fun things to do with kids in paris france - family travel   Travel for Kids
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Paris

child at the Eiffel Tower, Paris

It seems that Paris has more museums and monuments per square kilometer than anywhere else and they are fabulous, but don’t explode trying to see them all when you visit Paris with kids. Paris is a great walking city, especially all those wide boulevards, and tucked away in every neighborhood are charming little parks, open to everyone. Wherever you go, breathe in the delicious smells of pastries from the nearest patisserie or boulangerie, and stop in to sample the sweetness of Paris.

Editor's note: Kids' Paris is a different experience, even if parents are familiar with the city. When we took our boys to Paris for the first time, they discovered things we wouldn't have noticed, like playing in the tip of the Louvre pyramid or eating bread shaped like the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Photo Album
   
 

Champs-Elysees – Louvre

  Marais – Bastille
  Eiffel Tower
Left Bank
Bois de Boulogne
Parc de la Villette
Greater Paris
Chateau de Versailles
paris carousels
  Ride the carousels – Paris has numbers of charming carousels, especially popular for younger kids. Give it a whirl whenever you happen to stumble onto one. Carousels can be found in the Parc Monceau, Tuileries, Champ de Mars (Eiffel Tower), Trocadero, at the bottom of the hill at Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, Jardin des Plantes, and Luxembourg Gardens.
   

Take the Metro – Riding the Metro (subway) is fun, not just because you can hop on and off anywhere in Paris, but there’s all those long tunnels. While meandering up and down, you come upon unexpected delights, such as a chamber orchestra playing Baroque music, a lone violinist, playing for coins, a jazz combo. For unlimited rides on the Metro, buses, regional express trains, plus a Metro and bus map, get a Paris Metro Pass.

     
    Batobus – Take the "batobus," a water taxi, to ride up and down the Seine, stopping off at "must-see" sightseeing spots, such as the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower. With a day pass, you can get on and off as much as you like. The Batobus runs from April to Nov., 10:00am - 9:00pm in the summer months. Click here for more info on the stops and to buy Batobus tickets online.
Pont Neuf  

Bridges – There are 36 different bridges across the Seine, and they're all different. Some are wooden, metal or stone, some are plain and functional, other like the Pont Alexandre III are decorated with gilded statues and cherubs. The Pont Neuf (where Madeline fell into the river) is four hundred years old, the newest is the Simone de Beauvoir footbridge. Some bridges are just for pedestrians, others are for the metro. At the Pont de l'Alma, look for the statue, a soldier at the base of the bridge – when the Seine rises too high, the statue is covered with water. Kids can have fun choosing their favorite bridge, and if they like to draw, bring pads of paper to sketch the bridges.

   

Fun food

Making crepes in Paris
   

As you’d expect, Paris has fun food, and cafes on every corner. When your feet are about to fall off, sink into a café and order up hot chocolate or cold drinks, baguettes with butter and jam, desserts or pastries. Paris is the place to enjoy eclairs and anything chocolate or fruit tartes. Creperies are a big hit – try different flavors of crepes. Candies and cookies, like nothing you've seen before, are a "must try."

     
   

Shopping

     

Prices in Paris are no bargain, but shopping is fun. For an overall approach, hit the Le Bon Marche ("le magasin de la famille"), Printemps or Galeries Lafayette department stores, floors filled with things that you won’t find in department stores in your home country.

     

If you have infants, toddlers, or kids under 10, Paris has some of the most appealing clothes you can imagine, for boys and girls. The Left Bank has wonderful kids' clothes shops, also rue de Courcelles in the 17th arrondissement.

family hotels paris
Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in Paris, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels in Paris, all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods that are comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore:

    Paris family hotels
    Paris family apartment rentals
family tours paris

The Louvre is just a great and glorious museum, but it has tons to see, and just how do you make great artwork come alive for your kids? Take a guided tour for parents and kids together, a treasure hunt in the Louvre, or create your drawings, paintings and collages, inspired by Louvre masterpieces:

Paris Muse Clues
Hands On Art
 

Two different kids cooking activities in Paris: Bake your own baguettes (kids love getting their hands in the dough), or shop with a private chef, buy ingredients, and learn the secrets of making delicious French desserts. Kids love to eat what they've cooked!

Hands On Cooking
family travel tools paris
Museum going in and around Paris, get a Paris Museum Pass for 2, 4 or 6 days. With the pass you have free direct access museums and sites, including the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Napoleon's Tomb, tours of Notre Dame, Musee d'Orsay, Versailles and more. Savings for parents and best of all, no waiting in lines:
Paris Museum Pass
kids books paris
     
Adele & Simon paris childrens books
 
Adèle & Simon
Barbara McClintock

Take a walk with Adele and her little brother Simon on their way home from school, stopping at a street market, the Jardin du Luxembourg, a patisserie, the Louvre, and everywhere, Simon forgets something – his books, scarf, knapsack, books, and crayons. Flavored with watercolor illustrations of Paris a century ago, this is an absolutely delightful tour around the city (which you can follow today). (Picture book)

 

     
This is Paris
M. Sasek

Triomphes, the oldest church and oldest bridge in Paris, 1,665 steps to climb the Eiffel tower, pleasure boats on the Seine, Notre Dame Cathedral, bistros and cafés, Street of the Fishing Cat, and more. Whimsical illustrations, fun facts, this is a classic. (Picture book)

 

 
This is Paris kids
     
paris kids books The Mona Lisa Caper theft true story  
The Mona Lisa Caper
Rick Jacobson, Laura Fernandez

"Hanging on the wall year after year isn't as easy you might think." Totally captivating story of the Mona Lisa theft, told by the painting herself. She understands why Vincenzo Perugia thought the Mona Lisa should go back to Italy, and how he lifted the painting from the Louvre. Based on true events, this story is a gem, beautifully illustrated. (Picture book)

