It seems that Paris has more museums and monuments per square kilometer than anywhere else and they are fabulous, but don't explode trying to see them all. Paris is also a great walking city, and there are charming little parks in every neighborhood. Breathe in delicious smells of pastries from the nearest patisserie, and stop in to sample the sweetness of Paris.
Tips for Paris
before you go and while you're there - riding the Metro and how to get out of maze-like stations, museums and monuments, laundromats, restrooms, and more.
Ride the carousels
- Paris has numbers of charming carousels, especially popular for younger kids. Give it a whirl whenever you happen to stumble onto one. Carousels can be found in the Jardin Des Tuileries, in the Parc du Champ de Mars, at bottom of the hill of Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, and in the Luxembourg Gardens.
Ride the Metro
- Riding the Metro (subway) is fun, not just because you can hop on and off anywhere in Paris, but there's all those long tunnels. While meandering up and down, you come upon unexpected delights, such as a chamber orchestra playing Baroque music, a lone violinist, playing for coins, a jazz combo. Tip: People take strollers on the Metro all the time, but there are stairs in the stations, and it's not easy to maneuver the stroller with just one person.
- Take the "batobus," a water taxi, to ride up and down the Seine, stopping off at "must-see" sightseeing spots, such as the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower. With a day pass, you can get on and off as much as you like. The Batobus runs year round, 10:00am - 9:30pm in the summer months.
Read our blog post
Paris Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite
to see how many places kids can spot Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite - on buildings, murals, statues, coins, souvenirs.
- There are 36 different bridges across the Seine, and they're all different. Some are wooden, metal or stone, some are plain and functional, other like the Pont Alexandre III are decorated with gilded statues and cherubs. The Pont Neuf (where Madeline fell into the river) is four hundred years old, the newest is the Simone de Beauvoir footbridge. Some bridges are just for pedestrians, others are for the metro. At the Pont de l'Alma, look for the statue, a soldier at the base of the bridge - when the Seine rises too high, the statue is covered with water. Kids can have fun choosing their favorite bridge, and if they like to draw, bring pads of paper to sketch the bridges.
As you'd expect, Paris has fun food, and cafes on every corner. When your feet are about to fall off, sink into a cafe and order up hot chocolate or cold drinks, baguettes with butter and jam, desserts or pastries. Paris is the place to enjoy eclairs and anything chocolate or fruit tartes. Creperies are a big hit - try different flavors of crepes. Candies and cookies, like nothing you've seen before, are a "must try."
Prices in Paris aren't a bargain, but shopping is fun. For an overall approach, hit the Le Bon Marche ("le magasin de la famille"), Printemps or Galeries Lafayette department stores, floors filled with things that you won't find in department stores in the U.S. Girls will enjoy shopping for hats, scarves, purses and hair accessories in Paris, as well as cosmetics and perfume.
If you have infants, toddlers, or under 10 kids, Paris has some of the most appealing clothes you can imagine, for boys and girls. The Left Bank has wonderful kids' clothes shops, also rue de Courcelles in the 17th arrondissement.
Here's Travel for Kids list of family hotels, all styles and price ranges, convenient to fun things to do with kids in Paris: