CITY-GUIDE | PARIS EN FAMILLE
Paris is a city known for being the center of fashion, art, culture and world-class restaurants. There is something so special about Paris that you can’t wait to show it to your kids. But for most children, a trip to Paris means only one thing: Disneyland. Don’t let you persuade! We have some great ideas, activities, and addresses which will keep your children entertained and will please the parents. You won’t find another guide to get faster on the Eiffel Tour but some cool insider tips from Parisian mother and blog reader. So read on and dive into the charm of Paris.
When to go: The best time to visit Paris is from April to June and September to early November when the weather is mild. From July 15 until the end of August almost all Parisians leave for holidays and Paris is an empty place and only filled with tourists. This can have its charm but personally, we prefer Paris with its inhabitants.
Where to stay: Paris has a multitude of hotels, from the nice design hotels to huge luxury palaces like the Ritz. Check out in which Arrondisment you want to stay before booking a hotel. You can also check Airbnb but the prices have increased in the last years.
What to do: Visit museums and galleries, spend your days in the parks, enjoy some shopping… Moreover, we will present to you the good addresses in the following paragraphs.
Transportation: The public transport system is excellent. The buses and the subways are operational until around 0.30 at night. If you are really in a hurry, you can always take a taxi or an Uber. You also have the usual e-bike rentals like Bird or Lime.
Language: French is obviously the official language. However, the local population mostly speaks English.
Budget: Is Paris an expensive city? Basically yes, but there are also good plans. For accommodation, count at least 150 Euros. For meals, prices range from 20 Euros upwards. The tip is appreciated in all restaurants!
Transport: The Paris Visite travel pass allows you to use all of the public transport networks: the metro, tramway, bus, RER, and SNCF Transilien networks.
Prices for 1 day: 12 € for adults, 6 € for children (10-15 years) | 2 days: 19.50 € for adults, 9.75 € for children | 3 days: 26.65 € for adults, 13.30 € for children | 5 days: 38.35 € for adults, 19.15 € for children.
STROLLING THROUGH THE ILE SAINT LOUIS: A UNIQUE ATMOSPHERE IN PARIS
A walk on the beautiful île Saint-Louis is undoubtedly one of the visits not to be missed during a stay in Paris. It offers a peaceful timeless atmosphere and magnificent views on both right and left banks and on the Seine. All the buildings on the Ile Saint Louis date from the 17th century and most of them are beautiful ‘Hotels particuliers’. They have the typical iron balconies and carved stone doorways. The roads around Ile Saint Louis are narrow and cobbled and very few cars drive through. It is a pleasant place to walk around with your kids.
And why not finish your walk by a visit to the most prominent ice-cream maker of Paris, Berthillon.
The small shop and tearoom are located on the east side of the Rue Saint Louis en l’Ile, just before the crossing with the rue Des Deux Ponts. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 am till 8 pm. At peak hours, the line gets really long. But apart from the main shop, most of the Cafés, brasseries or tea-rooms of the Island offer Berthillon ice-creams.
VISIT A CHILDREN’S THEATER IN PARIS
Even if your kids don’t speak french, visiting a typical children’s theatre in Paris is a real pleasure and your kids will quickly get into the story and will follow the spectacle like the little Frenchies. There are many different theatres and shows around Paris and we suggest that you have a look at the website Fnac Spectacles , where you can buy the tickets online.
If you prefer to see a typical french Guignol Theatre, you can go to the Jardin Luxembourg. Ther e is no need to take the tickets in advance, just be there 10 minutes before the show begins. For more info go to their website.
Housed in a paved courtyard, La Folie Theater is a small charming theatre in the 11th arrondissement and one of your favorite ones. In the afternoon they propose different shows for kids. You can find their program online on this website.
SHOPPING IN PARIS: IT’S A MUST, EVEN WITH CHILDREN
Paris is THE place for hunters and collectors. There are always new boutiques with the latest trends and concepts to discover. Stroll through the beautifully decorated Le Bon Marché, discover the latest trends in kid’s clothing and toys at Smalllable or get some new books at one of the established book shops in the 6th arrondissement. Paris is heaven for hunters and collectors, but not only to find the latest products but also for antiques and vintage treasure. Take a tour at the St. Ouen Market or on one of Paris Flea Market.
Le Bon Marché is the temple of shopping for most Parisians. The selection is sophisticated and you will quickly get lost in the huge offer of products and nice decoration. The kid’s section has a nice offer of kid’s clothes and toys as well as a corner for children’s books.
Bonton is a lovely French Brand with a few shops around Paris. It’ main concept shop is in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris where you can find the brands clothing line, toys, decoration and furniture and even a hair dresser for kids.
SPEND SOME TIME AT A CHILDREN’S BOOKSHOP
We hope you enjoy reading as much as we do. Even if you don’t speak very well french, it is worth taking a closer look at some french children books, especially the beautifully illustrated versions for the smaller ones. Most of the book shops have an english corner. One of our favorite one is Chantelivre. They have large children’s books corner with a great selection.
