I have not camped in Paris. I know people that camped at Huttopia near Versailles and liked it. David, thank you for all the effort you put into this web site. It has been a great resource since we moved to Malaysia a year and a half ago with our three kids ages 9, 7, 7. We are getting ready to leave now to come back to the US and are planning a trip through Europe, including Paris. For our last day, my wife would like to spend it at Parc de la Villette, visiting the Science Center and the park itself.
For example in the same park is the Philharmonie de Paris, one of the newest and most unusual buildings that recently opened in and was designed by Jean Nouvel think of him as the French Frank Gehry. As for the other monuments you mentioned, you might be satisfied with a bus or river cruise. Those generally last an hour and allow you to see a number of Parisian highlights in a short time.
Some popular ones are the Vedettes du Pont Neuf and tickets are 5 euros for children under 12 and 11 euros for adults or the Big Bus Tours which costs 16 euros for children and 18 euros for adults. I will be travelling by myself with 2 kids that will be 12 and 9 when we get a chance to go to Paris. We will probably travel for days from NY to France during July as you recommend. If so, do you go for 1 or 2 days? Was there a Paris ferris wheel? Would you recommend going to the Palace of Versailles for a day trip? How hot is it in mid July? Do you recommend Cirque du Soleil — Varekai?
Do you recommend any ballets or operas to see in Paris for kids? Who do you recommend contacting for cooking schools for us? Do you recommend other areas of France outside of Paris to explore during this trip or is it too much to fit in? Thanks so much for all of the information you have provided to others, it has been quite helpful.
Every year the city of Paris trucks in tons of sand to create a beach and boardwalk feel just along the Seine. They have lounge chairs and kids can build sandcastles, all in the center of the city. There are also some great kid-friendly museums, like the Cite des Enfants. The Luxembourg Gardens in particular has a marionette theater with puppet shows 3 times a day during the summer and a pond for sailing small boats.
The Jardin de Tuileries is great because it has a carousel, Shetland pony rides, toy sailboats, and trampolines most of these things do cost a small fee. And just to the west of the Jardin de Tuileries is the Paris ferris wheel, officially called the Concorde big wheel because of its location at the Place de la Concorde. It will be open until September 23 this year. My best advise though would be to try to plan ahead, get passes in advance, and avoid the busiest days which are usually Sundays, Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The weather in mid-July can get quite warm and average temperatures usually fall in the upper 70s to mid- 80s Fahrenheit. Last year there was a big heatwave with record highs into the mid and upper 90s. Most of the time fans do the trick, but the heat and lack of AC is partially why Parisians leave for a month in August. If there are performances in July and you can get tickets then you should definitely go.
As for ballets and operas for kids, the Opera National de Paris has a special section of their website called Young Audiences that lists upcoming ballets, operas, chamber music concerts and events especially geared towards young visitors. You could also try the checking out the calendar for Les Etes de la Danse , a festival devoted to summer dance performances with an emphasis on international dance companies.
Congratulations on your website, and a million thanks! Would it be a good idea to stay at a campsite in Versailles? Or do you think we can easily be outdoors if staying at an apartment? Thanks again Patricia.
Versailles in particular has lots of beautiful forests that are perfect for exploring and close to the Chateau. One campsite in particular is the Huttopia Versailles which is only about a 30 minute train ride to central Paris. They offer lots of onsite amenities such as a swimming pool and bike rentals. The only downside is at that time of year expect it to be very crowded. If you did want to look into renting an apartment, position yourself near either the Bois de Boulogne where the new Louis Vuitton Foundation is or the Bois de Vincennes the largest park in Paris.
Both are excellent if you need some outdoor time and both have lots of Velib stations nearby which allow you to use any of the public bikes for 1. The 12th is a very safe, family friendly district with lots of fun activities like the Parc Zoologique de Paris and the Parc Floral de Paris. Hi David. Really interesting blog. Could you please advise, between Montparnasse and Eiffel Tower, which area is best?
I heard Montparnasse has great cafes etc but the Eiffel is close to the Seine and other tourist spots. Could you please recommend the best places to eat? Is there also something better than Laduree for macaroons? Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you. If you are deciding between the two areas, I would go with the Eiffel Tower. The area around Montparnasse is somewhat dominated by the modern Montparnasse Tower and the large train station.
