In today’s post, I’m sharing our tips for visiting Paris with kids. I’m also including a list of things to do in Paris with kids.
Tyler and I recently took our daughters on a three week trip to Europe (see an overview of our itinerary here). We started with four nights in Paris, one of our favorite cities in the world. (Here’s the link to our general Paris guide).
When we planned this trip, we knew we’d want to start off with a four night stay somewhere. This is one of my biggest tips for traveling with kids, but it applies to trips without kids too. Four nights gives you plenty of time to get through those first two restless jet lagged nights. You’ll have ample time to relax and enjoy the location without feeling like you’re missing out if you accidentally sleep in or need to have some rest time in the afternoon (although if you’re an adult–no actual naps! I don’t make the rules).
We chose Paris because it made the most sense from a travel perspective–we were paying for the flights with points and flight options were limited. We also LOVE Paris and knew it would be so much fun to show the girls. Also, we knew that because we’ve been multiple times, we wouldn’t feel pressured to do every single thing. We could just relax, walk a lot, and eat a bunch of good food. And that’s exactly what we did.
It seems like Paris has a reputation for not being very kid friendly–and, in fact, I had a few people personally warn me about this. However, we had the exact opposite experience and thought it was the most kid friendly place we visited on our trip.
I’ll get into this more in the post, but I found most people to be incredibly friendly to us and our kids. Paris has tons of gorgeous, unique parks that my kids LOVED. Restaurants were–for the most part–totally accommodating, and the airports and museums all have perks for families too.
I recommend arranging your airport transportation ahead of time to avoid any unnecessary confusion or chaos upon arrival. We booked a private transfer with Welcome Pickups in advance and had an amazing experience. Our driver communicated with us ahead of time on where to meet and arrived 10 minutes early for our early morning transfer back to the airport which we appreciated. We didn’t bring our own car seats with us on this trip, so we requested car seats with the car for both drives. Easy!
This, of course, is just my personal opinion. We’ve stayed all over Paris over the years, and the 6th was my favorite neighborhood so far! It’s clean, charming, and the proximity to Luxembourg Gardens makes this a no-brainer for visiting Paris with kids. We loved our quiet little street–it had everything we needed within a few minutes’ walk.
This could be said of any place, but we found it especially relevant in Paris because we were spending so much time walking. We found that if we started the day off with a “bang,” the girls were much more amenable to a long walk in the stroller afterwards. So we’d beeline it for a park or a merry-go-round FIRST, let the girls burn off some energy, and then set off across the city to whatever Tyler and I wanted to go do.
If you’re visiting Paris with a baby or toddler, you might consider renting equipment such as a crib, high chair, stroller, or car seat locally through Babonbo. Babonbo is a baby rental marketplace that connects travelers with a trusted network of local parents and businesses. You can use the search tool to filter by city, equipment type, and even your brand preference to get matched with a rental that works for your family. Babonbo is located in over 300 cities worldwide (see the options for Paris here) and offers flexible and convenient delivery and pickup options. In my opinion, this is SUCH a great way to take the stress out of family travel and maximize your time exploring Paris.
We walked SO much in Paris. it’s obviously a huge city and we didn’t want to mess with the Metro or Ubering. The weather was fabulous, so we walked everywhere we went. We did bring a double stroller which came in handy because it would have been way too much for Charlotte even though she’s four and half. The good thing, though, was that all of this walking allowed us to see so much more of the city than we ever have before. Experiencing the city this way was so special, but I definitely recommend comfortable shoes and a good stroller.
My take on this stuff is that it can’t hurt to ask! I think sometimes people get in their heads when they’re in a new place, and that’s understandable. BUT, I think if you are polite and greet in the local language, it’s okay to ask for things. For example, when we arrived at the Orsay museum, the line coiled back and forth across the building many times, and we were looking at at least an hour wait in direct sun. I (very politely) asked one of the attendants if there was a family entrance. He was super sweet and said no but then ushered us over to the private group entrance! We got right in.
(Of course, if we had booked tickets ahead we wouldn’t have had to wait in the line either, but we chose not to buy tickets ahead of time knowing that there was a chance we wouldn’t make it over.)
This goes for all of the airport lines too although I will talk about that more in a general tips post for traveling with kids. It seems to me that France especially is very accommodating to families and parents of small kids.
I already talked about this on my reel about the girls’ scrapbooks, but Tyler made the girls a “scavenger hunt” for every leg of the trip. He included 2-3 things in each location and then helped the girls check things off their list as we went. This really got the girls invested in our itinerary and excited for each new place.
The scavenger hunt gave the trip some much-needed structure for the girls. By the time we were on the airplane over to Paris, we had gone over the list so many times that they both had the itinerary memorized and were READY to go get their lists checked off.
For Paris, we did: see the Eiffel Tower, have a hot chocolate from Angelina, and go on a merry-go-round. This was obviously a very simple list, but it was attainable and got them super excited each day.
For every “adult” activity on your itinerary, I suggest planning a park outing to give the kids a break to let off some steam afterwards. For example: after the Orsay museum, head to Luxembourg gardens and visit the Ludo Jardin, this amazing wood park that is any child’s paradise (more on that below).
Another thing I loved about the parks in Paris is that the playgrounds were all gated off in separate areas which made it feel really safe. I’ll list our favorites below.
It goes without saying that every parent needs a coffee break (or two) to get through even the most normal of days. When you’re traveling with your kids, you might need even more than that (it’s us). If you’re an American addicted to cold brew (it’s Tyler), you’ll want to bookmark Ten Belles and Coutume which both make fabulous–and most importantly, strong–cold brew AND have take-away cups.
