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10 Best Destinations in France for Families

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The focus in France is on living life to the fullest and enjoying things of beauty…architecture, fashion, art and some of the world's best cuisine. From sophisticated Paris and the swanky Côte d’Azur, to the breathtaking French Alps and beyond, there is much to explore in this proud and diverse country. I asked some family travel bloggers to weigh in on their favorite towns, cities and regions to visit in France with kids. Need help deciding where to go in la belle France? Check out these 10 best destinations in France for families!

Family-friendly sites and activities abound in Paris, including the iconic Eiffel Tower ~ Best destinations in France for families

Family-friendly sites and activities abound in Paris, including the iconic Eiffel Tower (Photo credit: frenta, Depositphotos.com)

Paris – The City of Lights

Paris may have a reputation as being a city for lovers. But when my husband and I visited with our daughters, we discovered it's a wonderful family destination as well. There's something for everyone in Paris – history, art, famous landmarks, and fabulous food. Visiting the city's famous parks is a must when in Paris with children. Be sure to walk through Luxembourg Gardens and take your children for a spin on the old-fashioned carousel in Tuileries Gardens. A cruise on the Seine offers a unique perspective on the famous landmarks of Paris as well as a chance to rest weary legs after a busy day of walking. Finally, ascending the Eiffel Tower and taking in the view over Paris is something your kids will always remember.
– Lisa Goodmurphy, Gone with the Family

The Dordogne River - 10 Top Destinations in France for Families

The Dordogne River with kids (Photo credit: Ciao Bambino)

Dordogne – Castles, Caves and Adventure Parks

Located in central France, Dordogne is a lesser-known gem for families. This town offers a huge variety of things to do and see. It has some of the oldest cave paintings in Europe, fantastic medieval castles perched over the Dordogne River, adventure parks that wow kids of all ages, and much more. Idyllic villages offer authentic self-catering accommodation options where families can live like locals for a week or more.
– Amie O'Shaunessy, Ciao Bambino

Montpellier's beautiful central square, La Place de la Comedie and the carousel ~ Best destinations in France for families

Montpellier's beautiful central square, La Place de la Comedie and the carousel (Photo credit: aaa187, Depositphotos.com)

Montpellier – Student City with Stunning Center Square

When considering where to go in France for families, do not overlook Montpellier. Located in the Languedoc region in the central south section of France, this student city is filled with universities aplenty and a youthful, hip vibe. (It's also where I studied abroad during my junior year of college!) The town’s large center square, La Place de la Comedie, is one of the prettiest you’ll find in all of Europe. The square is surrounded by cafes perfect for people-watching. La Comedie is flanked by a gorgeous opera house at one end and the tree-lined Esplanade Charles de Gaulle at the other.

Parents and young artists will appreciate Musee Fabre, a small but impressive art museum featuring works from the Renaissance to modern day. Then, take a stroll along Promenade Royale du Peyrou to see a statue of Louis XIV on horseback, Port du Peyrou (the town's refurbished arc de triomphe), and a Roman aqueduct and water tower.

For a break from historical and cultural sites, take the kids to the free local zoo, Montpellier Parc Zoologique. There, families can visit 128 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and more. In summer, the beaches just outside of town are filled with French and foreign tourists seeking sun and sand at a more affordable price than what can be found to the east along the French Riviera.
– Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

Strasbourg, France ~ Best destinations in France for families

Canal in beautiful Strasbourg, France (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Strasbourg – A Blend of French and German Cultures

Located just across from Germany along the Rhine River, Strasbourg is a picture-perfect, very walkable French city with a German accent. While in Strasbourg, be sure to do a walking tour of La Petite France. Arguably the cutest neighborhood in Europe, you won’t want to put the camera down.

Located in the Grande Île is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, the second-tallest cathedral tower in France and the sixth tallest church in the world. It is undoubtedly Strasbourg's finest architectural highlight and a must see when visiting the city.

Strasbourg is also filled with great restaurants and brasseries. Be sure to try some local favorites like a tarte flambée, an Alsatian take on pizza. It’s best to wander the streets and find a place with an outdoor patio where the kids can play in the courtyard. Every morning, try a different bakery in the square for some of the best cafe au lait served with a kugelhopf, an Alsatian brioche cooked in the shape of a crown.
– Nicole Wears, Traveling Canucks

Snowy fun at Les Arc Ski Resort in Savoie - Top 10 Destinations in France for Families

Snowy fun at Les Arcs Ski Resort in Savoie (Photo credit: Nichola West)