If you stay near the Eiffel Tower, a very popular place with great food and reasonable prices is Cafe Constant. You will need to book in advance but the food is hearty and the atmosphere a lot of fun. They are known for their Basque specialties and their rice pudding.
The stretch just by Le Bon Marche conveniently has them all practically next door to each other. Chapon is especially known for his chocolate mousse bar which features mousses made from single origin chocolate.
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There are several places with great crepes, one in the Montparnasse area called Creperie Josselin and another in the Marais called Breizh Cafe. I would definitely head over to the Marais so you could hit up Rdt, winner of the best croissant in Paris, and there is now an outpost of the award winning cheesemonger Laurent Dubois there too. For food markets, the biggest one is on Thursdays and Sundays at Bastille. For macarons, please avoid Lauduree and head to Pierre Herme instead. Not only are his macarons much better but if you go on the early side, they might still have some of his fabulous rose water, raspberry, and lychee croissants left.
Travelling first time to Europe with kids gives lot of ideas to ponder, to which your expertise is a big big welcome.. Any other suggestions? Any hotel recommendations? There are a number of museums that are geared just for kids or sections of better known museums that are kid friendly. Musee en Herbe is a small art museum in the 1st arrondisement that caters especially to young children with contemporary art exhibits and workshops where kids can make their own art.
There is a section for kids called the Galarie des Enfants and just outside the museum is the Stravinsky Fountain, a collection of colorful metal sculptures that move and spray water. Catching the RER A train out to Disneyland is fairly straightfoward and it will be easier to do your day trip to Versailles. The train from central Paris to Disneyland is roughly 45 minutes, drops you off right at the park, and costs about 8 euros each way.
He is known for his enormous and intricate chocolate sculptures which always wow kids and adults alike. About a ten minute walk from there is a section of Rue du Bac which has some of the best pastry and chocolate shops in Paris all clustered together. There is a location of the famous Angelina but the highlight is the Patisserie des Reves where everything is pink and the pastries are displayed under a cloche.
Just about a block up is Patrice Chapon , known for his chocolate mousse bar and who used to make ice cream for the Queen of England. As for areas to stay on a budget, I think your best bet is avoid the typically touristy areas like Saint Germain des Pres and position yourself near good metro connections. A great hotel is the Gardette Park Hotel , just across the street from a park with a playground and in a charming neighborhood.
A few other neighborhood standouts are the Square Gardette Restaurant and the excellent coffee shop Beans on Fire. Another worth considering is the Novotel near Gare du Lyon. Though it is near a major train station and one of the stations you can catch the RER A to Disneyland from it has a pool for the kids and is also near one of the best croissants in Paris at Ble Sucre. Both of these areas will be more budget friendly as well as offer lots of choices for restaurants, cafes, etc. I am traveling this April to Paris with my 11 year old. Plan to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Disneyland.
Is it best to take a tour and see all of the landmarks in one day if possible and then one day for Disney? At the Tuileries, you can find trampolines in the Northwest corner and a play area with rope towers and slides. On Wednesdays and weekends they offer toy sailboat rental and pony rides. Chatelet-Les Halles is also one of the biggest metro stations where most of the metro lines intersect, offering you easy access to pretty much anywhere in the city. Since you also mentioned the possibility of taking a tour, which is a great way to knock out most of the major sites in just a few hours, most of the popular bus and boat companies have pick up points in this area.
For example, the Vedettes du Pont Neuf is a one hour cruise offered throughout the day and tickets are only 14 euros for adults and 7 euros for children between Its pick up point is at the Pont Neuf, just south of the Louvre. Since you need to spend at least a day visiting Disneyland, tours like this will free up the rest of your time to enjoy the city. This area also has a number of hotel options, ranging from 5 star properties like Le Meurice to more affordable options such as the Best Western Louvre-Opera. Delighted to have discovered your blog! We have 24 hours in Paris with our 8 and 3 year old girls before heading onto Disney.
