Ah, Paris. The City of Light. It’s an amazing city complete with breathtaking masterpieces, incredible architecture and some of the most delicious food you’ll find in the world. It’s also a city that can be kind of a drag for kids if you don’t know how to best explore this city as a family. Here are six must-do’s for a fun-filled family trip to Paris.
1. Spend a Day at Disneyland Paris. I know, I know, Paris has the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and the Musee d’Orsay and I’m encouraging a day at a theme park. But seriously, kids can only manage so many museums, galleries and monuments before they melt down. We recently spent six days in Paris and on the third day we spent all day at Disneyland Paris, which includes both Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios. Of course, my girls loved the parades, characters and fireworks, and it was a great way to break up the week before spending time at the Louvre and Notre Dame.
2. Splash and Play at the Jardin d’Acclimation. By the last day of our trip, I knew the girls needed another break, so we took the Metro to the Jardin d’Acclimation, which I highly recommend. We went on a boat ride, visited with animals at a petting zoo, played on several playgrounds, had fun on the swings and bumper cars rides and ate plenty of ice cream. The girls also loved the splash pad, so make sure to have your kids wear their swimsuits and bring along some towels when you go for a visit.
3. Watch the Eiffel Tower Twinkle. There’s no question that the Eiffel Tower is a must-see when in Paris. It’s absolutely huge (far bigger than I expected) and worth a walk up nearly 400 feet to the second stage where you can order up drinks and relax in some cushy chairs. More exciting to my kids, however, was staying up late to watch the Eiffel Tower lights twinkle. This happens on the hour once it gets dark and lasts maybe five minutes. Near the Eiffel Tower, there’s really no bad spot to watch the show, but we crossed the Pont d’lena bridge to watch from the other side of the Seine. Breathtaking.
4. Pay Extra for a Guided Tour Just for Kids. While in Paris, my girls and I took part in a family walk called If Buildings Could Talk through Paris Muse. At $380 per family, the program isn’t cheap, but our guide, Claire, was fantastic and she was constantly engaging my daughters, asking questions, getting them to think about what they were seeing. She even came with activity guides for the girls to complete as we were walking. Two others to check out for family tours are Context Travel and Localers.
5. See Paris from a Bateau Mouche. While you’re at the Eiffel Tower, hop aboard a bateau mouche, an open-air boat that traverses the Seine for an hour as you listen to facts about what you see along the way, including Notre Dame and the Musee d’Orsay. We sailed with Bateaux Parisiens one evening before dinner and loved seeing not only the sights, but also all of the people relaxing along the water, many with picnics. You can buy tickets online, but we had no problem buying our tickets minutes before departure.
6. Visit Museums on “Late Night” Days. Both the Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre are open late one or two nights a week and as luck would have it, we were able to hit both museums on their late nights, making for a far more pleasant experience. The lines to get in were short and there were few people taking in both museums. It was easy to see the works without feeling suffocated by the crowds. The Louvre is open until 9:45 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, while the Musee d’Orsay is open until 9:45 pm on Thursdays.
Have you gone as a family to Paris? What are some of your favorite activities to do with your kids? Let me know in the comments section below.