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Top Ten Things to Do in Paris with Kids

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Paris is a fantastic city to visit with kids. In this post, I’ve listed ten activities which are fun, interesting and relatively light, so that kids can really enjoy them without getting super tired.

Of course, the beauty of Paris is that many attractions can be visited with kids, one way or the other.

But we don’t want to just drag them there, do we? We want to make sure they really ENJOY themselves and also digest what we are showing to them, not just yawn half the time.

I’ve included both indoor and outdoor activities to ensure that you have choices for both good and bad weather. The list contains a couple of smaller art museums which would be of interest to kids.

Disneyland Paris.

On the list of things to do in Paris with kids, this is the top choice by far. To take your children to Paris and not take them to Disneyland would be … not very nice.

Any kid on Earth would love a trip to the incredible Disneyland Paris. So, whether you want it or not, you’ll be heading there for at least a day. And possibly several days.

Before your trip

To get into Disneyland Paris, you need to buy your tickets online. They are not available at the gate anymore. I suggest getting tickets in advance as the park gets very crowded on some days, especially weekends and in summer. There might be no tickets left.

You can get dated tickets with an option to cancel them for free up to 3 days in advance. If you are not quite sure which date(s) you want to spend at Disneyland, you can buy an undated ticket. It’s a little more expensive but it still might be worth it.

Before heading to Disneyland, I suggest investigating the Disneyland Paris website and downloading the Disneyland app on your smartphone. It includes the map and gives you all the information about rides, restaurants, hotels etc. Without the app, there is little you’ll be able to do at the park.

Can you just go to Disneyland Paris for 1 day?

Disneyland Paris is not nearly as large as Disney World in Orlando. So, you don’t need a week to explore it. Nevertheless, it’s quite sizeable and it’s beneficial to come for several days. Disney website recommends spending 3 full days (2 days at Parc Disneyland and 1 day at Walt Disney Studios). I think it’s about right.

Can you go for just 1 day? Is it still worth it?

Of course! A short trip to Disneyland is always better than no trip at all.

From personal experience, 1 day is not enough to get a full experience of the park, but it’s sufficient to see the main highlights. And buy a lots of nice gifts for kids 🙂

Keep in mind that there are many rides and lines are quite long. You might have to rush through. But you can still get it to work, especially if you only explore one park (Parc Disneyland). You can always go back and explore Disneyland Paris even more during your next trip to France.

If you only have one day, my advice is to get to the park early in the morning. It opens at 9:30 am. Once you get there, pick several rides which you really want to do and a show you’re most interested in. You might want to opt for a quick snack at one of the snack shops rather than a sit down lunch. There are plenty of stores selling cookies, soft drinks and various pastries. Make sure to also allot enough time to stop at one of the gift shops. There are so many great gifts there that you will need at least 30-40 minutes shopping.

Some of the main attractions which everyone enjoys are the Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the Peter Pan Flight, Meet Mickey Mouse, Big Thunder Mountain, Madhatter’s Tea Cups, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. You can check waiting times on the app. These are usually from 30 minutes to more than an hour. It you think the wait is too long, try another ride.

Where to stay?

If you have the time and want to spend several days at Disneyland, you’d be better off staying close to the park. It’s a bit far away from the center of the city where many other attractions are. There are plenty of choices on the Disney website and app. Some of the hotels around Disneyland are Disneyland Hotel Paris, Hotel Cheyenne, and others. The app gives you a good idea about the hotels available and distances to main attractions.

If you are only coming for one day, I don’t recommend staying close to Disneyland. It’s better to stay centrally so that you are close to other attractions. If you leave central Paris early in the morning, you can still get to Disneyland Paris in good time and see a lot.

How do you get to Disneyland from Central Paris?

The most flexible and cost-effective way to get to Disneyland Paris is by metro (RER A Train). It only costs 5.5 euros each way (kids under 10 pay half-price and kids under 4 come for free). The trip takes about 45 minutes.

Some other options are available, but more expensive ones. You can take an Uber (~65 euros one way) or Disney shuttle (65 euros roundtrip for each adult/kid in the family). Keep in mind that Disney shuttle only leaves in the morning and comes back in the evening, so there is no flexibility. If your family needs a little more time to prepare, you might miss your bus.

All in all, the RER A train is the most convenient option and there is no need to overpay.

Parc Zoologique de Paris.

Malayan tapir at the Paris zoological park

We all know, kids love zoos. And Paris has a lovely zoo which will for sure be of interest to your kids. It’s one of the oldest zoos in the world (opened in 1974). Many buildings there are classified as historical monuments.

