Family-Friendly Paris Tips
07 March 2018
Family-Friendly Paris Tips
Planning your time in Paris can be overwhelming, but add young kids and their needs into the mix, and the planning gets even more complicated. Fear not, a trip to Paris with littles can be fun and enjoyable for everyone! Here are a few tips and suggestions for smooth memory-making as a family.
Whether you visit the smaller neighborhood squares scattered throughout the city, or the bigger and more famous parks, carving out some time every day to let the kids run around and get out some energy is our first suggestion to keeping everyone sane.
Top Museums for Children
Paris is home to the world’s top museums, and we know it can be intimidating bringing young children to them. You never know how long the line for tickets or entry will be, if the exhibits will be child-friendly, or if the content will keep your child’s interest! Luckily many of the museums here have people of all ages in mind, and offer your family a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We offer Skip the Line Tours to several of the most popular museums and attractions in Paris so your family can spend less time waiting in a line and more time enjoying Paris. Below are a few of our personal family-favorite museums to bring young children to.
Natural History Museum: Established in 1793, this museum is made up of several different buildings located in the lush Jardin des Plantes. Grande Galerie de l’Évolution is an particularly great for kids with life size animals filling the four story high building. The garden surrounding includes a small zoo and a little café worth stopping at as well. 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris [Click here for website]
Cité des Sciences: The largest science museum in Europe featuring interactive displays and an IMAX theater. Located in Parc de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement. 30 Avenue Corentin Cariou, 75019 Paris [Click here for website]
Musée de l’Orangerie: Home to works by Cezanne, Picasso, Renoir, and Monet’s famous water lillies, this museum is small enough to be seen in a short amount of time and is perfect for kids. Pushchairs are available to loan during your visit from the cloakroom. Its location in the Jardin des Tuileries makes it even more ideal! Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris [Click here for website]
Centre Pompidou: Large modern art museum with several galleries and workshops tailored for kids of all ages. Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris [Click here for website]
Top Parks for Children
Champs de Mars: With the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop, a picnic and run around the playground here will be good for a memorable few hours. In the warmer months, you can also find little go-carts or pony rides to try as well.
Jardin Luxembourg: You have to pay to get into the playground (€2 per kid) but it is totally worth it. This paid area is huge and full of equipment for all different ages. It can get crowded in there, so go early or visit the carousel, see the Marionette show, or rent the iconic wooden sailboats to push around the fountain in front of the palace.
Jardin d’Acclimation: This little 20 acre amusement park built around 1860 is in the Bois de Boulogne on the east side of Paris, and has been beautifully maintained. There are playgrounds, carousels, carnival rides, a trolly train, pony and donkey rides, a small zoo, picnic areas, and peacocks roaming around. Parent bonus: They also have comfy sling chairs scattered all over the park, so parents can relax while little ones play. Entry costs €2 for ages 4 and up, then €2.80 per ticket for the attractions.
Tuileries Garden: While there aren’t a lot of large grassy areas here, the location in the center of the city makes up for it, and for most of the year a fun carnival is on one side along rue de Rivoli. Also worth remembering there is a small trampoline square at the end by Place de Concorde where kids can jump for a couple of euros.
You can view all of the parks referenced above on an interactive Google Map here.
Tours & Activities for Children
Nothing beats getting some fresh air and seeing the city on a bike. Here is a breakdown of our family-favorite tours:
Paris Day Bike Tour: Our classic Day Bike Tour is the perfect introduction to Paris for both children and adults. This is a great tour to start your vacation with! This tour rides on bike lanes, through parks, and occasionally with traffic. Great for all ages [Click here to view this tour]
Versailles Bike Tour: This tour covers more ground than our standard city tours, so we recommend reserving a tandem if you are unsure of your child’s endurance. Kids absolutely love this tour for a chance to cycle in the wide garden paths with no cars to be concerned about, running around the massive grounds, and getting to eat a picnic along the canal. Great for all ages [Click here to view this tour]
Paris Night Bike Tour: Highlights of this tour include stopping for ice cream boat ride along the Seine while the lights of Paris sparkle! This tour does involve more riding in the streets than our Day Bike or Versailles Bike Tour so it does require children to be confident on a bike, but we have children join us on this tour all the time. If you’re unsure, we recommend trying our Paris Day Bike Tour first or reserving a tandem. For ages 8+ [Click here to view this tour]
Paris Segway Tour: Segways are a fun and unique way to ride around Paris. All riders must be at least 12 years of age and weigh at least 100 pounds and not in excess of 260 pounds. For ages 12+ [Click here to view this tour]
Seine River Cruise: A change of pace on the water can be a fascinating alternative to walking the streets or museum hallways. Purchase a Seine River Cruise Ticket which includes a one hour boat cruise along the river with commentary and great views of the city. Great for all ages [Click here to view this ticket]
Top Tips for Bringing Children on Tour:
Tip #1: Arrive to the office early – especially for bike tours! This gives kids plenty of time to get adjusted to their bike, sized for helmets, and have a bit of practice riding around before we depart.
