At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
When you think about fun, family-friendly vacations, are all-inclusive resorts and theme parks all that come to mind? If so, it’s time to expand your horizons. For example, Paris is an excellent destination for family vacations. Also known as the “City of Love” and the “City of Lights,” don’t let these titles fool you. There are countless things to do in Paris with kids, from savoring world-famous Maison Berthillon ice cream on the Île Saint-Louis to pony rides and puppet theaters at the Jardin du Luxembourg.
Here’s what you need to know about planning the perfect week in Paris for families.
There’s no better place to start your Paris with children adventure than the 1st arrondissement. It puts you within easy walking distance of some of Paris’s most beautiful and renowned attractions. They include the Place Vendôme, the Louvre, the Jardin des Tuileries, and rue Saint-Honoré. And when you’re ready to eat and sip a glass of wine? Check out the very kid-friendly Flottes, located across from the Jardin des Tuileries.
What are some great choices? The InterContinental Paris Le Grand sits a few blocks from the Louvre Museum and the Jardin des Tuileries. (PRO TIP: When you book an executive room there through Our Whole Village, you’ll receive a second room for children under 19 at 15 percent off. Connecting and adjoining rooms are based on availability.)
Or stay in the 8th arrondissement at Le Bristol, where you can drop your bags and conquer jet lag (here are some kid-centric jet lag tips that really help!) by heading straight to the Musée de l’Orangerie. There, bask in the glow of incredible artwork, from Magritte and Renoir to Monet’s incredible waterlilies. Next, enjoy a luxurious window-shopping and people-watching experience on a leisurely walk down the Champs-Elysées towards the Arc de Triomphe.
Remember to lock down your Paris Pass in advance. It offers free entry to more than 60 museums, monuments, and unique experiences as well as city navigation, public transportation options, and exclusive discounts and savings around the city.
Place Vendôme is one of the most beautiful and famous squares in Paris for families, and it contains high-end retailers from Chanel to Cartier and Dior. A five-minute walk from the Place Vendôme, you’ll find Audrey Hepburn’s old hangout, Angelina’s, a Belle Epoque tearoom (circa 1903). A must-try treat? Angelina’s world-renowned “old-fashioned hot chocolate.” This location also places you catty-corner to the Louvre.
The Louvre is a quick walk from Angelina’s. One of the most famous art museums globally, kids will love the fountain where they can chase pigeons. And don’t forget about the museum’s spacious sculpture areas. There’s nothing like the appeal of 3D art for kids! If traveling with school-aged kids, we highly recommend a Louvre Treasure Hunt. Your guide will keep the whole family engaged while seeking out the museum’s hidden treasures, including the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, the Regent Diamond, the Winged Victory, and more.
At the Jardin des Tuileries, kids will enjoy marionette shows, pony rides, an adventure playground, and a traditional carousel. Tying these landmarks together is rue Saint-Honoré, originally laid out in the Middle Ages. After a day jam packed with fun, family-friendly activities, head to Le Fumoir near the Church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois for exceptional cuisine and an after-meal stroll across the picturesque Pont des Arts.
No trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral. One of the city’s most visited attractions, Notre Dame is located on Île de la Cité, the birthplace of Paris. Île de la Cité, along with Île Saint-Louis, are two natural islands in the River Seine. On a tour of Notre Dame, scope out the flying buttresses and gargoyles of the cathedral. Learn about current restoration efforts at the cathedral and how the medieval structure inspired Victor Hugo’s famed hunchback.
Other sightseeing highlights include scoping out the Palais de Justice, Notre Dame’s “younger sister” Sainte Chapelle (one of our favorites!), and the Conciergerie where Marie Antoinette spent her final days during the French Revolution’s “Reign of Terror.” After visiting Notre Dame, head to the small playground behind the cathedral and Île Saint-Louis, the perfect spot for your children to blow off some steam while you savor one of Paris’s favorite pastimes, people watching.
Walk along the banks of the River Seine to Île Saint-Louis. Discover the island’s narrow streets, charming gourmet restaurants, and antiquarian shops that’ll make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. You’ll fall in love with the slow pace of life on the island while enjoying opportunities to explore the heart and soul of Paris. And don’t forget to head to Maison Berthillon, world-famous for its sorbets, ice cream, and ice cream cakes. Sweet treats in hand promenade along the river while waving to passing boats.
Spend the morning at Les Invalides, where you can visit the opulent and dramatic final resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France. You’ll see extravagant mosaics commemorating France’s military history as well as a stately Neoclassical statue by Simart of Napoleon as a Roman emperor.
A 12-minute walk from Les Invalides brings you to Musée Rodin, a charming 18th-century mansion housing a large collection of French artist Auguste Rodin’s work. Considered the father of modern sculpture, Rodin’s most incredible masterpieces lay nestled in the tranquility and harmony of the mansion’s Enlightenment-era gardens. Or head to the Musée d’Orsay for a delightful exploration of 19th-century visual arts. Savor sunny rooms filled with splashy Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artwork.
