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Updated: January 18, 2023
Paris Hotels for Families – Tips & Advice
- Paris has so much to see both indoors and outdoors that it’s a great year-round destination. But the very best months to visit are from late April to early October (excluding August).
- Paris has a shortage of good rooms for families. Book early if visiting between April and October or the Christmas/New Years period.
- Booking.com – the best website for finding family hotels in Paris.
- The best areas in Paris for families are Saint Germain (central, loads of shops and restaurants), Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondissement (quieter, slower paced, village-like feel but still close to many attractions and the Eiffel Tower), and the Marais (less touristy, hip and trendy but still family-friendly).
- Best Luxury Hotels in Paris for Families: Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées • Four Seasons George V
- Best Cheap Hotel in Paris for Families: Staycity Aparthotel Gare de l’Est
- Best Paris Hotel with Pool: Le Bristol
- Best Family Hotel near Eiffel Tower: Novotel Tour Eiffel
- Best family-friendly hotel in a quiet location: Gardette Park Hotel – just beyond the Marais district in the 11th arrondissement but still walking distance (or a quick metro ride) to sights and attractions. A great playground and park are right across the street.
- Best Disneyland Hotel for Families: Disneyland Marne La Vallee. Nice pool and located right at the park entrance. Disneyland is 45 minutes by train from central Paris.
- To save time and money on the metro buy a booklet of 10 tickets called a carnet. Kids (ages 4 to 10) save even more money when buying the carnet since they must pay adult prices for single tickets (€1.90) but get the book of 10 for half-price (€7.40). Kids 3 and under are free on the Paris metro.
- Good restaurants kids will love: Breakfast in America (breakfast all day), Breizh Cafe (the best crepes in the Marais), La Coupole (historic brasserie in Montparnasse), All Aboard Le Train Bleu (belle epoque style that’s still kid-friendly), Le Relais de l’Entrecote (steak, fries, and scrumptious desserts at 3 locations), Gourmet at Glou (kid-friendly wine bar in the Marais), and for an all-dessert menu Dessance (“cuisine du sucré”).
- The best playground on the left bank is at the Luxembourg Gardens (there’s a small fee). The best playground on the right bank is at the Tuileries Garden.
- Best Paris Hotel for Babies and Toddlers: Four Seasons (everything parents could possibly ask for – from cribs to babysitting).
The 16 Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in Paris
1. Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées – 8th Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 44 13 33 33
Wonderful location right on the Champs-Elysées. Large 1 or 2-bedrooms suites easily sleep families of 4 or 6 and include kitchens. Some add washing machines and balconies. It’s a 2-minute walk to the George V metro station and a 10-minute walk to the Arc de Triomphe.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Fraser Suites
2. Four Seasons George V – 8th Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 49 52 70 00
One of the very best hotels in Paris. Good-sized swimming pool, and great service and staff. Kids’ bathrobes, greeting gift (for young guests), and complimentary baby food and toiletries. Babysitting services with 24 hours notice. Kids eat for free at the hotel’s restaurants. Family Recreation Manager helps families plan their visit. Close to George V metro station.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Four Seasons
3. Mandarin Oriental – 1st Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 70 98 78 88
Luxury hotel with an indoor pool, holistic spa, and outstanding dining within a short walk of Place Vendôme, the Louvre, and the Tuileries Garden. The hotel boasts 3 kid-friendly restaurants (even their Michelin-starred one offers a kids’ menu), a cocktail bar, and a cake shop. Kids’ amenities and activities include a perfume-making class, cooking lessons, and popcorn machines. The hotel offers several connecting rooms and spacious suites with up to 4 bedrooms and a full kitchen.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Mandarin Oriental
4. The Peninsula – 16th Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 58 12 28 88
Contemporary, luxury hotel offering tech-savvy rooms, a rooftop restaurant, an indoor pool, and a lavish spa. Family offerings include spacious suites for up to 4, package deals with discounts on connecting rooms, and family-friendly dining options. Beautiful location near the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées.
• Hotel website • Check prices for The Peninsula
5. Le Bristol – 8th Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 53 43 43 00
Beautiful spacious rooms. Great indoor swimming pool. Children and families are not an afterthought here and are truly welcomed and pampered. There’s a good kids menu, a garden treasure hunt, and a supervised kids club and playroom.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Le Bristol
6. Le Pavillon de la Reine – 3rd Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 40 29 19 19
Family-run, boutique hotel offering excellent dining, a cozy library and lounge, and a decadent spa in the Marais neighborhood. The hotel offers connecting rooms and spacious 2-bedroom suites that comfortably sleep a family of 5, all featuring a blend of traditional and contemporary décor. Its hidden, ivy-covered courtyard entrance is located inside the historic Place de Vosges, just steps from the Picasso Museum and the Opéra Bastille.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Le Pavillon de la Reine
7. Le Royal Monceau Raffles – 8th Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 42 99 88 00
Design-forward, 5-star hotel with a private cinema, top-notch dining, and a huge spa with one of the largest pools in the city. Family-friendly suites offer up to 3 bedrooms, while special family rates on connecting rooms add a second room for half-price, buffet breakfast, and welcome amenities for kids. Ideally situated in the 8th Arrondissement, with easy access to the Parc Monceau, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Élysées.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Le Royal Monceau Raffles
8. Westin Vendome – 1st Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 44 77 11 11
Very close to the Renaissance (also kid-friendly) but here you exchange the swimming pool for a larger room and suites are larger still. The Westin has kid-friendly service and great restaurants both in the hotel and just out the door. Tuileries metro station is very close.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Westin Vendome
9. Grand Powers Hotel – 8th Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 47 23 91 05
Family-friendly and pet-friendly, the hotel offers a charming café/cocktail bar and a therapeutic spa. Rooms and suites are sunny with marble bathrooms and mid-century modern style, most with views of the Eiffel Tower, and many with private balconies. Most rooms and all suites comfortably sleep 3 guests; junior suites and the Elegant Suite can connect to sleep 4 to 6. Superb location just a block from Champs-Élysées and a short walk to the Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Palace.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Grand Powers
10. La Réserve Hotel & Spa – 8th Arrondissement • luxury
Hotel phone: +33 1 58 36 60 60
Decadent boutique hotel set in an over-the-top Belle Époque mansion with an indoor swimming pool, a 2 Michelin star restaurant, and a full-service spa. Rooms, suites, and connecting rooms are all spacious ranging from 40 to 200 sqm. Family-friendly perks include butler service, babysitting, elephant plushies, coloring books, and more. Well-located in an upscale neighborhood just steps away from the Jardin des Champs-Élysées, Grand Palace, and surrounded by shopping and dining.
• Hotel website • Check prices for La Réserve Hotel & Spa
11. Gardette Park Hotel – 11th Arrondissement • midrange
Hotel phone: +33 1 47 00 57 93
This is a great mid-range hotel and one of my favorites in Paris for families on a budget. The family suites have 2 single beds and a queen and are a good size for Paris. Across the street is a park with a playground and there are several good restaurants within a 3-minute walk. A great neighborhood but with few tourists so you feel like you’re really seeing Paris.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Gardette Park
12. Hôtel Louvre Opéra – 1st Arrondissement • midrange
Hotel phone: +33 1 40 20 01 10
Family suites are 2 interconnected rooms each with twin beds. Fantastic location. Many restaurants nearby. Steps from the Pyramides metro station.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Hôtel Louvre Opéra
13. Novotel Tour Eiffel – 15th Arrondissement • midrange
Hotel phone: +33 1 40 58 20 00
Chain hotel that has clean simple rooms with friendly service. Nice swimming pool. Short walk to the Eiffel Tower. Close to Bir-Hakeim metro station.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Novotel Tour Eiffel
14. Best Western Aramis St Germain – 6th Arrondissement • midrange
Hotel phone: +33 1 43 54 01 70
Great location in the center of St Germain. Triple rooms (2 twins and 1 sofa bed) and quadruple rooms (2 twins and 2 sofa beds). Steps from St Germain des Pres metro station.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Best Western
15. Staycity Aparthotel Gare de l’Est – 10th Arrondissement • budget
Hotel phone: +33 1 44 89 66 70
Large suites with kitchens and cookware close to Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord (for Eurostar train to London). Friendly staff. Surrounding streets are not the most beautiful in Paris but there are plenty of places to eat, a food market, and good metro connections with the rest of the city.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Staycity Aparthotel
16. Timhotel Palais Royal – 2nd Arrondissement • budget
Hotel phone: +33 1 42 61 53 90
Best budget hotel near the Louvre. Triple rooms with 3 twin beds are simple but good. Bourse metro stop is very close.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Timhotel Palais Royal
More Paris Hotels for Families
All of these hotels have triple, quad, or family rooms. The larger the room the earlier they seem to be snatched up – so book early.
- Hotel du Lion d’Or (1er, midrange, metro: Tuileries)
- La Maison Favart (2e, luxury, metro: Quatre-September)
- Ascot Opera (2e, midrange, metro: Quatre-September)
- Paris France Hotel (3e, budget, metro: Temple)
- Hotel Saint-Louis Marais (4e, midrange, metro: Sully-Morland)
- Hotel Jeanne D’arc (4e, budget, metro: Olympiades)
- Residence Henri IV (5e, midrange, metro: Maubert-Mutualité)
- Hôtel Marignan (5e, budget, metro: Maubert-Mutualité)
- Art Hotel Quartier Latin (5e, budget, metro: Cardinal Lemoine)
- Résidence & Spa Le Prince Régent (6e, luxury, metro: Cluny-La Sorbonne)
- Dauphine Saint Germain – interconnected rooms (6e, midrange, metro: Odéon)
- Hotel de la Paix Tour Eiffel (7e, midrange, metro: École Militaire)
- Hotel du Cadran (7e, midrange, metro: École Militaire)
- Hotel Monsieur & Spa (8e, midrange, St Augustin)
- Hôtel Elysia (8e, luxury+, metro: Saint-Philippe du Roule)
- Londres et New York (8e, midrange, metro: Saint-Lazare)
- Hôtel Langlois (9e, midrange, metro: Théâtre Mogador)
- Residhome Paris Opéra (9e, luxury, metro: Théâtre Mogador)
- Hôtel De La Paix (15e, midrange, metro: Boucicaut)
- Résidence Alma Marceau (16e, luxury, metro: Alma Marceau)
- Hotel Residence Foch (16e, midrange, metro: Porte Dauphine)
- Maison Armance (1er, midrange, metro: Concorde)
- Yuna Les Halles (1er, midrange, metro: Châtelet)
- Hôtel Baume (6e, midrange, metro: Odéon)
Family Apartments in Paris
Recommended apartment rentals for families in Paris. All units have kitchens. Most have washer/dryer and internet.
- Apartments Du Louvre
1 and 2 bedroom apartments sleep families of 4 to 6, the 2-bedroom duplex has a nice deck.
- Loft with View of Eiffel Tower
2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, full kitchen, sleeps family of 5.