Tip #2: There are frequent pauses on tour, but not a lot of restroom stops. We have clean, free restrooms at our offices that you are welcome to use before and after your tour.
Tip #3: We have water available for purchase in our office, but be sure to bring snacks!
Tip #4: If you haven’t already reserved a children’s bike or tandem, you can review all of our bike options here. Be sure to book these in advance, especially during the summer months.
Eating in Paris with Kids
Le Yacht Club: A family-friendly/group-friendly restaurant due to the fact that it accepts reservations (no waiting in line with the littles), includes ample space (you won’t be squeezed in), provides high chairs (not everywhere has this option), and is delicious! 8 Rue Saint-Lazare, 75009 Paris [Click here for website]
Restaurants and Brasseries with Garderie (Nursery)
Les Nicois: A south of France atmosphere. Every Sunday, they will take care of your children while parents can enjoy a nice glass of rosé! 7 rue Lacharrière, 75011 Paris [Click here for website]
La Mangerie: Homemade dishes for adults and children. Nanny available to take care of kids while parents can enjoy a nice brunch in the Marais. 7 rue Jarente, 75004 Paris [Click here for website]
La Baleine: Inside the Jardin des Plantes. View of some of the animals, kids menus and nice terraces. 47 rue Curia, 75005 Paris [Click here for website]
Chez He: Asian restaurant with a kids playground. Highly recommend to book in advance. 4 Cite de l’Ameublement, 75011 Paris [Click here for website]
Le Casa Luca: Chic Italian restaurant. On weekends, they organize an “atelier petits chefs” where children can learn how to cook while parents enjoy a nice brunch. 82 Avenue Marceau, 75008 Paris [Click here for website]
Kid-Friendly Restaurant Chains
Hippopotamus: Offerings include steak, kid menus, and baby seats. Multiple locations in Paris [Click here for website]
Indiana Café: American-style food, has baby seats. Multiple locations in Paris [Click here for website]
Hard Rock Cafe: Famous music-themed chain with American-style food, accepts reservations online. 14 Boulevard Montmartre, 75009 Paris [Click here for website]
Frog and Rosbif: American burgers and BBQ, children’s menu, brunch with American pancakes provides high chairs and crayons. 116 rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris [Click here for website]
Top Tips for Eating with Children:
Tip #1: Our staff agree that a big picnic in a park is their favorite and most stress-free way to have a family meal. Both kids and adults love the experience of walking through a Parisian market and picking out picnic supplies.
Tip #2: If you are bringing a stroller to Paris, look for restaurants that have ample outdoor seating. Many places in Paris are pushed for space and strollers can be difficult to impossible to fit inside.
Tip #3: If your child requires a baby seat, we recommend bringing a portable harness such as this one that can be attached to a regular chair. Don’t expect restaurants to have high chairs or booster seats!
Tip #4: Most casual restaurants don’t mind at all if you bring your own food for young children.
Tip #5: Family-focused restaurants will occasionally have a garderie, or nursery, on site.
Public Transportation with Kids
Métro: Even for seasoned Parisians, bringing a stroller on the métro can be a daunting task. Elevators are rare, but are marked on any official métro map with a wheelchair accessible symbol. Many stations have an entrance next to the turn-stiles especially made for strollers, but this requires the assistance of an available employee. We recommend transporting infants in a portable carrier opposed a stroller if you are taking the métro. Important to note: Children under age 4 travel for free on public transportation and children under 10 have a 50% reduced rate.
Bus: The bus system accommodates strollers and is very easy to use. There are dedicated stroller entrance/exit doors on the buses. You can find timetables and all bus information on the RATP website, or using the Google Maps app.
Miscellaneous Travel Tips for Children:
Tip #1: Changing tables in restaurants and public spaces are extremely rare. We recommend bringing a mat such as this one.
Tip #2: Any of the grocery stores around the city will have a baby aisle with diapers, wipes, formula, food, etc. Names to look for are Simply Market, Monoprix, Carrefour, Franprix, G20. Smaller shops will have a limited selection of baby supplies, so we suggest looking for a large Monoprix for the most choice.
Tip #3: You can order almost anything you need off amazon.fr and have it shipped to your hotel or AirBnb in advance if packing is a concern.
- Santorini Dave shares his tips for the best Paris hotels for families.
- Kelly Zajfen shares some master tips from a traveling mom of twins: How to Travel with Kids (and Still Get the Most Out of Your Vacation)
Depending on what time of year you are here, there are always a variety of activities going on around the city. Check out this calendar from the Paris Tourism Office for when you’re visiting.