Paris is so beautiful, and only just over an hour flight from Cardiff. I took my eight-year-old to see it and not only was I taken aback at how beautiful a city it is but I was also genuinely surprised at how much there is to do in Paris with kids.
Air Bnb experiences
Most people are quite au fait (a little French there) with using Air Bnb now for accommodation but have you ever looked at their experiences? From intimate jazz performances at secret locations only disclosed on the night to wine tasting tours, Air Bnb experiences are a great way to find something unique. Listed among them are a few walking tours of Paris especially for families and groups with children. We did one of these and our tour guide was a nanny so she knew how to engage with my daughter and really help her feel immersed in the surrounding culture of Paris and comfortable to ask questions. We visited a playground by the canal and at the end of the tour an ice cream was included for her at the famous ice cream shop Berthillon.
See the Eiffel Tower at night.
Be the best parent ever and let them stay up past their bedtime. Plan an evening visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. At dusk the lights switch on which casts a lovely old-fashioned type of yellow glow over the tower and then every hour on the hour there is a magnificent light show. We visited Paris in the summer and dusk was around 9.30pm. At 10pm the tower sparkled with crystal white lights. Groups of people lounged on the grass in the Champs De Mars (the garden in front of the Eiffel Tower). A busker played guitar and a warm breeze blew while people picnicked and drank wine. The ambience was exquisite and a loud cheer erupted when the tower lit up. An experience not to be missed.
Get an aerial view
Save money by booking tickets ahead of time online for Montparnasse tower and wow the kids when they see it’s outdoor observation deck. See if they can feel the lift moving as it ascends 56 floors in 38 seconds and get a stunning 360° view of the city of light. Top tip-visit Montparnasse tower at the end of your Paris trip and use the information boards to pick out all the places you have been to.
Museums and Art
Paris is stuffed to the brim with art galleries and museums. The world-famous Louvre is a building unlike any they will have previously experienced. The Pompidou centre is a modern art gallery and has all it’s pipes and escalators on the outside of the building. If you fancy showing them works by Picasso, the Musee D’Orsay is a good bet. Along the Seine is the Jardin Des Plantes which has plants from all over the world and it is free to walk through. And the fashion museum is within walking distance of the natural history museum.
5. Time to play
We were only there for two nights and we went to two different play parks. They are dotted throughout the city. There is one at the back of Notre Dame cathedral which was a nice shady spot for some respite from the city busy-ness. There is an urban beach which is put up every summer. We missed it unfortunately but this could be a good pit stop for children to take a break.
General Tips for Enjoying Paris with Kids.
You can buy Metro tickets at any Metro station. The machines are really easy to use and have a translate to English button on them. Buy a carnet of 10 tickets for travel all across Paris on the Metro and buses for around €13.90. Children’s tickets are half price. I had to use my card which incurred a 40p charge for using it abroad. Or you can go to the booth.
When in Paris
Give your kids a couple of French phrases for them to try out. My daughter heard me saying ‘merci’ when buying things and began to use it as well. She gained confidence as people responded to her in French.
I left my two-year-old at home with his dad and I was glad I didn’t take him along on our trip. Paris is a very busy city even in August when a lot of Parisians leave for most of the month. There are lots of busy roads. Some road crossings are light marshalled but some are not. I noticed a lot of spots where I felt thankful I did not have an active toddler in tow such as along the river Seine where there were big drops off into the river with no railings or barriers. Saying that if you are comfortable in London with a toddler you’d be fine in Paris too.
Check out our vid of our 2 night trip to Paris here.
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