15 Fantastique Things to Do in Paris with Kids

A family trip to Paris is a dream come true for travel lovers. Interesting sites, playful parks, and pretty art appeal to all ages. Besides, who can resist flakey croissants, dessert crêpes, and savory French onion soup? There’s so much to do in France’s capital city, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are 15 fantastique things to do in Paris with kids plus helpful tips for navigating the city and culture.

Eiffel Tower and carousel in Paris with kids
A spin on a carousel near makes an Eiffel Tower visit even more fun for kids (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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1. Take kids to Montmartre.

During the cab ride with my two kids from the airport to Central Paris, I pointed out Sacre Coeur Basilica perched on the hill of Montmartre above the city. I explained that many artists live in that area, where you can even pay an artist to draw a portrait of you. That was it — my children insisted on a visit to Montmartre during our time in Paris!

Big kids can climb the stairs to Montmartre, but families with young children may be better off taking the funicular
Climbing the many stairs to Montmartre (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Located in the 18th Arrondissement, you can easily reach Montmartre by Metro or Uber. Once there, choose to march up, up, up the steps to the top, or pay a small fee to take the funicular.

Sacre Coeur Basilica is beautiful inside and out
Sacre Coeur Basilica (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

2. Go inside the Sacre Coeur Basilica.

As with all French churches, entry is free at the Sacre Coeur Basilica. The interior tiled mosaic ceiling is a beauty to behold. Outside, sweeping views of the city will wow your family.

My daughter getting her portrait drawn in Montmartre
My daughter posing for her portrait in Montmartre (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Get your portraits drawn at Place du Tertre.

To view artists creating portraits, head to Place du Tertre. This city square is lined by cafes and is located just a few blocks from the Sacre Coeur. If you’re interested in purchasing a portrait, then take your time wandering around to watch the artists at work before making your selection.

Caricatures take less time and are more affordable. Meanwhile, realistic renderings made with pencil, charcoal, pastels, or paint are more expensive. Typically, the better the artist, the higher the price.

Parc de la Turlure in Montmartre, Paris with kids
Parc de la Turlure in Montmartre with kids (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Play at plentiful parks in Paris.

Take time out from sightseeing to play in the plentiful parks in Paris. Kids make friends easily when playing, despite language barriers. Meanwhile, parents will enjoy wandering through the flower-filled paths, admiring the statues and fountains, and maybe even sitting down to relaaaax.

Kids slide down this faux grass hill at Parc de la Turlure atop piece of cardboard or on their feet
My kids sliding down a faux grass hill at Parc de la Turlure (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Parc de la Turlure

My kids’ favorite part of visiting Montmartre was not getting their portraits sketched. It was scooting down a faux-grass-covered hill in Parc de la Turlure. Situated just behind Sacre Coeur, this beautiful little park offers a playground for children and photo ops aplenty.

Kids can ride ponies at Jardin du Luxembourg
Kids riding ponies at Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo credit: elenathewise, Depositphotos.com)

Jardin du Luxumbourg

The largest park in all of Paris, Jardin du Luxumbourg was redesigned especially for children by order of Napoleon himself. It’s also home to Paris’s oldest carousel. In summer, rent toy boats for kids to pilot from the shores of a pond that sits in front of Luxembourg Palace. Other family activities at this park include a puppet theater, pony rides, and a massive playground (with entrance fee).

Jardin des Tuileries with the Roue de Paris Ferris wheel in the distance
Jardin des Tuileries with the Roue de Paris Ferris wheel in the distance (Photo credit: Neirfys, Depositphotos.com)

Jardin des Tuileries

Centrally located between the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, Jardin des Tuileries provides a grand place for a picnic with kids. It was once the property of kings and queens. Today it’s open to the public for play and relaxation. A carousel, playground, and donkey/pony rides will appeal to children. Afterwards, take a spin on the Roue de Paris (also know as the Big Wheel), a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde.

Old and new art collide at the Louvre in Paris
Old and new art collide at the Louvre in Paris (Photo credit: Elnur_, Depositphotos.com)

5. Book a guided tour of Paris with kids.

There is so much to see and do in Paris, it can feel overwhelming. Even as someone who has visited France’s capital numerous times, I felt intimidated coming up with an itinerary for exploring Paris with kids.