- Résidence du Lion d’Or Louvre
Loft apartment with kitchen, 1 bathroom, double bed and sofa bed, sleeps family of 4.
- Résidence Charles Floquet – Highly recommended
Large apartments with full kitchen and multiple bathrooms, sleep families of 4 to 8, close to Eiffel Tower.
- Short Stay Apartments Museum View
Cheap 1 bedroom apartments are small but have kitchenettes, sleep 4.
- LivinParis Apartments Marais
2 bedroom apartments with 2 double beds, kitchen, washing machine.
- Residence Central Marais
1 bedrooms sleep 4, split-level apartments sleep 6.
- Where to Stay in Paris
- Best Hotels in Paris
- Best Budget Hotels in Paris
- Best Boutique Hotels in Paris
- Best Hotels with Pools in Paris
- Best Hotels near Paris CDG Airport
- Best New Hotels in Paris
- Paris Hotel Map
- Best Things to Do in Paris
- Paris with Kids
- Best Paris Tours
- Best Time to Visit Paris
- Best Restaurants in Paris
- Best Bars in Paris
- Best Bakeries and Chocolatiers in Paris
- Best Shops & Markets in Paris
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- London to Paris by Eurostar
- Europe with Kids – Where to Go with kids
- Best Family Hotels in Lyon
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- Best Family Hotels in Nice
- South of France with Kids
Top Travel Sites for Paris – My Recommendations
Best For Flights: Kayak.com • Skyscanner • Momondo
Kayak is the easiest to use. Skyscanner finds the cheapest rates. Momondo is the best for first and business class tickets.
Best For Renting A Car: Rentalcars.com
Great prices from all the biggest rental companies. Easy to use, safe, and reliable.
Best For Hotels: Booking.com
Awesome rates and great for vacation planning. All price ranges. Luxury hotels, 5-star boutiques, cheap hostels, house and apartment rentals.
Best For Tours: GetYourGuide.com
My favorite for booking tours and private tour guides.
Best for Travel Insurance: InsureMyTrip
Compare costs from over 30 insurance providers.
Hello! We are planning a last minute trip to Saint Germain, Paris, and have never been to Europe. While making reservations for a group of 3, we came across two different hotels that I don’t believe you have mentioned before. They are: Hotel A La Villa des Artistes, and Au Manoir Saint Germain. Both of these hotels appear to have a great location in Saint Germain, they are close to public transportation, restaurants, and have rooms with (3) single beds (no sofa-beds or cots). I would appreciate any and all recommendations or information that you can provide me on either of these hotels. We are really looking for updated, clean hotels with real beds (not sofa beds or cots). Thank you so much in advance!
In terms of location, Au Manoir Saint Germain is the better choice. You will be closer to more of the action as well as more metro connections. The Hotel A La Villa des Artistes is in an area that still has a lot of activity, but is slightly more residential. If you stay at Au Manoir, you’ll be very close to a wonderful covered market, the Marche Couvert Saint Germain, a lively pedestrian area around rue du Buci, as well as the river. The standard room size in Paris is quite small, averaging somewhere around 13 sq. meters (140 sq. ft). As you’ll be three adults, double check the room size or you may also want to consider renting an apartment. (There are numerous agencies that organize legal, short term rentals.) Given such small accommodations, sofa beds with one double bed are fairly common when you’re trying to book something for 3 people.
We are traveling to Paris (first time) for Spring Break, (March 16 to 24). We are traveling with a 15 and 16-year-old, and have plans to arrive into Paris around 8 am local time on a Saturday. We have not booked a hotel and are concerned that we land on Saturday, March 16 and all the local attractions will be compromised due to the Yellow Vest protests. I was wondering if you had any insight as to where we should stay for the first weekend in Paris. (We have planned on heading to Normandy by Monday or Tuesday and then back to Paris on Wednesday where we are staying at an Airbnb in the Marais District.) Any suggestions on the first weekend to avoid the protests?
Thanks in advance!
The yellow vest protests, though they look quite concerning, really only impact a few localized areas and only for a few hours. So if they occur during the Saturday you happen to be in Paris, know that they will have little impact on your travel plans. The protests have mostly occurred around the Champs Elysees, the Place de la Republique, and Bastille. So if you’re thinking of staying in some of the popular areas such as the Marais, Saint Germain, or the 1st, you’ll be fine.
I’m a single mom who is leaving the teens at home! Traveling to Paris by myself to celebrate my 50th bday solo! So I’m looking at your top 3 neighborhoods to stay in Marisi, St. Germain, and Latin Quarter. What would you suggest as an ideal hotel that is clean, comfortable, wonderful, fun, nice, safe, great location, budget friendly very close to cafe, bars, metro, sights? I plan on spending most of my 6 days exploring and not necessarily in the hotel but when I am there I of course, want it to be a great experience. Have not been to Paris as an adult and just decided to go based on a great airfare price. Also, would you suggest just staying in one hotel or actually taking two hotels for 3 nights each for diversity? Appreciate your thoughts and while I realize this sight is mostly geared to families, I’d appreciate your insight. thanks so much
The Best Western Aramis Saint Germain is a very nice inexpensive hotel in a safe neighborhood with lots of shopping and many places to eat nearby. The metro is right across the street which is nice when traveling alone.
We are going to stay 2 nights in Paris: me, my wife and two kids: 3 years old and 6 months old. And no booking site or hotel own site offers the option for all of us in one room (or it’s one of the the most expensive rooms in the hotel). So, briefly speaking, is there anything to do with that? Will there be any point in contacting the hotel with the special request (for Paris I’d be ready to spend some extras to stay in luxury one, but not for the presidential suite). Or is it a strict regulation? And in that case does it mean I have no chance to stay at the hotel which does not have big suites for all of us?
Thank you in advance for your help.
The Best Western Bretagne Montparnasse in the 14th has a very inexpensive family room. The location is slightly inconvenient to the central tourist spots but a short walk to a metro station which will get you anywhere in Paris quickly.
Hi there! Thanks so much for this page. Do you have any specific recommendation for accommodations for a family of 5 (children 7, 9, and 16)? We have two stays in mind, June 8-9 and June 14-17. I am struggling to book a space for a family our size.
The Midnight Hotel Paris is great and very good value. The hotel has a 2 bedroom apartment that sleeps families of 5 or 6. We stayed there last summer and loved it. Breakfast is good and included for most reservations through Booking.com. The hotel is close to a couple different subway stops and a grocery store. The streets around the hotel are not idyllic and beautiful but they’re safe and lots of activity.
We are traveling to Paris next month and your blog has been extremely helpful, thank you! I was wondering if you can recommend any kids art classes for our 9 year old. She’s really into drawing and I keep picturing her drawing/painting the Eiffel Tower with a group of kids. Thanks in advance!
There are a few options for her. One art school that gives classes in English is Pauline Fraisse. You’ll need to contact them directly, but they can organize small group drawing and painting classes for children and young adults (4 to 18 years old). Another, but in French, is the Musee en Herbe which offers art workshops for children 5-12 years old. Each lasts one hour and costs 12 euros per session. The full calendar is on their website. One last possibility is if you’re staying at the Royal Monceau Hotel (wonderful hotel). They offer workshops for children of all ages, many of them art related.
Thank you for this wonderful website. I will be traveling to London this August with my two year old daughter and I want to make a day trip to Paris. Would love your thoughts on whether a day trip is doable? Veri
Doable? Yes. But with a 2 year old (or really any age child) much better to stay a night of two if at all possible.
Hello – thank you for all this information! It is very helpful. Our family of 5 is heading to Paris in a few weeks, and we have reserved Hotel du Cadran for our stay. Any thoughts on this hotel and its location? Our kids are 15, 12 and 9. I am also wondering if you have any advice for getting to/from the airport – will it be difficult to find a taxi that will take all 5 of us, plus our luggage (likely 4 “carryon” size rollers, and 1 larger suitcase)? Will taking public transportation be much of a cost savings (enough to justify having to make a transfer and possibly walk up/down stairs with our luggage)? Thanks in advance for any advice you are able to give!
You’ve chosen a great location – near some of the major tourist sites and museums, shopping, and the lively market street Rue Cler. It’s a safe and family friendly area, made even more so by the Berges de Seine which has lots of activities for all ages on the edge of the Seine River. Taxis shouldn’t be a problem from Charles de Gaulle and they frequently have larger ones that take 5 plus luggage. Taxis into Paris are a flat rate of 50 euros per ride. You may have to wait a bit longer for the larger taxis but they do come by frequently enough. There are also a number of shuttle services which you can book in advance and will have no problem accommodating you. I’d suggest either of these options as taking the train (the RER) one way into Paris is 10 euros/person.
Brilliant information you have here, very helpful. Thank you.
Travelling to Paris wth a 1 year old this June, mainly for the tennis but we have 3 days to spare and wondered what your thoughts were on Citadines St Germain Des Pres Paris Serviced Apartments. Also do you reckon a day at Disneyland is worth it?
Thank you in advance.
They have a great central location and nice suites. Their apartments are not huge but are fine for family of 3 or 4. Is Disneyland worth a visit? I doubt a one year old will get much out of it, though you know better than me where they’re at. I suppose it comes down to your interests – personally I’d spend that day wander about Paris.
Hi! Thank you for all this amazing information. We are doing a multi city trip this october including stop overs in NYC, a stay in Rome, time in a villa in Tuscany, and finishing up in France. I am thinking apartments will be most comfortable for my family of 5, but I am not sure if maybe a hotel is easier? We will be in Paris for 4 days and 3 nights, Aix for 2.5 days and 2 nights…thoughts? Thank you! Tiffani
You have it exactly right. Hotels are easier, more convenient, and more consistent. Apartments usually have more room and are more comfortable but (depending where you stay) have an air of uncertainty.
I was able to get a good rate at the Marriott Rive Gauche for Easter weekend for 2 adults and 2 kids.
What do you think of that hotel? Is it conveniently located to everything?
What is the best way to get from Gare Du Nord to the hotel? And from the Marriott to CDG?
Also, any good restaurants you can recommend on Easter Sunday?
Thanks so much.
The hotel is pretty typical for the Marriott chain but expect slightly smaller rooms than what you are used to in the US. The location is ok, not very central but if you are traveling with your family you’ll find it safe and not as touristy. It’s in the 14th district which is mostly known as a residential area for Parisian families. A few things nearby are the Catacombs and the Montparnasse Tower with fantastic views from its observatory. Around the tower close to the Edgar-Quintet metro is a nice open air market with local vendors on Saturday and Wednesday mornings. And an absolute must are the crepe places along Rue du Montparnasse which are filling and family friendly. One of the best is Creperie Josselin known for their double thick crepes. Easter is a great time to visit and your kids will love all the window displays. The chocolate shops in particular go all out and you should check out Patrick Roger and/or all the sweets shops that are clustered along the Rue du Bac. And in addition to the expanded church services at Notre Dame and Sacre Couer, there is a massive easter egg hunt for kids at the Eiffel Tower. To get to your hotel from Gare du Nord, if you’re on a budget and don’t have much stuff you can take the RER B train, which is more direct than the metro. Or you can take a taxi which, depending on traffic, will take you about 25 minutes and probably cost you around 25 euros. For restaurants, most of the upscale hotels do a fantastic Easter brunch but I like Le First inside the Westin. Many restaurants are closed on Sundays in Paris in general, regardless of Easter Sunday. For a list of ones that are likely to be open, you can check the Paris by Mouth website.
