Best Family Friendly Attractions in Paris: Part One

family friendly attractions in Paris

One of the many amazing views in Paris

Do you want to take a family vacation to Paris, but worry that there won’t be much for your kids to do? Are you concerned that you’ll have to spend the entire trip in playgrounds and parks to keep your kids satisfied? Well, we’re here to tell you that you need not worry about this. There are so many family friendly attractions in Paris that you will have trouble seeing them all. And while Paris does have its fair share of awesome playgrounds, there is not a single one on this list. This list is the first of a two-part series that details all the best that Paris has to offer for families.

Bella and I recently returned from a two-week trip to the City of Lights, and we personally tried all these places out. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

The Eiffel Tower

eiffel tower family friendly

At night, the Eiffel Tower is especially beautiful!

The Eiffel Tower is probably the most recognizeable Paris landmark for kids and adults alike. It’s the one thing Bella insisted on seeing once she knew about our trip.

There really is a lot for kids to see and do at the Eiffel Tower. On the top floor, the whole family can enjoy some fantastic views of the city. There’s also a recontruction of Gustave Eiffel’s apartment (he’s the guy who designed the tower), complete with wax figures. Bella found this pretty interesting.

Views Eiffel Tower

On a clear day, you can see over the whole city

On the second floor, stop to buy your souvenirs or grab a bite to eat in the cafe. The views from this level are also good. But be sure to take the stairs down afterwards and visit the first floor. There are exhibits here that adults and older children will appreciate. There’s also a kid’s tour, called “Follow Gus,” that has kids go through the exhibits to find anwers to various questions. You can pick up a free booklet on the first floor, or print one in advance here. One of of best things about the first floor, though, is the see-through section on the floor. You can walk on this, if you’re brave, and see all the people milling about below your feet under the tower.

Practical Information/Advice

Buy your tickets in advance from the Eiffel Tower website as soon as you book your trip. They can sell out months in advance. Adult tickets to the top are 17€. Kids tickets start at 8€.

Bring a jacket, even on a nice day, as it can be cold and windy at the top.

If your kids can stay up late, head to the Champs de Mars (the grassy area in front of the tower) after the sun goes down. At the top of every hour, the Eiffel Tower puts on a 5-minute light show that’s worth seeing. The tower is also beautiful at night. Please note, though, that the sun doesn’t start to set until 10pm in the summer, so you’ll be staying up really late!

The Louvre

Louvre Pyramid

The glass pyramid in front of the Louvre is a famous landmark in itself!

Yes, you can visit the Louvre with kids. This gigantic art museum is a great place to take the family, provided you do some planning in advance.

Venus de Milo

Your kids will probably recognize the famous statue of Venus de Milo

You can’t possibly see this entire museum in one day, unless you rush past everything very quickly. But you wouldn’t enjoy this, and no child would either. Instead, pick up a free map at the information desk and head for the most famous pieces, the ones your kids might recognize.

Bella wanted to see the Venus de Milo statue because she knew it from the Disney movie Hercules. She also knew about and wanted to see the Mona Lisa. I picked out a few other notable works, like the Winged Victory of Samothrace and Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix. She recognized these once I showed them to her.

Once you’ve seen the famous works, select a few other areas to see based on your energy levels and tastes. Kids may enjoy the Egyptian Art, the Cour Marly (statues), and the Pavillon de l’Horloge (contains part of the old medieval Louvre palace and some entertaining interactive exhibits). Bella, unique darling that she is, wanted to see the apartments of Napoleon III, which are full of furniture and decor from the mid-1800s.

Here’s a link to the map of the Louvre to help you plan your visit.

Practical Information/Advice

Buy your tickets in advance and get there early to avoid the worst lines. Alternatively, purchase a Paris Museum Pass, which lets you bypass the ticket line, but not the security line. Nobody bypasses security.

Kids under 18 go free, which is good news for your budget. Adult tickets bought onsite cost 15€.

The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.

Jardin des Plantes

zoo entrance

Hippo statues at the zoo’s entrance

These former royal gardens contain a wealth of things to see and do for the whole family. In addition to the various gardens and greenhouses, there are also the galleries of the Natural History Museum, and a small zoo. You could easily spend a very enjoyable day here.

If you’re into museums, the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution is a pretty good one. It contains skeletons and stuffed specimens of many animals, some of which are now extinct. There is also a children’s area.

The Galeries d’Anatomie Comparee et de Paleontologie may sound daunting, but it is actually a collection of animals skeletons. This includes both dinosaur and mammoth skeletons.