That’s why I booked an all-day tour of Paris via TripAdvisor with PARISCityVISION. It was a great way to squeeze the highlights of Paris into one day without worrying about lines or logistics.

After our trip, I asked my kids what was their favorite thing we did in Paris. I was a tad surprised when they both enthusiastically said, “The tour!” At ages 10 and 13, they now have the patience and interest in a guided all-day tour. For younger children or a more customized itinerary, check out Paris Tours with Kids instead.

Venus de Milo, also known as Aphrodite of Milos, at the Louvre in Paris
Venus de Milo, also known as Aphrodite of Milos, at the Louvre (Photo credit: Phototraveller, Depositphotos.com)

6. Admire art at the Louvre.

Our Paris tour started at the Louvre Art Museum in the 1st Arrondissement. Skipping the enormous lines at the Louvre is one benefit of booking a tour. We breezed past the crowds and straight into the museum.

First, our friendly and knowledgeable Parisian guide explained the history of the museum. Then, she led our group to view some of the most iconic pieces of art in the vast collection. Highlights include the Venus de Milo and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris
The Eiffel Tower in Paris (Photo credit: domencolja, Depositphotos.com)

7. Go up the Eiffel Tower.

Visiting the iconic Eiffel Tower is a must during any visit to Paris. We were given a lot of free time at the Eiffel Tower during our one-day Paris tour to enjoy a leisurely lunch and wander the grounds.

If you’re lucky, you will take a Seine River Cruise to reach the tower on this tour. Unfortunately, the water was too high on the day we visited so we took a bus instead. Next time I come to Paris, I’m booking a Seine dinner river cruise!

Your tour of Paris with kids may include a ride on the Seine River
The Seine River (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Eiffel Tower Views

Keep in mind that with some tours (like ours), tickets to the top of the tower are not included. We could have queued up for tickets at the bottom of the tower, but we were afraid there wouldn’t be enough time to reach the summit.

Instead, my kids and I took in the magnificent views from the second-level landing. Then we descended and made our way over to a carousel for a spin.

Honestly, I have been to the top of the Eiffel Tower a few times before and the views are better from the second level anyway. But, if reaching the top is on your bucket list, I recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Alternatively, plan to arrive early before ticket lines get too long or book a tour that includes ascent to the top.

View of Paris, including Montmartre, from the second level of the Eiffel Tower in Paris with kids
View of Paris, including Montmartre, from the second level of the Eiffel Tower (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Dining Inside the Eiffel Tower

Included in our tour was a multi-course lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel inside the tower. For lunch, choose from a two-course prix fixe menu for adults (ages 13+) and a three-course menu for children.

Although I was disappointed by my fish served with lentils (too dry!), my picky eater son raved about his roasted chicken and pasta. In any case, it was a thrill to eat inside the Eiffel Tower while taking in the views of Paris from the restaurant’s huge windows. If you’d like to eat here without booking a tour, it’s best to make reservations in advance.

One floor above is Jules Verne, the pricey, fancy-schmancy restaurant. You will also find the casual service Buffet Tour Eiffel and Macaroon Bar.

Lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel inside the Eiffel Tower in Paris with kids
Lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel inside the Eiffel Tower (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

8. Visit Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Our tour ended with a visit to Notre-Dame de Paris. Our guide explained the feats of architecture it took to build such an impressive church and its renowned stained glass rose (round) windows. Located in the 4th Arrondissement, this church is the most famous Gothic cathedral built in the Middle Ages. It is also one of the first buildings ever built using flying buttresses, which support the sky-reaching nave.

Learn about the history and architecture of Notre-Dame Cathedral during a tour of Paris with kids
Notre-Dame Cathedral before the 2019 fire (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Sadly, Notre-Dame Cathedral caught on fire in April 2019 and sustained significant damage to the structure. Thankfully the three circular rose windows survived. Restoration will take at least five years to complete and visitors are not currently able to enter the church for safety reasons.

For now, Notre-Dame’s beauty must be appreciated from afar. The cathedral’s crypt was not damaged in the fire and reopened to visitors in 2020. A re-opening date has been set for December 2024.

