There’s nothing wrong with taking your family vacation in Disney World every year or any theme park that offers thrilling rides, entertainment, and activities for everyone. But if you’re looking for a new experience and something a bit more out of your ordinary, try bringing your kids to Paris this year.
Trippy user, David, a father of three girls, wanted to do just that. When he was planning his trip to Paris, he sought advice from the community. His question was:
I’ve talked my wife into an impromptu trip to Paris with our three little girls—all under seven years old. Our deal is that I have to make all the arrangements, so I’m scrambling for hotels, activities, food, everything–any suggestions?
From the answers given by Trippy users, we created this parents’ travel guide to Paris:
Places to stay
Hotel Luxembourg Parc
Hotel Luxembourg Parc’s ideal location at 6th arrondissement of Paris makes it easy for a family with kids to get to all the tourist spots in Paris. Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and the River Seine are less than a mile away. Luxembourg Gardens is just across the street from the hotel. You’re also close to famous Parisian bakeries, restaurants, and cafes too. This four-star hotel is small and personal.
Kamal from Paris wrote:
There is a beautiful hotel closed to this park called Hotel Luxembourg Parc Paris. Otherwise, I would recommend you an apart hôtel so you can organize dinner and save money. One is in front of the Seine Citadines Saint Germain Des Pres.
Apartments in Paris
Tiffany preferred apartments when visiting Paris with kids. She had kids under 12 when she wrote this:
I traveled to Paris with my daughters when they were 2, 4, 5, and 11, and had a wonderful time.
We stayed in an apartment that we found through HomeAway near a Metro station and got Metro passes for the time we were there, so we could hop on and off when the kids got tired of walking. It’s easy. Just make sure you know the endpoints of the lines you are taking so that you can easily find the signs to the correct platform.
Besides the HomeAway site, there are many types of apartments listed in Airbnb like the following:
Residence et SPA Le Prince Regent
It’s Trippy user, Courtney’s favorite:
I would definitely recommend Résidence & Spa Le Prince Régent in the Latin Quarter. It’s where my family and I always stay when we’re in town—like you, we have a big family, and it’s very VERY hard to find a place that will accommodate us. The Regent is like a little apartment—you’ll have your own kitchen (great for saving money!!!), and there’s a great supermarket right down the street.
Frasier Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysees
I would recommend Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées if you’re traveling with children. You get the comfort of a hotel and also the freedom to prepare your meals. Each of the 110 luxury apartments is equipped with a fully functional kitchen, and there’s also an on-site restaurant, free laundry room, and a 24-hour fitness center. And you’re close to iconic Champs-Elysees, and popular restaurants, cafes, and shops.
What to do with kids in Paris
Rent toy boats in Luxembourg Gardens
This is one activity that was highly recommended by Courtney. She said:
The activities for kids are endless, so don’t worry about that. I’d start with renting a toy boat in the Luxembourg Garden. For just a few euro you can rent a toy boat and sail it around the pond in the gardens. It’s something all Parisian kids do at one point or another in their lives, and it’ll be nice for your kids to be able to say they’ve done it, too. Make sure your littlest ones head for the part of the park that’s reserved for children under five. There’s nothing to it, really—it’s just a special plot of land that only they are allowed to explore, but it always made my children feel special.
The oldest carousel in Paris is located in Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg). This green roof carousel has attracted millions of tourists since it opened in 1879. Paris is known for its carousels. If your kids like carousel rides, you may want to locate carousels in these places throughout Paris:
- Forum les Halles
- Jardin des Plantes
- Square des Batignolles
- Musee des Arts Forains
Visit the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower appeals to every age group, including kids. Tiffany wrote:
Even with young children, we were able to do all the tourist things. My kids loved going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. There’s a post office there so you can mail a postcard home and a tiny cafeteria where you can stop for a snack at the middle of the tower.
The Museum Pass will save you money and time standing in lines, so that definitely helps. Most of the Paris’ national monuments and museums are free for children under 18, so you won’t need passes for your kids.
