France is a highlight of many family trips to Europe. It has great beaches, fantastic countryside, unique river and canal boat tours, and some truly remarkable cities.
I get many questions about planning a trip to France. Where to go, how much time to spend in Paris, what are the best beaches.
Here are some of my thoughts on traveling through France with kids.
- France works really well with a trip to neighboring countries. London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, and most major European cities have great train connections with Paris. For maximum flexibility, and to save yourself the time and expense of retracing your steps, consider buying an open-jaw ticket. These allow you to fly into, say, Amsterdam, and fly out of Barcelona. You can take the train for the distance in between stopping where ever you want.
- Paris is a fantastic city and has more than enough attractions to keep a family busy for 3 or 4 very busy days (not including Disneyland Paris). Don’t dismiss it as a big city that isn’t suitable for a family holiday – kids will love Paris.
- Don’t be afraid of the Paris Metro or feel that it’s too much to negotiate with kids. The subway and buses are a wonderful way to get around the city – even if it can be difficult to get a stroller up and down the stairs.
- The beaches of South France are busier, warmer in the Spring and Fall, and have a more Mediterranean feel (of course). The beaches of the Atlantic coast are generally more family friendly and are less expensive than those in the south.
- France gets a lot of tourists and can feel very touristy sometimes. Make an effort to get away from the crowds and eat and shop where locals do. Choosing a hotel outside of the most popular tourist areas can make this an easier addition to your daily routine. You’ll save money on your accommodations and food, and get a better idea and feel for what France – and the French – are really like.
- When entering a shop remember that – for the French – this is almost like entering their home. It’s not just what they do, it’s who they are. Say “Bon jour”, make eye contact, and look around their store as if you were touring someone’s house.
Highlights – The 5 Best Things To Do in France with Kids
One of the best cities in the world to travel with kids. Fantastic parks, wonderful museums, and great kid-friendly attractions.
- The best things to do in Paris with kids
- 10 Fun Outdoor Activities in Paris
- The Louvre Tour with Kids – how it works
- Paris with Kids – a photo essay
- The Best Ice Cream and Gelato in Paris
- The Best Hikes Near Paris
- Visiting Versailles with Kids
2. Western France and the Atlantic Coast
Great beaches, quaint towns and villages, and fantastic outdoor activities.
- A D-Day Tour of Normandy with Kids
- Calais with Kids
- A Guide to Brittany for Families
- 5 Reasons to Visit Normandy
3. Central France
Castles, canals, and history galore.
- Barging in Burgundy: A family adventure on a French Canal
- Exploring the Loire Valley with Kids
- Ski Holidays in France
4. South France
Warm, inviting, colorful, and fun. Though often very busy in July and August the South of France has charms and attractions that will impress almost any visitor.
- The Best Things To Do with Kids in South France
- Saint Tropez with Kids
- Exploring Provence with Kids
- Le Pont d’Avignon with Kids
- Swimming and Canoeing at Pont du Gard, France
- 14 Seaside Towns on the French Riviera
France is a fantastic country for camping. Kids love it. There are campsites all over the country. And it’s often cheap and great for the travel budget.
- Family Camping in France: Tips and 10 Great Campsites
- The 10 Best Campsites in France
- Tips for a Family Bike Ride Through France