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Paris – Eiffel Tower & Invalides

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower – The Eiffel Tower is a "must see" for kids in Paris, not just at a distance, but up close. When you stand under it, it's just spectactular, all those curly cues in the structure. Take the elevators to the top, or dine in the Jules Verne restaurant (if you feel like a splurge, the kids will remember it). And don't miss seeing the Eiffel Tower at night, all lit up. In summer, on the hour in the evening, there is a magical show of twinkling lights.

      Tip: Buying tickets in advance is essential. Check out the official Tour Eiffel website for more information.
  Champs de Mars Park After you've been up the Eiffel Tower, go out to the Parc du Champs de Mars, a huge big grassy area where children can run to their heart's content. This is also the perfect place for a picnic (grass and benches). Even in the height of summer, the Champs de Mars won't feel crowded.
    Playgrounds – You'll find three playgrounds in the Champs de Mars. At Avenue Anatole France, in the middle of the park, there's an old-fashioned carousel, little play area with sand box, and cafe, where parents can relax, have a cold drink or coffee, while the kids play. In the southwest section, allee Pierre Loti, check out the large playground with colorful climbing structures, slides, and imaginative play areas. For toddlers, tucked away in the southeast corner is a small playground, perfect for little ones.
      Pony rides – On the same corner with the carousel, small children will enjoy a pony ride on friendly, well-tended ponies.
Paris Sewers

Tour of the Sewers (Quai d'Orsay at Pont de l'Alma) – Paris sewers conjures up Les Miserables and Jean Valjean making good his escape. Victor Hugo knew a sewer inspector, so he wrote accurately about the sewers in Paris. Take a quick self-guided walking tour through a real section of Paris sewers. Go through tunnels and walk over gratings where you'll see the sewer water flowing right under your feet. Along the way, you'll find out about the fascinating history of the water system in Paris (e.g. how is the sewage transporated under the Seine ...) It doesn't really smell in the sewers, but is a little dank, so don't wear your best shoes. The self-guided tour brochure is in multiple languages.

      Tip: Trip to the sewers is free with the Paris Pass.
Bateaux mouche
  Bateaux Mouche – Ride the bateaux mouche on the River Seine at sunset or at night for a great view of the city all lit up. The views of the Eiffel Tower in all its splendor is a kid favorite. We took the Bateaux Mouche on a rainy October night. When we rounded the Ile de la Cite, there was Notre Dame, beautifully illuminated, all the bells pealing. It sends shivers up my spine just to think of it. (Pick up the boats on the right bank, east of the Pont de l'Alma).
  Musee de l’ Armee (Army Museum) – While I went shopping, my husband took our boys to the Army Museum. This museum has riches galore, fabulous collection of ancient armor from 13th -17th century (including kid's armor), plus cannons, mortars, swords, daggers, souvenirs from Napoleon’s time, including his hat and sword.
    Next to the museum, at the Dome des Invalides is Napoleon’s Tomb (Tombeau de Napoleon), for an added bonus. Very impressive.

Tip: Read on our blog about the Army Museum and Napoleon's tomb: Napoleon Bonaparte in Paris.


Paris Canal Cruise Paris has miles of inland waterways, originally built in the 19th the century to transport goods into the city, and later provided Paris with drinking water.

For a change of pace, take a boat ride on Canal St. Martin to Parc de la Villette. A two and a half hour hour excursion leaves from Quai Anatole France (near the Musee d'Orsay) to Parc de la Villette.

musee dorsay
  Musee d'Orsay – Step into the Musee d'Orsay and step into 19th century Paris, literally – the building was once a cavernous railway station.

The collections in the museum are also 19th century French – big monumental paintings, and a whole slew of Impressionists. Go right up to the fifth floor for paintings by Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, plenty of French life and landscapes, waterlilies, haystacks and picnics. Also on the fifth floor, peer out through the clock window (it's like Hugo Cabret).


Musee d'Orsay is a big museum, so allow plenty of time for kids to explore.

      Tip: Musee d'Orsay is free with the Paris Pass.
family tours paris france
Explore the building itself, as well as art by theImpressionists - wild colors in paintings by Van Gogh, Monet's waterlilies, Degas ballerinas, and more, on a private family walking tour of the Musee d'Orsay:
Musee d'Orsay for Families
kids books eiffel tower paris france
Monet and the Impressionists for Kids art history  

Pictorial history of the Impressionists, artists Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cassatt, Cezanne, Seurat, Gaugin, plus 21 activities – paint the sky like Monet, cut out paper water lilies, draw a still life, bake cookies with sprinkles like Seurat, and learn how to spot each artist's work. Filled with lots of Impressionist paintings, good for older kids. (Chapter book, with illustrations)



Little Katie gets in the picture, when she climbs into an Impressionist painting, and joins the family eating lunch in the garden. She picks a bouquet to bring back, but her adventures have only begun. A delightful story about paintings you'll see in the Musee d'Orsay – The Luncheon and Fields of Poppies by Monet, and The Blue Dancers by Degas, and fun for little kids. (Picture book)


Katie Meets the Impressionists
Night of the New Magicians kids books eiffel tower builder
Night of the New Magicians (Magic Tree House)
Mary Pope Osborne

It's the 1889 World's Fair. Jack and Annie go on an airy bike ride over the Paris rooftops to meet Gustave Eiffel, the "Magician of Iron," and engineer of the Eiffel Tower. (Easy reader)



Before you visit Napoleon's tomb, read about his spectacular rise from humble beginning to conqueror of Europe, and his spectacular fall, ending up in exile. (Chapter book)


biography Napoleon: Emperor and Conqueror kids books paris
(More children's books on other Paris and France pages)
travel for kids | france | paris | eiffel tower - invalides