How to Enjoy Paris with Kids

Being parents in Paris has its challenges- how do you take advantage of [the world’s most beautiful] city when you keep getting distracted by snack times and diaper changes and screaming kids? The answer is everywhere: since Paris is full of green space, the best way to see the city with little ones is through its parks. Visit a central green space where your bambinos can play all of their energy out, and once they’re wiped, visit the closest attraction for the big kid in you. :-) Here are my top 6 places to tackle the city while you’re tickling your kiddos.

1. Eiffel Tower’s Champ de Mars
Let them wear themselves out on the Champ de Mars to see the Eiffel Tower (you can totally do the Tour Eiffel with kids!) In the Iron Lady’s shadow are the Ecole Militaire, the Musée du Quai Branly and Trocadero. Métro stop Ecole Militaire, Bir-Hakeim, and the RER stop, Pont de l’Alma.

Wow! It is deceptively huge!

Don’t be deceived: the French do not approve of bare footed babies. Learned the hard way. Yup.

2. Esplanade des Invalides
Run around on the Esplanade des Invalides to get tuckered out kids that are more than happy to conk out in a stroller while you browse the Musée Rodin, Petit Palais, or the Hôtel des Invalides to say hello to Napoleon. Métro stops are La Tour Maubourg or Varenne.

Check out the Hôtel des Invalides!

Check out the Hôtel des Invalides!

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Pont Alexandre and Le Grand Palais can be seen in the background.

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14 Month-old Laila versus a 5 month-old Laila above in the same place

3. Jardins Tuileries
The Jardins Tuileries are a central Parisian fave. The best part about this park (other than its ponds, statues, cafés and flora) is its proximity to the Louvre. Métros are Tuileries and Concorde.

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You don’t think I would embarrass you by throwing a tantrum in the Louvre, do you Dad?

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4. Jardin du Luxembourg
To get your fill of the Latin Quarter, (cheap eats and entertainment, the Pantheon, La Sorbonne, Saint-Sulpice and much, much more) head first to le Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6eme arrondissement. Public transit options are plenty, but to arrive only a stone’s throw from the garden entrance, get of at Saint Sulpice on the 4 (ugh the 4. Always crammed, dirty, and late! But it is the closest if you don’t mind traveling in a tuna can.) For more sanity, take the RER B and get off at the Luxembourg stop.

Le Jardin du Luxembourg frames the French Senate

Le Jardin du Luxembourg frames the French Senate, which is housed in the Luxembourg Palace

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A democratically elected senate in a palace? That’s funny!

Chances are some other person will end up wearing your kid out for you! Win win.

Chances are some other person will end up wearing your kid out for you! Win win.

There are little kid sections (des parcs pour les tout petits)

There are little kid sections (des parcs pour les tout petits)

There's a (paid-entry) park for big kids

There’s a (paid-entry) park for big kids…

...And there's even a park for old kids. This guy is playing France's favorite outdoor game, pétanque.

…And there’s even a park for really big kids. This guy is playing France’s favorite outdoor game, pétanque, which is similar to bocce ball. And you thought it would be soccer.

5. Place des Vosges
The Marais is easily one of my favorite areas of Paris, and Laila loves it, too! Make sure not to miss out on it by taking a visit to the Place des Vosges. While you enjoy your crêpes salés and secret wine, your kids will be getting ready to plunk themselves back down in their strollers so that you can enjoy the Picasso Museum, Eglise Saint Paul, and countless winding streets. Métros St. Paul on the 1 and Chemin Vert on the 8 serve Paris’s first planned square.

The Place will get even more beautiful as the trees bloom.

The Place will get even more beautiful as the trees bloom.

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6. Parc Monceau
Looking for fantasy land in the middle of Paris? Meet Parc Monceau. In the middle of the 8th arrondissement lies a quirky English style park with winding lanes full of follies- fantastic reconstructions of architectural treasures from different continents and different times. You can find corinthian colonnades, a pyramid, a dutch windmill, and a handful of other things that make you scratch your head. Despite its seven-wonders-of-the-world vibe, you feel as though you’re walking into an impressionist painting when you visit. Probably because Gustave Caillebotte’s impressionism was so famous:

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In addition to all of its outdoor museum artifacts, Parc Monceau has a great kids park. From there, check out the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Élysées, or the Église Saint-Augustin de Paris. Really, just wander around: you can’t go wrong. Not all who wander are lost.

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Think they’re the same benches from Gustave’s 1880 painting?

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A cherry tree? And the kid’s park…

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Mmm. Pink tree blossoms. Mommy likey.

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I LOVE A SLIDE!

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Don’t you love a slide? Even my elbows have dimples.

That’s it for now. What’s your favorite way to see a city when you have tout petits?

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4 responses to “How to Enjoy Paris with Kids

  1. You have got to write a book. Perhaps I told you that when we were in Paris in 72 we had dinner on the top of the Eifel Tower. When it grew dark the view was breathtaking. Blessings, B

    • The view from the top is magnificent- I didn’t know you dined there! But I should have guessed. We visited it a few times- once here and once here: I’ve got to do another mess of posts from my parents’ visit- thanks for the reminder! As the French say, gros bisous!

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