We are looking at staying at the Mercure Eiffel Tower, would you recommend this for our needs? Many thanks in advance. The Mercure has a great location for the Eiffel Tower and catching a boat cruise along the Seine. And there are several things within the general vicinity though perhaps a little too far to walk that would be great to check out. Go in the daytime since in the evening the area becomes a popular place to enjoy an after work bottle of wine it remains kid-friendly but does have a different vibe than through the day.
Another fun place to check out is the Rue du Bac, also in the 7th. The stretch south of Boulevard Saint Germain and ending near Le Bon Marche is filled with the best chocolate and pastry shops in the city and the displays are a lot of fun for kids. Standouts are the all pink Patisserie des Reves where pastries are displayed under cloches and Patrice Chapon who used to make ice cream for the Queen of England. He specializes in chocolate and his ice cream skills have been applied to a range of mousses.
There is also a branch of Angelina here, which is famous for their hot chocolate. Another area is the Rue Cler. Though none of the stores are particularly kid-oriented per se, it is a lively street which offers a slice of Parisian life and is full of cafes and specialty shops. Would you recommend the Pullman Hotel Montparnasse at all? We are camping in The Vendee for the middle portion of the holiday and were going to stop for a couple of nights near Le Mans on the way we are getting the Eurotunnel from Dover to Calais , and then stopping in Paris for 2 nights on the way back.
It will be our wedding anniversary whilst we are in Paris so wanted to stay somewhere nice but not astronomically expensive. The added complexity is that we will have the car with us to, so ideally somewhere with convenient parking close by. There are lots of bars and restaurants to serve travelers, but none of them particularly noteworthy. The only exception might be Ciel de Paris on the top floor of the tower.
This parking garage has pretty good weekend deals starting at 38 euros. We are travelling to Paris 3 days on our way to Kenya this January. I would appreciate any tips you have for fun things to do with an 8 and 10 year old in the winter. Of course the museums and churches are wonderful all year round, but if there are any thing with a winter focus, that would be appreciated.
We were there for one gorgeous day in September and saw the Eiffel Tower, did the Seine boat ride, Luxembourg Gardens and walked around before jet lag got the better of us. My kids are fussy eaters, but we are trying to not cater to that too much! January is a great time to visit Paris with kids as there are a lot of holdovers from Christmas still around. One of the most special are the ice skating rinks that pop up all over the city as soon as winter hits. In previous years they have been in front of the Hotel de Ville and inside the Grand Palais.
This year you can skate on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower open until February and also at the nearby Trocadero plaza open until January 3rd. The ferris wheel is located at Place de la Concorde and this year will stay up until about March 1. If you are around at the early part of January, you absolutely have to take your kids to the Galeries Lafayette. This will be open until January 5. Thank-you for your winter ideas. I wish we arrived earlier than the 19th of January to see the markets — next trip!
But we have now put ice skating on the agenda. I was looking into the Winter Circus but there does not seem to be any shows during the week in January — did I interpret that correctly? We leave Sat morning. If you had to choose between July and October to visit Paris which would you choose. What would you suggest? Also, we have 2 picky eaters. Is American-friendly food hard to find in Paris? Are there a few restaurants you would recommend for American families? Thanks for the info — Charlie. I would go in July. October can be a great month but July is a beautiful time in Paris and more to do outside.
Paris Plage opens in July and is a series of beaches and water play areas along the river but not in the river that is open to the public. Picnicing outside in the summer is also very popular. October can have good weather but you also have to be prepared for rain and grey.
July typically has very nice weather though can get hot too. Cafes and brassieres that serve hamburgers and chicken dishes are everywhere and it seems like just about every meal comes with fries. Parisians typically vacation in August and that is when the city is at its quietest as far as local culture, shops, and restaurants. Some things close. Hi David, Amazing tips!!! Lovely boys! Is there anyway besides the stairs to climb to Sacre Coeur?
Any better suggestions? Or we are just dreaming? Nights can be quite chilly. Think layers. There are sections with cobblestoned streets that are not. Metro typically has lots of stairs and narrow walkways that are difficult with a stroller. Buses are better. When you have a stroller you can board through the rear everyone else boards through the front.