In Paris, there are all of these gorgeous vintage merry-go-rounds in many of the big parks. As part of our Paris hype-building, we told the girls that they could ride on every merry-go-round they saw while we were there. It only ended up being 3 or 4 total, but the girls got such a thrill from the idea of looking for merry-go-rounds everywhere we went. We said no to a lot of things on the trip (for instance, most souvenirs and toys they asked for), but the merry-go-rounds were an easy and inexpensive “yes” that was well worth the joy on their faces.
This is a GREAT park in the middle of Luxembourg Gardens. After over 20 hours of travel (including two hours of traffic getting into the city), we dropped our stuff at our Airbnb and made our way to this park. It was the perfect place to let the girls run around in the fresh air after being cooped up all day. This park does cost a few euro, but we thought it was well worth the money. There is also a merry-go-round right next to this park.
We took the girls to see the Eiffel Tower on our first full day in Paris and let them ride the merry-go-round at the Champ de Mars before taking a few pictures. We didn’t get tickets ahead of time to go to the top and didn’t want to even mess with the line–it was hot and super crowded at that point in the day so we just moved on.
Escape the crowd after you get your picture and head over to Rue Cler, a gorgeous street with flower and food vendors. We ate at Popu Bistro à Pizza which was amazing–very kid friendly and had this amazing spicy olive oil which is our love language.
If you choose just one museum to visit in Paris with kids, I recommend the Orsay because it’s housed in a converted old train station (this was a big deal to Charlotte in particular). We spent about an hour in the museum. We didn’t see everything, but we did go through the whole first floor and the whole top floor before we decided the girls were done for the day.
One of my favorite memories of my first time in Paris with Tyler was drinking hot chocolate at Angelina. The tea room is very fun and glamorous, but the line can get extremely long. When we went with the girls, the line stretched all the way down the block and was not moving at all. We decided to go into the right hand side of the store to the little shop and ordered some hot chocolate and candy to-go. We brought it back across the street with us and drank it in the Tuileries gardens together. SO fun.
Number 4 and 5 on this list go together. After we drank our hot chocolate, we let the girls play in the park (this one was free) and ride the merry-go-round in the Tuileries Garden. After that, we rented a toy boat at the pond there. This cost 5 euro and was a massive hit with the girls.
This is my favorite kind of family travel tip because there’s something for everyone here. Tyler had starred Grace Cafe as a place to check out for an afternoon coffee and pastry, and when we got there we realized it was right next to a beautiful park with this huge boat-inspired playground. We ordered our espresso to-go and sat on a bench and let the girls go wild. Then, I realized that there was a Sézane just down the block, so I took myself on a little shopping date. Tyler got to relax with his espresso, the girls played and played, and I got to go check out one of my favorite brands in person. A successful afternoon for everyone.
My friend Allysa is a chef, and she gave us a handful of recommendations for places to eat in Paris prior to this trip. And when a chef gives you a food recommendation, of course, you burn it into your brain and rework your entire itinerary to make sure you eat the thing said chef told you to eat. She told us that her favorite baguettes and croissants were from La Maison d’Isabelle, so we took this very seriously. She was, not surprisingly, spot on–these croissants were DELISH, and we were fighting over the baguette the rest of the morning too. The line seems long but it moves really quick. Oh and don’t forget to order a quiche lorraine for good measure.
Allysa also recommended the sandwiches from Chez Alain Miam Miam. We were so excited to try this place but all of the reviews warned us about the long, slow line. We scouted out a park nearby and decided to divide and conquer: Tyler took the girls to the park while I waited in line and ordered our lunch. It did take about an hour, so I’m really glad we did this. And the sandwiches were, also not surprisingly, AMAZING.
While Shakespeare and Company has become quite the tourist hot spot in recent years, this English bookstore is a must stop for any bookworm. They have an adorable children’s nook, and it’s a great spot to hit before or after you check out Notre Dame. My favorite type of souvenir is a book, and I always ask them to stamp the front cover!
We didn’t make it over Montmartre this time, but I would have loved to take the girls to see the Sacre Coeur and ride that cute little white tourist train that goes around the area. If you have any extra time in Paris, this would be a great spot to bring kids to.
I have always wanted to visit Paris’ ossuary but haven’t quite summoned the stomach for it yet. And while I don’t think visiting an underground grave holding the remains of 6 million people is for every kid, this would be a great thing to do with a sturdy middle schooler who is bored of art museums.
Take your flower-loving child to this flower, plant, and bird market that’s been around since 1808. This market is right along the Seine River and is a beautiful place to stroll around with a little one.
We ran out of time to do this but it is FOR SURE on our list for next time. The L’Atelier des Lumières is an exhibition that brings art masterpieces to life through light and music. From what I understand, they rotate artists every few months. I have heard the best things about this and feel like it would be so fun to bring kids to.
What child wouldn’t be mesmerized by a display of gorgeous macarons? Our girls both (predictably) chose pink and were SO happy munching on them in the stroller. This, in my opinion, is a Parisian rite of passage that should be experienced by visitors of all ages.
L’Orangerie is my absolute favorite museum, and since we’ve been a few times we decided to skip it this last time. BUT, I do think this would be a fabulous museum to visit with kids since it’s relatively small and doesn’t take very long to get through. Even a tiny child could appreciate being completely surrounded by Monet’s larger-than-life masterpieces.
It’s a pre-weekend pick me up: just a little note with links to the latest blog posts, what I’m reading lately, and products I’m obsessed with. Think of it as a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning--you know?