Although, at first glance Paris may seem a city dedicated to culturally savvy adults and trendy fashionistas, the French capital is very children friendly. From luscious gardens to carousels and fun fairs, the city of lights and love is well-equipped to entertain its youngest visitors. Below are the top 9 things to do in Paris with children:
1. MORNING WALK AT THE TUILERIES GARDEN
A morning walk at the Tuileries Garden is the perfect way to start the day in Paris. The Tuileries Palace, the official residence of French royalty, has sadly been demolished more than a century ago, but the gardens that surrounded it have survived to this day – and are an absolute must-see! Located between the Louvre Museum and Place De La Concorde, the gardens are a polished extravaganza of colourful flowers punctuated by ponds, fountains and statues. Here, children can roam freely, run around and play their games – you could literally spend hours getting lost in its innumerable paths!
2. FUN FAIR AT THE TUILERIES GARDENS
Held in the Tuileries Gardens all through July and August, the Fun Fair at the Tuileries is one of the highlights of visiting Paris with children in the summer. Here children can enjoy timeless attractions, including amusements rides, a scary fun-house, hook-a-duck game, trains, a merry-go-round with wooden horses and much more. When you get hungry, you can grab a candy floss, crepes, waffles or caramel apples from one of the many stalls. My children had an absolute blast and can’t wait to go back next year!
3. FUN DAY AT THE MUSEE DE ARTS DECORATIFS
France is, without the shadow of a doubt, the world’s capital of fashion and design. There is, therefore, no better place to admire the stylish history of this country and its influence on the world than a trip to the Musée des Arts décoratifs. Located in the Louvre’s western wing, the museum houses an incredible collection of furniture, tapestries, ceramics, toys, clothes and other fashion objects from the Middle Ages to our days. The museum is currently hosting the exhibition “Dior: Designer of Dreams,” a retrospective of the fashion Maison from its early days to the present. It’s so mesmerizing, even little children will feel like they’re in the middle of a fairytale.
4. LUNCH LIKE A ROYAL AT THE TUILERIES GARDEN
If you’re feeling hungry after a few hours spent admiring so many stunning works of art at the Musée des Arts décoratifs, head to Chez Loulou, an exquisite restaurant located at the heart of the museum complexion. Loulou has been conceived as an aesthete’s house, decorated with the spoils a collector would have amassed during his many voyages. The atmosphere is peaceful and refined and the food, an array of classic dishes from the French and Italian riviera, absolutely mouthwatering. On sunny days, you can sit in the terrace overlooking the Tuileries Gardens, the ancient abode of the French Royal Family. It’s the perfect place to lunch like a royal with your little ones.
5. LOUVRE, THE WORLD’S LARGEST MUSEUM
Did you know that the Louvre is the largest museum in the world? It may be daunting to tackle such a large museum with children in tow, but it’s such an incredible educational opportunity for the little ones, you absolutely don’t want to miss it. Housed in its many rooms are artefacts, paintings and other works of art that span the entire history of humanity, from the Ancient Egyptian civilizations all the way through the Renaissance to modern times. There is so much to learn, but the Louvre makes it so fun!
6. CELEBRITY STAY AT THE HOTEL COSTES
Whenever I go to Paris with my family, I love to stay at the Hotel Costes – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The hotel of choice for celebrities and fashionistas during Fashion Week, Costesl is furnished in a sweep of powdery velvets subtly highlighted by filtered lights. Each room has been specifically designed for each moment of the day: you can laze about on the patio, swim in the pool, have dinner in the restaurant. I especially love the escargot here – they are out of these world!
7. CLIMBING THE EFFECT TOWER
What would a trip to Paris be without the obligatory stop to the Eiffel Tower? A vision from afar, the Eiffel Tower, with its incredible height and curved shape, is even more spectacular when you stand under it. Take the elevator to the top to take in the beautiful view of Paris from the sky and stop for lunch at the fancy Jules Verne restaurant on the way down. Don’t forget to come back at night, when the Eiffel Tower is all lit up. On summer evenings, there’s even a show of twinkling lights – it’s absolutely magical!
8. RIDING ON THE CAROUSEL
There is nothing like a ride on the carousel to make a child smile and laugh. You can find carousel littered all over Paris but the most beautiful one must be the Eiffel Tower Carousel, situated just in front of the famous Tower. While the children ride on their white horses, the parents can take in the beautiful view of the tower illuminated by a thousand sparkling lights. Both adults and little ones have the time of their life here!
9. ARTSY AFTERNOON AT MONTMARTRE
Steeped in culture and history, Montmartre is a large hill in Paris’ 18th arrondissement that owes its fame to the many artists, from Claude Monet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh, that have made it their home during the Belle Epoque. There are plenty of things that you can do in this little corner of Paris – my children’s favourites are visiting the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, taking the Little Train of Montmartre for a tour around the neighbourhood and riding the funicular – the view from the top is breathtaking! You can even ask one of the main portrait artists that hang around the area to make a sketch of you with your children. There’s no more touching memento to remind you of your fun-filled holiday.