There is an open space by the rear door that is just for strollers perhaps, wheelchairs too. Do it. We want to stay in a lively area of Paris, good restaurants, Paris life, central to the main attractions except the Eiffel Tower which was saw on a day trip last year so no need to see again. Which area would you recommend? When should we arrive before departure time? Do the train stations sell food that we can buy for the train trip? Marais, for sure. Not even close. Marais has a much more central location walking distance to many top sites , a cool vibe, and lots of great restaurants.
Montmartre is not terrible but very touristy, tacky, and lots of average or below average restaurants. Get to your London train with plenty of time to spare: 60 to 90 minutes before departure. Also, check in for the Eurostar is upstairs. Do not go to the main train board and wait for your train to appear in the listing — it never will. The Gare du Nord has lots of food options.
Buy food before you check in and go through the waiting area. You stop at a 5 or 6 different specialty shops as you walk and then sit down for a meal at the end. Both tours are great. Several of the posts have been quite helpful for my travel there next may. I have my family of 3 and another family of 4. I am a retired US military officer and I have heard of discounted hotels for military families, do you know of economical lodging for families this size, military? I have not heard of military discounts for families outside of the US.
Are taxis easy to get at the Paris Airport Charles de Gaulle? Hi David Great blog. Where do you think would be a good location? Thanks much! I would highly recommend the Gardette Park Hotel — good sized rooms, nice playground across the street, and not too expensive for Paris. We are considering visiting Paris for the first time to spend Christmas this year. We are family of 6 grandparents, aunt, parents and 3 and a half year old boy. I am worried that it will be too cold for my son as we would like to do sightseeing. Can you comment on the weather and if it would be a good time to visit with a young child?
Also, since we would be there for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, any recommendations on where to stay and what to do on those two holidays? Paris at Christmas can be great with kids — though it can be cold, so be prepared for pretty much any kind of wintery weather.
There are Christmas lights and displays everywhere. On Haussmann boulevard there are department store windows and the tree Inside Galeries Lafayette that are wonderful. Oh wow. My family and I will be going in August and this post just open up so many ideas of places to visit and I cant wait. Our girls 5 and 8 will be having lots of fun specially the little one turning 6 in paris. Also we will be visiting Disneyland. I think I am the most exicted adult ever hahaha. See you in August Paris. I am coming to Paris around 3pm, what do you suggest to cover for the rest of the day from 4PM onwards, as the next 2 days will be visiting Paris Disney and will leave on 4th day early morning.
I would visit the Eiffel Tower check online to see if tickets are available for your dates or a boat tour along the river Seine — or both. We are a family of 6 4 children age 9,11,15,15 that will be staying in Paris for 4 night in October. We are looking for a place to stay, preferably an apartment hotel or similar. Do you have any good recommendations within the budget range of euro per night.
Great location near metro. Really nice of you to share your experience. We are travelling to Paris for the first time, as a family, with our 3 tean-age boys. The main focus of the trip is to get the boys to explore, get to know and enjoy the city itself. Any advice? Option 1 : Stay in a location that will be convenient to both locations and do day tours of disneyland. Option 2 : Stay in Paris arrondissement 6 1st choice and move out to disney and then move back into the same pension.
Option 3 : Stay in the Disney area and do day trips to Paris. Least attractive option. Staying in Paris is the key to enjoying the city so I would do a variation of option 2 but with one suggestion: stay at different places for your first and second stays. You see and experience a different side of Paris depending on where you stay. We are a family of two adults and a child of 5 years. Visiting Europe for the first time and choose to go to Paris. My daughter is very fond of Eiffel tower and Disney stuff.
What is your recommendation, should we stay in one of the hotel in Disney location or it will be far away from other nice places. Plan to stay in Paris for three nights. We are not very good in terms of long distance walks. It depends where more of your interest lies. If you want to spend 2 of your 3 days in Paris then stay in Paris.
The Tower is only a short walk from there. I am brining my 3 year old son to Paris mid-May. I would like to do a little shopping for me, like a bag or a wallet and then take my son to the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and a couple of museums. Any suggestions on a safe and kid-friendly hotel as well as some fun activities? Many thanks, Kate. There are many areas of Paris that have good shopping so you have a fair bit of flexibility there.