Remember there are several ticket options to visit the Eiffel Tower. Here are the sample tickets:
- Tickets that allow you to climb 704 steps to the second floor
- Tickets to access the 1st and 2nd floors via elevators
- Tickets to the summit (top) and includes 1st and 2nd floors via elevators
Take the Batobus on La Seine
Most kids get tired after walking all day and navigating the streets of Paris needs time and effort. One of the most relaxing ways to see more of Paris is to take the hop-on-hop-off Batobus along the River Seine. Batobus offers eight stops that include the Eiffel Tower, Invalides Pont Alexandre III, Musee d’Orsay, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Notre Dame, Jardin des Plantes, Hotel de Ville, Louvre, and Champs-Élysées.
Tiffany loved the Batobus. She said:
We also like the Batobus that stops at several places along the La Seine with hop-on/hop-off service. It makes seeing many of the big attractions more relaxed and is a beautiful ride at night when the city is lit up.
Visit Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle and Jardin des Plantes
You get to visit two attractions in the same complex. The kids would love the carousel and impressive kid-friendly displays. Courtney suggested:
Do not miss the Muséum national d’ histoire naturelle . The building was re-done a few years ago and the animal displays there are just amazing, plus there’s enough there to keep you interested as well. While you’re there, check out the Jardin des Plantes in the same complex—it’s a gorgeous garden and also has a zoo they’ll love, although you do pay a separate fee for that. There’s also a stunning carousel there called the Dodo Manège there that is a lot of fun. Really interesting animals like apes and ostriches and the like. There’s a place called 104 – Le Centquatre that also has a fabulous carousel and some great exhibits for kids.
Take the tram to the top of Montmartre
Tiffany’s kids love the Funiculaire de Montmartre (tram) to Montmartre. She shared:
They’ll love the tram to the top of Montmartre where you can see the Sacre Coeur and watch the painters on the sidewalks. There’s a nice tourist train there as well that’s fun and saves on the walking when the kids get tired.
If you have older kids, take the stairs to Montmartre and enjoy the views from the top.
Check out Claude Monet’s Waterlilies at Musee de l’Orangerie
Instead of visiting the busy Louvre, you can opt for Monet’s Waterlilies. Tiffany, a well-traveled mom, wrote:
Monet’s Waterlily Orangerie in the same day, taking a leisurely walk through the gardens, stopping and telling stories about the statues. Near the Orangerie, there’s a Ferris wheel, a small stand selling waffles and crepes, and a large pond with ducks – all fun for children.
Visit Le Marche des Enfants Rouges
Adults and kids alike may love the oldest market in Paris. Located in the 3rd arrondissement, this over 400-year-old market offers all sorts of prepared foods, juices, and baked goods. Trippy user Marcel said:
Le Marche des Enfants Rouges Marche Enfants Rouges is perfect for you. It is the oldest food market in Paris with many places for different foods. Some things which you could take back to your hotel room to eat and also some mini-restaurants for eating in the Marche. An enjoyable place to eat.
Kid-friendly foods and places to eat
One of the best parts about visiting Paris by far is the food. And it’s easy to find kid-friendly foods too, from baguette and macarons to street-stand crepes and Croque monsieur (grilled ham and cheese) or madame (grilled ham and cheese with an egg on top).
Prepared foods and cheese from grocery and food stores
If you don’t want to eat out all the time, there are many grocery stores or bakeries where you can pick up freshly baked goods, frozen foods, or cheeses.
For food—I would say to check out a store called Picard Surgelés. It’s literally only frozen food but believe it or not, their stuff is fabulous, and we’re serious foodies. Whenever we’re in town, we stock up on food from Picard the first day we’re there. The other thing you’ll want to do is check out the food stores on Boulevard St Germain (you’ll want to head east on that street) and pick up cheese, ham, etc. to have in the house. There’s a cheese store on that block that makes the most incredible pistachio cheese you’ve ever had in your life. A lot of those places also carry their own brands of pesto sauces and things like that. These particular food stores (along with a few on Rue Mouffetard ) are among the best in the city.
You can’t leave Paris without trying the various types of crepes sold throughout the city. Go to one of the crepe stand and get sweet or savory crepes. If you prefer to have crepes in a cafe, check out these cafes that serve amazing crepes:
- Breizh Cafe
- Galette Cafe
- Brother’s Crepes & Cafe
When in Paris, you should try French food. Not all places are kid-friendly, but here are five to check out:
- Le Train Bleu in Gare de Lyon
- Cafe Latin in the Latin Quarter
- Au Petit Riche in the 9th arrondissement
- Le Procope – the oldest cafe in Paris located in the 6th arrondissement
- Family Cafe in 16th arrondissement