Hi, Thanks for your great weblog. I am going to be in Paris by march 21 for 2 nights with my husband and my teenage daughter. Already read good things about Monge Hotel located in 5th arr. on the web. What is your opinion about it? Is it located in a safe family area? Thank you so much for your early reply. Lily
The area around the hotel is very safe and family friendly. You’ll be walking distance to some notable landmarks like the Pantheon and the Arenes de Lutece, an amphitheater from Roman times, and near the pretty Jardin des Plantes. The Latin Quarter, where you’re going to be staying is known for lots of lively student oriented nightlife, but there’s generally something for everyone on Rue Mouffetard. It’s a fun market street with tons of cafes and shops and one of the highlights is an incredible cheese shop called Androuet. The more touristy streets in the Latin Quarter are rue de la Huchette and and Pot de Fer so you might want to steer clear of those. Also be sure to check out the Marche Monge (the farmer’s market/flea market) which takes place just down the street from your hotel at the Place Monge. It’s on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings. The hotel itself is great with terrific service.
We will be driving from Barcelona to Paris the second week of March (2 adults and a 3-year-old child) and we would like to know if you could recommend us any route to take from Barcelona to Paris? We would love to see France’s countryside, taste food, see farms, markets, etc.
Thank you for your hard work
There’s tons of wonderful things to see on that drive. Since it sounds like you are foodies, I’d suggest taking the route that roughly goes along the A6 to the A9. This will take you through some of the best wine regions, markets, and food destinations in the country. Just on the other side of the border, you’ll be in the Languedoc – an up and coming wine region. Some standout wines from that area are Corbiere and Costieres-de-Nimes. If you have time, visit the medieval citadel in Carcassone. It’s not known internationally, but popular with French tourists for its hilltop location and status as a UNESCO World Heritgage Site. Just north of Nimes is a small hidden gem called Uzes. If you need a place to overnight, this would be my recommendation. It has beautiful architecture, is highly walkable, and a thriving arts scene leading to the addition of some cool boutique hotels in recent years. If you can time it well, market days are on Wednesdays and Saturdays. From there, just on the border of Provence, you can explore some of the highlights of the area including the salt marshes of Camargue, the vineyards such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape and the fantastic farmers market of Arles which blends French and Mediterranean influences. As you continue north, you’ll be driving through the Rhone Valley famous for Lyon, considered the gastronomic capital of France, the farm country of Bresse and its world famous chicken, and Beaujolais. You’ll definitely want to take some time to explore Lyon and if you wanted to take a slight detour, you’re right by the French Alps to the east and the rugged mountains and hiking to the west in Ardeche. After that you’ll be driving through the picturesque vineyards of Burgundy and if you are a wine enthusiast you should stop in Beaune.
Great website, great comments!
I’m visiting Paris with my two sons (14,12) mid February for 4 nights. We have booked the Novotel Stade de France on the Sunday night as we are there for a 6 nations rugby match. Looking for accommodation for 3 nights thereafter. Looking to be central within 45 mins walk of main attractions. We like to explore on foot (although happy to take public transport). Would love a visit out to Versailles. Looking for 4* accommodation that does great buffet breakfasts! Need advice getting to the airport mid afternoon. Can you help? Thanks!
Since most hotels in Paris do continental style breakfasts, I’ll suggest a few different hotels that offer more choices and have cook to order options. A great, centrally located hotel with a solid buffet is the Westin Paris Vendome. It’s a 4 star in the 1st arrondisement, right across the street from the Tuileries Gardens, walking distance to the Louvre, Champs Elysee, Palais Royale, and many other notable attractions. You can also walk to the Musee D’Orsay from there which is one of the places you can pick up the RER C to go out to Versailles. The breakfast buffet is solid and they give you three options: a Parisian breakfast for 14 euros, a continental breakfast buffet for 29 euros or an American option for 39 euros. A similar breakfast can be had at the Le Meridien Etoile, another 4 star, but it’s a bit further out in the 17th. In Saint Germaine, a wonderful boutique hotel is the Relais Christine. The location is excellent, quiet and walking distance to the river, Notre Dame, great shops, and the honey they use for the breakfast buffet comes from their very own bees they keep in the garden. On the other side of the river you could try the Hotel Concorde Montparnasse. It’s a very reasonably priced 4 star in the 14th that offers a large spread with fresh squeezed juices for 23 euros. It’s a great location if you wanted to explore some of the more unique sights like the Catacombs – a favorite for boys yours sons age. If you wanted to splurge, the 5 star hotels do excellent breakfast buffets (for a price) with Le Bristol being one of the best in Paris. As for getting to the airport, getting out to CDG is easy and there are a few options. The cheapest and most efficient is by RER which you can take from Gare du Nord. It costs 10 euros per person. Trains run frequently and will take you no more than 45 minutes. Taxis will generally cost upwards of 50 euros depending on traffic and Ubers go out there for a set rate of 45 euros.
Good Morning David
We are planning on going to Paris this year for my Daughter’s 10th Birthday. I have 2 daughters 9 and 7. Where in Paris do you recommend staying for a family? We will be there for the weekend of Bastille day, so I want to make sure we book a great hotel in a safe family area with lots to do.
Paris has many options for families. Depending on your budget, there are some great hotels that offer special activities for children your daughters age. Le Bristol is an excellent 5 star with a kids play room, fun activities like a hotel-wide treasure hunt, and a small pool on the top floor. The area its in in the 8th is upscale yet low key and walking distance to the Champs Elysees where the Bastille Day parade will take place. A more budget friendly option is the Novotel in the 16th. They also have a nice pool and you’ll be a short walk away from the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. On Bastille Day there are free concerts just at the base of the Eiffel Tower and many people take a picnic to the Champs de Mars to enjoy an evening of music and fireworks. For general areas, anywhere near the Luxembourg Gardens in the 6th or the Tuilleries in the 1st will offer great playgrounds and lots of space for your kids to run around in. Both are highly safe and family friendly, with a slight lean towards the 6th for its blend of architecture, shops, restaurants, etc.
Such a great website! My husband and I just booked a 10 day trip to Paris with our 2.5 year old for the beginning of February next year. I haven’t seen a lot of information regarding travel in February so I’m hoping it isn’t a mistake. I know it is going to be cold, but we don’t necessarily want to be forced inside the entire trip. We are open to daytrips or really anything at this point since we are just beginning to do research. We haven’t booked a hotel either but would like something centrally located. Any advice you have on activities that would be enjoyable for everyone in February are greatly appreciated! Paige
While February in Paris can be cold and rainy, it’s still a good time to visit. You’ll have fewer crowds to deal with and even most of the city to yourself if you are there during the “Vacance Scolaire” – the two week period between Feb 6-20 when most Parisians take their children on winter break. Do plan for lots of indoor activities, but don’t feel you need to be confined indoors. For example the covered shopping galleries known as Passages are a perfect way to fight cold weather while taking in some sightseeing. Most of them are historical monuments and allow you to step back in time while browsing a variety of shops – from tea salons and vintage postcard shops to top notch restaurants and the wax museum known as Musee Grevin. You could also consider doing a food tour. Paris by Mouth allows young children on their tours and many of their routes are a combination of indoors/outdoors. You’ll spend some time walking around a neighborhood exploring various shops and a covered market while the bulk of the time is spent inside a wine shop for the tastings. They also keep the groups small so you’ll meet some nice fellow travelers along the way. As for day trips, there are the obvious ones such as Versailles and Disneyland. However if you wanted to stay a little more local I’d suggest the Cite des Enfants for your 2.5 year old and the numerous activities and museums in the Parc de la Villette – many of which have a kid-friendly component.
Let me first say thanks for your work you are an amazing resource. We are traveling to London to visit family over the thanksgiving break and thought it would be a great idea to do a quick visit to Paris with our 8 and 5 year old. We plan to spend one night. There are so many things to do. Do you have any tips or ideas as to how to organize our time. We definitely want to see the Eiffel tower and take a boat ride on the Seine. I love your idea of doing a chocolate tour, but I am at a loss otherwise. Sacha
Since your time in Paris is limited, I’d suggest doing the hop-on hop-off bus. Paris is a relatively compact city and the buses allow you to get a lay of the land while connecting you to most of the major sites. The tickets give you a lot of flexibility and you can stop off at say, the Champs Elysees for an hour and then get back on to head over to the Eiffel Tower. (In summer the buses can be frustratingly busy but in November lines should be short or non-existent.) Both the hop-on hop-off bus and the boat ride on the Seine are fun/efficient ways to take in Paris. Besides that, there are lots of family friendly activities to choose from but I’d also keep in mind that the weather in November is usually cold and rainy. So plan on a few museums or indoor activities. For example the Musee D’Orsay has a fantastic collection and is not as overwhelming or crowded as the Louvre. Another great museum is the Pompidou Center which has the interactive Galarie des Enfants or walk through any of the city’s historic covered passages such as the Passage des Panoramas, Galerie Vivienne or the Passage Jouffroy. They are filled with everything from antique stores to vintage postcard shops to toy stores to tea salons to some of the best restaurants in Paris. And if the weather is cooperating, these are all near playgrounds or open spaces your kids can run around in. The Musee D’Orsay is near the playgrounds of the Berges de Seine, the Pompidou Center has a large pedestrian area around it and the Passages (mostly in the 2nd arrondisement) are near the garden of the Palais Royal.
Fantastic site, so very thankful to find this. Little Aussie family on a long holiday in Cyprus, we are traveling into Europe throughout our stay & im sure to be using your site often – thank you.
Our next trip is to Paris at the end of November, looking to visit all main tourist sites & one day at Disney for the children. So confused looking at where to stay, hope you can narrow things down. Family of 4 looking for budget stay, we really won’t be in our room much!!!! Close to good food outlets & public transport.
Looking forward to your response.