The Westin is a great hotel that is walking distance to shopping of the Champs-Elysees, some large department stores, and the Louvre, and easy access to the metro for getting around Paris. We are family of 4 2 adults, 15 year old and 19 year old first time visiting Paris for 3 nights.
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We will coming in to Gare Du Nord from London. We wish to visit Eiffel tower, Louve museum, palace de versailes and may be evening in good neighboorhood with some shopping and good places to eat. Mostly we want to walk or rent a bike to move around. We also want to try illumination river tour….. Once we get out of the hotel, we wont be going back until late evening…. Gare du Nord area would be fine as there is a metro stop there with good connections around the city but you do not want to stay at the airport — you want to be in central Paris. The real trouble will be finding a room large enough within your budget.
Hi My family and I will be spending 5 nights in Paris.
Where would you recommend we stay? Do you know when the beaches are open? Can you swim at the beaches? Is there a charge? The beaches are free. There is not swimming in the Seine but some of the spots have a pool. There are mist showers, paddle boats, sand castles, play areas, ice cream kiosks.
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Lots of fun. The beaches are open from 9am to midnight. We are trying to decide between a December, visit or a July, visit. We are coming from Australia and are a family of 4 ages 10 and Is it cold in December in Paris? Is it too hot in July? When would you visit? The dates would be July 1 to 20 or December 20 to January Thanks Jane. They are both great times to visit but, of course, very different.
In December, yes it can be cold and even snow. But it can be surprisingly pleasant too. There are fewer visitors specifically in early January when the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and other popular attractions will have far shorter lines. You can picnic outside and go for walks without gloves and hats and enjoy outdoor Paris like you see in the movies. The city makes sandy beaches along the Seine that are a lot of fun and kids love. We have 1 week in Paris with a 9 year old. We are most concerned with the location of the hotel, not so much the quality.
We have promised him we can go up twice, once on the stairs and once on the elevators. These will be on 2 separate days. My question is: With such an emphasis on the Eiffel Tower should we find a hotel close to it or is it easy to get to from all points in the city?
Is it easy to walk to the Eiffel Tower from the Latin Quarter? The Eiffel Tower is easy to get from nearly all central places in the city. Walking from the Latin Quarter to the Eiffel Tower is about 45 minutes. Perhaps a little more with a child and more again if you take the more scenic route along the river. Ask the info desk for the meeting place for guided tours. They will direct you to an area off the main lobby. As you enter, there is a desk to the left where people check in and get earphones. Turn right instead and there is a hallway with about ten little rooms where groups gather.
The rooms are quiet, cool, dimly-lit and rarely in use. Settle in, have a snack, maybe even close your eyes. If people start arriving for a tour, find another room if you still need time to chill out. I enjoyed reading your post and wish I have read it before we hitted the road to Paris. We drove from Italy Trieste to Paris with our 4 years old son. My husband had to work so I spent time alone sightseeing with my son around Paris. I did most things you have written here.
We enjoyed very much our time in Paris although we got so much rain. Many friends asked me about tips of travelling with kids to Paris so I wrote them in my Facebook with some photos. I saw that you visited Thailand too;-. It was fun reading about your posts and also comments from your readers given that I am from Thailand but living in Italy. I thought it would be fun to find a restaurant that is known for their birthday celebrations. Hate to say it but with the exception of Le Train Bleu, these are all terrible suggestions. Bad food, high prices. Any six year old girl worth her salt can go to an adult restaurant.
If not, go to a neighborhood cafe and have steak frites. Or try any of the crepe places on rue Montparnasse. You can do so much better than these chains. Personally I would go to a neighborhood cafe like yourself but these are found without any effort and so hardly need to be singled out. We have a month vacation time in France with our kids who will have just turned 4 and 6.
Would you stay in Paris the whole time in one apartment or would you break it up and move around more? The longer you stay in one spot in this case, Paris the better you get to know it and the more you explore the attractions that are off-the-beaten-track. Of course, the more you move around the more places you get to see — which also has its appeal. I very much enjoyed reading your post before a trip to Paris with my two kids 5 and 8 this summer. Our family also enjoyed the playground at Luxembourg gardens very much.