The Paris zoo is not very large, but it has a nice exhibition of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. In total, the zoo houses about 1,200 animals (180 species). The key feature is that all the enclosures mirror the animals’ native ecosystems, making their life as close as possible to the one they would have in the wild.  Kids will enjoy looking at monkeys, tapir, horses, ostriches, lynx, lions, and other animals.

My daughter especially liked the Malayan tapir, as she had not seen this type of animal at any other zoo we visited (and we’ve been to many!) These herbivorous animals are native to the jungles of Southeast Asia and South and Central America. All four species of tapir which exist are classified as either endangered or vulnerable.

The Paris zoo is located next to the botanical gardens which are also a good place to visit with kids. The opening hours vary by season. In spring, the zoo is open from 9:30 am till 6 pm, and on weekends and holidays it’s open till 7:30 pm.

The Eiffel Tower.

Clearly, every kid, big or small, will enjoy the trip up the Eiffel Tower. Even before coming to Paris, most kids have heard about it from various TV shows or from school. They’ve likely seen pictures of this famous tower- the symbol of Paris. So they are definitely eager to go all the way to the top, take some photos and videos and then brag to their friends about it.

Make sure you buy tickets online in advance as good time slots fill up quickly. If you want to use the stairs, it’s a different story. But if you want to go by elevator all the way to the top, you need to book at least several days in advance (and preferably as early as possible). Since you can buy a ticket for a specific time, you won’t need to wait very long in line to get on the elevator.

Looking down from the tower is a lot of fun and your kids will remember this activity for a long time. You can look together at various landmarks of Paris and see if the kids can already name some. Keep in mind that in order to go down, you will need to wait in line. There are no time slots and people just go down whenever they are ready. It often gets crowded.

Luxembourg gardens.

Luxembourg gardens are beautiful at any time of the year and attract thousands of visitors daily. Your kids will be delighted to spend their morning or afternoon in these gardens as there are plenty of children’s activities there.

The Luxembourg gardens were inspired by the Boboli gardens in Florence. They were established back in 1612 at the initiative of Queen Marie de Medici. The Queen was growing tired of the Louvre. She wanted to enjoy an Italian style palace and gardens which would remind about her happy youth in Florence (she was in her late thirties at that time).

Today, Luxembourg garden is one of the most visited landmarks of Paris where families can relax and enjoy a nice day. The gardens cover 25.7 hectares of land. There are 3,000 trees and 102 statues and sculptures. The gardens offer many activities for kids, including a lovely playground (paid), a puppet theater, a pond with model yachts, tennis, and even pony rides.

There is a restaurant and plenty of kiosks selling food, snacks and toys. The access to the garden is free for the public.

L’Orangerie.

Being in Paris and not visiting at least one or two museums with your kids just does not feel right.

The Musee d’Orangerie is not a very obvious choice, yet it’s perfect for children for several reasons.

First, it’s relatively small in size. Second, this museum has a nice playroom for kids. It is free and kids can draw and make different crafts there. In addition, the museum provides a nice booklet for kids which explains the style of each famous painter in plain language. When walking around the exhibition, you can refer to the guide and study paintings together with your child.

The exhibition is largely concentrated on two floors (the first one showing the famous water lilies by Claude Monet and the basement housing the works of famous impressionists like Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and others). Overall, very nice experience and I highly recommend it.

Chateau de Fontainebleau

Again, not the most obvious choice, but our family actually found this day trip from Paris quite enjoyable and fun. The train trip to Fontainebleau from Gare de Lyon is quite easy (about 45 minutes) and fun for kids. The grounds around the castle are perfect for walking and running around. The entrance to the grounds is free, but you have to pay if you’d like to walk around the castle (the exhibition is very interesting, so I would definitely suggest going in).

Because of distance from Paris, there are not too many tourists, so you won’t find large crowds at Fontainebleau (compared to Versailles, for example). Make sure to check out a lovely pond on the property. There are plenty of carps, ducks and swans which will greatly appeal to the kids. You can come to Fontainebleau for a day with your kids, and I’m sure they’ll have a blast there.

If you want to learn more about Fontainebleau, feel free to check out my blog post: Guide to Visiting Chateau de Fontainebleau.

Elizabeth chilling at Chateau de Fontainebleau

River Seine Cruise

The boat cruise along the Seine is always a special treat and kids would absolutely love it. There are many companies offering boat rides, like Bateaux Mouches, Bateaux Parisiens, Vedettes de Pont Neuf, Batobus etc., so you have a lot of choices. You can try a regular cruise or a dinner cruise and can get on the boat in different parts of the city, so it’s very convenient.

We’ve been on Bateaux Mouches several times, but this year we picked Vedettes Du Pont Neuf. The ride was magnificent, and we spent 1 hour cruising along the Seine and observing the gorgeous monuments like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Royal Bridge, Musee d’Orsay, and many others.

