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10 Things to Do in Paris with Kids

This post is sponsored by Discover the world’s largest selection of vacation home rentals with Let’s stay together.

I just had someone ask me for recommendations on things to do in Paris with kids again so I thought it would be good to get it online on one place. So, here goes.

1. Pizza Picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. Does visiting French restaurants with kids make you nervous? Avoid the whole thing by picking up a pizza at Gusto Italia (their veggie pizza is really good) then take it across the street to the park for a picnic right in front of the Eiffel Tower.

2. Bike Rides. Velib, Paris’ public bike system is amazing, the only problem is there is no way to bring the kids along. Paris’ bicycle path system is extensive and biking is one of my favorite ways to get around especially when tourist season hits. If you are nervous about biking in a big city stick to park paths and some of the bike paths along the Seine. You can rent bikes with kids seats right here.

3. Le 104. This is one of the most special places in Paris. It is part art installation, part interactive museum. The installations are made to play in and “experience” and are perfect for both children and adults. In addition to the changing exhibitions Le 104 is also home to my favorite carousel in the world.

4. Seine Boat Tour. Pick up a ride at Ile St. Louis for an hour long cruise through the center of Paris at sunset. The kids love the boats and you can see the big sites in one fell swoop.

5. Puppet Show. Some of the bigger parks like Jardin de Luxembourg and Champ de Mars have the classic old marionette shows. They are in French but have a lot of physical comedy that any 3 year old will think is hilarious. Check for exact times but they are usually in the afternoons on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

6. Carousels. There are as many carousels in Paris as there are Starbucks in Manhattan. That might be a slight exaggeration but really, they are everywhere. It is so great to be able to stop throughout the day and treat your kids to a carousel ride.

7. Toy Sailboats.  Some of the parks like Jardin de Luxembourg and the Tuileries have adorable toy boat rentals run by equally adorable old men. You choose your boat and send it off into the little pond with a stick to guide it. It is surprisingly entertaining and makes for great photos.

8. Parc Floral. A friend introduced me to this impressive park last year. It is enormous and has the best toys of any park I’ve been to (they are really awesome!) If Disneyland were a public park  it would be Parc Floral. Mountains of slides, ziplines, fields of flowers, and snack bars aplenty.

9. The Cité des Enfants is one of our favorite kids museums. It’s especially great for younger kids and toddlers. Lots of science related toys to play with. A really well done children’s museum.

10. Ferris Wheel. In the winter the Ferris Wheel sits prominently at the bottom of the Champs Elysees (and during the summer months there is one in the Tuileries.) Hop on for a ride and a 360 degree view of the city.

all photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day

ps Here are my tips for traveling with kids and tips for traveling on airplanes with kids. Plus 6 tips for planning the best vacation ever.

  1. Hannah @ Sparrow + Spark!

    February 21, 2012

    I don’t have kids, yet there are loads of things on this list that I love to do too! I love all the carousels in Paris, so much fun. I love the ferris wheel too.

  2. Sugar Daze/Cat

    February 21, 2012

    As a 9 year veteran of living in Paris with kids, I am constantly on the look-out for new things to do, especially given the frequency of vacations here! I love your recos especially cite des Enfants, le 104 & a boat trip on the Seine — this is something I recommend to all of or out-of-town visitors regardless of age. I hope this isn’t considered bad netiquette, but I wanted to include a link to an article I wrote last summer for with my shortlist of what to see and do with kids in Paris. I think you’ll agree there is some crossover and perhaps your readers will find it a useful complement to your post. Cat x

  3. Caddy

    February 21, 2012

    These all sound lovely. Your photos make me miss Paris. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  4. Lucie

    February 21, 2012

    If you love the 104 carousel, you MUST go to Nantes and see Les Machines de l’île :
    It’s both a project for a giant carousel and a museum. You can ride a giant elephant and try some animals. It’s amazing !

  5. Rachel

    February 21, 2012

    My daughter has a bucket list – at the age of six – and the only thing on it is to visit/live in Paris.
    She is infatuated with this city, has been for a few years.
    This post just has me saving every spare penny I can find!

  6. Kiti

    February 21, 2012

    It’s good to now these things! I will have baby very, very soon and I’m sure I will go to Paris one day…:) Thanks for sharing!