If you’re looking for a good location for a budget stay with your family, I’d recommend the area around the metro Grands Boulevards. It borders the 9th and 2nd arrondisements, so it’s very central and walkable with lots of hotels to choose from. Most of them are in the 3 star category and depending on the specifics of your budget you could go higher or lower. The best part is that you are near several metro lines and multiple family friendly sites like the Musee Grevin (wax museum), the Chocoloate museum, and the historic Passage des Panoramas. For shopping, you are walking distance to the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Department store. Food wise, there are also plenty of budget friendly restaurants that are family friendly as well. A popular one is Chartier, known for its gorgeous Belle Epoque interior that hasn’t changed since 1896. Prices range from 8.50-13.50 for a main course which makes it one of the best deals in town. Other suggestions that offer good value for money are Coinstot Vino inside the Passage des Panoramas and Le Richer. If your children are older you could even dine at the 5 star hotel Nell which has a 3 course pre-fixe menu for 38 euros at their restaurant La Regalade Conservatoire or if you don’t want to go fancy there is also Mamie Burger which has a burger and bistro menu that won’t break the bank. From this location you are a short subway ride to the Eiffel Tower, walking distance to the Louvre, and close to the Chatelet station where you would catch the train to Disneyland.
The article was really helpful. I’m travelling with a 6 yr old and would like to stay in city centre. Do you think “Hotel Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel” is a good option?
Very nice hotel with great location for visiting the Eiffel Tower. A bit removed from other Paris highlights but you’re close to a metro stop so that shouldn’t big a big deal.
I’m leaving on Sunday and have decided to spend a couple of days in Paris. I’m travelling with 2 teens and already have a rental car booked. Can you recommend a hotel at this last minute? What are the must sees for a 13 and 15 year old?
Unfortunately you are visiting Paris during one of the busiest times of the year – Paris Fashion Week. Most hotels and restaurants book out months in advance for this period. However you can still find something last minute and even still snag a deal. The app Hotels Tonight works well in Paris, offering a list of last minute rooms at a discounted price. It only exists as an app so you have to do all your booking through it. For areas, I’d suggest the outer districts like the 10th and 11th (vs. more popular areas like the Marais or Saint Germain.) Not only are they likely to be booked during this period those areas are usually more pricey. The 11th and 10th have the benefit of being close to the Marais and the Canal Saint Martin, areas that your teens should enjoy. In the Marais you have a lot of options: the Centre Pompidou, Place Vosges, the farmers market at Bastille on Sunday and the fantastic Marche des Enfants Rouge. The Marche is great for families because it’s a lively cluster of food vendors that sell everything from burgers to organic French fare to couscous. The Canal is fun too, with lots of shops and boutiques to explore.
We are going to Europe for 16 days April I’m trying plan ahead because I’m paying some here and there as I go. Passports and airlines done. Now for places to stay we fly into London and I wanted to stay at Premeir Inn London County Hall by the London eye for 3 nights. Then to Paris for 3 nights. Them to Amsterdam for 4 nights. Then Germany Munich for 3 or somewhere in area of the black Forrest. Then on to Vienna for the remaining and fly out of there back home. I need so much help with the trains I was trying to figure out I could take the euro from London to Paris and then Paris to Brussells change and ride into Amsterdam then I’m stuck from how to get to Germany then Austria also have a 7 year wild son who loves weapons and medieval things. Any help would be appreciated. Thank for your site. It’s helped a lot.
There is a night train from Amsterdam to Munich which leaves every evening at 8:30 and arrives in Munich at 7:10am. Kids love overnight trains. Buy tickets here. There are many trains a day from Munich to Vienna. They take about 4 hours. Buy tickets here. Both Paris and London have great military museums with lots of weapons, tanks, planes, and history.
Thank you for all the information you provided on your site. We will traveling to Paris in December with our 14 years old sons and plan on traveling to London during our stay. We plan on staying 10 days in Paris including Christmas. We will travel to London and stay 3 days before returning to Paris for 1 day. It will the boys first trip to Paris and London. Where do you recommend we stay with the boys in Paris: 1st, 5th, Marais, or 16th arrondissement? or any other suggestions? What is your recommendation for traveling between Paris and London?
For your stay, I would suggest either the 1st or the Marais. Both are extremely central and close to lots of activity. The 5th, depending on the part, is a little more quiet and the 16th is the furthest from most attractions (except the Eiffel Tower) and the most residential district in Paris. Since they’re 14, I’d lean towards the Marais since they’ll probably appreciate the cool boutiques, galleries, and general hipness of the neighborhood. (If they were younger I would suggest the 1st so that you’ll have access to the playgrounds and open space of the Tuileries.) Christmas is a great time to visit, especially with kids. While you’re there, be sure to check out the animatronic window displays at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. They are simply incredible and both kids and adults will enjoy it. Also try to go ice skating either in front of the Hotel de Ville or inside the Grand Palais which sets up the largest indoor ice rink in the world for the holidays. These are set up especially for Christmas and are both a wonderful experience. The Christmas market at Champs Elysees might also be fun for your family. Admittedly it is a little touristy, but it’s the biggest one in the city. Plus it starts next to the Place de Concorde right where the Grand Roue de Paris is, the giant Ferris wheel that they also start running for the holiday festivities. One thing to be aware of is that many restaurants close down for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. If you have any special plans, check beforehand to make sure they’ll be open. Also, if you’re taking the Eurostar train to London (which is what I recommend – much easier than flying with no substantial travel-time difference), that goes out of Gare du Nord. It’s in the center of Paris in the 10th so don’t worry about making any special accommodations to be near it. Gare du Nord is an easy 15 minute taxi ride from the Marais without traffic (or an easy metro ride if you’re luggage is on the light side) and very accessible.
Hi. Very interesting reading, thank you.
I am planning a very short stay in Paris for myself and my 5yr old daughter late September. We arrive at midday on the Sunday and leave for Disney Paris on the Tuesday morning. I have made provisional bookings at Hotel Chopin on advice from my to be sister in law. Essentially we will have 1 and a bit days in Paris. I want to see Eiffel Tower of course and eat some local food. Any suggestions?
The Hotel Chopin is a great choice. You’ll be walking distance to many sites and it’s tucked away inside the historic Passage Jouffroy, one of Paris’ beautiful covered shopping galleries that were built in the 1800s. Visiting them is like stepping back in time and the oldest one, the Passage des Panoramas, is just across the street from the Passage Jouffroy. Within those you’ll find charming shops selling books and postcards, tea salons, and a wide range of restaurants. The Passage des Panoramas in particular has become a foodie attraction with notable restaurants like Racine, the two Michelin starred Passage 53, and it’s newest addition Canard & Champagne. Since you’re traveling with your daughter, a more family friendly option might be the Restaurant Chartier. It’s popular with tourists and Parisians alike because the prices are reasonable and it’s also a step back in time. Tables are covered with white paper where the waiters scribble your order on it and the magnificent dining room, built in 1896, is a great example of Belle Epoque architecture.
Also in the neighborhood are two kid-friendly museums, the Musee Grevin (wax museum) and the Musee du Chocolat which offers hands on workshops for children. Close to your hotel is also the charming pedestrian street Rue Cadet. Most people will tell you to go to Rue Montorgueil, a very well known and touristed shopping street with butchers, cheesemongers, bakeries, restaurants, etc. Rue Cadet, though smaller, has all of these things but will give you a taste of a typical Parisian neighborhood.
Lastly, if your daughter needs some space to play outdoors, you’re not too far from the Palais Royale. There’s a beautiful garden lined with cafes where you can sip a coffee while she plays. I’d recommend Cafe Kitsune which has the best coffee.
Hi, we are a family of 5 looking to spend 3/4 nights in Paris with children 14 ,9 and 4, it will be the first time going.
– For a hotel we would hopefully want a family room-but will spend most of the time out and about.
– Which area is best – totally confused.
We will be looking to eat out so some good eating places (and vegetarian).
Would like to vist Eiffel Tower some sort of river cruise.
Sight seeing: a bit of culture just generally a fun time out with good eating places and places to visit. Do we need to book tour guide? Any help and advice appreciated.
Which is best site to book from?
The two most popular areas in Paris are Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Marais. Saint-Germain-des-Prés is typical “left bank” Paris – beautiful architecture, Hemmingway haunts, and the Paris you see in the movies. The Marais (on the right bank) has some of those elements but is more edgy and hip. Both are great areas since they are central, close to tourist sites and have lots of options for restaurants, shopping, nightlife, etc. However, hotel rooms in these neighborhoods tend to be priced at a premium so you might either look into a short term apartment rental or you could situate yourself in one of the neighboring arrondisements. Since you mentioned you are vegetarian, I’d suggest the Marais which will have more options for you since classic French food tends to be quite meat-heavy. In the Marais you’ll have lots of choices such as the popular L’As du Fallafel, Breizh Cafe for savory crepes, or Cafe Pinson a mostly vegetarian, organic bistro. You should also check out the fun and family friendly Marche des Enfant Rouges which is a cross between a small farmers market and food court with multiple vendors selling everything from Moroccan couscous to classic French fare to Japanese bento boxes. If budget is an issue, I’d suggest staying in the 11th arrondisement. It’s just on the border of the Marais and you’ll find better hotel and apartment deals. One hotel to check out is the Gardette Park Hotel. The hotel has rooms suitable for a family and it’s also next to a small park if your children need some outdoor space. You’re also still walking distance to the Marais, the shops and restaurants that line the Boulevard Beaumarchais, and the great open air market at Bastille which is the largest in Paris and runs along the Boulevard Richard Lenoir every Thursday and Sunday until about 2:30pm. They have fantastic produce, food stalls, baguettes, wine – all the components you need for picnic or casual dinner. For the Eiffel Tower, try to book tickets in advance and you can do this online at toureiffel.fr. Tickets to the summit often sell out, so if this happens you can just buy tickets to the second floor and from there they will have another area to buy separate tickets to the top. For a river cruise, check out the Vedettes du Pont Neuf. A 1 hour cruise covers most of the major tourist sites and they have special prices for adults and children. Adults are 14 euros and kids ages 4-12 are 7 euros. Also, since you’re traveling with kids, there are lots of family friendly activities that are interactive and cultural. The Louvre for example has a treasure hunt geared towards young children and most of the parks like the Luxembourg Gardens, the Jardin de Tuileries, and Place des Vosges have playgrounds. The newest addition to this is the Berges de Seine in the 7th which has converted a section along the Seine across from the Grand Palais into pop up exhibits, a child friendly rock climbing wall and other activities. Generally speaking, you don’t need to book a tour guide since many people in Paris speak English and you’re looking to do more cultural activities rather than travel off the beaten path. Tours are great (especially food tours, which my kids love) and getyourguide.com is good for booking those – but most people do not need a devoted tour guide.
Great article, keep up the good work. We’ve been to Paris several times now just as a couple and also with our 3 kids and we are always amazed as to the number of great attractions based there. Although we’ve done the major sites such as the Eiffel Tower and Le Louvre, one of the best was we found to see the city sights with the kids was on one of the Seine River cruise boats. Our kids especially loved the evening trip when some of the major sights are lit up. We love Paris it’s a great city which keeps calling you back. Couldn’t find if you’d already written about it but readers should consider staying at one of the campsites around Paris.
I have not camped in Paris. I know people that camped at Huttopia near Versailles and liked it.