STROLL THROUGH THE TUILERIES GARDEN
With its many playgrounds and its idyllic setting, the Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most beautiful places in Paris. You can stroll along the Louvre and the Pyramide and enter the park from the East entrance. Under the huge chestnuts trees, in the center of the park are hidden two outdoor restaurants. This park is a favorite place for many Parisians who spend their free time relaxing on the legendary green Fermob chairs places all around the park.
When you walk across the park in direction of the Place de la Concorde, you come along a large playground, a carousel, and some trampoline park. Your kids will love it!
WATCH PARIS FROM THE RIVER
There is a way to see the most emblematic places in Paris easily and in your own time. The cruise down the River Seine allows you to take in many of the highlights of the city—the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, etc.—as you float along the famous Seine River. There are many operators, but the offer and prices are almost the same everywhere. You can choose between 30 minutes or a 1-hour cruise. Go to their website if you want to book a special cruise like a lunch or dinner cruise.
Boats leave from the Square du Vert Galant near the Pont Neuf on the tip of the Île de la Cité (within walking distance of Notre Dame).
Prices: 14 euros for adults and 7 euros for children 4-12. You can find special offers when you book through their website.
AN AFTERNOON AT THE BOIS DE BOULOGNE
The Louis Vuitton Foundation and the Jardin d’acclimatation are two attractions situated in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. When you buy your entrance to the Fondation Louis Vuitton you can enter for free to the Jardin d’acclimatation. It is a nice way to combine an exposition with an afternoon at the Jardin d’acclimatation where you find many attractions, some free play areas, many activities for nature lovers and lots of other interesting things for all the family.
Frank Gehry imagined an architecture inspired by the glass Grand Palais, and also by the structures of glass, such as the Palmarium, which was built for the Jardin d’Acclimatation in 1893. The resulting glass building takes the form of a sailboat’s sails inflated by the wind. (wiki)
Mini–roller coasters, mirrored funhouse, pony rides, and more. The entry fee is €5 (for adults or kids over 3), as are the actual rides, which you can buy in bulk at varying rates.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES IN PARIS
Apart from the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre, known for having the most impressive art collections in the world, Paris has many other incredible museums and galleries worth a visit with your kids. Many of them offer workshops or special kids tours. Here is a selection of our favorite ones:
Line in front of the Mona Lisa | Louvre
A new-age architectural masterpiece that houses over 100,000 pieces of art. The Centre Pompidou is often considered to be a shrine dedicated to modern art. It offers exhibitions, debates, and movies. The Kids Gallery is a special exhibition area designed for children under the ages of 16.
♥ Musée Rodin
The Musée Rodin is situated in the beautiful Hôtel de Biron, a superbly maintained early 18th-century mansion with a huge garden with a pond, rose garden, ancient trees (some over a hundred years old), a café and numerous Rodin sculptures for you to admire.
Musée du Quai Branly
The Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac is a space dedicated to the arts of non-Western civilizations. It is known for its unusual design by Jean Nouvel. The exterior of the building almost seems alive with plant walls and wild gardens, while the interiors are dark, winding, and dramatically lit. You can take one of the family guided tours the museum offers. During the hour-long tour, you’ll discover objects from different continents, from rare pieces to temporary exhibits.
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
The MAD is situated in the west wing of the Louvre. It has a large collection of Applied Arts & Design, Advertising & Graphic Design, and Fashion & Textiles. It is home to some 16,000 costumes from the 16th century to the present day but only displays during regularly scheduled themed exhibitions.
Palais de Tokyo
Palais de Tokyo
Palais Galliera | Musée de la Mode
If you enjoy fashion, this is definitely the place to visit. A stone’s throw from the city’s most prestigious haute couture boutiques in the 16th district, the Musee Galliera is housed in a Renaissance-inspired palace. The museum has no permanent collections, so check out the current exhibition on the official website.
LUNCH AT THE MARCHÉ DES ENFANTS ROUGE
If you really want to take a dip in the Parisian local culture, visit Le Marché des Enfants Rouges. It is the perfect place to taste a wide variety of food and choose from one of the many stalls that serve dishes from all over the world. It’s a charming spot in the Marais and we recommend it highly for a nice family lunch served on the small typically French tables.
Don’t miss the little shops around the Market like the small charming Photography Shop near the main entrance. They have a wide choice of beautiful ancient photographies, views of Paris and portraits of Parisians in black & white.
When you walk on the Rue de Bretagne you quickly spot the incredible Cheese Shop, who has a waste choice of French cheese. Further down the street, you come across some of the trendy cafés like the famous café Charlot or Le Progrès. Yes, it’s time for coffee on a terrace!
LA CITÉ DES SCIENCES ET DE L’INDUSTRIE
The Cite des Sciences is the largest science museum in Europe, which is located within the Parc de la Villette and is suitable for all ages with so much to discover, with a focus on science and technical knowledge, that has numerous interactive activities and sections for children upwards. It’s probably one of the best museums to visit in Paris with kids as it is highly interactive and fun.