One of Notre-Dame Cathedral's famous rose windows
One of Notre-Dame Cathedral’s famous rose windows (Photo credit: scaliger, Depositphotos.com)

The plaza in front of the cathedral also reopened to the public in 2020. Located in this square, visitors will find Paris Point Zero. All distances in the city are measured from this geographical marker in the ground. Of course, once the square is accessible, you’ll want to stop here and snap a photo to mark standing in the center of all of Paris.

Point Zero: the center of Paris with kids
Point Zero: the center of Paris! (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

9. Taste Berthillon ice cream.

Notre-Dame Cathedral is not far from the original Berthillon ice cream shop. After visiting this famous church, I recommend treating kids to a scoop or two of this incredibly flavorful ice cream and sorbets.

This ice cream parlor became famous in 1961 when a French restaurant guide, Gault et Millau, wrote about, “this astonishing ice cream shop hidden in a bistro on the Ile Saint-Louis.”

Berthillon ice cream is a must during a visit to Paris with kids
Berthillon ice cream sundaes (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

10. Take a side trip to Disneyland Paris.

With so much to see and do in Paris with kids, you might be tempted to forgo a trip to Disneyland Paris. That would be such a shame, though. Some of my family’s most beloved memories of our recent trip to France were made at this theme park.

Located about 40 minutes outside the city, Disneyland Paris provides a joy-filled day trip or multi-day experience. Made up of two theme parks — Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park — it’s interesting to experience Disney with a French accent.

Disney Village entertainment and shopping district plus seven themed Disney hotels add to the fun. Read more about our experience and my tips for visiting Disneyland Paris with kids.

Disneyland Paris with kids
Disneyland Paris with kids (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

11. Enjoy French cuisine with kids.

During our trip to France, my son kept exclaiming, “So this is what food is supposed to taste like!” Indeed, eating is one of the true joys of visiting Paris with kids. Bread, pastries, cheese, crepes, and even sandwiches seem to taste better in France.

Keep in mind that tipping on meals in France is not required but you should feel free to leave a few Euros for good service.

Breakfast in Paris with kids
Our breakfast of butter cookies, fruits, yogurt, and juice in our rental apartment in Paris (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Breakfast in Paris

Many boutique hotels include a simple breakfast of bakery items with jam and butter plus a hot beverage. Bigger hotels may offer a wider variety of breakfast items like cold cuts and cheeses or even a buffet with eggs and more.

If staying in a rental property, stop by a grocery store to pick up a few croissants and peruse the splendiferous array of French yogurts. (I love visiting grocery stores in foreign countries!) You may also want to pick up some fresh fruits from a market, like those found on Rue Cler, the most famous market street in Paris.

Rue cler market
Rue Cler market (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Of course, it’s always fun to pop into a boulangerie or patisserie when in Paris with kids. Carb-laden treats abound like croissants, pains au chocolat (chocolate-filled croissants), and pains au raisin (pastry filled with cream and raisins). Wash your goodies down with a café crème (similar to a latte) or chocolat chaud (hot chocolate).

The best sandwich of this kid's life in Paris
The best sandwich of this kid’s life! (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Lunch in Paris with Kids

For lunches, grab baguette sandwiches à emporter (to go) for a delicious and affordable meal in a park. Note, however, that eating on the street is seen as quite gauche in France.

Crepes are a must when dining in Paris with kids
Crepes are a must when dining in Paris with kids (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Dinner in Paris with Kids

When traveling with children, my advice for dinner is to stick primarily to creperies and brasseries instead of dining in fancier restaurants in Paris. Creperies serve crepes filled with all sorts of savory fare like chicken and mushroom sauce or ham topped with egg. Save room for dessert crepes stuffed with goodies like Nutella, fruit, ice cream or chantilly (whipped cream).

Brasseries serve casual French comfort food. Expect items like steak haché frites (hamburger sans bun, served with fries), French onion soup, delicious salads, roasted chicken, and sautéed mussels.

A heart-shaped Parisian pizza
A heart-shaped Parisian pizza (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

International cuisine is widely available in Paris as well. Families enjoy dining at pizzerias in Paris, often owned by Italians who serve traditional Italian pizza. Heads up: typically pizza is served individually and eaten with knife and fork in France.

Take a peek at the best restaurants for families in Paris via TripAdvisor.