David, thank you for all the effort you put into this web site. It has been a great resource since we moved to Malaysia a year and a half ago with our three kids (ages 9, 7, 7). We are getting ready to leave now to come back to the US and are planning a trip through Europe, including Paris. We have an itinerary which currently includes a bike tour, Eiffel Tower tickets, the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and Disneyland Paris. For our last day, my wife would like to spend it at Parc de la Villette, visiting the Science Center and the park itself. It would also mean leaving Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle and Arc de Triomphe off the itinerary.
Any thoughts here? Are those three must-see items when doing Paris with kids?
If you’re traveling with kids, they will definitely enjoy the Cite des Enfants. It’s designed especially for children to be very hands on and they even have it broken into two age groups (2-7 year olds and 5-12 year olds). It’s true, the Parc de la Villette is off the beaten path for most tourists, but I’d think it would be a nice change of pace from all the crowds you’ll encounter at the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Disneyland. Plus you’ll get to see a side of Paris that most visitors don’t see. For example in the same park is the Philharmonie de Paris, one of the newest and most unusual buildings that recently opened and was designed by Jean Nouvel (think of him as the French Frank Gehry). It’s also a popular park for Parisians in the summer because they show free outdoor movies in the evenings (many in English with French subtitles) and people bring along a picnic. Check this year’s movie schedule. As for the other monuments you mentioned, you might be satisfied with a bus or river cruise. Those generally last an hour and allow you to see a number of Parisian highlights in a short time. Some popular ones are the Vedettes du Pont Neuf and tickets are 5 euros for children under 12 and 11 euros for adults or the Big Bus Tours which cost about 16 euros for children and 18 euros for adults.
I will be travelling by myself with 2 kids that will be 12 and 9 when we get a chance to go to Paris. We will probably travel for 7-8 days from NY to France during July as you recommend. If you have been to Disney World in Florida recently is it worth going to Disneyland Paris? If so, do you go for 1 or 2 days? Was there a Paris ferris wheel? Would you recommend going to the Palace of Versailles for a day trip? How hot is it in mid July? Do you recommend Cirque du Soleil – Varekai? Do you recommend any ballets or operas to see in Paris for kids? Who do you recommend contacting for cooking schools for us? Do you recommend other areas of France outside of Paris to explore during this trip or is it too much to fit in? Thanks so much for all of the information you have provided to others, it has been quite helpful.
Lyn from New York
If you’ve been to Disney World in Orlando recently, Disneyland Paris may be worth skipping. It’s about 1/10 the size of Disney World with only two parks (vs. DW’s four) and the second park – the Walt Disney Studios Park – is kind of small. I’d only suggest going if you’re really a big Disney fan and you’d like to see all the Disney properties. However Orlando and Paris both share many of the same attractions so if you feel like you’ve seen it already there are plenty of family friendly activities to do in Paris. For instance you’ll be there around the time that Paris Plage opens up (July 18-Aug 21). Every year the city of Paris trucks in tons of sand to create a beach and boardwalk feel just along the Seine. They have lounge chairs and kids can build sandcastles, all in the center of the city. There’s also lots of fun stalls with ice cream, food trucks, etc. which gives the whole scene a lively feel. There are also some great kid-friendly museums, like the Cite des Enfants. It’s highly interactive and engaging for children of all ages. Since you’ll be there in the summer, there are also numerous parks throughout Paris and most of them have playgrounds or special attractions for children. The Luxembourg Gardens in particular has a marionette theater with puppet shows 3 times a day during the summer and a pond for sailing small boats. The Jardin de Tuileries is great because it has a carousel, Shetland pony rides, toy sailboats, and trampolines (most of these things do cost a small fee). And just to the west of the Jardin de Tuileries is the Paris ferris wheel, officially called the Concorde big wheel because of its location at the Place de la Concorde. It will be open until September 23 this year. The Palace of Versailles is a fantastic day trip but you’ll be there at peak season. It’s definitely worth a day trip and is an easy 45 minute ride from central Paris. My best advise though would be to try to plan ahead, get passes in advance, and avoid the busiest days which are usually Sundays, Tuesdays and Saturdays. Thursdays and Fridays are the best days to visit if you can swing it and I’d suggest leaving Paris around 8am so that you arrive before the palace opens at 9am. If that’s too early with the kids, late morning is okay too. And if you don’t think they can take an entire day, just focus on the Chateau and gardens and skip the Trianon.
The weather in mid-July can get quite warm and average temperatures usually fall in the upper 70s to mid- 80s Fahrenheit. Last year there was a big heatwave with record highs into the mid and upper 90s. It’s worth mentioning that in Paris air conditioning is the exception, not the norm. You’ll usually find it in large department stores and hotels, but don’t count on it in restaurants or if you’re booking a private apartment. Most of the time fans do the trick, but the heat and lack of AC is partially why Parisians leave for a month in August.
As for the Cirque du Soleil-Varekai, I believe the only dates the show is in Paris is Dec. 7-11. If there are performances in July and you can get tickets then you should definitely go. As for ballets and operas for kids, the Opera National de Paris has a special section of their website called Young Audiences that lists upcoming ballets, operas, chamber music concerts and events especially geared towards young visitors. You could also try the checking out the calendar for Les Etes de la Danse, a festival devoted to summer dance performances with an emphasis on international dance companies. For cooking classes, the most kid-friendly ones are L’Atelier des Sens with their Little Chef classes, Cook N’ with Class with their French desserts for kids course. If you were to take trips outside of Paris, I’d stick with day trips that are easily accessible by train since most places would require renting a car. In addition to Versailles, Giverny is a quaint town about an hour outside of Paris and Monet’s Garden is lovely. Fat Tire bike tours offers one for Giverny and it’s a nice way to see the Monet’s Garden, the surrounding countryside, enjoy a leisurely bike ride, and stop at a local market to buy supplies for a picnic.
Congratulations on your website, and a million thanks! We’re planning to go to Paris in July for 8 days with two kids, 4 and 7. We’re flying to CDG. Would it be a good idea to stay at a campsite in Versailles? Or do you think we can easily be outdoors if staying at an apartment?
If your preference is to enjoy nature and the outdoors, you’re probably better off staying at one of several campsites outside Paris. Versailles in particular has lots of beautiful forests that are perfect for exploring and close to the Chateau. One campsite in particular is the Huttopia Versailles which is only about a 30 minute train ride to central Paris. They offer lots of onsite amenities such as a swimming pool and bike rentals. It’s close to a local market in Porchefontaine and biking distance to the bigger Marché de Versailles. The only downside is at that time of year expect it to be very crowded. If you did want to look into renting an apartment, position yourself near either the Bois de Boulogne (where the new Louis Vuitton Foundation is) or the Bois de Vincennes (the largest park in Paris). Both are excellent if you need some outdoor time and both have lots of Velib stations nearby which allow you to use any of the public bikes for 1.70/day. If you’re on a budget, I’d opt for staying in the 12th (near the Bois de Vincennes) vs. the 16th since that area is known for being home to many of the city’s 5 star luxury hotels and your restaurant options and food costs will reflect that. The 12th is a very safe, family friendly district with lots of fun activities like the Parc Zoologique de Paris and the Parc Floral de Paris.
Hi David. Really interesting blog. Could you please advise, between Montparnasse and Eiffel Tower, which area is best? I heard Montparnasse has great cafes etc but the Eiffel is close to the Seine and other tourist spots. Could you please recommend the best places to eat? Nothing fancy but just great finds that are worth checking out for the best bakeries, crepes, french food, croissants/baguettes and cheese? Or any other interesting food markets/stalls. Is there also something better than Laduree for macaroons? Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.
If you are deciding between the two areas, I would go with the Eiffel Tower. You’ll be close to the Seine, which also has a lot of river-front cafes and restaurants, as well as be in an area which is more charming and has easy access to most of the big tourist attractions to boot. I’d specifically stay near the Rue Cler, which is a fun market street with lots of shops and bistros. The area around Montparnasse is somewhat dominated by the modern Montparnasse Tower and the large train station. One of the notable things about this area is the cluster of creperies you’ll find, all run by people from Brittany where crepes and galettes (the savory version) are from. (I almost wonder if you’re thinking of “Montmartre” rather than Montparnasse which is set higher up on the hills of Paris and has a quaint village like feel. If this is the case, I’d still recommend the Eiffel Tower area for ease of access since there aren’t many metros that connect Montmartre and, though beautiful, can be a little harder to get to.) If you stay near the Eiffel Tower, a very popular place with great food and reasonable prices is Cafe Constant. The great thing is you don’t need to book ahead since they don’t take reservations, the downside is that there is always a long line, especially if you go after 8pm. Also in that area is Chez L’Ami Jean. You will need to book in advance but the food is hearty and the atmosphere a lot of fun. They are known for their Basque specialties and their rice pudding. You’ll also be close to Rue du Bac which has some of the best pastry and chocolate shops in the city. The stretch just by Le Bon Marche conveniently has them all practically next door to each other. Highlights are the Patisserie des Reves and Des Gâteaux et du Pain for pastries, and Jacques Genin and Patrice Chapon for chocolate. Chapon is especially known for his chocolate mousse bar which features mousses made from single origin chocolate. There are several places with great crepes, one in the Montparnasse area called Creperie Josselin and another in the Marais called Breizh Cafe. I would definitely head over to the Marais so you could hit up 134 Rdt, winner of the best croissant in Paris, and there is now an outpost of the award winning cheesemonger Laurent Dubois there too. If you’re looking for the best baguette in Paris, one of the top prizes went to Nelly Julien of Doucers et Traditions, which will be nearby if you’re staying by the Eiffel Tower on Rue Saint-Dominique. For food markets, the biggest one is on Thursdays and Sundays at Bastille. For macarons, please avoid Lauduree and head to Pierre Herme instead. Not only are his macarons much better but if you go on the early side, they might still have some of his fabulous rose water, raspberry, and lychee croissants left.
We’re planning a family trip to UK (19 May – 12 June) to which we plan to add 6-7 days in Paris (June first week), my kids are of the age 4 & 8.
Travelling first time to Europe with kids gives lot of ideas to ponder, to which your expertise is a big big welcome.
1) We are not much into art and will wish to visit museum of relevance for a family, your suggestions?
2) Since with kids Disney is a must visit, do you suggest overnight stay at a Disney hotel or to board hotel within Paris for entire trip?
3) For a 6-7 days trip we plan to spend 1 day at Disney, 1 day trip to Versailles, then Luxembourg Gardens, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame cathedral, Cruise on the Seine. Any other suggestions?
4) Considering above trip, which area of Paris is ideal for a budget stay? Any hotel recommendations?