In a cavernous concrete block of a building, you’ll find the Cité des Enfants where kids can spend a 90-minute session exploring all sorts of things scientific. There are two entry options for the Cité des Enfants – one for kids aged 2-7 and on for kids aged 5-12. We recommend buying your tickets online to pass the queue.
Tickets cost €12 per adult and €9 for children.
LE JARDIN DES PLANTES & LA MÉNAGERIE
The Jardin des Plantes is a lovely 17th-century garden to enjoy a stroll with your kids. Moreover, inside this garden, you will find a playground, some greenhouses and even a zoo (la Ménagerie) with more than 200 species of animals like panthers, crocodiles or orang-utans. Just next to the garden is situated at the Natural History Museum. The Evolution Gallery (Grande Galerie de l’Evolution) is very impressive and shows many realistic models of extinct species.
Located at the northwest side of the Jardin des Plantes, the Ménagerie is France’s oldest public zoo. It was created in 1794 during the French Revolution to house the four survivors from the Royal Ménagerie of Versailles. Nowadays, its inhabitants include vultures, monkeys, orang-utans, ostriches, flamingos, a century-old turtle, plus another one rescued from the sewers, a gorgeous red panda and lots of satisfyingly scary spiders and snakes.
LE SALON DE THÉ DE LA GRANDE MOSQUÉE
Just next to the Jardin de Plante is located the Great Mosque of Paris with its traditional restaurant “Aux Portes de l’Orient” and its teashop. Have a break with your family and enjoy Turkish delights and other sweet oriental treats while sipping a mint tea.
SUNSET AT MONTMARTRE
When you visit Montmartre, begin your visit at the Abbesses metro station instead of Anvers, where most tourists start. You can then walk up to the Sacre Coeur through the charming narrow streets of the Montmartre district. For lunch, there are many small cafés and cute restaurants around rue des Abbesses. Avoid the very touristic restaurants on the Place de Tertre.
Once you arrived at the Sacré Cours you can enjoy the incredible view over Paris. The best moment is at sunset. Explore the tiny, winding little streets behind the famed old basilica, for a nice sunset-hour walk you won’t forget.
A very nice small restaurant with a mix of French and Asian cuisine. Reservation is a must!
OUR FAVORITE PLACES TO STAY IN PARIS
It goes without saying that you’ll have to spend the night somewhere. The big question is which hotel to choose, as the choices are vast. We’ve prepared a selection of great places:
Mama Shelter is located in the 20th district and was designed by Philippe Starck. It feels rather out of the way, but this is an interesting area both now and historically when it was home to industrial workers. The metro is around a 10-minute walk from the hotel and takes you to the center in 20 minutes. It’s a trendy establishment with a colorful restaurant, a lively bar, and a seasonal rooftop terrace. It features as well an amusement area with table football and a gift shop. A top hotel to stay if you want to avoid the crowds in the center.
It’s one of the city’s more relaxed, easygoing, and affordable (for Paris) options, it’s also in a great location just a few steps from Grands Boulevards Metro Station. Set in a historic 18th-century mansion and now classified as a monument historique, the Hoxton Paris is undoubtedly the most beautiful place to stay for a few nights.
Staying the night at this luxury hotel is a real treat, like a slice of paradise in the middle of Paris’s beating heart. Le Meurice is an inspirational and fascinating place where 18th-century splendor and the most innovative modern comforts sit happily side by side. Across the street are the Tuileries Gardens, home to a carnival in the summer months and Paris’ famed carousel. This makes it one of the most central locales in the entire city and a perfect place for families. Then there are the connecting rooms, perfectly designed for families of four. There’s no doubt that this Parisian locale has a certain joie de vivre.
A very cozy and nice address in the center of the Marais and perfect when you travel with your family. The famous Place des Vosges is just across the street and many of the top shopping addresses are situated in the Marais like Merci or APC.
It’s an elegant, family-owned boutique property, located in an aristocratic mansion. You can expect a warm, low-key welcome, comfortable rooms and an excellent breakfast. Some of its best dining spots are a short walk away.
The Hotel Crayon takes us back to the time of classrooms, blackboards, pencils, and boxes of colors that have shaped our childhood. This Parisian hotel has colorful decorated walls and furniture to welcome its guests in a happy atmosphere. Located in the 1st district, Hotel Crayon is situated in the center of the city and close to all main major sight-seeing spots.
Parisian real estate being what it is, there’s almost no way to open a hotel that’s both humanely comfortable and genuinely affordable within the actual city limits. Which is why you’re looking at a hotel in Saint-Ouen.
Tablet’s first hotel in the Parisian suburbs is the product of Cyril Aouizerate, a hotelier whose populist bona fides are indisputable — he was one of the co-founders of Mama Shelter. So we’re inclined to trust him when he says his new project, Mob Hotel of the People, is worth a few extra minutes on the Métro.
We hope you will enjoy your trip to Paris. And don’t forget to send us your best tips and addresses in the comments section.
See you soon for new adventures!
OUR PARIS SHOPPING
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