As a mother, I was thrilled that the park was fenced and that I could actually sit down for a moment. The little game on the carousel is pretty fun too! I have written about our adventure. Should you ever consider visiting Paris again, do let me know, I have a terrific list of playgrounds, literally scattered all over this town. The Paris Metro is only free for little kids…under four and yours look a lot older than that. Half price tickets are available in a carnet booklet of ten for kids between four and ten. Do not cheat the system. If you do, you risk major fines payable on the spot. Good to know Fred.
On numerous occasions during our trip I had to ask for help buying tickets or for the ticket agent to let us through the gate and no one questioned whether they should have tickets. Having a hotel near a subway station and buying Eiffel tickets in advance are both musts. I love comments over me. In the Louvre Museum there is small leaflet only in French with nice theme to discover the museum with kids.
Even with a really low French level I think it is nice to have a look on it or ask for it, as they keep them like precious document at the central information desk. Have to say as a mum to three kids living in Paris for 7 years I would have to say my fave activity in Paris with kids is the Luxembourg Gardens hands down. Well apart from family photo sessions with me of course!!
The only thing missing is good coffee. Great list for a few days stop in Paris. Any idea what beaches are good along the north Atlantic coast. Just planning my trip sort of last minute for September for Paris and Belgium. Need a couple ideas if you can give me some. Cities like Paris are incredible and great for kids to experience.
I went through Europe when I was a kid a few times with my parents. It was great and I still have memories and photos from those trips that I revisit pretty regularly. Mind blowing. The lake at the camp site with the German kids swimming. Get their early, of course. And visit as many bakeries as your tummy and wallet will allow. The bread and pastries are so much better than back home.
I am liking this too. And Paris is very good with children. I wish finding a good playground were easier. I like visiting New York City because the playgrounds for kids are everywhere but in Paris much more difficult. In the morning there are museums or sightseeing or a lovely stroll through St. And this is a great page. The big glaring one missing for me would be the museum of natural history, particularly the evolution part, but I guess it depends what way your tastes run.
My children love it. The kids love the boats on the Seine too, probably the highlight for them. And renting bikes. I got 2 new ideas from this. Parents love it. Kids love it. We usually spend 3 or 4 days before plane or train to somewhere in southern Europe. There is nothing like Paris. I love the smell of the air, and walking down the narrow cobblestoned streets with a delicious French Baguette in hand. The croissants, the pate, the cheese I could just go on since in Paris you never run out of things to do or see!
Thanks for this. But the very best months to visit are from late April to early October excluding August. Paris has a shortage of good rooms for families. The best areas in Paris for families are Saint Germain central, loads of shops and restaurants , Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondissement quieter, slower paced, village-like feel, but still close to many attractions and the Eiffel Tower , and the Marais less touristy, hip and trendy but still family-friendly. The Gardette Park Hotel — just beyond the Marais district in the 11th arrondissement but still walking distance or a quick metro ride to sights and attractions.
A great playground and park are right across the street. Nice pool and located right at the park entrance. Disneyland is 45 minutes by train from central Paris.
To save time and money on the metro buy a booklet of 10 tickets called a carnet. They cost Any one ride can last 90 minutes and include transfers. Kids ages 4 to 10 save even more money when buying the carnet since they must pay adult prices for single tickets 1. Kids 3 and under are free on the Paris metro. The best playground on the right bank is at the Tuileries Garden.
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Le Bristol — luxury Beautiful spacious rooms. The Westin Paris Vendome — luxury Very close to the Renaissance also kid-friendly but here you exchange the swimming pool for a larger room and suites are larger still. Hotel phone: 33 1 5. Gardette Park Hotel — moderate This is a great mid-range hotel and one of my favorites in Paris for families on a budget. Best Western Paris Louvre Opera — moderate Family suites are 2 interconnected rooms each with twin beds. Novotel Paris Tour Eiffel — moderate Chain hotel that has clean simple rooms with friendly service. Frommer's Athens and the Greek Islands.
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