Introduction to Paris with Kids



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Guide written by Kimberley Lovato who blogs at www.kimberleylovato.com.

For families, Paris can be daunting but it needn’t be. Locals take their kids out to museums, parks, restaurants, and attractions without giving it a second thought, so why should you? Seeking out a good balance between sightseeing and fun for the kids puts everyone at ease, and lucky for you Paris has something for everyone.

It’s hard to sum up Paris in 3-4 days. Still, there are the ‘musts’ for first time visitors and some good off-the-beaten-path finds that will give you a good taste of the city of light, and tempt you to come back for more.

A great way to get around during the first two days is the hop-on-hop-off bus called L’Open Tour. The buses start running at 10am and cover four different sightseeing routes around the city and a 2-day pass will give you unlimited on/offs at some of Paris’ top must see attractions. Though très touristy, they are especially good when you have limited time, and if you are traveling with kids. Paris is often called a walking city, and it is. But it’s bigger than you think, and little legs need a rest from time to time, and riding the bus keeps everyone happy. Tip: Conciergerie.com will deliver tickets to your hotel or home worldwide if you order online. Same cost as buying tickets on the bus, but without the wait! Note: In the winter, buses come less frequently so dress accordingly for a longer wait.

Note: Be sure and read the Day Notes for the kid-friendly details on recommended attractions.

Ciao Bambino provides tips and advice around all things related to traveling with kids and is a guide to the best kid friendly hotels.

Author: Ciao Bambino!


Day 1 - Paris


Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus

Day one should be the Paris Grand Tour route. Remember you can hop on and off all you want, but if you were to stay on the bus for 2 hours, you’d see a complete tour of the main sights including Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, the banks of the River Seine, the Musee d’ Orsay Museum, Notre Dame and the Louvre. Depending on your hotel location, you can hop on at one of the 19 stops.

Eiffel Tower

Today, head to the Eiffel Tower but get off at stop 14, the Trocadero stop. From the terrace of the Palais de Chaillot, there is the perfect picture taking spot. Walk across the bridge towards the tower for the up close view. There is a stop here, #15, where you can get back on the bus.

Tuileries Gardens/Orangerie Museum

Continue to stop 18, the Tuileries Gardens. Kids can stretch their legs and run around. In summer and at Christmas there are fairs set up, and there is a year-round carousel and a snack bar. The Orangerie Museum is also in the Tuileries Gardens. The museum is small and is home to some of Monet’s most beautiful water lily paintings. At the other end of the Tuileries Gardens is the entrance to the Louvre. Tip: pick up some sandwiches and picnic on the chairs or benches in the Tuileries Gardens.

Louvre

While it’s great to see, the Louvre is not for the faint hearted. For families with younger kids, I’d recommend skipping it entirely. Also skip: Arc de Triomphe. While it’s impressive, and you’ll go right by it on the bus and can take photos, it is stairs-only access to the top, which can be a bit much for kids. Also, with cars whizzing around, it can be kind of stressful and it is NOT stroller friendly.


1

Paris City Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Location:

Paris, France

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2

Eiffel Tower

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Location:

Champ de Mars
75007 Paris, France

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3

Jardin des Tuileries

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Location:

Jardin des Tuileries
Rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: +33 (0)1 4020 9043
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4

Musee de l'Orangerie

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Location:

Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
75001 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: +33 1 4477 8007
fax: + 33 1 4477 8112
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5

Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum)

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Location:

34 Quai du Louvre
Entrée principale: Pyramide & Cour Napoléon
75001 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: +33 (0)1 40 20 50 50
fax: +33 (0)1 40 20 54 52
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Day 2 - Paris


Notre Dame Cathedral/Ile St Louis

Start your day at Notre Dame Cathedral. During the summer, there is almost always a line to get it, so try and get there early (opens at 8:45). Even for younger children, the beautiful stained glass can make an impression. Make sure you walk all the way around the Cathedral. The back garden offers a nice walk along the river and some alternative angles of the magnificent structure. From the back of Notre Dame, there is an exit from the gardens that leads to a bridge to Ile St Louis. The charming streets are well preserved and hide bakeries, shops and the famous Berthillon Glacier ice cream parlour. A small café, on the road just over the Pont St. Louis Bridge, to the left, called Pain D’Epices is a charming, inexpensive, and non-touristic place for lunch or a coffee. It’s one of my go to places each time I visit Paris, for the friendly welcome and the delicious onion soup.