Thanks a ton in advance,
There are a number of museums that are geared just for kids or sections of better known museums that are kid friendly. Musee en Herbe is a small art museum in the 1st arrondisement that caters especially to young children with contemporary art exhibits and workshops where kids can make their own art. The workshops are even categorized by age group (2 1/2-4 year olds and 5-12 year olds) and though they are conducted in French, most of the focus is on interaction. The Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie is another fun, family friendly museum for both adults and kids. Within the complex is the Cité des Enfants aimed at 2-12 year olds and offers lots of hands on exhibits. If you’re looking for a more serious art experience, there is the Centre Pompidou which organizes several major exhibitions each year and has some of the best modern and contemporary art in Europe. There is a section for kids called the Galarie des Enfants and just outside the museum is the Stravinsky Fountain, a collection of colorful metal sculptures that move and spray water. As for your hotel, since the bulk of your activities are in Paris I’d recommend you stay in the city itself versus staying out near Disneyland. Catching the RER A train out to Disneyland is fairly straightfoward and it will be easier to do your day trip to Versailles. The train from central Paris to Disneyland is roughly 45 minutes, drops you off right at the park, and costs about 8 euros each way. It sounds like you’re hitting all the major landmarks and the only other one I’d suggest is the Jardin des Tuileries. It’s another great place to take young children as they offer lots of kid-friendly activities and during the summer there is a fair with amusement park rides and games. When you’re at the Luxembourg Gardens, not too far away is the shop of one of the best chocolate makers in France, Patrick Roger. He is known for his enormous and intricate chocolate sculptures which always wow kids and adults alike. Though it will look very cold and fancy from the outside and make you feel like you’re walking into an exclusive jewelry store, all the shopkeepers are kind, helpful, and speak English. Make sure you go to his location next to the Saint Sulpice church because it’s the only one that has an art gallery of original sculptures upstairs (the downstairs displays are chocolate, upstairs are bronze and iron). It’s unmarked, but the gallery is upstairs and open to the public. The chocolates of course are out of this world and I’d recommend the rocher and lemon basil. About a ten minute walk from there is a section of Rue du Bac which has some of the best pastry and chocolate shops in Paris all clustered together. There is a location of the famous Angelina but the highlight is the Patisserie des Reves where everything is pink and the pastries are displayed under a cloche. Just about a block up is Patrice Chapon, known for his chocolate mousse bar and who used to make ice cream for the Queen of England. As for areas to stay on a budget, I think your best bet is avoid the typically touristy areas like Saint Germain des Pres and position yourself near good metro connections. One area that is not touristy is the 11th, so you’ll still be central and even walking distance to lots of interesting things. A great hotel is the Gardette Park Hotel, just across the street from a park with a playground and in a charming neighborhood. A few other neighborhood standouts are the Square Gardette Restaurant and the excellent coffee shop Beans on Fire. Another worth considering is the Novotel near Gare du Lyon. Though it is near a major train station (and one of the stations you can catch the RER A to Disneyland from) it has a pool for the kids and is also near one of the best croissants in Paris at Ble Sucre. It’s also close to one of the biggest farmers markets in Paris at Bastille as well as a lesser known one at the Marche D’Aligre, part of which is in a covered market. Both of these areas will be more budget friendly as well as offer lots of choices for restaurants, cafes, etc.
Hi. I am traveling this April to Paris with my 11 year old. Still can’t decide on a hotel. Plan to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Disneyland. We will be there for 5 day/4nights. Is it best to take a tour and see all of the landmarks in one day (if possible) and then one day for Disney? Which area is best to stay in for easier access to either the landmarks or transportation to/from? Thanks. Tishawn
For first time visitors or people who want to pack in a lot of sightseeing, I generally recommend the 7th arrondisement since it’s a great base to explore from. It’s a really beautiful part of the city with easy access to all the major sites, shopping, restaurants, and museums. Since you’re traveling with an 11 year old and planning to go to Disneyland, I would actually suggest staying in the 1st arrondisement for a few different reasons. If you base yourself near the Louvre (or that general area), you’ll still be in a great part of the city but walking distance to the Tuileries which has a lot of kid-friendly activities and the Chatelet-Les Halles RER stop where you can catch the direct train to Disneyland. At the Tuileries, you can find trampolines in the Northwest corner and a play area with rope towers and slides. On Wednesdays and weekends they offer toy sailboat rental and pony rides. Chatelet-Les Halles is also one of the biggest metro stations where most of the metro lines intersect, offering you easy access to pretty much anywhere in the city. Since you also mentioned the possibility of taking a tour, which is a great way to knock out most of the major sites in just a few hours, most of the popular bus and boat companies have pick up points in this area. For example, the Vedettes du Pont Neuf is a one hour cruise offered throughout the day and tickets are only 14 euros for adults and 7 euros for children between 4-12. Its pick up point is at the Pont Neuf, just south of the Louvre. Since you need to spend at least a day visiting Disneyland, tours like this will free up the rest of your time to enjoy the city. This area also has a number of hotel options, ranging from 5 star properties like Le Meurice to more affordable options such as the Best Western Louvre-Opera.
Delighted to have discovered your blog! We have 24 hours in Paris with our 8 and 3 year old girls before heading onto Disney. The hope is to go to the Eiffel Tower, a boat cruise on the Seine and have a wonderful Parisian breakfast and generally just soak up the city for the short time we’re there. We are looking at staying at the Mercure Eiffel Tower, would you recommend this for our needs? Many thanks in advance.
The Mercure has a great location for the Eiffel Tower and catching a boat cruise along the Seine. And there are several things within the general vicinity (though perhaps a little too far to walk) that would be great to check out. The most family friendly is the Berges de Seines, a stretch of newly created outdoor space that runs roughly between the Pont de L’Alma and Invalides. It runs right along the river Seine so you’ll have some beautiful views of the Grand Palais and the Alexandre III Bridge mixed in with child friendly climbing walls, former shipping containers turned into exhibits, and other kid oriented activities. It’s also a lovely area to bring a picnic. Go in the daytime since in the evening the area becomes a popular place to enjoy an after work bottle of wine (it remains kid-friendly but does have a different vibe than through the day). Another fun place to check out is the Rue du Bac, also in the 7th. The stretch south of Boulevard Saint Germain and ending near Le Bon Marche is filled with the best chocolate and pastry shops in the city and the displays are a lot of fun for kids. Standouts are the all pink Patisserie des Reves where pastries are displayed under cloches and Patrice Chapon who used to make ice cream for the Queen of England. He specializes in chocolate and his ice cream skills have been applied to a range of mousses. There is also a branch of Angelina here, which is famous for their hot chocolate. Another area is the Rue Cler. Though none of the stores are particularly kid-oriented per se, it is a lively street which offers a slice of Parisian life and is full of cafes and specialty shops.
Would you recommend the Pullman Hotel Montparnasse at all? Seems to have good deals at the moment for a family room and close to a Metro stop
I am visiting France for 2 weeks in July/August with my wife and 2 kids, who will be 3 and 1 yrs old. We are camping in The Vendee for the middle portion of the holiday and were going to stop for a couple of nights near Le Mans on the way (we are getting the Eurotunnel from Dover to Calais), and then stopping in Paris for 2 nights on the way back. It will be our wedding anniversary whilst we are in Paris so wanted to stay somewhere nice but not astronomically expensive.
The added complexity is that we will have the car with us to, so ideally somewhere with convenient parking close by.
Looking forward to your response. Great blog by the way!
It depends on what you’re looking for. If price is your primary concern and there’s a good deal going on, then the Pullman is a reputable chain and this area is very functional. However this part of the city feels more modern and doesn’t have the typical Parisian charm most people seek when they come to Paris. You’ll be right by the 56 story Montparnasse Tower and even closer to a major train station. There are lots of bars and restaurants to serve travelers, but none of them particularly noteworthy. The only exception might be Ciel de Paris on the top floor of the tower. You’ll have some decent shopping close by with a Galleries Lafayette Department store branch and several other French name brands. The Luxembourg Gardens is about a 20 minute walk from the hotel and as you noted you’re close to a metro station. Because you’re close to the Gare Montparnasse train station however you’ll have numerous paid parking lots nearby. Many have websites in English where you can enter the exact dates you’ll be arriving to find out exact pricing and even book your parking spot in advance. This parking garage has pretty good weekend deals starting at 38 euros.
Hi David. Thank-you very much for a great post and site.
We are travelling to Paris (3 days) on our way to Kenya this January. I would appreciate any tips you have for fun things to do with an 8 and 10 year old in the winter. Of course the museums and churches are wonderful all year round, but if there are any thing with a winter focus, that would be appreciated. We were there for one gorgeous day in September and saw the Eiffel Tower, did the Seine boat ride, Luxembourg Gardens and walked around before jet lag got the better of us.
As well, I am debating if I should get a hotel close to the attractions or an apartment/airbnb, but for the limited time we have I am nervous about finding a grocery store and spending the time shopping – though I don’t mind cooking. My kids are fussy eaters, but we are trying to not cater to that too much!
Thank-you for the work that you do.
January is a great time to visit Paris with kids as there are a lot of holdovers from Christmas still around. One of the most special are the ice skating rinks that pop up all over the city as soon as winter hits. In previous years they have been in front of the Hotel de Ville and inside the Grand Palais. This year you can skate on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower (open until February) and also at the nearby Trocadero plaza (open until January 3rd). This last one is part of the Trocadero on Ice Christmas market, and if you are there at that time you’ll be able to enjoy some artisanal crafts from roughly a hundred vendors. Another notable Christmas market open through early January is at Champs Elysée. It’s the largest one in Paris with roughly 200 vendors and runs between the Place de Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. Right next to it is the “Grand Roue” (the big ferris wheel). The ferris wheel is located at Place de la Concorde and this year will stay up until about March 1. If you are around at the early part of January, you absolutely have to take your kids to the Galeries Lafayette. They are famous for their whimsical animatronic window displays and this year’s theme is celebrating robots and Star Wars. This will be open until January 5. Also, be sure to eat a Galette du Rois (King’s cake) which are in bakeries only at this time of year.
For less than a week a hotel is better than an apartment or AirBnb.
Thank-you for your winter ideas. I wish we arrived earlier than the 19th of January to see the markets – next trip! But we have now put ice skating on the agenda.
I was looking into the Winter Circus but there does not seem to be any shows during the week in January – did I interpret that correctly? We leave Sat morning.
Yes, that’s how I see it too. The Cirque d’Hiver has shows on the 23rd and 24th but not through the week.
If you had to choose between July and October to visit Paris which would you choose. I’ve heard locals clear out for the summer and that Paris can feel too touristy. What would you suggest? Also, we have 2 picky eaters. Is American-friendly food hard to find in Paris? Are there a few restaurants you would recommend for American families?
Thanks for the info – Charlie
I would go in July. October can be a great month but July is a beautiful time in Paris and more to do outside. Paris Plage opens in July and is a series of beaches and water play areas along the river (but not in the river) that is open to the public. It’s fun. Picnicing outside in the summer is also very popular. October can have good weather but you also have to be prepared for rain and grey. July typically has very nice weather (though can get hot too). Do not worry about finding american/kid friendly food in Paris. Cafes and brassieres that serve hamburgers and chicken dishes are everywhere and it seems like just about every meal comes with fries. Don’t worry about seeking out specific kid-friendly restaurants – just check out the menus as you walk along and you’ll quickly find something that is appropriate without having to go out of your way. Parisians typically vacation in August and that is when the city is at its quietest as far as local culture, shops, and restaurants. Some things close. But even then, with the weather so nice, it’s still a fine time to visit. But it’s less of a problem in July, in any case.