Les Arcs – Snowy Mountain Adventures

The French Alps make a beautiful destination for families to ski together and have fun, with breathtaking mountains everywhere, including the majestic Mont Blanc. My family loved our time at Les Arcs ski resort in Bourg-Saint-Mourice, Savoie. In addition to skiing, families can toboggan down the slopes on a run for children ages 4 and upwards. Take a swim in the pool at Mille 8 in Arc 1800's Aquaffun, a water park featuring waterslides, fun fountains for kids and amazing views of the skiers and mountains beyond. Then warm up in mountainside restaurants with traditional cheese fondue. End your day by gathering around bonfires for toasting marshmallows.
– Nichola West, Globalmouse Travels

The medieval town of Albertville Savoie ~ Best destinations in France for families

The medieval town of Albertville Savoie (Photo credit: javax_ber, Depositphotos.com)

Albertville – Olympic and Medieval History

Also located in the Savoie region of France, Albertville is best known as the site of the 1992 Winter Olympics, but the city's roots go as far back as 14th century medieval Europe. Remnants of both the Olympics and the age of castles still remain in a pastoral setting that is surrounded by mountains.

The site of the Olympic stadium is now an open air park where citizens congregate for outdoor play. A winter olympics museum in the center of town features costumes, medal stands, and other collectibles from the games.

The cobbled streets and narrow alleyways that were traveled centuries ago remain the same today in Albertville, giving visitors a snapshot into a medieval city. The Maison Rouge, a 14th century brick building houses a historical museum, is a highlight at the center of the city.

For a full sensory experience, follow your nose to the Beaufort Cheese Factory where a museum display guides children in the process of making soft Beaufort cheese. Visitors can view the factory from the elevated gallery to see the large wheels of cheese at various stages of production. Samples and products of every kind are available to purchase in the gift shop.
– Jessica Bowers, Suitcases and Sippy Cups

Families love playing at the beach in Nice, France ~ Best destinations in France for families

Families love playing at the beach in Nice, France (Photo credit: gianliguori, Depositphotos.com)

Nice – Queen of the French Riviera

Nice is the main hub on the beautiful Côte d’Azur, or French Riviera. It feels small for such a large city and is very walkable. It's a great idea to base your family in Nice while you explore the surrounding areas (like Monaco and Villefranche). Nice has beautiful Belle Époque architecture, miles of beach on the Mediterranean and lot to see and do.

With 300 days of sunshine a year, the best things to do in Nice with kids are outside. Walk the Promenade Anglais and soak up the beachfront atmosphere before taking a dip in the water. Then visit one of the best playgrounds in the world at the Promenade du Paillon. Before leaving town, you must indulge in an ice cream from the famous Fenocchio's; there are upwards of 70 flavors on offer at this French classic.
– Bethaney Davies, Flashpacker Family

Children love to splash in the mirror fountain in front of Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux, France ~ Best destinations in France for families

Children love to splash in the mirror fountain in front of Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux, France (Photo credit: dvoevnore, Depositphotos.com)

Bordeaux – UN World Heritage Site City

Bordeaux is a city that will instantly make families feel comfortable. Yet it still has that je ne sais quoi that makes it feel distinctly French. Take a historic self-guided walking tour, as the entire city center is a designated UN World Heritage Site. Along the way, you'll pass plenty of carousels and big open squares for playtime. Also visit the Chartrons Market for amazingly fresh French food. The roast chicken and macarons were favorites of my kids. And don't forget to leave time to splash around in the water in front of the Place de la Bourse (or Royal Square). Located 300 miles southwest of Paris, Bordeaux is ideal for day trips to the beach or into the countryside for winery visits, several of which are geared toward families.
– Nicole Wiltrout, Arrows Sent Forth

Omaha Beach War Memorial of fallen soldiers in Normandy, France ~ Best destinations in France for families

Omaha Beach War Memorial of fallen soldiers in Normandy, France (Photo credit: merc67, Depositphotos.com)

Normandy – Unforgettable Lessons in World War II History

Normandy is a great place to teach and remember world history for adults and kids. While in this region, be sure and stop by the Caen Memorial Museum, which will give your family the history lessons you need to know. Then take a trip to each of the American, Canadian and British beaches well known during the war: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Finally, you need to go to the American Cemetery of Saint-Laurent, the final resting place of almost 10,000 soldiers who died in this region during the war.
– Cacinda Maloney, Points and Travel

Museum of Lavender in the town of Coustellet in Luberon ~ Best destinations in France for families

Museum of Lavender in the town of Coustellet in the Luberon (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Luberon – Ultimate in Provencal Charm

If you have ever read A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, you have longed to enjoy the languid days and local warmth of Provence. Luberon is the primary provencal setting of the series. You won't be disappointed with a visit to this region of hilltop villages.

