A Guide to Visiting Paris with Kids
Audrey Hepburn said it best, Paris is always a good idea! And we couldn’t agree more. We spent a week here on our first family trip overseas, and it did not disappoint. We had fabulous meals, met the friendliest of the French, and accomplished one heck of an itinerary.
Luxembourg Gardens. These breathtaking gardens are right in the middle of the city and have a little something for everyone. A huge playground (you have to pay to use, but not much and very worth it) is a great place to bring your kids, really of all ages. We saw some parents playing on a ropes course and were very entertained when their kids did better than they did! Our girls loved it too, and how different it looks than playgrounds back home.
The Luxembourg Palace is not to be missed for it’s beautiful architecture and landscaping around it. The grounds are kept clean and perfectly manicured. It is a great place to run around and take plenty of pictures. We didn’t go inside, the views & weather were too nice to miss out!
Palace of Versailles. There really are no words to describe this palace and its grounds. At a whopping 720,000 square feet, it’s pretty safe to say we’ve never visited a larger residence. On the property, you can walk the 2,000 acres of manicured shrubs, trees, paths, and flower beds. We spent an entire day outside walking around and didn’t even make it to tour the interior of the palace. It happened to be Chris’s birthday so we celebrated here! Not a bad birthday location 🙂
Unfortunately, Marie Antoinette’s hamlet and a few other things were closed the day we visited, so it’s definitely on our list of things to come back and see!
The town of Versailles is also really cute and a must-see while visiting. Versailles is about 30 minutes outside of Paris so it’s something you’ll want to plan ahead so that you can make the most of your day here. It has a small town vibe and easy to walk around.
Eiffel Tower. The most iconic attraction on the list is the Eiffel Tower. We spent a lot of time here on several different days and loved each time. The lawn is well manicured and there is plenty of room for a picnic or playing in the flowers. You will find plenty of security walking around this major tourist hotspot, so don’t be alarmed. We didn’t feel the need to stand in line and bring the girls to the top on this trip (Chris and I have done it before) so maybe another time in the future we’ll take the girls.
If your schedule allows, try to visit during the day as well as the night. The lights on the tower sparkle like diamonds and it’s simply wonderful. We weren’t able to stay up late enough to go, but we saw it from a distance and it was beautiful. Definitely at the top of our list for our next visit back!
Carousels. Never in my life have I seen so many carousels around a city. We rode the one by the Eiffel Tower most frequently, but then stumbled upon a few more in various spots around town. Of course, we rode them all 🙂
Disneyland. Disney is in PARIS! What a magical day we had here and so glad we went! The park is about an hour outside of Paris, so we caught a cab and made our way there! The girls are both still under 3, so they enter for free, and ride most everything! The character parade started at 5pm, and after that, it seemed like most small kids left. Which ended up being great for us because the rides we wanted to take the girls on had little to no line at all. Olivia’s favorite ride was Dumbo and Adele’s was the carousel. Watch our YouTube video below, or click here!
Here are some quick tips: plan to meet any characters early in the day since they are all in the parade and then don’t come back out for a meet & greet, look in advance at ride conditions as some are being updated, use your FastPass (free) and lastly, get ready to have a very magical day!
Seine River Cruise. This was recommended to us by Suitcases & Sandcastles, and so glad we listened! It ended up being one of Chris’s favorites. We did this on Day 2, and it really helped to get a feel for the city. We boarded the cruise near Notre Dame and basically had it to ourselves. The girls ran around the back of the boat and we were able to take in all the sites and enjoy the ride.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. What a spectacular cathedral, inside & out! Located next to the river makes it an easy landmark to visit. The amount of stained glass windows here is breathtaking, not to mention the level of detail displayed throughout. We also loved the gardens behind the cathedral and had a great time watching Adele run around and meet other visitors.
Arc de Triomphe. This beautiful structure is in the middle of a large roundabout with plenty of main roads leading to it. We drove through it a few times in taxi’s and I was always so surprised how easily the French seem to navigate through this level of congestion!
We never made it to the Arc, just saw it in passing several times throughout the week. You must enter by crossing under the street, because the amount of traffic surrounding it is like nothing else. With two toddlers and a huge double stroller, going down stairs and then back up again was too much. Until next time…
Champs Élysées. If you are coming to Paris to shop, then this is your street! I couldn’t think of a store that doesn’t have a location here. Hands-down, the Rubio’s favorite store was Ladurée. We aren’t so big into shopping (not with two toddlers and too many trips in the works) but we are big into sweets & treats! Our favorite macarons were Marie Antoinette tea, Salted Caramel, and Lemon.
Rue Cler. This is the cutest little Parisian street with open markets and an abundance of cafés. We sat outside and had a fantastic lunch at Café Central (get the scallop risotto), just after stopping to buy the girls some strawberries, blackberries & baby bananas at the market.
Roue de Paris. Our first family ferris wheel ride, and not the last! We had so much fun on this birds eye view of Paris and highly recommend it! Olivia loved trying to find different landmarks and we enjoyed getting a panoramic view of the city.
Palais de la Découverte. We visited this museum because it started raining and we just weren’t ready to go back to the hotel yet! They showcased a Mars exhibit and a dinosaur exhibit, which somewhat scared Olivia. The girls also enjoyed playing with electricity and visiting the Astronomy exhibits. Take note – this museum does not have an elevator so stairs are the only way to get around all 3 floors.
Galeries Lafayette. In case you’re looking for another indoor activity to do, shopping at Galeries Lafayette isn’t your typical shopping mall experience. For starters, it has just about every high fashion designer you can imagine selling perfume, jewelry & watches, toys, books, clothing, and shoes. The best part, in my opinion, is the rooftop where you’ll see amazing views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. The astroturf ground made for a fun racing platform for the girls!
Louvre Museum. Since we were visiting Paris with two toddlers, we didn’t even attempt to enter the Louvre. However, we had just as much fun outside as any other person there. Olivia met a little boy and they played by the fountains, not even understanding each other’s languages! Too cute!
Parc Monceau. We stumbled upon this park one day and couldn’t believe how beautiful a Paris public garden could be. We spent some time at the playground and rode a carousel here. The homes surrounding this local park were total eye candy and would make anyone wonder what it’s like to be Parisian.
Dining. One of the best things about Paris is that there is a restaurant or café or patisserie at every turn. All of them are good and all of them have a view. With the amount of walking you’ll accomplish in a day, treat yourself as often as possible! For us, we made it happen when both girls fell asleep in the stroller. Every single time, we stopped for a coffee or bite to eat so that we felt like we had a “date” while out & about in Paris. Some of our favorite meals were at Chez Francis (order the filet), Cafe du Metro (order their Croque Monsieur), and Cafe Central (order the scallop risotto).
What did we miss that we should add for our itinerary next time? We want to hear from you!