Planning to travel to Paris with your kids in tow? Follow these must-have tips for enjoying the city with travelers young and old.
Get around on foot as much as possible.
Paris is a delightfully walkable city. Much of it is dense,–in a good way–and distances between many major sights are shorter than you might expect. The Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, and the Arc de Triomphe, for instance, are all within about a mile of one another. The city is so charming and pedestrian-friendly that unless you’re going farther afield to sights like Montmartre’s Sacre Coeur, it doesn’t make much sense to use the underground metro. A solid breakfast and a comfortable pair of walking shoes will go a long way toward a fun day of discovery with your kids.
Make use of strollers and carriers for your littlest visitors.
Here’s where strollers and baby carriers come in handy! Apart the climb through Montmartre, which can be aided by the Funiculaire de Montmartre, much of Paris and the surrounding area is flat and well-paved with adequate sidewalks. Some areas of the city are closed to street traffic entirely. While you may encounter a few narrow back streets during your explorations of the different arrondissements, most are plenty wide and will accommodate a stroller and any little ones whose hands you’ll want to hold. Just keep in mind that many Parisian cafes and shops are small, so larger strollers may need to be parked near the entrance.
Take a break from the city streets with a visit to a park or garden.
The city sights are marvelous, but even the most obliging little traveler needs an occasional break to run around the great outdoors. Within Paris, there are countless parks and gardens to visit. Be sure to stop by Jardin du Luxembourg to let your little ones tumble and play. And once they’ve burned off some energy, treat them to a cup of world-famous hot cocoa from Angelina on the way out of the gardens.
Avoid burnout and museum fatigue.
At the start of your trip, make a decision to return for a second visit. It’s simply a matter of fact: there are dozens of sights worth seeing in Paris, and you won’t get to all of them the first time around. Poll the kids on the places they’d like to see most, and aim to see two or three per day. Maximize your day–and your kids’ energy–by organizing the must-see stops according to their location in the city. Running all around town unnecessarily gets wearing after a while, even for the grown-ups. You could easily dedicate an entire Paris vacation to the Louvre’s 650,000 square feet of exhibits, but that’s just asking for trouble. Again, query your kids to determine which portions of this museum–or any other–would be best to see this time around. Museums are more enjoyable in small doses, especially for kids. For an extra dose of fun at the Louvre, consider a privately-guided Treasure Hunt!
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