Who says Paris is just for romantics? I recently whisked my 5-year-old son off to the City of Lights (yes, in the chilly heart of winter), and spoiler alert: it’s a kiddie wonderland.
We bunked at the Hôtel Des Grands Voyageurs, nestled in the heart of the Left Bank. This gem is like your own private Parisian home, oozing with charm and boasts connecting rooms for families. It’s the perfect quiet retreat after a day of gallivanting around the city.
Speaking of gallivanting around the city, we were bundled up more than the Michelin Man. But it was still a fun getaway for kids and adults alike. Plus, it will be even more exciting this summer when the Summer 2024 Olympics come to town.
So, what are the top must-dos in Paris with your little ones (no matter the season)? Here are the best things to do in Paris with kids.
The Luxembourg Gardens is an enchanting blend of French formal and English informal gardens and one the best things to do in Paris with kids. They will love riding the vintage carousel, and kids will gleefully try to grab brass rings as they spin around.
Don’t forget the iconic sailboats, either. Renting one of these wooden boats and watching it drift across the Grand Basin is the ideal activity, perfect for a relaxed afternoon.
The Little Train of Montmartre
This charming train offers a unique way to explore the historic Montmartre district without tiring little legs. The journey weaves through picturesque streets, commenting on the area’s rich history and culture. It’s a fun ride for the kids and an educational experience as they learn about the artists and stories that define Montmartre.
The flexibility to hop off at the top, explore, and then catch a later train back down is a bonus, especially for families.
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Aura Invalides Light Show
Set against the backdrop of the majestic Dôme des Invalides (where Napoleon’s remains are located), the new Aura Invalides light show is a feast for the senses.
The blend of music, history, and cutting-edge light projections creates a captivating show that’s both educational and entertaining. Starting in the evening, it’s a perfect activity for those with jet lag, providing an immersive experience that keeps both adults and children spellbound. And it’s only about 45 minutes long so they won’t get bored.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower was number one on my son’s to-do list, and it’s always one of the best things to do with kids in Paris.
The summit was closed when we visited, but the experience on the lower levels was still breathtaking. The second level offers stunning city views, and the little macaron shop is a delightful treat. You can take the elevator like we did. Or, for those with some energy to burn, climb the 674 steps to the second level.
Once you’re done, head to the carousel across the street for a quick ride with incredible views.
This amusement park, located in the Bois de Boulogne, offers a variety of attractions suitable for all ages.
Younger children are captivated by the enchanting miniature train and whimsical carousel, while the more adventurous can explore the zip lines and themed playgrounds. Animal lovers are drawn to the petting zoo and pony rides, offering close-up encounters with friendly creatures. And the garden changes with the seasons, providing new festivals and workshops.
Boat tour on the Seine
Taking a boat tour on the Seine is a quintessential Parisian experience. It offers a unique vantage point from the water to see many of Paris’s most famous landmarks, like the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower.
We chose the Bateaux-Mouches, known for their large, open-air decks (which we didn’t use since it was so cold), but several companies offer different types of cruises, some even with dining options.
It’s a relaxing way to see the city, and the commentary on the boat offers exciting insights into Parisian history and architecture. It’s also one of the best things to do in Paris with kids that doesn’t involve a lot of walking but covers a lot of ground.
What kid doesn’t love Disney? A short train ride from the city center, Disneyland Paris is a magical world where little one’s favorite fairy tales come to life. It’s divided into several lands, each with its own set of attractions, shows, and character experiences.
Whether you’re meeting Mickey Mouse, spinning in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, or watching the spectacular evening fireworks, Disneyland Paris offers a full day of fun and is less overwhelming than other Disney theme parks.
Check out the toy stores
Paris is home to some of the most enchanting toy stores in the world. These stores, like Pain D’epices and Si Tu Veux, are not just shops; they’re wonderlands filled with traditional wooden toys, educational games, and the latest in children’s entertainment.
Kids will love browsing toys they’ve never seen, and it evokes nostalgia in adults.
Take a cooking class
What better way to participate in French culture than by taking a cooking class?
Companies like Cook’n With Class Paris and La Cuisine Paris offer family-friendly classes where you can learn to make classic French pastries or a full meal. It’s not just about cooking; it’s about sharing a fun and interactive experience, learning new skills, and then enjoying the delicious results of your effort.
The Cité des Sciences (Science & Industry Museum)
The Cité des Sciences is Europe’s largest science museum and is considered the city’s most kid-friendly museum.
The museum covers a wide range of scientific disciplines, from astronomy to biology, and features exhibits specifically designed for children. The highlight for many is the planetarium and the submarine Argonaute, which offers a glimpse into life under the sea. It’s a place where kids can explore, experiment and learn about the world in a fun, engaging environment.
Museum Scavenger Hunt
Creating a scavenger hunt in a museum is a fantastic way to make art and history exciting for kids. In Montmartre, I designed a hunt with my son, searching for specific sculptures and historical sites like the famous pink La Maison Rose restaurant where Picasso once dined.
You can replicate this in any of Paris’s museums, from the Louvre to Musee d’Orsay. It’s not only a fun game but also an educational experience that helps children engage with and remember what they see.
Related: The best hotels in Paris
Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes
This zoo, one of the oldest in the world, is easily one of the best things to do in Paris with kids. It’s home to a variety of animals, from big cats to reptiles and birds.
The zoo is designed to be navigable for small children, and the historical architecture of the enclosures adds to the charm. It’s a great way to spend a few hours, especially for families who want to enjoy nature in the heart of the city.
Hot chocolate at Cafe Fleur
Taking the kids to Cafe Fleur for some hot chocolate is an absolute treat. It’s not just about the drink; the whole experience makes it special.
Picture this: everywhere you look, there are these adorable giant teddy bears, making the place feel like a cozy, whimsical wonderland. The kids absolutely love it – their eyes light up the moment we walk in. And the hot chocolate? It’s a hit! It’s so big that one cup was the size of my son’s head. Watching him try to take a sip was hilarious and made for a great photo.