From its namesake river that encircles the town to fountains and watermills, water seems to be everywhere in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (translated as Island on the Sorgue River). This town is home to a darling antique toy and doll museum that will intrigue kiddos.

Also in Luberon, Gordes is a picturesque town cut into the side of a mountain with a gorgeous view of the verdant valleys of Provence below. Weave in and out of the town’s darling shops that sell decorative ceramics, packets of herbes de Provence, and other French goodies.

Meanwhile, amid a fragrant field of purple flowers, the Museum of Lavender in Coustellet is worth a visit to purchase any manner of lavender-themed souvenirs.
Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

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10 Best Destinations in France for Families ~ France with Kids

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Trying to decide where to go in France for families? Be sure to save this story via Pinterest for inspiration and reference!

Before you go, read tips for visiting my French college town, Montpellier. If you're planning on visiting Paris, you must check out my tips for exploring Paris with kids and all you need to know about Disneyland Paris.

Which of these destinations in France for families appeals to you most? Why? Let us know in the comments below.

A Note from Travel Mamas: This post is brought to you in partnership with Expedia.co.uk. It originally published in 2015 and was updated in 2018.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Lisa Goodmurphy says:

    So many great destinations – now I want to explore the rest of France!

  2. Cacinda Maloney says:

    I have so many more places to take my kids in France!

  3. Great article. I lived in France over 30 years and You have captured the best of the family vacation areas. Paris is a great family vacation place with so much to see and do but it comes with an expensive price tag.

  4. Amie OShaughnessy says:

    LOVE this! Thanks for including CB in the round up. Francophiles unite!

  5. I’d have to sneak in a few wine regions too!

  6. Mama Munchkin says:

    We’ve only done Paris… looking through these other great options make me want to hop on a plane and go check out the rest of France. Great list!

  7. Victoria says:

    All great destinations! My teen already loves Paris:) and we are headed to Strassbourg later this month as we are exploring Alsace wine region!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Victoria – You will love Strasbourg! I visited this past spring and fell head over heels for that town!

  8. So many good destinations, every France lover should visit those cities. That’s a very good post!

  9. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says:

    France is such a gorgeous country. Paris gets so much love, but people forget that the country has so much more than just that one city. It’s truly amazing.

  10. I have always want to go to France! I am excited to see there is a lot to do with the family! I had no idea what is there but now that I see this I know that I will be traveling there in my future! Thank you for sharing this post!

  11. Allison Cooper says:

    What gorgeous photos and destinations mama! We’re hoping to travel abroad this year for the first time with 2 kids and France is on the top of our list!

  12. Vera Sweeney says:

    Oh how I would love to go to France! There is just so much history and the mystique of Paris is alluring!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      There’s something so magical about the first time visit to Paris. During my first trip, I decided I’d study and live in France one day…and I did!

  13. Lisa Favre says:

    I’ve been to Paris twice but I would definitely love to visit other areas of France. Montpellier is certainly on top of my list and you’ve highlighted such great aspects of it.

  14. Dawn Lopez says:

    France would be an amazing place to visit. You always hear about the delights of the cities but I think Dordogne sounds like a great place to explore.

  15. Lisa Joy Thompson says:

    I’ve traveled to a lot of countries but I’ve never been to France! I’d love to travel here with my family in the next few years. Thanks for the insider tips!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Glad you like our France tips. Fingers crossed you can add France to your list of visited countries and soon!

  16. Claudia Krusch says:

    Such a great post! I haven’t been to France since 2000! You’ve made me want to go back!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      You are definitely due for a trip to France! I haven’t been for a few years now and I’m itching for a return trip.

  17. I’d love to get to France sometime this year! These are excellent places to visit and your photos are stunning!

  18. Amy Desrosiers says:

    I would love to visit France with my family as well. It would be so amazing to see the markets and architecture.

  19. Vanessa Delia says:

    A France vacation sounds amazing right now. I’ve never been and looking at all of these choices puts a fire in my gut to get over there!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      And airfares abroad have been reasonably priced lately ($400-$500s if you time it right). Hope you can get to France soon!

  20. I would so love to visit France! It’s been on my bucket list forever. I hope we can go as a family someday.

  21. Flyingkids says:

    Amazing read. There are indeed lots of beautiful destinations to visit in France!

  22. Indeed an excellent article.
    Planning to visit France with family this April.
    Any suggestions for lodging.? Booking.com ?
    To explore country side and to keep my trips flexible I intend hiring a car.
    Expert opinion welcomed. ????