Amazing tips!!! Lovely boys!
We’d like to go with a 2 year old and a 5 month old baby now, in October.
-How cold/wet could Paris be?
-How pram-friendly is Paris? We’ll go with a double buggy (too many steps on the street…? Is there anyway besides the stairs to climb to Sacre Coeur?
-I was planning to do children tourism in the mornings-noon (parks, playgrounds) and museums and grown up tourism in their nap time… ? Any better suggestions?
-Is this trip actually feasible? Or we are just dreaming?
Thank you very much!
–In October you should be prepared for any type of weather but more than likely it will be a mix of clear sunny days and rainy overcast days. Nights can be quite chilly. Think layers.
–Most parts of Paris are stroller friendly. There are sections with cobblestoned streets that are not. Metro typically has lots of stairs and narrow walkways that are difficult with a stroller. Buses are better. When you have a stroller you can board through the rear (everyone else boards through the front). There is an open space by the rear door that is just for strollers (perhaps, wheelchairs too).
–Sounds like a great plan. Do it. You won’t regret it.
We want to stay in a lively area of Paris, good restaurants, Paris life, central to the main attractions (except the Eiffel Tower which was saw on a day trip last year so no need to see again). We’ve been told by friends that Marais or Montmartre are the best neighborhoods for us to stay in. Which area would you recommend?
Also, we’ve got train tickets to London on the Eurostar. When should we arrive before departure time? Do the train stations sell food that we can buy for the train trip?
Marais, for sure. Not even close. Marais has a much more central location (walking distance to many top sites), a cool vibe, and lots of great restaurants. Montmartre is not terrible but very touristy, tacky, and lots of average (or below average) restaurants.
Get to your London train with plenty of time to spare: 60 to 90 minutes before departure. There’s security and passport checks that can go slowly – and the train waits for no one. Also, check in for the Eurostar is upstairs. It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Do not go to the main train board and wait for your train to appear in the listing – it never will. The Gare du Nord has lots of food options. Buy food before you check in and go through the waiting area.
What is the best tour of Paris for a family of 3 (energetic 13 year old who’s very interested in Paris culture and history)? Any suggestions?
Two great tours for kids are the Fat Tire Bike Tours and the Paris by Mouth Walking Tours. The bike tours start near the Eiffel Tower and make their way to Louvre passing some Paris’ top attractions along the way. There are explanations and a bit of history along the way – nothing too deep but it’s fun and about right for most kids (and adults). The Paris by Mouth tours are called food & wine (kids can have juice) and are a great introduction to whatever neighborhood you’re touring (there are tours of the Marais, Latin Quarter, and Saint Germain). You stop at a 5 or 6 different specialty shops as you walk and then sit down for a meal at the end. Both tours are great. Fat Tire also offers a bike tour of Versailles which is a must if you’re going there and much better for seeing the grounds than if you went on your own (plus you skip the lines at the palace).
Several of the posts have been quite helpful for my travel there next may. I have my family of 3 and another family of 4. I am a retired US military officer and I have heard of discounted hotels for military families, do you know of economical lodging for families this size, military?
I have not heard of military discounts for families (outside of the US). I doubt there’s anything in France.
Are taxis easy to get at the Paris Airport (Charles de Gaulle)? I’ve heard cabs can be hard to find.
Follow the signs for “Taxi” to the designated area. If you can’t see any taxis queued up then look for a worker with an orange vest. They’ll call a taxi for you and it will arrive within a minute or two.
Great blog. We’re traveling to Paris with our 22 mo old next week and are scrambling to find a good hotel in a good location! I’m also pregnant with my 2nd so easy access to certain (but not all) touristy spots that can be done with toddler and areas with activities for toddlers would be great. Where do you think would be a good location?
I would highly recommend the Gardette Park Hotel – good sized rooms, nice playground across the street, and not too expensive (for Paris). Bus #69 stops nearby and goes directly to the Eiffel Tower through the heart of Paris – it’s a great route and worth going out of your way to do.
We are considering visiting Paris for the first time to spend Christmas this year. We are family of 6 (grandparents, aunt, parents and 3 and a half year old boy). I am worried that it will be too cold for my son as we would like to do sightseeing. Can you comment on the weather and if it would be a good time to visit with a young child? Also, since we would be there for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, any recommendations on where to stay and what to do on those two holidays?
Paris at Christmas can be great with kids – though it can be cold, so be prepared for pretty much any kind of wintery weather. There are Christmas lights and displays everywhere. It’s a very fun atmosphere. The main Christmas Market is on the Champs Elysées, between metro Concorde and Rond Point. On Haussmann boulevard there are department store windows (and the tree Inside Galeries Lafayette) that are wonderful. There’s ice skating in front of the Hôtel de Ville and inside the Grand Palais (you can rent skates there).
Oh wow. My family and I will be going in August and this post just open up so many ideas of places to visit and I cant wait. Our girls 5 and 8 will be having lots of fun specially the little one turning 6 in paris. Also we will be visiting Disneyland. I think I am the most exicted adult ever hahaha. See you in August Paris.
I am travelling with Family and visiting Disney for 2 days. I am coming to Paris around 3pm, what do you suggest to cover for the rest of the day from 4PM onwards, as the next 2 days will be visiting Paris Disney and will leave on 4th day early morning.
I would visit the Eiffel Tower (check online to see if tickets are available for your dates) or a boat tour along the river Seine – or both.
We are a family of 6 (4 children age 9,11,15,15) that will be staying in Paris for 4 night in October. We are looking for a place to stay, preferably an apartment hotel or similar. Do you have any good recommendations within the budget range of 250 euro per night.
Try the 1-bedroom apartments at Short Stay Paris Apartments – there’s a kitchen, a queen bed, sofa bed, and 2 bunk beds. Great location near metro.
This is a most helpful blog/site. Really nice of you to share your experience.
We are travelling to Paris for the first time, as a family, with our 3 tean-age boys. We are planning to do 2 nights at Euro Disney bang in the middle of our trip (12th June being a b’day!). The main focus of the trip is to get the boys to explore, get to know and enjoy the city itself. So the question is which is the best neighbourhood to stay in (B&B/Hostel/Aparthotel) so that we do not need to punctuate our stay.
Option 1 : Stay in a location that will be convenient to both locations and do day tours of disneyland.
Option 2 : Stay in Paris arrondissement 6 (1st choice) and move out to disney and then move back into the same pension.
Option 3 : Stay in the Disney area and do day trips to Paris. (Least attractive option)
Looking forward to your response.
Staying in Paris is the key to enjoying the city so I would do a variation of option 2 but with one suggestion: stay at different places for your first and second stays. You see and experience a different side of Paris depending on where you stay. So moving from the 6th to the 10th arrondissements (for example) might not sound like a big difference but you’ll get a very different feel for the city when you stay in multiple locations.
We are a family of two adults and a child of 5 years. Visiting Europe for the first time and choose to go to Paris. My daughter is very fond of Eiffel tower and Disney stuff. What is your recommendation, should we stay in one of the hotel in Disney location or it will be far away from other nice places. Plan to stay in Paris for three nights. We are not very good in terms of long distance walks.
It depends where more of your interest lies. If you’re planning on spending 2 of your 3 days at Disneyland then get a hotel near Disneyland. If you want to spend 2 of your 3 days in Paris then stay in Paris. It’s fairly easy to get from Disneyland hotels to the Eiffel Tower. Get on the RER line A train and take it to Charles De Gaulle Etoile station (close to the Arc de Triomphe) then catch Metro line 6 to Bir Hakeim. The Tower is only a short walk from there.
I am brining my 3 year old son to Paris mid-May. I would like to do a little shopping (for me, like a bag or a wallet) and then take my son to the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and a couple of museums. Any suggestions on a safe and kid-friendly hotel as well as some fun activities? Many thanks, Kate
There are many areas of Paris that have good shopping so you have a fair bit of flexibility there. The Westin is a great hotel that is walking distance to shopping of the Champs-Elysees, some large department stores, and the Louvre, and easy access to the metro for getting around Paris. The Tuileries Garden is across the street and has lots of areas to burn off energy and there’s a play area, trampolines, a pond to sail small toy boats, and pony rides.
We are family of 4 (2 adults, 15 year old and 19 year old) first time visiting Paris for 3 nights. We will coming in to Gare Du Nord from London. We are comfortable with subway/Metro in NYC so looking for a place ( hotel or an apartment) that is value hotel ( budget 150-200$ a night) and closes to any metro station. We wish to visit Eiffel tower, Louve museum, palace de versailes and may be evening in good neighboorhood with some shopping and good places to eat. Mostly we want to walk or rent a bike to move around. We also want to try illumination river tour…..Once we get out of the hotel, we wont be going back until late evening….so is Gare Du Nord or CDG airport hotels ok to consider ?
Can you please provide your 2 or 3 choices.
Gare du Nord area would be fine as there is a metro stop there with good connections around the city but you do not want to stay at the airport – you want to be in central Paris. The RER C Line is the one that goes to Versailles so being close to one of those stops (St-Michel Notre Dame, Champ de Mars/Tour Eiffel, or Musée d’Orsay) would be nice but certainly not a must. The real trouble will be finding a room large enough within your budget. 2 cheaper hotels (though still over $200) that would sleep 4 adults/young adults are the Hôtel du Palais Bourbon and the Midnight Hotel Paris – both with good locations near metro stations.
My family and I will be spending 5 nights in Paris. Where would you recommend we stay?
Paris is well connected by metro so choosing where to stay (as long as you’re near a metro stop) is not as vital as in some cities. Most areas can make great bases for exploring the city (Montmarte, Champs-Elysées, the Latin Quarter are all great) but if I had to choose one are in Paris for a family to stay it would be Saint Germain – very central, well served by metro, walking distance to many of the best attractions in the city, busy day and night, and home to lots of great places to eat.
I’ve heard interesting things about the man-made beaches in Paris. Do you know when the beaches are open? Can you swim at the beaches? Is there a charge?
I’m not sure what the dates for this year will be but for last year they were from 19 July to 17 August – so basically mid-July to mid-August. The beaches are free. There is no swimming in the Seine but some of the spots have a pool. There are mist showers, paddle boats, sandcastles, play areas, ice cream kiosks. Lots of fun. The beaches are open from 9am to midnight.
We are trying to decide between a December visit or a July visit. We are coming from Australia and are a family of 4 (ages 10 and 12). Is it cold in December in Paris? Is it too hot in July? When would you visit? The dates would be July 1 to 20 or December 20 to January 10.
