Here are my tips for things to do in Paris with kids. Paris is not only the ultimate destination for romantic city breaks, it’s also one of the best European cites to visit with your children. It’s a good idea when travelling with children to arrange a Paris Airport taxi to get your trip off to a smooth start.
1. Views of Paris. A trip up the Eiffel Tower has to be one of the most memorable things to ‘do’ in Paris. And now that bookings are possible online, there is no need to stand for hours in a queue. In any event, I would recommend going earlier in the morning before the crowds start gathering anyway. Another suggestion for great views over Paris is to climb the Arc de Triomphe. If boat rides are top of your children’s list of things to do – a boat-ride on the Seine offers a different view of Paris.
2. Theme Parks. Most parents thinking of of what to do with their children associate Paris with the Disneyland Resort Paris. But there are also a number of other theme parks around Paris that offer something quite different. Another great theme park, to the North of Paris is Parc Asterix (the roller coaster is pictured below), which tells the story of the famous comic characters, and very definitely for children of all ages. To the west of Paris, near Versailles you can visit the whole of France in less than one day in Europe’s biggest miniature theme park: France Miniature. And another one for the youngest ones is the Playmobil fun park.
3. Museums. These days many museums make much more of an effort to cater for children. And Paris has a great collection of museums that do just this. How about a visit to GrÃ©vin, a waxworks museum that has been going since 1882. Not only does it have your usual crop of celebrities and the like, but it has some great reconstructions of French history. There is also the Museum of Magic, and the Natural History Museum has some wonderful displays, including their ‘Grande Galerie de lâ€™Evolution’. But, I am reliably informed the favourite of all the Parisian museums is at CitÃ© des Sciences et de lâ€™Industrie, one of the world’s largest and most visited science museums. This museum is seriously high-tech, and very hands-on for children of all ages. Kids love the ‘Argonaute’ and its real submarine.
4. Parks and Gardens. There are a great many parks and gardens from which to choose from. The third largest in Paris is the Parc des Buttes Chaumont (pictured below), with its cliffs and bridges, a grotto that has a 20-meter high waterfall, a lake, and several English and Chinese gardens. But perhaps the most popular attractions for the children are the two ‘guignol’ (puppet) theatres. There are also at least three interesting gardens that are more centrally located. The Jardin des Tuileries, to the north of the Seine, offers donkey rides, ice cream stands, a puppet theatre, and you can even rent a toy boat to play with on the circular pond. There are similar attractions on the southern side of the Seine at the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Champ de Mars. Towards the north end of the Bois de Boulogne you will find pony rides and puppet shows for younger children and a roller coaster for older children.
5. A Day at the Circus. If your children love the circus, then why not treat them to a whole day at the Cirque de Paris, at the Parc des Chanteraines. In the morning children get a chance to have a go at the various circus arts, they can try juggling, or being a clown or a magician. There are two restaurants on site, or you can bring your own picnic lunch. And then in the afternoon it is show time and you and the children get to watch a traditional circus show, including various exotic animals, the clowns and their little running, jumping dogs, the magician’s doves that disappear only to reappear. The park is just 10 minutes from Paris, and the circus is open 10am – 5pm every Wednesday and Friday.
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