paris
Paris
Eiffel Tower - Invalides
Eiffel Tower - The Eiffel Tower is a "must see" for kids in Paris, not just at a distance, but up close. When you stand under it, waiting to buy your tickets, it's just spectactular, all those curly cues in the structure. Take the elevators to the top, or dine in the Jules Verne restaurant (if you feel like a splurge, kids will remember it). And don't miss seeing the Eiffel Tower at night, all lit up. In summer, on the hour in the evening, there is a magical show of twinkling lights.
Tip: Buying tickets in advance is essential. Check out the official Tour Eiffel website for all the details.
Champ de Mars Park - After you've been up the Eiffel Tower, go out to the Parc du Champ de Mars, a huge big grassy area where children can run to their heart's content. This is also the perfect place for a picnic (grass and benches). Even in the height of summer, the park won't feel crowded.
Playgrounds - You'll find three playgrounds in the Champs de Mars. At Avenue Anatole France, in the middle of the park, there's an old-fashioned carousel, little play area with sand box, and cafe, where parents can relax, have a cold drink or coffee, while the kids play. In the southwest section, allee Pierre Loti, check out the large playground with colorful climbing structures, slides, and imaginative play areas. For toddlers, tucked away in the southeast corner is a small playground, perfect for little ones.
Pony rides - On the same corner with the carousel, small children will enjoy a pony ride on friendly, well-tended ponies.
Tour of the Sewers (Quai d'Orsay at Pont de l'Alma) - Paris sewers conjures up Les Miserables and Jean Valjean making good his escape. Victor Hugo knew a sewer inspector, so he wrote accurately about the sewers in Paris. Take a quick self-guided walking tour through a real section of Paris sewers. Go through tunnels and walk over gratings where you'll see the sewer water flowing right under your feet. Along the way, you'll find out about the fascinating history of the water system in Paris (e.g. how is the sewage transporated under the Seine ...) It doesn't really smell in the sewers, but is a little dank, so don't wear your best shoes. The self-guided tour brochure is in multiple languages.
Bateaux Mouche - Ride the bateaux mouche on the River Seine at sunset or at night for a great view of the city all lit up. The views of the Eiffel Tower in all its splendor is a kid favorite. We took the Bateaux Mouche on a rainy October night. When we rounded the Ile de la Cite, there was Notre Dame, beautifully illuminated, all the bells pealing. It sends shivers up my spine just to think of it. (Pick up the boats on the right bank, east of the Pont de l'Alma).
Musee de l' Armee (Army Museum) - While I went shopping, my husband took our boys to the Army Museum. This museum has riches galore, fabulous collection of ancient armor from 13th -17th century (including kid's armor), cannons, mortars, swords, daggers, souvenirs from Napoleon's time, including his hat and sword.
Tip: Read on our blog about the Army Museum and Napoleon's tomb: Napoleon Bonaparte in Paris.
Next to the museum, at the Dome des Invalides is Napoleon's Tomb (Tombeau de Napoleon), for an added bonus. Very impressive.

 

Musee d'Orsay - Musee d'Orsay – Step into the Musee d'Orsay and step into 19th century Paris, literally – the building was once a cavernous railway station.
The collections in the museum are also 19th century, including a large number of Impressionist paintings Go right up to the fifth floor for paintings by Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, plenty of French life and landscapes, waterlilies, haystacks and picnics. Also on the fifth floor, peer out through the clock window (it's like Hugo Cabret).
This is a big museum, so allow plenty of time for kids to explore.

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