  23. Hi Coleen,
    we are taking a family road trip with our twin 10 year old girls and a pretty fit grandma… starting fromm mid Germany.
    And your advice is very appreciated. We did Italy/slovenia/Hungary/austria last eatsre and booked on the road… do you think we can do that in France too… ?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Eylem – Will you be visiting over Easter? If you will be going during peak season (summer), I would be sure to book accommodations in advance as they will book up, especially in popular areas like Paris. Honestly, you should be sure to line something up before you go to Paris, no matter the time of year! For smaller towns, it may be easier to find vacancies. I’m such a planner, though, I’d rather have everything settled before I get there to avoid running around trying to find a place. You sound much more spontaneous, though!

  24. Shraddha says:

    Hi what is a non-peak season time to visit France? We want to travel later this year with my 15 month old but want to avoid the peak rates? An itinerary for a week in france? Maybe two places?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Shraddha – Peak season in France is definitely summer. Prices will be better in fall, winter (besides over Christmas and New Year), and early spring. Of course, the weather is chillier off-season, too. If you have just 7 days in France, I’d stay in Paris and do day trips from there. You could take day trips to Versailles, Chartres (renowned for its cathedral), Giverny (home to Monet’s famous gardens), Champagne (for a cave tour and tastings) and even to Normandy to see the D-Day beaches and musuems. If you have 9 days, you might consider doing 4 or 5 days in Paris and then heading to another one of the destinations on our list for the remainder of your trip. Happy travel planning to you & enjoy your stay in France!

  25. Sanna Vegancruiser says:

    I am SO jealous of all these sunny pics! We’ve never taken the children to France but I’d love to visit soon – there is just so much to offer isn’t there.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Sanna – I lived in France for a year and have visited many times, but I just brought my kids to France (Paris and Montpellier) for the first time over their spring break. There is so much to explore in this beautiful country. I can’t wait to bring the kids back and explore more of these French destinations!

  26. HELEN WILLS says:

    Great post- lots of great suggestions, def going to bookmark this for planning a trip soon. Those blue skies and lovely beaches making me want to escape for sure!

  27. So lovely. Here we went to Val d’Isère last summer (french alps). It’s a very beautiful town with many activities for parents and children. I recommend !!

  28. Nice list! Yes, There is something missing in it, but you should have a list of 1000 attractions because in France every single little village has something beautiful to show.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      That would be quite the list! There is so much for families to explore and enjoy in France but we wanted to provide some of the top picks as a starting point for planning a fabulous French vacation!

  29. michale says:

    Never been to France, but now will surely visit there. Especially, Paris. Nice article 🙂

  30. Trying to find information about the beaches and the ‘attire’, or lack thereof, worn there. I have a teenage son and don’t want him over-exposed! Please help!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Lauri – When I lived in the South of France and went to the beaches near Montpellier, the beaches were indeed topless. (I even gave it a go…of course I was only 20 at the time!) It’s not really a big deal, though, honestly. Women aren’t walking around topless – it’s more low key with women untying their bikini tops while laying down on a beach towel or lounger. And certainly not every woman chooses to go topless. We did not see a lot of topless sunbathers in France during our Disney Mediterranean Cruise a few years ago, though. (Much to my husband’s dismay!) I actually think the casual attitude in Europe about topless sunbathing is less objectifying to women in a way. It’s funny because shorts are seen as a bit risque’ in France, with most women opting for skirts, dresses or light pants instead of shorts when out touring during warm weather. Meanwhile in Greece, you will find completely nude-optional beaches. I went at age 15 to Greece with my friend and her Greek family and saw a lot of skin, but nothing pornographic. Kids can find MUCH worse things to look at on the Internet nowadays. I’m not sure if that helps at all…! Enjoy your time in France with your son!

  31. Flyingkids says:

    These are all great destinations in France. What a beautiful city.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      My family is hoping to rent a home for a whole month in France next summer but the big question is…where to we go?! There are so many wonderful destinations in France, it’s hard to choose!

  32. Hi
    I’m travelling to France for a month with my husband and 6 kids.
    I need recommendations for some dates:
    18-22 July / Paris
    22-25 July / ????
    25-29 July / Chateaux de la Loire
    29-1 Aug / Toulouse
    1-3 Aug / Lourdes
    3-7 Aug / Nantes
    7-10 Aug / Presqu’ile de Crozon
    10-14 ?????
    15 Flight back from Paris

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Anny – Although I’m not a professional travel planner, I totally recommend asking Ciao Bambino for some help planning your France trip. They specialize in family travel…especially in Europe! Learn more about them & fill out an interest form here: https://travelmamas.com/family-travel-planning/ Have a WONDERFUL time in France!

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