They are both great times to visit but, of course, very different. In December, yes it can be cold and even snow. But it can be surprisingly pleasant too. The city lights up at Christmas time and becomes almost magical especially if you’re into festivities and ice skating (city hall has a huge ice rink). There are fewer visitors (specifically in early January) when the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and other popular attractions will have far shorter lines. In July it’s hot and sunny and green. You can picnic outside and go for walks (without gloves and hats) and enjoy outdoor Paris like you see in the movies. The city makes sandy beaches along the Seine that are a lot of fun and kids love. So, if I had to choose I would go in July but both have their appeal depending on what type of visit you’re looking for.
We have 1 week in Paris with a 9 year old. We are most concerned with the location of the hotel, not so much the quality. As long as it’s clean and in a good location we’re happy The one thing we have to do is go up the Eiffel Tower as my son is obsessed with it. We have promised him we can go up twice, once on the stairs and once on the elevators. These will be on 2 separate days. My question is: With such an emphasis on the Eiffel Tower should we find a hotel close to it or is it easy to get to from all points in the city? Is it easy to walk to the Eiffel Tower from the Latin Quarter?
The Eiffel Tower is easy to get from nearly all central places in the city. As long as you’re near a metro station (and there aren’t many places not near a metro in central Paris) you’ll be fine. There is not a lot around the Eiffel Tower in terms of restaurants or busy/fun neighborhoods. It sounds like you’ll make 2 or 3 visits to the tower so I would not recommend compromising your location just to be close to it. Walking from the Latin Quarter to the Eiffel Tower is about 45 minutes. Perhaps a little more with a child and more again if you take the more scenic route along the river.
Here’s a little something I learned on my last trip to Paris: there’s a quiet little place inside the Louvre where you can escape the madding crowd and find a little quiet-time. Ask the info desk for the meeting place for guided tours. They will direct you to an area off the main lobby. As you enter, there is a desk to the left where people check in and get earphones. Turn right instead and there is a hallway with about ten little rooms where groups gather. The rooms are quiet, cool, dimly-lit and rarely in use. Settle in, have a snack, maybe even close your eyes. If people start arriving for a tour, find another room if you still need time to chill out.
Here’s my cheat sheet for Paris’s Playgrounds–ones that are conveniently located next to principal monuments/museums:
• Champs-Elysées-Jardins des Champs-Elysées
• Eiffel Tower-Champ-de-Mars
• The Louvre-Jardin des Tuileries
• Marais-Place des Vosges or Square Léopold Achille
• Montmartre-Square Suzanne Buisson or Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet
• Centre Georges-Pompidou Jardin des Halles
• Musée d’Orsay-Jardin des Tuileries
• Notre Dame-Square Jean XXIII
• See paris.fr for opening hours and exact locations
My other bit of advice is not to shy away from café culture while in Paris with children; I like to stop in the afternoon for a drink with my daughters when there are fewer people (between 3pm-6pm). They love Perrier menthe (sparkling water with sweet, mint syrup), a citron pressé (fresh, mix-it-yourself lemonade) or a hot chocolate. It’s a win-win for all––adults get their café fix without the time commitment a meal would typically require and the entire family shares a quintessentially Parisian moment together.
Hope that helps! Thanks, Kim
I enjoyed reading your post and wish I have read it before we hit the road to Paris. We drove from Italy(Trieste) to Paris with our 4 years old son. My husband had to work so I spent time alone sightseeing with my son around Paris. I did most things you have written here. We enjoyed very much our time in Paris although we got so much rain.
I saw that you visited Thailand too. It was fun reading about your posts and also comments from your readers given that I am from Thailand but living in Italy.
We are going to be in Paris on my daughter’s 6th birthday. Are there any restaurants or activities that you can suggest as a special treat/ “party” to celebrate her birthday? I thought it would be fun to find a restaurant that is known for their birthday celebrations.
Here are some kid-friendly restaurants that might work for a “special dinner”:
Hope that helps.
Hate to say it but with the exception of Le Train Bleu, these are all terrible suggestions. Bad food, high prices. Any six year old girl worth her salt can go to an adult restaurant. If not, go to a neighborhood cafe and have steak frites. Or try any of the crepe places on rue Montparnasse. Chocolate and pastries at Angelina’s or Carette. You can do so much better than these chains.
Fred, I totally get where you’re coming from. I didn’t suggest these for the quality of the food but simply because they’re kid-friendly restaurants that would be suitable to a party atmosphere. Personally I would go to a neighborhood cafe like yourself but these are found without any effort and so hardly need to be singled out.
We have a month vacation time in France with our kids who will have just turned 4 and 6. Would you stay in Paris the whole time in one apartment or would you break it up and move around more?
It’s a trade-off. The longer you stay in one spot (in this case, Paris) the better you get to know it and the more you explore the attractions that are off-the-beaten-track. Of course, the more you move around the more places you get to see – which also has its appeal. There’s no right answer.
Ooh lovely! Great list of suggestions, and from your readers, too.
A couple to add: We loved staying in the 10e – there are small playgrounds all along the canal, as well as great kid-friendly cafes and shops down the side streets towards f’bourg st denis. Bonus – not far to cité des enfants, an absolute must with pre-schoolers.
Along boulevard st germaine, we picked up the most brilliant pop-up book about Paris, “mon livre animé: Paris” (publisher: Milan jeunesse). As you’d guess, it’s in French, but that hasn’t prevented our 3 (now almost 4) year-old from asking for it again and again – it’s become our guide for planning our next trip :).
Excellent blog – perfect for our family trip to Paris next June.
Thanks a lot.
I very much enjoyed reading your post before a trip to Paris with my two kids 5 and 8 this summer. Our family also enjoyed the playground at Luxembourg gardens very much. As a mother, I was thrilled that the park was fenced and that I could actually sit down for a moment. The little game on the carousel is pretty fun too ! The Jardin D’Acclimation, as mentioned above, was also a huge hit!
Thanks for the excellent post full of great suggestions!
Should you ever consider visiting Paris again, do let me know, I have a terrific list of playgrounds, literally scattered all over this town. In fact, we have a competition with our children each year we visit Paris – our record’s at 5 playgrounds (on one day alone, of course) and we make it extra challenging by never visiting one playground twice during a visit.
It took me a good research to find out where precisely they hide those gems and – don’t be angry – they might have been right behind the next corner or behind an unsuspicious garden wall you have strolled by. They’re EVERYWHERE and really close by, no matter which arrondissement.
The Paris Metro is only free for little kids…under four and yours look a lot older than that. Half price tickets are available in a carnet (booklet) of ten for kids between four and ten. Do not cheat the system. If you do, you risk major fines payable on the spot.
Good to know Fred. I’m sure you’re right (ticket info for Paris metro), but I will add that I bought tickets from the Gare du Nord station when we first arrived and it was there that they said the kids didn’t need tickets. Can’t remember if they asked their ages but if they did I’m sure I told the truth. On numerous occasions during our trip I had to ask for help buying tickets or for the ticket agent to let us through the gate and no one questioned whether they should have tickets.
Having a hotel near a subway station and buying Eiffel tickets in advance are both musts.
I love comments over me. A nice place with the best French bookshop (just for kids) in Paris: Le Dragon Savant.
In the Louvre Museum there is small leaflet only in French with nice theme to discover the museum with kids. Even with a really low French level I think it is nice to have a look on it (or ask for it, as they keep them like precious document at the central information desk). You have to look for special painting (or…) about “eating”, “dragons”, and so on. The museum becomes a kind of “jeu de piste” (google translator suggests “hare and hound” or “paper chase”).
Have to say as a mum to three kids living in Paris for 7 years I would have to say my fave activity in Paris with kids is the Luxembourg Gardens hands down. (Well apart from family photo sessions with me of course!!)
The Jardin du Luxembourg has that fabulous kids play area, the marionette theatre, carousel and so many areas to explore you just can’t go wrong. The only thing missing is good coffee. If someone could just start a decent coffee cart there they would make a FORTUNE!!
Can’t wait to be back in the City of Light this Spring!
Great list for a few days stop in Paris. If you stay a bit longer, there’s a lot of things to do such as Jardin des Plantes (renovated glass houses, fabulous merry go round …kids will climb on prehistoric animals !), Guignol theater in many public gardens, hidden street in Butte aux Cailles, etc…
Any idea what beaches are good along the north Atlantic coast. Just planning my trip (sort of last minute) for September for Paris and Belgium. Need a couple ideas if you can give me some.
Check out Deauville and Trouville near Honfleur.
Good luck and have fun.
Cities like Paris are incredible and great for kids to experience. I went through Europe when I was a kid a few times with my parents. It was great and I still have memories and photos from those trips that I revisit pretty regularly. The stuff I remember most was it just “being different” than home. Refreshing. Illuminating. Mind blowing. The big tourist attractions I don’t remember much. The lake at the camp site with the German kids swimming. Ya, I’ll never forget that.
I know it’s touristy but walking up the Eiffel Tower is always so much fun. (i suppose a little different if you have very young children in tow.) Get their early, of course. And visit as many bakeries as your tummy and wallet will allow. The bread and pastries are so much better than back home. We’d leave our hotel every morning at about 7am and wouldn’t return until 10pm, it’s such a fun city.
I am liking this too. And Paris is very good with children. I wish finding a good playground were easier. I like visiting New York City because the playgrounds for kids are everywhere but in Paris much more difficult.
Not at all! I know more than two dozen playgrounds in Paris.
In fact we have a scheme that saves both our nerves and those of our children.
In the morning there are museums or sightseeing or a lovely stroll through St.Germain de Près, then comes lunch and THEN we pop in a bakery/cheese shop and buy a baguette and some gorgeous smelly cheese (and admittedly nutella for the youngsters), some fruit, and take a loooooong break at one of those countless playgrounds. The children play their fill and we (if we were lucky to find a Take-Away) sip our coffees, munch an éclair and later have an al fresco picnic in the sunset, marveling at that typical Parisian architecture that surrounds the area.
I live in Paris, sort of, short term arrangement that’s been extended for almost a year now. And this is a great page. My kids come over and visit and we’ve done most kid-friendly attractions. The big glaring one missing (for me) would be the museum of natural history, particularly the evolution part, but I guess it depends what way your tastes run. My children love it. The kids love the boats on the Seine too, probably the highlight for them. And renting bikes.
Thanks. I got 2 new ideas from this.
Paris is the best city HANDS DOWN for families. Parents love it. Kids love it. We’ve been 3 times with the little ones (not so little now) and going back in September. We usually spend 3 or 4 days before plane or train to somewhere in southern Europe. Enjoy!
There is nothing like Paris. The warm feeling, even when cold, surrounds you with all of its’ magnificent structures, restaurants and beautiful and majestic museums. I love the smell of the air, and walking down the narrow cobblestoned streets with a delicious French Baguette in hand. The croissants, the pate, the cheese I could just go on since in Paris you never run out of things to do or see! I absolutely LOVE Paris!
Thanks for this. Before I read your post, I wouldn’t have thought of Paris as a likely destination for kids.