Paris, France: 3 Surprisingly Kid Friendly Days (and one trap)

tai louvreHave you always wanted to visit Paris but wondering what to do with kids in the city of light?

Paris is our favourite city in the world to visit, and with good reason. The food there is like no other, there are countless things to do and see, and it is very family friendly. Now is an even better time to visit Paris than most years. With recent floods damaging the city, prices are low (by Paris standards), the attractions have all reopened, and the people are anxious to show off their great city again. In fact we will be traveling to Paris for a long weekend this summer and can’t wait.

Paris has also been in the news unfortunately in recent months for terrorist attacks; this is an unfortunate reality of the world today. If you are hesitant on traveling to Europe with your kids due to the prospects of a terrorist attack please check out my recent post.

Three Great Days With the Kids in Paris

The Louvre – While you might not think that traveling to The Louvre with kids or babies is a great idea, there is something there for everyone. Much like the Eiffel Tower, it is iconic. Even young kids know what the Mona Lisa is! Once inside you can easily navigate galleries that are varied, well laid out, spacious, and house something that will interest everyone. It is also easy to hit the tourist highlights in only a couple hours if kids are losing patience. The court yard with the glass pyramid is a wide open space to blow off steam as is Les Jardin des Tuileries only minutes away. There you will find playgrounds, a Ferris wheel, fountains and statues. The Louvre coupled with Les Jardins will make up a great day your kids will never forget while satisfying your desires to see, at least the highlights, of one of the world’s great museums. BTW we recommend the Paris Pass to skip the excruciating line!

Latin Quarter – When my wife and I were young and traveling without kids, the left bank was romantic and everything we wanted from Paris. We would sit in a café, sip a coffee or beer, and watch the world go by and then see a bit of Paris that had some dirt under its fingernails in the winding streets. Now that we travel with our kids though, the Latin Quarter represents a lot of diverse, under the radar things, to see within a small geographic area which is easily reachable by metro and easily walkable with kids. Paris has a small but wonderful zoo, La Ménagerie, and the surrounding green space is an ideal place to run around. Within a few minutes’ walk there is the Arènes de Lutèce, an actual Roman amphitheatre in the heart of Paris, which serves not only as a historical site that once held up to 15,000, but neighbourhood kids often kick a ball about and play on the arena floor. It is truly one of Paris’s forgotten treasures. With the Pantheon another few minutes of walking away, you get the tombs of France’s greatest sons and daughters and a very cool temple as well. In between all these sites are cool little take away restaurants for fun, cheap, eats.

Eiffel Tower and Seine River – O.K., so what is a trip to Paris without the Eiffel Tower on the itinerary? I always say that to keep kids interested in traveling, you need to hit homeruns to help get you through the agenda items in which they have less interest. The Eiffel Tower is a homerun. It has everything kids love. It is massive, they will instantaneously recognize it from pop culture, and they will always remember going to the Eiffel Tower. A word of caution with this one, the lines are long, but if you have foresight you can purchase tickets in advance and reserve an entry time. What helps make it a perfect kid’s destination despite the lines is the green space around it and there is a carousel just at the base next to the Seine River. The riverbank is lined with food and ice cream vendors as well as buskers. You can easily fill the rest of your day just strolling by the river like Parisians do.

Another brief warning, pickpockets can be found in this area so be cautious of not only what you do but actions of your little ones that may draw the attention of thieves. You don’t need to be theft proof, just make yourself a harder target than those around you as the thieves will head for the easiest target. A.K.A. Don’t let the kids hold the camera, tablet, and smartphone in their day bag and then constantly take items in and out while shouting at little Johnny or Jane to come over and give you the camera.

There you have three wonderful days with your family in places that the whole family will love and yet a lot of people may not immediately think of taking their kids to visit in Paris. Planning for travels with kids should always include diverse days which include a little something for everyone. Days like this are also an excellent way to optimize your holiday time.

And now the trap…

Bastille Day – It seems like a no brainer, but not everyone, especially kids like fireworks and large crowds. In our experience, all of our children find fireworks too loud. I was really looking forward to this a couple years ago and thought the boy would love it as an end to a couple weeks in Europe. He was 6 at the time and found it way too loud so we did what the Parisians do, watched the remainder of the fireworks on TV, kids in bed, with a couple tetra paks of wine. 😉

Bon Voyage.

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