View of the Eiffel Tower from our vacation rental apartment in the 7th Arrondissement
Peek-a-boo view of the Eiffel Tower from the entrance to our VRBO rental apartment in the 7th Arrondissement (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

12. Choose family-friendly accommodations in Paris.

Staying in a central location in Paris is essential. Although the Metro is efficient, you don’t want to spend all your time getting to and from what you want to see. That’s difficult and tiring with children in tow, not to mention expensive. There are 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods) from which to choose in Paris.

Two-bedroom vacation rental apartment in Paris
Our two-bedroom vacation rental apartment in Paris (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Best neighborhoods in Paris

After visiting Paris many times, I will say that my favorite neighborhood is the 7th Arrondissement in the heart of the city. It’s home to the Eiffel Tower, several museums, good shopping, and delicious restaurants.

Rick Steves recommends the Rue Cler Neighborhood (7th Arrondissement), Marais Neighborhood (3rd and 4th Arrondissements), Ile St. Louis near Notre-Dame (4th Arrondissement), the Luxumbourg Garden neighborhood (6th Arrondissement), and the more affordable and less central Montmartre neighborhood (18th Arrondissement).

La Terrasse du Sorbonne is just one of the dreamy-looking apartments for families available from Cobblestone Paris
La Terrasse du Sorbonne, available for rent through Cobblestone Paris Rentals (Photo credit: Cobblestone Paris Rentals)

Renting an apartment in Paris

For the same price as a tiny hotel room, my family rented an affordable two-bedroom, one-bath apartment from VRBO, very near the Eiffel Tower. We were able to save money on breakfasts, too, by dining in our petite kitchen.

Plus, renting a place made us feel like we were living like true Parisians, if only for a few nights. Take a look at rental apartments in Paris via VRBO and TripAdvisor now.

If you want to rent a vetted, luxurious studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartment, check out Cobblestone Paris Rentals. Run by an American couple with discerning tastes, you can be assured what you see is what you get with Cobblestone.

Hotel Pullman Roissy-CDG Airport accommodations and indoor pool
Hotel Pullman Roissy-CDG Airport accommodations and indoor pool (Photo credit of pool: Colleen Lanin. Photo credit of hotel rooms: Pullman Hotels)

Staying near the airport

For vacationers arriving late or flying out early from Charles de Gaulle Airport, I highly recommend booking a room at Hotel Pullman Roissy-CDG Airport. There’s no need to hire a taxi to get to the airport, either. Just walk to the nearby train for a free trip to CDG. (Be sure to determine your airline’s terminal before you board the train!)

Book a suite with a pull-out sofa for the kids in the living room, plus a private bedroom with king bed. Connecting rooms are also available with a king bed for the parents and two twins for children. For more sleep options, hotel staff will even deliver a rollaway bed at no extra charge.

Charcuterie and drinks with kids in the lobby bar; Culinaire Bazaar; Children's desserts at the restaurant at Pullman Charles de Gaulle with kids
Hotel Pullman Roissy-CDG Airport dining options (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin and Pullman Hotels)

What a delight it was to stay at this hip and luxurious hotel. The swanky hotel lobby bar welcomes well-behaved children, and the on-site restaurant, Culinaire Bazaar, offers a children’s menu.

Worried that you’ve put on some pastry weight during your Paris family vacation? In-room exercise equipment and an on-site gym will fix that! Best of all was the hotel’s indoor pool, which made for a memorable and splashy final night in Paris. Book your stay at Hotel Pullman Roissy-CDG Airport.

Charles de Gaulle Airport
Most likely, you’ll arrive in Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport (Photo credit: bellena, Depositphotos.com)

13. Decide how to reach Paris.

There are two primary airports in Paris. Charles de Gaulle is the largest airport in France and the second largest in Europe. Paris Orly is the other option. From CDG, it should take you about 50 minutes to reach Central Paris by car. Meanwhile, it only takes about 30 minutes to reach the city from Orly.

Want to save money on your Paris vacation? Take a look at special flight fares offered by Air France.

You might also reach Paris via train from elsewhere in France or Europe. The SCNCF train system in France is efficient, when it’s not on strike. France’s TGV train holds the world record for the fastest train speed ever recorded, making it a zippy way to reach other destinations in France.