There are always a lot of people going on these cruises, so I suggest getting on the boat as soon as the ride opens in order to get a good seat. Our ride was starting at 4 pm and we got on the boat at 3:20 pm. There were already a lot of people and by approximately 3:40 pm all the seats on the upper deck were taken.

Musee d’Orsay.

Compared to some other museums in Paris, the exhibition of Musee d’Orsay is rather manageable in size and offers a good variety. It’s also easy to navigate, making a good candidate for a visit with kids.

The venue for this popular museum is the former Orsay train station. Starting with 1900, it ran services to Paris from southwest France. The station was gradually abandoned and eventually turned into a museum. Here you can find artwork of such famous painters as Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Winterhalter, Cezanne, and others. Perfect mix.

To make the visit more fun for my daughter, we organized a sort of a scavenger hunt, trying to find the famous artwork as quickly as possible. At the entrance you can get the museum map which lists the must see paintings and sculptures and floors where they are located. There are 25 masterpieces on the plan.

It’s lots of fun walking around and checking off the art works you’ve found. I must say we were not able to find a few items no matter how hard we looked, but we found most of them. Our favorite one was Madame Rimsky-Korsakov by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1864). If you want to know more about this painting and some other masterpieces in Paris museums, check out my blog post: Ten Must See Artworks in Paris and Amazing Stories Behind Them.

Scavenger hunt at Musee d’Orsay

Parc Monceau

Parc Monceau is a gorgeous public park in Paris and a great place to take your kids as it has excellent play areas. It’s open from sunrise till sunset. Its area covers 20 acres.

This park was established by Philippe d’Orleans, Duke of Chartres, cousin of the King Louis XVI. He started acquiring the land for the park back in 1769 and decided to create the public park on this land in 1778. Parc Monceau was designed in the English style: Philippe enjoyed all things English and was good friends with the Prince of Wales (who later became King George IV).

Parc Monceau is very green and contains a pond with water lilies, curved walkways, a Chinese fort, a Dutch windmill, various bridges, as well and statues of famous Frenchmen, such as Guy de Mopassan and Frederic Chopin. Many painters have tried to reflect the beauty of Parc Monceau in the works, most notably Claude Monet who painted 6 views of this park back in 1876 and 1878.

This park is frequented by many kids and is also a popular place to exercise and relax. You can see a lot of people jogging, doing yoga or reading a book on the bench. For kids, Parc Monceau boasts an excellent playground, a sandbox, a carousel based on the Jules Vernes  Around the World in 70 Days theme, some swings, as well as pony rides on weekends and public holidays. Kids will also be happy to watch the ducks, turtles and fish in the pond.

There are plenty of kiosks which sell various snacks like ice cream and waffles. The park also has dedicated areas for riding bikes. This is a great place to have a picnic on a warm day and spend a relaxing afternoon.

Walk around Paris

If you have sufficient time, you can just devote one of the mornings or afternoons to walking around Paris and enjoying what you see. There are hundreds of things to marvel at, so I’m not going to prescribe where exactly to go. But I’ll put forward a couple of ideas.

One option could be to go to Montmartre with its gorgeous cobbled streets, cozy bistros, green gardens, and artistic atmosphere, as well as landmarks such as the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and the Moulin Rouge.

Another idea could be to cross the Pont Alexander III, one of the most famous bridges in Paris renowned for its beauty. Then go past the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, stroll along the Champs Elysees, visit Galeries Lafayette to buy some new outfits for the kids, eat at some bistro, and take photos with the Arc de Triopmphe.

Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong. Paris will never disappoint you!

The Final Word

In case you have some extra time, you can certainly visit Louvre or Versailles which are some of the top attractions in Paris. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that they are very large and hard even for adults to conquer. They will require a lot of walking around. These might be more appropriate for older kids.

I hope you get a chance to visit Paris soon and explore it with your family. We are certainly going back again. No matter how often you visit Paris and learn about it, there is still a lot to discover.

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7 thoughts on “Top Ten Things to Do in Paris with Kids”

  1. My family used to go to Paris a couple of times when I was a kid. One of my favourite family memories was EuroDisney so I’m sure it would be your daughter’s as well. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Chateau de Fontainebleau so I think this would be a great addition for my next visit. I think this is great for families and couples alike!

  2. Paris is fantastic to visit with a kid or several. We’ve been several times to Disneyland Paris with our son (it’s a 5 to 6 hour car ride for us). The Eiffel Tower will be favorite by every kid I would guess.

  3. My family never had the time to visit Disneyland Paris before, and we practically missed most on your list, so I’m guessing it’s a good chance to go back again soon. Thanks for this list.

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