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.
Can you remember your first glimpse of the city’s most famous landmark? Worldly travellers may have grown immune to her charms, but for little Parisians this iron lady is still an impressive sight to behold. A night-time visit adds the thrill of being up way past bedtime. Make sure to book your spot ahead: those long queues can give short shrift to the sunniest disposition.
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.
If you have Disney fans in tow, make a beeline for Paris’s striking Gothic cathedral. The 422 steps may be daunting, but they’ll be rewarded with grimacing gargoyles and Quasimodo’s beloved bells at the top. Visits are free for children, but you won’t get to take in those cinematic city views without a booking. Make sure to grab one of the day’s tickets at the booth or online.
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.
Paris has plenty of things to do on a city break with kids.
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Paris can be just as much fun for a child as for an adult, you just need to know the right places to go.