In Paris, every walk is an adventure and a “visual feast” for both parents and kids. It is important not to take its beauty for granted – all the sculptural elements on buildings, bridges and ordinary objects like water fountains and public benches are worth showing to your children.
Paris is also quite a baby and kid friendly city, with big parks full of attractions for like carousels, old-style puppet shows (called “guignol” in French) and elaborate playgrounds.
To have a successful visit in Paris with children it is good to plan your list of destinations in advance but keep your plans flexible with the weather. Identify the parks in each neighborhood so if the kids get cranky you will know where to take them for a crêpe or some fun. It is also worth typing “jour férié” and the year you are visiting in Google to double check if your visit falls on a public holiday, in which case things will be closed. Resist the urge to jam-pack your day with sights and take time to stroll around.
Here is a list of the best places to visit with kids, curated by Atelier Choux’s founders.
Monet’s Garden – The famous Monet’s Garden, located in Giverny 1,5 hours away from Paris, is place where impressionist painter Claude Monet lived and got a lot of his inspiration from.
Jardin d’Acclimatation – The oldest “leisure” park in France, inaugurated in 1860. It is a “fancy” amusement park with charismatic rides for very young children, a handful of rollercoasters and free-roaming peacocks. The park underwent a major renovation by LVMH in 2018 when they built the Fondation Louis Vuitton on the same grounds. It’s a truly historic place and an absolute “must-do” with kids!The best time to visit is in August, when the city is not so crowded.
Parc Monceau – Located in the 8th arrondisement, it was one of the inspirations behind Atelier Choux. It was the site of the first parachute jump from a hot air balloon in 1797 (marked with a nice plaque) and has elaborate mansions around it. There is a lovely carousel, a modern playground, pony rides, cotton candy, fresh crêpes and good quality coffee. On Wednesdays and during the weekends treat yourself to an old-style puppet show (“guignol”).
The Palais-Royal garden – The Palais-Royal garden, a lesser known spot behind the Louvre, is wonderful to stroll in, bordered by beautiful arcade shops and restaurants. Next door, through the columns, kids can run around and jump off the modern, black and white striped Colonnes de Buren, for a perfect picture opportunity.
Jardin des Plantes – This park has 11 gardens and 6 places to see. The Zoo is the second oldest zoological garden in the world and the botanical garden is one of the biggest in Paris.
The Luxembourg garden – Great playgrounds and attractions (e.g. trampoline mats) for kids. You can also find a puppet theatre, pony rides and a model yacht rental to sail in the large pond.
Le Potager des Princes – Leisure garden with waterfalls, fountains & flowers, plus an art gallery, theater & petting zoo. Only 45 minutes away from Paris with RER D.
THINGS TO DO
Ice skating at Hôtel de Ville – In the winter, there is a temporary ice skating ring that appears in front of the city hall. The skates rental is usually around 5 euros, but there is no entrance fee.
Gallery of Evolution – Grande Galerie de L’Èvolution is a place where modernity stands alongside history and science. You can find over 7000 specimens and learn a lot about our animal kingdom.
Climbing Arc de Triomphe – Located at the end of the Champs-Élysées, there is a magnificent view from the top of the arc. After 284 steps you can observe beautiful Paris from one of the best viewing spots in the city.
Musée de la Magie – Museum of magic at Rue Saint Paul in Marais, is a marvelous place to see the history of Magic from the 18th century to the present day. Guided tour and a magic session will make your visit unforgettable.
La villette – At La Villette, there is something for all ages. Explore everything science has to offer or go see a 360° experience from the giant hemispherical screen in La Géode. There is also a carousel, playgrounds, exhibitions, concerts and more.