cool, the next you can be walking along in the hot sunshine. It can be dry in the morning and then pouring down in the afternoon. It’s best to plan ahead with your clothes! A good idea is to pack things that can be worn as layers and removed throughout the day (or popped into your day bag to put on if necessary). Having a lightweight rain mac for your kids is also a good idea, as is a small umbrella tucked into your bag. Make sure shoes are comfy as you will likely do a fair bit of walking!