Tree Kangaroo

You can see this rare tree kangaroo at the zoo in the Garden des Plantes

Our favorite part of the Jardin is the zoo. For a small zoo, it’s pretty cool. There’s a fair number of species that you don’t often see at zoos, like Przewalski horses, binturongs, and tree kangaroos. It’s also one of the oldest zoos in the world. Many of its buildings are pretty old and like nothing you’ve probably ever seen before. Adults can admire the buildings while the kids spend some extra time looking at the animals.

Practical Information/Advice

If you go during the week when French children are in school, it’s not crowded at all. We got to the zoo when the gates opened and pretty much had the place to ourselves for about an hour.

It is free to walk through most of the gardens, but to enter the greenhouses, museums, and zoo you will need a ticket.  There are varying prices for the different attractions, but you can save a few euro if you purchase your tickets online in advance. Visit this site for current ticket prices.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Cathedral at night

Watch Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame with your kids so they’ll have some familiarity with this church before your visit. Then, when you get there, head straight for the tower climb first. (I also suggest getting in this line about 30 minutes before it opens.) The towers are where the fictional Quasimodo lived, and you’ll get to see his cherished bells and gargoyles once you get to the top. You can also take in some great city views. There are lots of steps, and no elevator, so be prepared for a bit of a workout.

Gargoyle

One of Notre Dame’s gargoyles looking out over the city

After visiting the towers, check out the church itself. Most smaller children probably won’t appreciate the inside of the actual cathedral, but you can take in the highlights in an hour or less. Some kids, like Bella, are fascinated by the rose windows (the round windows) made of stained glass. They might also like the scale model of the church that’s located in one of the side chapel areas. For kids, the focus here is going to be on the tower climb.

Though it’s not in the church, be sure to visit the Notre Dame crypt, located at the opposite end of the square from the church. I was surprised how much Bella loved this place. There were plenty of interactive kid’s activities here, and we spent over an hour exploring.

Practical Information/Advice

The church itself is free to visit, but you must buy tickets for the towers and the crypt. The tower climb is 10€ for adults. The crypt is 8€ for adults. Kids under 18 get in free to both. The Paris Museum Pass is accepted, but does not get you front-of-the-line access at the towers.

The Batobus

Batobus

A relaxing ride aboard the Batobus

The Batobus isn’t a site; rather, it’s an activity. But it’s one the whole family should enjoy. This is a hop on/hop off boat that takes you on a cruise of the Seine River. It stops at nine different places along its nearly 2-hour route.

As you cruise along the river, you get some good views of this beautiful city. There’s plenty to see to keep everyone occupied. You’ll also pass by some well-known landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and the Musee d’Orsay. If you decide you want to visit something, just get off the boat when it stops. When you’re ready, board the next boat to continue. Boats arrive roughly every 20 minutes.

Practical Information/Advice

Single day tickets (good for a full 24 hours) are 17€ for adults and 8€ for children under 16. You can add on a second day for 2€ each. You can pre-purchase tickets online or just buy them from the kiosks that are set up at each stop.

I highly suggest not trying to do the entire round-trip in one go. Try breaking it up by hopping off and visiting something, and join the boats again later. The boats are really fun for a while, but after about 30-45 minutes, younger children might start getting tired of sitting. By doing the tour in sections, you can keep it fun and interesting.

There are no bathrooms or food sales on board. Make a bathroom stop before boarding and bring your own snacks and drinks with you.

Stay Tuned for More Family Friendly Attractions in Paris!

We hope you found Part One of our review helpful. Check back in tomorrow as we finish up our list of family friendly attractions in Paris!

And, if you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Disneyland Paris, which is located a short train ride from the city, you should check out our review of things you should know before visiting. You can read that post here.

 

 

 

7 Comments

  • Best Family Friendly Attractions in Paris: Part Two - We'll Do It Our Way July 7, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    […] If you missed Part One, you can read it here. […]

    Reply
  • Stacey July 28, 2017 at 4:54 am

    These are great tips! I haven’t been to Paris, but I hope to someday. You’ve really broken down the information so we can plan the highlights of Paris. The things you mention are the sights I’d want to see. Thanks for the advice about buying Eifel Tower tickets way early!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you found it helpful!

      Reply
  • Rome with Kids: Tips for Visiting the Eternal City - We'll Do It Our Way August 2, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    […] cathedral. This does not meanm, though, that you cannot see these things. As we told you in our review of Paris, it’s all about time management (don’t expect a preschooler to spend hours in a museum) […]

    Reply
  • Melissa Parcel August 11, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Someday would love to go to Paris! I have another friend who just visited and it has inspired me to think more closely about going there.

    Reply
    • Kamie August 11, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      I’ve been several times, and it gets better every time. I hope you get to go someday.

      Reply
  • countrycleannfit August 11, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Great Pictures! I would have never imagined they would be so much to do in Paris, esp with children. Glad you had a good time.

    Reply

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