  7. Melanie Saucier

    February 21, 2012

    Thank you so much for this list! Having two young children, two little boy that have LOTS of energy, these activities sound just perfect for a trip in Paris. Wonderful!

  8. ana {bluebirdkisses}

    February 21, 2012

    what a great post! My husband and I love Paris so much. We’ve been a bunch of times and are planning on going again as soon as our son is a little bit older and can walk more/nap less. I will have to remember this for when we go again.

  9. Jill

    February 21, 2012

    Thank you for all of the great info. I am planning a trip to Paris and will add these great ideas to the list!
    – Jill

  10. sunray

    February 21, 2012

    Ahhh…I’ve been waiting for this post. Thank you! 🙂

  11. Ridgely's Radar

    February 21, 2012

    What great ideas! I’ll have to write these down!

  12. Frances

    February 21, 2012

    The 104 is just around the corner from my house – have you seen the breakdancers on Friday afternoons? I’m always mesmerised! And the OPEN signs, wonderful.

    But, sad news, the carousel has moved on. The fish in the middle was my favourite.

    Happy Pancake Day!

  13. portlandsun

    February 21, 2012

    we head to paris with 2 toddlers in april. i was already super excited. now i am over the top excited! great post . THANK YOU!

  14. Dawn-Hydrangea Home

    February 21, 2012

    Perfect timing to find your blog! We are taking our first trip to Paris this April with our 4 children – so excited! Thanks for all of the tips!

  15. Nicole

    February 21, 2012

    Thank you so much for posting! I am lucky enough to go to Paris usually once a year and I love showing my now 4 year old new things each trip and can’t wait to take our 17 month old next year. And I completely agree with Lucie. Les Machines de l’ile is definitely a must see. I wish we had something like it in the States.

  16. Tulips & Tulle

    February 21, 2012

    Great tips, love it!

    Please come visit Tulips&Tulle 🙂

  17. Sandy

    February 21, 2012

    Love this post! I’d also love to hear more about the other cities you visited in Europe in a similar manner. Thanks!

  18. modernhaus

    February 22, 2012

    Beautiful pictures! Jordan, can you demystify the whole sitting/walking on grass in Paris issue for us?
    We don’t want to be the “ugly Americans” throwing footballs and tromping on the pristine lawns of Paris in our non-Italian leather footwear 😉

      • jordan
      • February 22, 2012

      There are plenty of places you can sit on the grass in Paris. But in most of the parks like the Tuileries or Jardin de Luxembourg you can only sit in the grass in a small designated area. The grass is kept green lush and immaculate (because no one is sitting on it! ha!) if you sit on it someone will quickly tell you to get off.

  19. Tina Fussell

    February 22, 2012

    These are many of the things our kids love to do when we visit Paris as well, though mine beg for a crepe under the Eiffel Tower! My kids also cherish reading books in the little kid’s nook at Shakespeare and Co. They always get to choose a new book and get their stamp of authenticity!

  20. Céline

    February 22, 2012

    Thanks for all these ideas! Do you have any hotel(s) to recommend for families (our daughter is 2)?

  21. La Môme Néant

    February 23, 2012

    Hello! I just discovered your site and really enjoy it – so amazingly nice and lots of good ideas!
    There are two things I want to suggest for you and your kids: le Jardin d’Acclimatation, an adorable amusement park, retro and lovely. Also, to sit on the grass and play with a ball, le parc de la Villette is the best place. Not so posh as Tuileries or Luxembourg, but so huge, you can play hide and seek there! And there is a carroussel as well.

  22. Misha

    February 24, 2012

    I pinned this to Pinterest and I got a million and one repins instantly! It’s such a fabulous list I can’t wait to take my babies….

  23. Phoebe Rose

    February 28, 2012

    I agree with Lucie please go to Les Machines de l’Ile in Nantes, it is where that carousel was made and they are supposed to be finishing their 3 storey ‘Monsters of the Deep’ creation this summer. It is beautiful and they have lovey tours around and with your ticket you get a ride on the Giant Mechanical Elephant which has to be seen to be believed 🙂

    p.s. I love your website so much, it makes me smile and feel inspired every time I read it, I am eternally greatful to stumbleupon for bringing it up on my computer screen one dull train ride home

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