Too tired, too hungry, too bored? When tiny feet start to drag, it pays to have insider info up your sleeve to keep everyone happy. So, we’ve rounded up a team of local experts to guide you through all the key sights.
Their petit plus? They’re all under 10 years old. Here’s their take on the city’s sweetest attractions.
Racing a wooden sailboat on the gardens’ pond is a rite of passage for petits parisiens. You can rent one on the spot during the school holidays, or on Wednesday afternoons and weekends most of the year. You’ll be out of luck in the winter months though, so make sure to bring your own if you’re itching to hit the water.
The capital’s photogenic river has plenty of appeal for kids, though not due to its quaint vintage book stalls, nor its soppy love locks. Come summer, the Seine transforms into a beachy playground with sand pits, sun-loungers and cooling water sprays to run through. Head to the Bassin de la Villette to burn off excess energy: the giant waterborne hamster ball is a firm favourite.
Rollercoasters aren’t always all that. Slow and steady, Montmartre’s funicular, which ferries visitors up and down the rather steep hill, got our little experts’ votes. It may have something to do with its space-shuttle looks, or the sweeping view of Paris you’re rewarded with on reaching the top. Bring some coins so urban explorers can have a go on the steampunk telescopes.
Even on a rainy day, the zoo is sure to keep little monkeys happy. There’s plenty to do indoors if the weather’s not playing ball. Visit the vivarium’s snappy and slippery residents, or explore the greenhouse to get up close and personal with free-roaming sloths, bats and lemurs. For a special occasion, you can even book breakfast with the giraffes.
Entire afternoons can be whiled away at this Victorian glass-and-steel hall, the soaring centerpiece of the city’s natural history museum. Its menagerie of specimens occupies four floors, from cases of jewel-hued butterflies to vast whale skeletons. Most magical of all is the parade of animals that marches across the first floor: hippos, giraffes and other Jungle Book beasts, led by an immense elephant.
The riverside museum’s train-station past is fascinating for budding engineers, and its collection of 19th and 20th-century art is equally engrossing. Our little art critics’ favourite work? An imposing, almost cartoon-like polar bear, sculpted by Rodin’s assistant François Pompon, who took inspiration from the menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes.
The Galerie des enfants (Kids Gallery) will keep the kids occupied for hours with workshops and exhibitions. The activities, devised to get kids to explore modern art will appeal to children 2 and up.
Teenagers will love Studio 13/16, a social place with workshops carried out by artists and free events. There is even opportunity to meet up with artists and experiment with artistic set-ups.
For more than 92 years the Bouglione family has kept Paris in its thrall with its spectacular circus acts, which have included performers such as Robin Valençia, a female human cannon ball.
This stunning Art Deco cinema holds a behind-the-scenes ‘Studio Tour’. Over-5s can explore the projection room, play with special effects and become the stars of their own take-home film.
A trip to Disneyland® Paris is an unmissable experience for families. The magic kingdom is only 30 minutes from Paris, so it makes the perfect day trip. Book a special Disneyland® Paris deal through our partner Magic Breaks.
Paris has plenty of things to do on a city break with kids.
All the best things to do in Paris in summer
Paris can be just as much fun for a child as for an adult, you just need to know the right places to go.