Paris With Kids: A City Guide {Part 1}

paris with kids
Writing a post about visiting with Paris with kids. A couple of years ago this would have seemed like such a crazy dream. Guys…. I went to Paris!! As far as travel bucket lists go – mine was full of Parisian dreams, and this summer they finally came true! 
What made my first trip to the city of romance even better was the fact that it was a mother daughter trip. It was Zara’s first international flight (and the first flight that she remembers), and it was our first time taking a trip together – just the two of us. 

We spent 5 days in Paris and made note of some of the places that you’ll definitely want to visit if you find yourself in Paris with your kids one day. Now before I dig into where to go, I do have to say – Paris is not a city for kids under 8 in my opinion. The metro lines are old so there are limited or no elevators, the public washroom system is not the best, and I didn’t see a single change table on my trip except in a McDonalds. If you really must take your little ones, don’t go in high-season. We saw so many kids having meltdowns while waiting in lineups and parents losing their cool with each other – not worth it.

Even at 10 years old, Zara struggled some days with all the walking, the jet lag, and the general busyness of Paris. Unless you’ve been before and just want to go and sit in cafe’s and gardens, I wouldn’t take kids under 8, and if you really want to wander in the museums and do multiple things in one day wait till they are 12.

paris with kids

With that being said, everyone knows their kids best, and maybe your toddlers would love it! I’ve created an itinerary for visiting Paris with kids that is 3 days long. Today I’m sharing Day 1 and I’ll share Days 2 & 3 over the next two weeks. Along with each attraction I’ve shared a few notes on the best times to visit and any other kid friendly tips I could think of! 

Paris with Kids: City Guide

paris with kids, pink chai living

Place de La Concorde | Jardin des Tuileres | Grand Palais
This area of the city really feels like Paris – or the Paris that most of us dream about. The architecture and views are stunning, and the fountains are just magical. Z and I didn’t end up here until our second last night in Paris and both of us were like….this is the place! This is the perfect place to begin your visit to Paris with kids. 

paris with kids

paris with kids

I would give yourself a couple of hours to wander the area, get gelato in the Jardin (the hazelnut & chocolate flavour is the best), and pose for pictures by the Siene! Once you’ve had your fill you can easily walk to the Louvre from here. If you have time to come back, the evening is a great time to visit this area, the sunset was breath taking. You can also grab a rickshaw ride right in front of the Jardin gates in the evening and get a guided tour of the city.

paris with kids, louvre

Louvre
When you get to the Louvre you can choose to just wander the outside of the building, the courtyard with the glass pyramid, and the adjoining gardens, which are all stunning – or you can go inside. Here’s my take; you are there, kids under 18 get in free, and it’s one of the greatest museums in the world, just do it!

paris with kids

paris with kids, louvre
{The other entrance to the Louvre also has a pyramid!}

paris with kids, louvre

One thing I would skip; lining up at the glass pyramid, take a picture and move on. There is a small mall sort of diagonal from the pyramid called the Carrousel de Louvre. Enter the mall and follow the signs to the McDonald’s and you’ll end up at a much less busy entrance. The day we went there was literally no lineup. This entrance also has the best gift shop if you are looking for any cheesy souvenirs.

Before you go, choose one or two areas that you want to view before trying to get your ‘Mona Lisa Selfie’ (we all know you are going to do it.) I chose the Islamic Art and Oriental exhibit to focus on, and both were practically empty. Once we’d had our fill of those wings we started moving towards the Mona Lisa, risked our lives, got our selfie, and got out!

paris with kids, eiffel tower with kids
Somebody’s 10th birthday wish was to see the Eiffel Tower – Mama made it happen 🙂 My biggest parenting win!

Eiffel Tower
Guys, I know it’s just a metal structure, but somehow it’s just beautiful. You can view it from so many places in the city, but you have to see it up close. I’ve heard mixed reviews on taking the elevator to the top, but we loved it. It’s one of those things you just have to do. Book your ride for just before sunset and you can see the city light up, and then come down and watch the tower light up at 10pm. 

If you are going to the Eiffel Tower with kids, buy your tickets in advance! The day we were there the average wait time was 3 hours.

paris with kids, eiffel tower, pink chai
The Eiffel Tower at night is one of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen.

paris with kids, pink chai

We watched the Eiffel Tower light up from Trocadero Square. The view was perfect, but you do have to get there early to grab a good spot and it does get very crowded. We got there about 9:15 and had a front row view of the show & it was the best moment of our trip!

Coming up on Day 2 of our Paris with Kids seriew … Galleries Lafayette, Montmarte, and the Latin Quarter. I will update this post once the next day is live!

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. November 1, 2017 / 5:14 pm

    Great post!
    I totally agree with your comment about taking kids when they are older. We took our 6 year old with us (we flew on a Friday after a whole week of school) and after 2 days of walking tours including a tour of Versailles, my son could not walk at all the third day. We just went to the Eiffel tower with our timed tickets and spent the rest of the day in the hotel before moving on to our next destination. Of course we missed some attractions of Paris.

    • November 2, 2017 / 8:07 am

      I’m sorry you missed some spots – but it’s an excuse to go back?! It really is a walking city and Zara was a trooper but I know there were days she was not super happy and that’s hard as a parent too.

      • November 2, 2017 / 5:40 pm

        Of course- it is a great excuse to go back!

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