Luxembourg Gardens/Latin Quarter

From here, take the Montparnasse-St. Germain route (pick up back at Notre Dame) to the Luxembourg Gardens stop (#9). Not only is it the biggest park in Paris, it’s also a chance for the kids to run around and blow off some steam. Plus, there are daily marionette shows (mostly in the afternoons on weekdays), a carousel, a pond where rented toy boats can be floated, and pony rides. Tip: Take the same bus route back, which will travel along the famous Boulevard St. Germain and by its well-known bohemian cafés, and through Paris’ famous Latin Quarter. No need to get off with young kids, but teens may enjoy the lively student scenes and plethora of shopping.


1

Cathedrale Notre Dame De Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral)

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Location:

6 Parvis Notre-Dame
Place Jean-Paul II
75004 Paris, France

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2

Luxembourg Palace & Gardens

Location:

15 Rue de Vaugirard
75006 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: +33 1 4234 2000


3

Quartier latin (Latin Quarter)

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Location:

Boulevard Saint-Michel
75005 Paris, France


Day 3 - Paris


Le Parc de la Villette/ Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie

Today is a good day to be open. Why not take a taxi to two of Paris’ best kept secrets---Le Parc de la Villette and the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, Europe’s biggest science museum. Metro lines 5 and 7 also stop nearby. The kids will thank you for this break from touring, and the hands-on exhibits and acres of open space will be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the center of Paris. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont is also in this area and is impressive with cliffs and bridges, a grotto that encloses a 60-foot waterfall, a lake, and a Chinese garden. Tip: The park is also famous for Guignol—a classic French marionette character whose theater has been here since 1892. Though in French, the show is highly enjoyable and you and the kids will love soaking up a part of Parisian history. If you are feeling up to it, the evening ride along the Seine on the Bateaux Mouches is magical with all of the major monuments lit up.


1

Parc de la Villette (Le)

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Location:

Avenue Jean-Jaur�s
75019 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: +33 1 4003 7575
fax: +33 1 4003 7418
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2

Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie

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Location:

30 av. Corentine-Cariou, 19e
In the Parc de La Villette
75019 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: +33 (0)1 4005 8000 / +33 (0)1 4005 7000
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3

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

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Location:

rue Botzaris
75019 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: +33 1 4071 7560
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Day 4 - Paris


Centre Pompidou/Places des Vosges

You’ve done a lot. Today, head to the Marais (4th ) district of Paris, off the Saint Paul metro stop. Nearby is the Centre Pompidou. Or for a treat for the kids with a taste of home is Breakfast In America, a classic diner serving up American specialties. The small streets are dotted with shops and cafés and the Places des Vosges is one of the most beautiful squares in Paris, surrounded by arcades, and popular for enjoying the sunshine.

Champs-Elysees

The same metro line (1) goes right up the Champs-Elysees. Get off at George V and stroll down the most famous boulevard in the world. It’s the perfect place to pick up some post cards and souvenirs for loved ones back home. Tip: The Champs-Elysees is always full of people, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Luckily the sidewalks are wide, and strollers have plenty of room. The famous Ladurée macaroon shop and café is here too. Though pricey, it might be a special treat to have one of Paris’ tastiest souvenirs and order a box to go in a rainbow of colors and flavors.


1

Centre Pompidou

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Location:

75004 ,

Contact:

tel: +33 (0)1 4478 1233
fax: +33 (0)1 4478 1673
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2

Breakfast in America

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Location:

17 rue des Ecoles, 5e
75005 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: 01-43-54-50-28
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3

Place des Vosges

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Location:

Place des Vosges
(Quai de L'horloge)
75004 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: +33 1 4952 5354(Tourist Information)
fax: +33 1 4952 5300
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4

Avenue des Champs-Elysées

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Location:

Avenue des Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris, France

Contact:

tel: +33 8 9268 3000
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