 

     
Charlotte in Paris
Joan McPhail Knight, Melissa Sweet

Step into Paris 100 years ago, when the Eiffel Tower was the tallest tower in the world. Charlotte's delightful fictional diary and scrapbook is filled with hand-written entries, real postcards from the time, French phrases, and exquisite little watercolors. (Picture book)

 

 
Charlotte in Paris impressionists artists kids
     
Night of the New Magicians easy reader paris eiffel tower
 
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)

 

     

Mira time travels to 19th century Paris, where she meets artists Mary Cassatt and Degas. There's new and exciting art, but also prejudice and intolerance in the city. Mira must find the writer Emile Zola, to speak for the rights of an innocent man accused of treason. Sights and scenes of Paris, interwoven in an adventure of art and life. (Illustrated chapter book)

 

 
     
paris impressionists arts kids Chasing Degas picture book  
Chasing Degas
Eva Montanari

A ballerina goes around Paris in search of Degas, finding more painters along the way, Monet, Caillebotte, Renoir, and Mary Cassatt. Each stop is inspired by a different Impressionist painting. Luminous illustrations. (Picture book)

 

     
Marie, Dancing
Carolyn Meyer

Imagine a story of Marie, the young ballet dancer who posed for Degas famous sculpture, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Marie is most happy when she dances at the Paris Opéra, but her daily existence is far from idyllic, as she struggles to keep her family together. A good teen read. (Chapter book)

 

 
Marie, Dancing kids ballet paris historical fiction
     
kids artists Paris in the Spring with Picasso  
Paris in the Spring with Picasso
Joan Yolleck, Marjorie Priceman

It's a spring day in Paris and Gertrude Stein is having her weekly evening party, where people always drop in. How do her friends, the painter Pablo Picasso, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, and the writer Max Jacob spend their day? Sparkling illustrations capture the magic of Paris. (Picture book)

 

     

Easy-to-read adaptation of this classic novel – the hunchback Quasimodo rescues a beautiful gypsy girl, Esmeralda, and takes her to the bell tower of Notre Dame Cathedral. (Chapter book)

 

 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame easy reader kids paris
     
Les Miserables kids easy reader paris
 
Les Miserables
Victor Hugo, Monica Kulling

Easy reader version of this 19th century classic – Jean Valjean, an ex-convict, raises a poor orphan, Cosette; all the while, he is relentlessly pursued by harsh police inspector Javert. Gripping climax in the sewers of Paris. (Easy reader)

 

     
The Last Musketeer
Stuart Gibbs

A family heirloom transports Greg and his family back in time to 17th century Paris, and the court of Louis XIII. When his parents are sent to the dreaded La Mort prision, Greg teams up with the youthful Musketeers, Aramis, Athos, and Porthos. Action adventure throughout Paris, from the rooptops of Notre Dame to the the palace of the Louvre. (Chapter book)

 

 
adventure kids paris The Last Musketeer
     
Everbody Bonjours toddlers picture book paris  
Everybody Bonjours!
Leslie Kimmelman, Sarah McMenemy

"When in Paris ... everybody bonjours." Charming story in pictures and rhymes around Paris, delightfully illustrated. Fun for little kids. (Picture book)

 

     
Eloise in Paris
Kay Thompson, Hilary Knight

Madcap adventures of Eloise, that fun-loving enfant terrible, in Paris. Fresh and funny, "Il y a beaucoup de cobblestones in Paris and some of our feet are getting round," Eloise travels with 37 pieces of luggage, leaps into the fountains to cool off and tweaks the sculpture at the Louvre. (Picture book)

 

 
Eloise in Paris
     
children picture book paris Ollie & Moon  
Ollie & Moon
Diane Kredensor

Best friends Ollie and Moon search Paris for a surprise that's round, musical, has lots of colors, fur, hooves and feathers, and is bright with lights. The charming surprise is one kids will also enjoy in Paris. (Picture)

 

     
Madeline
Ludwig Bemelmans

Adventures of perky Madeline, her schoolmates and Miss Clavel, set in Paris, with colorful sketches of the, Tuileries, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, the Pont Neuf, and more famous landmarks. (Picture book)

Also, activity book with reusable stickers, puzzles, and coloring pages : Madeline: Activity Book with Stickers

 

 
Madeline kids paris
     
childrens books paris Anatole cat cheese  
Anatole
Eve Titus, Paul Galdone

Anatole was the most contented mouse, until he discovered Parisians didn't like mice in their homes. But Anatole had a brilliant idea – mice are the best judges of cheese, so he became the secret taster at the Duval Cheese Factory. This is a family favorite! (Picture book)

 

     
City of Wind (Century Quartet)
P.D. Baccalario

In the third book of an exciting fantasy adventure, four kids search for an ancient artifact, hidden in Paris. The kids follow a maze of clues around the city, finally reaching the oldest church, the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. An original story and wonderful local color. (Chapter book)

 

 
     
City Walks with Kids: Paris guide  

50 colorful cards with maps on one side, and information on the other, for cathedrals, museums, parks, places to eat, and walks around Paris. Let the kids pick what to see today. (Guide)

 

     
Not for Parents Paris
Klay Lamprell

Not a guidebook, this is filled with fascinating people, places and history of Paris – pampered dogs, the Eiffel Tower was called the "metal asparagus, square of the guillotine, a self-cleaning church, beaches on the Seine, caves with bones, king's cake and stinky cheese. Lots of fun! (Illustrated chapter book).

 

 
Not for Parents Paris kids books non-fiction
(More children's books on France pages)
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