After weeks and weeks of planning, I had completed an itinerary of what we would be doing during our trip. Which was then destroyed on day 3 of our trip by chocolate milk from our kids. Luckily, Mom and Dad remembered some things and we filled the other days with exploring. One of the first things you should do in Paris is sight seeing. A bus tour is the best way to do this with kids. After your tour, you can decide which places you want to go back to to explore.
I recommend the Open Bus Tour for families. This tour is a hop on and hop off tour. Which means you can get off on any stop to explore. Simply hop back on the next bus when you are ready to move onto your next stop. This bus has four different lines which will bring you by all the top sites. Take advantage of the 3 day pass and discover Paris with your family on your own pace. Audio is included in the tour and they do provide headphones. Audio is in multiple languages and the kids get their very own, kid friendly audio tour. Families of four (2 adults and 2 kids) can take advantage of the Family Bus Pass 3 days for 99.00 euros. Which is a steal and well worth the money. The kids will enjoy being on the top of the bus and if it gets too hot, make your way downstairs. I recommend beginning with the blue line on Day 1. Here you will see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, The Louvre Museum, and more. Day two for us began on the yellow line and switched over to the green line when done. Get there early. The yellow line services end around noon. Use the rest of your time exploring the green line and St. Germain area. On day 3, we explored the Opera area along with the great shopping areas via the red line. Best deal and money well spent in Paris by far.
Paris has so many beautiful parks. The majority of them are free to enter. Such as; Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc Monceau, Parc de Belleville and many more. You can even access Jardin du Luxemburg on the Open Tour. Jardin des Tuileries is located near the Louvre Museum. While it is free to enter, and to enjoy the greenery, rides are available for the children at a cost. Rides required tickets that must be purchased. The rides here are minimal and you can get better elsewhere. The park itself is quite beautiful and enjoyable. One hidden gem is Parc Lebaudy. It has a great playground for the kids. Lots of climbing for them to enjoy. This is a great place to slow down and have a picnic.
I know its a park and should be listed with the other parks. But this park is a definite DO and deserves its own spot on the list. This park is huge and is a whole day activity. It is full of playgrounds, rides, water areas, and even restaurants. To enter the park it’s 5 euros a person. The playground and water areas are included with the entrance. Rides cost extra. You can get a unlimited pass which cost 29 euros a child. If you have older children or know your kids will be going on a lot of rides the unlimited pass is worth the price. if you have smaller children who can only go on small rides, then just pay the admissions and walk through to see which rides you want to go on.
There are machines located throughout the park where you can buy tickets. You can get a book of 15 attraction tickets for 35 euros. Most rides are 1 ticket per ride. That is plenty for two little kids. For a quick lunch, stop by the Vegan hot dog stand for a yummy and affordable lunch. Don’t forget to save a ticket to ride the beautiful carousel!
4. Have a Picnic
Grab a lunch or pack one up and have a picnic. You can picnic at a park or even by the Seine. Stop by a Paul Boulangerie et Patisserie , a Monoprix or Auchan to pick up some goodies to make your own picnic.
If you decide to picnic on the Champ de Mars, stop by Boulangerie Patisserie Coudrier Geffroy for some yummy macaroons. Also, accessible via the open bus tour blue line when you stop at the Eiffel tower.
5. Local Events
While searching for things to do with kids in Paris, you have probably come across a ton of blogs even finding ours. You have searched through TripAdvisor for what to do and reviews of local places. These are all really great resources for information. Another resource that is usually overlooked is the city actual tourism website! For Paris it is Paris Info. Here, you can find what to do, tours, and other ideas for your trip. Sortir a Paris is another website that offers a calendar of local events happening. You just plug in your dates and sift through the list to see what you are interested in doing. Some events do have a cost, others can be free. During our time in Paris, we were there for Bastille Day 2018. Using these websites, I found that we were actually able to visit the Louvre for FREE on Bastille Day 2018. Which was an amazing experience. I am not sure if the Louvre admission will be waived again for Bastille Day 2019. If it is, you will find out so on the websites listed above. I was able to find out information about the Bastille Day Parade as well as, The World Cup 2018 parade.
6. The Louvre Museum
This is a MUST SEE! As mentioned, we were able to visit the Louvre Museum on Bastille Day 2018 for FREE! Which was amazing since we planned on visiting the museum anyway. Regular admission cost is 15 euros per person. Audio tour is provided in different languages for an extra cost. The Louvre is a full day activity. To really enjoy it and see everything, you should make a day out of it. Arrive early because the lines are long and there are a lot to see. Most people will enter through the main entrance. You and I know better, we enter through the Louvre Carousel Entrance. The line is much shorter and you will get into the Louvre in no time. Those little feet will thank you and you will spare them the long wait. Also, if your little ones need to use the restroom use the restroom inside the Louvre Museum. Restrooms in the Louvre Carousel are closer but, you must pay to use them. Inside the Louvre they have multiple restrooms as well as family ones and there is no charge to use them. There are stand by cleaners and the family restrooms are monitored by a cleaner/”bathroom police”to make sure that they are used for their purpose. Also, remind little ones before going to the Louvre or Paris, that some art includes nudity so there are no surprises.
