Paris With Kids: What To Do? - Al Fresco Holidays
Paris is undoubtedly one of the most romantic cities in the world. When thinking of Paris, images of the Notre Dame possibly come to mind, or the narrow, cobblestoned alleyways of Montmartre, or perhaps the art galleries, which are among the finest in the world.
In short, it doesn’t initially strike people as the best place to spend a holiday with the children. However, if you’re one of the many who think that Paris is the sole preserve of honeymooning couples and avid art fanatics, think again. This atmospheric capital actually has a lot on offer for younger travellers, and there are plenty of things to do and places to see; regardless of what age you may happen to be!
Here are our top ten favourite activities to enjoy when exploring Paris.
Ten Great Family Friendly Activities in Paris
1. Outdoor fun at the Parc de la Villette. If you’ve spent the morning sightseeing, the Parc de la Villette provides the perfect antidote for tired little feet, not to mention pleasant surroundings in which adults can relax too. There is a large playground, plus plenty of other attractions, including ‘hamster-wheels’ for children and zip wires. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also carnival rides and various other amusements; ideal for an afternoon’s entertainment.
2. Delight the kids at Disneyland Paris.Guaranteed to thrill your children, Disneyland Paris is a sure-fire winner for families on holiday. There are plenty of themed attractions for people of all ages to enjoy, plus shows, a golf course and Disney Village. Allow a whole day at least to enjoy the best of what Disneyland has to offer.
3. See the animals at the Jardin des Plantes. This quaint little menagerie in the south of the city has a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere. Visit the monkeys, orang utan and vultures and let the little ones get up close and personal to all things furry and four-legged in the petting zoo.
4. Experience the atmosphere of the Catacombs. Paris is famous for its catacombs, which have been used for years as mass graves. The attraction, perhaps more suited to older children (and definitely not one for claustrophobics) has literally millions of bones, artfully arranged beneath the ground. It is a somewhat spine-chilling and oddly hypnotic experience.
5. Get eccentric at the Musée Grevin. The Musée Grevin is one of Paris’s more unusual attractions. Featuring approximately 300 waxworks, it’s one of the world’s oldest waxwork museums, and exhibits include Leonardo da Vinci and Marilyn Monroe. The ‘Kids Discovery’ tour also gives children an idea of how waxwork artists create their models.
6. Splash on the water at the Bois de Vincennes. Once a hunting ground for royalty, Paris’s largest park features some scenic lakes, where all the family can rent a boat and float on the waters for an hour or two. There is also an adventure playground and crazy golf.
7. Enjoy a family friendly lunch in a Parisian café. Whilst there are a few French eateries that are strictly adults only, there are also plenty of chilled-out cafes which actively welcome younger diners. Les 400 Coups, located close to les Buttes-Chaumont Park, even has its own kids’ corner, where younger children can play whilst the grown-ups recuperate with a coffee and some cake!
8. Take to the canals. The Seine is a surprisingly scenic river, and one of the best ways to explore it is to clamber aboard a boat. A canal barge is the best way to travel, and travellers of all ages will enjoy the fun of opening and closing the locks and seeing the city from a very different perspective. The route even goes underground at one point, which is a definite highlight!
9. The Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle. This substantial building is devoted to all things animal related. Dino fans will be delighted by the prehistoric section, which features skeletons and replicas of dinosaurs. The Gallery of Evolution is also worth a visit, and has a huge collection of stuffed animals, including many large African mammals. For an added bit of interactive fun, there is a treasure hunt in the Children’s Gallery, for kids aged from 6 to 12.
10. Get nibbling at the Musée Gournet du Chocolat. There are not many people, regardless of age, that can resist a museum dedicated to all things chocolate related, and at the Musée Gourmet du Chocolat, chocolate can be found by the bucket-load. There are over 1,000 pieces of choc-related paraphernalia along with a delightful gift shop selling a dazzling array of chocolates, all crafted by a professional chocolatier. The hot chocolate is also an unmissable part of the experience.
Family Accommodation in Paris
There are plenty of hotels within Paris itself, but there aren’t many that are particularly accommodating of families. Finding a hotel with child-friendly facilities can be challenging, unless you’re able to pay a significant amount for it.
Staying in a neighbouring holiday park makes a great alternative. The Camping Paris Est is situated only 45 minutes away from the centre of Paris and is also in close proximity to Disneyland, which makes it popular with families looking to explore the best of what the area has to offer. There is also a children’s play area, small spa and table tennis on site.