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Even the most well behaved of children will eventually rebel at being dragged around another museum, so it makes sense to stay in a child-friendly area of Paris where there’s plenty for them to do.

Some good areas to stay with children are the 5th, the 12th and the 19th.

The 5th arrondissement

This district is on the left bank of the Seine and is quite studenty and relaxed, perfect for older kids. There are lots of cheap and cheerful restaurants along rue Mouffetard and a great street market to browse.

The food market on Place Monge opens on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, so get the kids to practice their French as you buy what you need for a picnic. Then head to the Jardin des Plantes and explore the gardens and visit the Menagerie - one of the oldest zoos in the world, dating back to 1794. The Natural History Museum is also in the park, spread out across several buildings so you won't run out of things to do.

The 12th arrondissement

The 12th district is on the outer east side of Paris, away from the very touristy areas and the sky-high hotel prices. With lots of green space in the nearby Bois de Vincennes, along with the Paris Zoo, horse riding, play areas and football pitches, there's something to entertain kids of all ages. 

It’s also on a direct RER line to Disneyland Resort Paris, just 30 mins away so, if you fancy a day in the Magic Kingdom, rather than an entire holiday, it's the perfect compromise.

The 19th arrondissement

The 19th is in the north east of Paris and is bisected by the Canal de l’Ourq. At its outer edge, Parc de la Villette is a massive urban park with horse riding, event spaces, music venues, playgrounds and child-friendly activities. 

If you prefer to stay closer to the centre, the area around the Buttes-Chaumont Park is just a few metro stops from the Gare du Nord. The park has a waterfall and amazing views over Paris from the top of the hill. The area is up and coming with new shops and restaurants springing up all around the park.

Where to stay

  • Marché Rue Mouffetard

    Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris

    As one of the oldest markets in Paris, and in one of the most architecturally interesting areas, this food market is well worth a visit. Its Latin Quarter location is upmarket and boasts wonderful medieval history, including a 12th-century church.

    The market itself entices customers with its array of fresh fruits and bread, as well as organic and fair-trade produce for you to take home and cook up a storm.

  • La Fourmi Ailée

    8 rue du Fouarre, 75005

    Housed inside an old feminist bookshop, the Fourmi Ailée is a restaurant serving traditional French dishes like blanquette de veau (veal stew) and salads. In the afternoons, the vintage book-lined space becomes a laidback tea room.

  • L’Escargot

    50 rue de la Villette, 75019 Paris

    If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon this beautiful, incredibly local bistro, you’re in for a treat. Not only is it authentic but extremely cheap for the capital. Sample pigs’ cheeks, beef steak, lamb shank and, of course, escargots.

    This honest, unassuming place doesn’t have fancy décor or an extensive menu, but what it does have, it does well and with heart. You’ll find some brilliantly priced wines here too, so get them to help you match a delicious glass to your dish.

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