The kids will love seeing Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and all the other beautiful art pieces. Their favorite will of course be the Egyptian exhibit. Where they will see hieroglyphics, sphinxes, and of course a real mummy. Take lots of pictures because you know they will eventually need to do a project on it in the future. You will thank me later. When you get tired you can stop at the cafe on the top floor for lunch. Have lunch while enjoying the arts or you can opt to seat on the terrace for an amazing view of Paris. I would start on the top floor of the museum then work your way down.
7. Stop at Glups
As you stroll down Champs Elysee, stop in at Glups. Treat your little ones or yourself to some tasty sweat treats. Glups has a ton of candies. Some different items such as their fried egg shaped gummy or some old school candies such as their coca cola bottle gummies and peach rings. Your little ones will be so happy to grab a bag and fill it up. They usually have a BOGO sale in the store so you wont have to break the bank.
8. Explore an Arrondissement
One of the best ways to see and explore Paris is on foot. Paris has many arrondissement there are actually 20. Everyone will tell you which one is the best arrondissement. Everyone’s answer will be different. Why not take a day and explore them yourself. One of my favorite arrondissement is Saint-Germain. Take your time and take in the city.
Don’t forget to do some shopping. Paris has many stores located throughout the city. Check out Champ Elysee on Sunday during the Summer months when part of it is closed down for pedestrians only. Take a trip to the mall. Paris has many shopping centers. I usually try and save a mall trip for a rainy day. It is usually a good to-go to idea if you don’t have much planned otherwise. Sometimes you get really lucky and have no rainy days. Just pick a day and do some shopping.
10. La Defense
La Defense is located just outside of Paris. It is easily accessible bye the Red RER line and the Yellow line on the Metro. La Defsense is largely known for its Arc structure and malls. Les Quatre Temps is the larger mall and the other is CNIT which sits right across from it. La Defense has a great elevated pedestrian pathway which is lined with sunflowers, parks, benches, water fountains, and beautiful pieces of artwork.
They are beginning a transformation from a business district to incorporate and focusing on families and people. As you walk about, you will see people who work in the area enjoying their break there. Some are playing games in the park while others are dining outside with friends. With plenty of restaurants to choose from, they are located both inside the malls and outside. Lots of shopping for everyone. Festivals for both children and adults. There is something there for everyone. Stop into the Toys R Us in Les Quarte Temps to see Lego creations of the Eiffel tower, Yoda, and Darth Vader. Grab a picture with Batman, Hulk, and Miraculous.
The children may remember this from the Disney movie Notre Dame with with Quasimodo. Besides the amount of history this place has, the building itself is stunning inside and out. There is no cost to enter but,the line is usually long. No worries though,it does move quickly and you will enter in no time.
12. Local Eats
When adventuring to any new place you should also try local dishes. However some children may not find all the dishes as appealing as others, such as escargot. Choose what is best for your family and go from there. In Paris, some of the more popular items for tourists are; croissants, baguettes, macaroons, crepes, croque monsieur, and mussels. Macaroons can be found in almost every bakery, even Mcdonalds Cafe sells macaroons. As mentioned, one of the best places to find some macaroons is at Boulangerie Patisserie Coudrier Geffroy. If you are looking for crossiants and baguettes try Paul bakery. They have multiple locations throughout Paris. A croque monsieur is a fried or baked ham and cheese sandwich. A croque madame is a varient of the croque monsieur which includes a fried egg usually on top of the sandwich. You can usually find this at sandwich shops, some restaurants, and even Starbucks offers up a version of this.
A crepe is a thin pancake. Most location offer crepes in two versions salty or sweet. These crepes are filled with items items that are hearty or on the sweeter side. One of our favorite crepe places has to be Creperie de Cluny. While exploring Saint Germain we came across this place for lunch. Here you can choose to either sit inside or outside and sometimes you will catch someone performing music in the streets. Food and service were both great. Another great place for crepes is L’atelier Crêpes. After trying to find a place to watch the World Cup 2018 in Paris L’atelier Crêpes was one of the few places showing the game. After enjoying the food and the victory. Fans put on a mini parade which include flags, running,screaming, and air horns. Everyone enjoyed their great food and a great experience.
Looking to find some mussels? You should have no problem finding them. There are even some restaurants that only serve mussels. Bistro L ‘atelier is our favorite place for mussels in France. Enjoy a croque full of mussels with your choice of sauce paired with a cup of wine.
If you are searching for some thrills Paris has got you covered. Parks Jardin d’Acclimation and Jardin des Tuileries both have rides available with purchase of tickets. You can find something for everyone including roller coasters and the tallest Ferris wheel in Paris. Looking for memories to last a lifetime? Head to Disneyland Paris! While Disneyland in not located in Paris city center. It is accessible by train. Parc Asterix is another theme park located near Paris. Enjoy your thrills at the Discobelix.