How to Make the Most of a Long Weekend in Paris as a Family

Destinations Paris Planning


Paris is absolutely bursting with things to see and do for people of all ages and interests.  Don’t worry if you only have a short amount of time in the city – you’ll be on the go a lot, but it IS possible to hit all the highlights and have a great time in just a few days.  Paris is a captivating city with a certain je ne sais quoi that is sure to capture yours and your kids’ hearts over the course of a long weekend.

Check out these recommendations to help you really make the most of your stay in the City of Light:

Plan Ahead!

Having an idea of your “must sees” before you arrive is essential; knowing which attractions are nearest to each other and having an idea of the order in which you will visit places and a rough clue as to how long you are likely to spend in your place is incredibly useful and highly recommended.

Make a list of all the places that your family want to visit, and check where they are on a map.  Group places together to save on travelling time and to make your days flow easier.  It is also a great idea to rank places as to desirability, knowing that there is every chance that you might not actually make it to each and every place on your list.

Where possible, a top tip is to avoid too much repetition in each day – try and balance a variety of activities and attractions to prevent boredom and tiredness from kicking in.  This makes things a lot more interesting for the grown-ups too!

Popular Attractions

Some popular places to consider when planning your trip include the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Disneyland, one of the lush parks where kids can run and play and let off steam, the river, the Louvre, and a variety of other museums.  The Palace of Versailles can be a great trip, but you would probably be pushing it to try and cram it into a long weekend.  (Unless, of course, this is one of your “must do activities” and you’re willing to forego others).

Save Money with a Paris Pass

There are several prepaid passes available to help visitors maximise their time in Paris.  If you only plan to visit a couple of paid attractions and don’t want to move around the city a lot they are probably not really worth the money.  But, if, as it likely, you want to cram as much into your time as possible, they really can be a great way to save money.  Additionally, they can also save you a substantial amount of time with no queuing for tickets at each place you visit!

The Paris Pass is the most inclusive of the main passes.  As well as including entry to most of the main Parisian museums and free public transportation, it also includes things like a boat trip along the River Seine and a bus tour – both of which can be great for tired little feet!  The Paris Pass is ideal for active families and first time visitors to the city.

The Paris Museum Pass, as the name suggests, only includes the key museum.  If you’re not interested in tours this may be better for you.  The Paris Visite Travel Card covers public transportation only.

Passes are available for different durations – 2 days, 4 days, and 6 days.  Even if you know that you will be tied up for an entire day of your trip, for example if you plan to take the kids to Disneyland, you can still take advantage of the 2 day card.  If you’re going to be on the go for 3 days, check out the price of the 4 day card as compared to using the 2 day card and then paying separately for the other day, as it may be more cost effective in the long run to “waste” a day of the pass.  It is worth knowing that the ride up the Eiffel Tower and the Catacombs are NOT included, so save these for days when your pass is not valid (or do them before you activate your pass).

Be Transportation Savvy

The metro is a terrific way to move around the city with ease.  Not only is it cheaper than using cabs and potentially less confusing than buses, but it also helps you to avoid traffic jams.  A good map of the metro is invaluable!  The metro can also be a fun travel experience in itself for young visitors.

Choose Your Accommodation Wisely

Although staying somewhere a bit farther out of the city centre may save you some Euros, you’ll probably manage to spend the difference in travelling in and out of the city.  Travelling will also eat into your precious vacation time.  Try and stay somewhere centrally located – even better if you’re close to a metro station!  Having an included breakfast can also save you time and hassle in the mornings and set you up for your busy day ahead.

Suggested Itineraries

Day 1: Start your day early and get an overview of the city with a bus tour.  This will take around half a day, so you could consider spending a couple of hours in the afternoon after a quick lunch from a street cart visiting a museum, for example the Louvre.  Head to Sacre Coeur afterwards – it is a great place to watch the sunset over Paris.  If you want to look inside this iconic religious building make sure that you check the opening times first – it closes earlier in the winter months.  (5pm closing in the winter and 8pm in the summer.)    Allow enough time to go into the Crypt and Dome.

Day 2: Having seen it in the distance, your kids will probably be itching to get up close to the Eiffel Tower.  So begin by riding the lift up to the viewing platform where you can all gaze down on the hustle and bustle of Parisian life below.   The iconic Arc du Triumphe and Notre Dame Cathedral are both close to the Eiffel Tower, so it makes sense to do these at the same time.  Take a stroll along the famous Champs Elysees and have a quick browse in some of the lavish shops before enjoying a tasty lunch in one of the cute cafes.  You could then hit up another museum before taking a late afternoon boat trip along the Seine – a great way to enjoy the city from a different perspective whilst resting weary feet.

Day 3: Head to the gorgeous child-friendly Jardin du Luxembourg in the morning when everyone is wide awake and feeling fresh and let your kids take a break from sight-seeing with some good old fashioned play time!  There’s plenty of culture too – you can admire the palace and shimmering pool, and see numerous statues, fountains, and sculptures.  Kids can have fun sailing toy boats, riding the carousel, laughing in the excellent play area … and more!  Plan to spend at least a few hours here!  After lunch, the Pantheon is nearby.  You can then spend the rest of the afternoon visiting another museum or gallery, souvenir shopping, or ticking other sights off your list.

Day 4: If you have an additional day, this is a great time to plan either a visit to the Palace of Versailles, Disneyland, or Parc Asterix (a cool Parisian theme park).

The post How to Make the Most of a Long Weekend in Paris as a Family appeared first on FlyingKids.

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