Paris with Kids
Paris is big and loud and crowded and on the first glimpse not the ideal place for kids. But if you take a closer look, there is plenty to discover. This list is of course not complete but everything on it is tested by us and we’ll update it as soon as we discover something new.
Click on the link in the headline, to get to the page of the activity.
Parcs and Playgrounds
This is a light version of an amusement parc but without paying necessary a fortune. The entrance fee is 3€ p/P and you can have a perfect day there without spending much more. You can bring your own food to have a picnic, visit the little zoo, have a walk in the gardens, relax in deck-chairs while your kids are having fun on one of the various playgrounds. Or you can book artistic workshops, get tickets for the plenty of merry-go-rounds and other attractions or have a hot chocolate at Angelinas. The Jardin d’Acclimation is located within the Bois de Boulogne area, you can go there by car and if you are not coming in the peak times between 2 and 4 on the weekend, you should find a parking place easily. Otherwise you can always take Metro Line 1 until Les Sablons, it´s not far from there.
South East of Paris, within the Bois de Vincennes area, you can spend a great time at the Parc Floral. As the name suggests, it is home to all kinds of flowers and trees, from Bonsai to medical herbs; you name it. Obviously it is especially nice in spring but independent from seasons, the parc hosts a HUGE (really!) playground area. It´s more several big playgrounds next to each other, for all ages, some more adventurous, some more nature inspired, a table tennis area, a high rope garden (costs extra), greens to play soccer and have picnics and there are even quite frequently concerts. The entrance to the parc is free from September to June (check page for exact dates) and for Kids under 7. A fee applies in summer on weekends and Wednesdays and on days of events. They are having big free parking places but you should avoid arriving between 2 and 4 on weekends, unless you’re very patient. The closest metro Station is Chateau de Vincennes, Line 1. You walk around 10 minutes from there.
Paris’ highline. Starting at Bastille with the Viaduc des Arts you can walk 4,7km on the obselete railways through the 12th arrondissment and enjoy the quite special view on the city from up there. There are obviously no cars and discovering a part of Paris while your kids can run freely and safe is quite relaxing 🙂
Food and Drinks
If you’re searching for a place to have brunch, lunch or dinner, a place with playing areas, toys, with highchairs, changing tables and plastic plates for kids. A place where you don’t need to be worried if your kid is getting up or not being super quiet all the time; the 400 Coups is what you are searching for. The food is yummy, prices are ok and you can relax while your kids are having fun. It´s not very central but the Bercy area offers some attractions that are worth visiting if you feel like escaping the more touristic parts of Paris; for example the Bercy Village and Bercy Parc right next to it.
Grande Galerie de l’Evolution
It´s big and it’s old and it´s impressive. The Grande Galerie de l’Evolution was created as a museum in 1793 and has a huuuuge collection of species from all over the world, from all eras and of all sizes. Exploring the 5 levels of exhibition can easily take you a couple of hours and more, it´s dedicated to kids and you can find activities such as puzzles, fun activities or programs on ipads everywhere. The museum is located very central, close by St.Michel and la Sorbonne. However, the closest metro station might be Place Monge of Line 7, but there are Busses, RER and Velib Station all around and you might want to check the advises on their page.
Muséum National d’Histoire naturelle
Bones, bones, more bones and some really creepy things. As well in the area of the Jardin des Plantes you find this museum that is perfect for little anatomists.
Rainy days can really be a bummer, especially if it´s not only one and if you are not at home. Royal Kids is an indoor playground with enough adventurous and sportive activities to get rid off some energy when outdoor action is not really an option. It´s located in Ivry-sur-Seine, just one RER C stop away from Paris and if you already made it out there, you can end the day with watching a movie at Cinéma Pathè Quai D’Ivry , one of the biggest Cinemas around, that is just next doors.
From Bibliothèque Francois Mitterrand Bus 325 direction Château de Vincennes needs 4 minutes to Royal Kids, get off at Jules Vanzuppe. (you can purchase bus tickets on the bus, but you need change)
The Philarmonie de Paris wouldn’t be my first choice when being in search for kid activities and here I did it ALL WRONG. It´s great! They are offering a variety of concerts and workshops for kids in all ages, as well as some a shared parent-child experiences. We have been there to a temporarily kid exhibition about Chagall and it was very special and inspiring. The Philarmonie is located in the Parc de la Villette where you find plenty of cultural offers such as Jazz Concerts, open air cinema sessions, but as well playgrounds and the Cité des Science with a wide range of fun activities for kids.
Pools and Fountains
Besides from zoos and playgrounds, this parc has a nice fountain area where kids can go all crazy during the warm season. It might be a bit full but hey, better sharing the fun than not having it, right?
Parc Andrè Citroen
This parc is probably best known for the Ballon de Paris, from which you most likely are having a great view over the City. We haven’t done that yet, but I know another great feature of this parc, for FREE! A quite big field of fountains that are randomly jumping up and down and that are accessible freely by everyone, especially by kids in bathing suits on hot summer days 🙂 The greens all around are great to have a picnic and just to spent a lazy day in the sun.
This is the biggest swimming pool in the Paris area, it has plenty of slides, water ski, rope jumping, outside and inside areas and waves. Water wings for kids and deck chairs are provided. Just note that that speedos are required; and yes, I am talking about tight and more or less tiny swimwear for men, they just wont let you in with shorts that aren’t tight. No need to wear a cap though.
Be aware that it can be quite full at time and you can experience difficulties to get a deckchair straight away. Closest Metro Station is probably Balard on Line 8, but the tram runs there as well. If you come by car, be advised that parking fees are horrendous, for 4 hours you pay easily 16-20€.
Zoos and Aquariums
Aquarium tropical du Palais de la Porte Dorée
As far as I know there are 2 Aquariums in Paris; this is the less known one and in my opinion the nicest one. It´s maybe not as fancy as the one in Trocadero, but the building is not less impressive and its broad selection of fishes (Captain Obvious), (little) sharks, turtles and crocodiles. The Museum is hosting as well changing temporarily exhibition that are partially free, cloak rooms are free of charge as well. Admissions are family friendly, a family of 4 (with 2 children under 18) are paying 11€ (at the time of writing).
The Aquarium has no assigned parking places and it can be tricky at times to find a place, especially if you are not familiar with the area (we always found a place though but I suggest to search a place rather in Bois de Vincennes as it´s just around the corner). However, it´s just next to Metro Station “Porte Doree” of Line 8.
Menagerie, le zoo de Jardin de Plantes
I don’t know for sure but I would not be surprised if this Zoo did not change much during the last 100 years. I assume the cages got bigger according to raising standards (luckily) but apart from this, you can easily imagine fancy ladies in bell-bottomed dresses strolling around on a gentleman arm, watching flamingos and giggling over monkeys. This old-fashioned zoo is located in the heart of Paris, next to the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution and is on a more convenient price level than the Zoo de Vincennes.