Paris with kids – Top 5 activities
When you think of going to Paris with young children you automatically think Disney. If you are planning a trip to Disneyland Paris then I would urge you to book a few nights in central Paris too. The culture, the architecture, the food is not just for grown ups to appreciate. There are so many ways to get to Paris, you can fly, get the train, ferry, the Euro Tunnel. Choose your method of transport according to how long you want to spend travelling and how much you want to spend — and which one your kids will enjoy the most.
We stayed in the Royal Garden Champs Elysee which provided us with a central location, beautiful family room (my children were 8 months, 4 and 6 years old) and a charming breakfast area. Here are my 5 favourite things to do in Paris with kids:
1) Eating frites (chips) in the Eiffel Tower. For my son the Eiffel Tower was the best thing about Paris. The sheer height and beauty surrounding it, is enough to excite any child. Taking the lift up is half the appeal for children. Go up to the 2nd floor where there is a small cafe which sells basic drinks and snacks-purchase frites. Eat them whilst admiring the awesome view and combine with hot chocolate to warm you up. When the temperature is 0 degrees as it was in March when we went, this activity is thoroughly enjoyable for adults and children, especially if you may have queued for tickets in the cold. If your children are feeling really brave you could go up to the top floor, weather permitting.
Top tip: Buy your tickets for the lift in advance if you’re visiting on a weekend or in school holidays. If your children are older than you could try the stairs.
2) Paris by Night — you can do this by bus, boat and even car. The shiny, gleaming lights of the city spark a real interest for children in architecture and history, as all the famous monuments are lit up. The most magnificent being Opéra, Notre Dame, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Concorde and of course the Eiffel Tower.
3) Love Locks — Many bridges across the River Seine are bejeweled with these ‘love locks’ which are padlocks that couples have hooked on to the railings to display their affection for each other. You can buy padlocks from stall sellers around the several bridges. My children loved trying to read all the inscriptions on the locks.
Top tip: Keep snacks with you at all times!
4) Eating crepes in a French cafe — Who doesn’t love a crepe? Simply a large, thin pancake filled with all things yummy such as nutella, whipped cream, strawberries or all three if you like. A variety of toppings are available. This is a great thing to do to take a break inbetween all the walking. Paris is really best to explore on foot but this can be tricky with children so small breaks are advisable for refuelling.
Top tip: Try to visit a cafe away from the Eiffel Tower or you will be paying about 8 EUR per crepe.
5) The Metro — Wherever you may want to visit in Paris, taking the Metro there will keep the kids happy and interested. They’ll love the stops, and the announcements. Although not stroller or wheelchair friendly, most of the stations have a very small flight of stairs. They’re nothing compared to the escalators that we have on the Tube in London so carting the stroller up and down wasn’t too bothersome.
We actually walked with the children from Champs Elysee to the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame via the River Seine, all in one day. Of course the children were exhausted as were we, but on the upside they were so starving they ate all their dinner without a fuss!
Top tip: Avoid shopping and museums at all cost!