For spectacular views of Paris in the golden glow of early evening, nothing beats the Eiffel Tower, your next stop. Your travel advisor will be sure to schedule tickets in advance!
Finish up the day with a tranquil Bateaux Mouches Cruise along the Seine, including a delicious dinner as you watch Paris transition from daylight to the nighttime “City of Lights.”
A visit to Saint-Germain-des-Prés comes with buzzing boutiques and charming cafes where intellectuals still debate the finer points. You’ll find a wonderful mixture of activities appealing to both adults and children. Take a leisurely walk through the Latin Quarter past the Sorbonne to the Roman-style Panthéon.
Built in 1757 by the French architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot, the exterior boasts an impressive Neoclassical façade with elegant Corinthian columns. The interior houses paintings and mosaics of dramatic moments in French history. The building also houses the tombs of many notable celebrities, including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile Zola, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie. And after your family has had their fill of sightseeing? Head to the nearby Jardin de Luxembourg.
There, take advantage of Ludo Jardin, the park’s private playground for an admission fee of €1/adult and €3/child 3 and older. This darling playground is clean and has a fun variety of activities that go beyond the standard setup. In the larger park, enjoy pony rides, a wonderful puppet theater with daily shows, and a fountain where kids can rent wooden boats and push them around with sticks. A nearby lunch spot worth remembering is Café Rostand. You’ll savor a fine selection of French fare while people-watching.
Spend a day seeing how the other half lived at the Palace of Versailles. While this attraction can get overwhelming, particularly for small children, there are various ways to make it more family friendly.
We recommend and can arrange a guided tour offering expedited entrance into the chateau as well as a better understanding of the sights you’ll see. What’s another excellent option for families with older kids? A guided tour of Versailles by bike. This makes for a fantastic and memorable active day trip that’ll keep everyone entertained.
What if bikes aren’t your thing? Consider renting a golf cart or taking the train ride to maximize sightseeing in the gardens. Don’t forget to bring bread for Marie Antoinette’s hamlet, where you and your kids can feed the ducks. You’ll also find many places to tuck away for a snack or quick family picnic. One of our favorite spots? The park near the entrance to the Trianons.
At the end of the day, there’s no reason to rush back to Paris as so many tourists do. Instead, find a local restaurant for dinner. The town features many fantastic food choices and a welcome taste of small-town France.
Montmartre represents the perfect place to spend your final day in Paris. A morning walk provides incredible views of the city below. The morning light also offers spectacular photo opportunities of the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica, with its sparkling white splendor towering atop the summit of Montmartre. If your family’s feeling especially ambitious, the stairway to Montmartre will get your blood flowing. But kids will also love a trip on the funicular, which takes just a minute and a half to reach the top.
After exploring Paris from its highest point, stroll to the Place du Tertre, the main square of the village of Montmartre. Known as “Artist’s Square,” this city center was a famed haunt of artists like Camille Pissarro, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Amadeo Modigliani.
From Montmartre, it’s on to Montparnasse. At the Montparnasse Tower, hitch a ride on the elevator, which climbs 56 floors in just over 30 seconds. At the top, take in stunning views from Paris’s tallest skyscraper, including the crown of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. And don’t forget about a fun family photoshoot with a flytographer. We did ours at the Trocadero, another excellent angle for viewing the Eiffel Tower. Find out more about hiring a flytographer for your next vacation.
The Paris for families itinerary above will provide you with a well-paced week in the city. But if you decide to stay a few days longer, we’ve got more your kids will love. Start at the interactive Cité des Sciences museum. It contains a fabulous kids section where children can construct buildings. How? By using lightweight boulders and bricks and giant kid-operated cranes. There’s also a fun water experimentation room, a labyrinth, and much more. Best of all, the party stays indoors, making this a great spot for a rainy day.
Your family will also love the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a vast park featuring carnival rides, a little zoo, boat rides, mazes, and more. Although Cité des Sciences and the Jardin d’Acclimatation are both a bit out of the way, excursions to these spots prove well worth it. The Jardin d’Acclimatation also does a better job of keeping smaller children’s attention than other attractions like Disneyland Paris.
Although Paris banks its reputation on being the “City of Love,” (and the French for not being the friendliest), it can be great for families. Activities for families abound and while you might not find high chairs or certain amenities everywhere, there’s plenty of fun adventures, rich culture and incredible history. For this reason, give your family plenty of time to see the city and its many attractions. We recommend a week, which makes Paris great for a shorter school break like Spring break or a unique Thanksgiving.
One of the greatest pleasures of Paris for families is indulging in a slower pace of life From the taste of fresh croissants to the heady bouquet of red wine, an interactive stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries to the visual feast of an Eiffel Tower sunset and the auditory pleasures of street musicians, Paris is best explored with all five senses. Your entire family will fall in love with this European gem.
We’d love to help create the perfect itinerary for your family, with a great accommodation and perfect mix of independent exploration and hands-on tours and experiences that will bring the city to life.
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