Traveling by train in France is speedy and comfortable
Traveling by train in France (Photo credit: STYLEPICS, Depositphotos.com)

14. Know how to get around Paris with kids.

If arriving in Paris by plane, after you depart your plane and pass through customs, you will likely be approached by an onslaught of men offering taxi rides. Beware that these may not be official taxi drivers. For your safety, follow the signs for taxis and wait in the outdoor queue for a registered taxi.

Unlike in most American cities, you cannot just hail a cab from any ol’ spot in Paris. You must find a taxi stand instead. A 10 percent tip is appreciated by drivers. Leave more if your driver assists with lots of baggage.

Paris’s Metro is easy to use and ranks among the best subway systems in the world. You can purchase tickets from machines or booths in train stations.

Uber is available in Paris as well. Just download the app before you arrive and you can easily request an Uber to pick you up wherever you please.

One of the easiest and most pleasant ways to explore Paris is by foot. When the weather is nice, skip public transportation and walk through this gorgeous city, taking in the sites along the way.

View of Paris from the second level of the Eiffel Tower in Paris with kids
View of Paris from the second level of the Eiffel Tower (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

15. Explore more in and near Paris.

I have been to Paris multiple times and still haven’t seen everything on my wish list. You may want to book day trip tours from Paris with kids.

A tour of nearby Chartres and its famous cathedral will please architecture fans.

If traveling April through October, art and nature lovers will love a trip to Giverny, the gardens where Claude Monet once lived and painted many of his famous paintings.

You can even book a Normandy tour to give kids a lesson in World War II history and sacrifice.

Of course, the decadence of the Palace of Versailles is sure to wow all ages.

For some hands-on assistance and expert advice in planning your family’s vacation in France, I recommend booking with our partner travel agency, Ciao Bambino. Get started by filling out this online form now!

France family travel planning

Why I love Paris!

I fell in love with France the first time I visited the country as a young teen. I finally got a chance to share my love of France with my children in the place where it all began: la belle Paris.

At age 15, my family stood untangling a web of Metro subway lines, the sound of a string trio playing Vivaldi wafted through the underground train station. The beauty echoed against the tiled walls.

After a few days of devouring tangy lemon tarts and flakey croissants, listening to the mellifluous French language, and being charmed by curlicue French architecture, this was la cerise sur le gâteau (the cherry on the cake, as the French would say). I announced right then to my parents, “Someday I will live in France.”

I made good on that promise, and I’m so glad I did. Two summers later, I spent a month with a French family in Cherbourg, Normandy. Then I studied for a year during college in Montpellier in Southern France.

I hope your family falls in love with France during your Paris vacation, too!

The carousel and opera house on La Place de la Comedie in Montpellier, France
La Place de la Comédie in Montpellier, France (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Learn more about France.

Paris is just one of the best vacation spots in France for kids, according to family travel experts. Discover the rest!

Read my tips for visiting Montpellier, the youthful city where I lived for a year during college.

Find out why Provence with kids is a dream come true.

Find fun things to do in Strasbourg, a pretty city on the border of France and Germany.

Tips for a Family Trip to Paris

Save these tips for planning a family trip to Paris!

For future reference, be sure to keep this Paris travel guide for families. Simply pin the image above to Pinterest. I hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Dreaming of a family trip to Paris? Tell us why in the comments below!

Notes from The Travel Mama: My family received a media discount on the PARISCityVISION tour that we booked through TripAdvisor. Many thanks to Hotel Pullman Roissy-CDG Airport for hosting us as well. My kids and I also received complimentary Disneyland Park Hopper tickets. I paid for all other activities and meals out-of-pocket. All opinions are mine, as always. 

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  1. This is such a great post and super informative! I am planning on taking my daughter to Paris this year and I am loving all of your ideas and tips!

  2. We lived in Germany when my son was 6. On a long weekend I took him along on a mostly adult tour. He loved the Louvre and dining on chicken and pommes frites in the Eiffel Tower!

    1. Kids surprise us with their bigger-than-expected attention spans all the time, don’t they?! This is especially true when traveling. So glad you and your son had a good time in Paris!

  3. Excellent suggestions! We love exploring Paris and Jardin du Luxembourg is a family favourite. Saving these tips for our next trip!