Traveling with kids should not only be limited to the cities deemed child-friendly. If you have curious minds on your hands, then international travel would be a great fit, even to Paris, the romantic destination of the movies. When you remember that families with children live and thrive in the City of Lights, it becomes significantly easier to plan the trip. All it really takes is keeping in mind your children’s typical routine, physical limitations, and interests. There is truly something for everyone in Paris.
You will likely find when you are in Paris that knowing basic French will help you out tremendously while exploring. Before you leave, try learning some words and phrases as a family to make your time a little easier. Simple greetings, polite words, and common words go a long way when trying to make a good impression on the French. Learning the language ahead of time will help you prepare and excite your kids for the trip and ultimately help them appreciate their time there even more.
Hotel rooms in Paris and most of Europe for that matter can be quite small. Airbnb’s and renting full apartments would allow your family to have much more room and the possibility of full kitchens and washing machines. Those amenities can make a stay with young children easier and allow you to pack lighter. Through Airbnb and other sources, you can also sign up for guided tours intended for families through museums, like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, and arrondissements, like Montmartre and the Île de la Cité.
While Paris is a beautiful city to walk around and explore, the hills and winding streets can become quite tiring, let alone for kids. Keep an eye out for the public parks, gardens, and playgrounds in the different arrondissements. In particular, the Jardin du Luxembourg has a small pond where children can push along boats and play on a playground, and the sandbox in the Place des Vosges. There are many carousels around Paris as well, so take the time to ride one (or two) in different locations.
You can also cut down on walking by using the Paris Metro and bus services when convenient. The Metro system in Paris recently introduced a reloadable card called Navigo Easy perfect for tourists so you no longer have to carry individual tickets. Pair this new card with half-priced fares for children under 10, and you have an easy way to get around Paris.
Paris is known for its food, and its nothing too strange that kids would not enjoy. There are boulangeries, or bakeries, on every other corner that you can pick up a croissant or a colorful pastry to snack on while you walk or sit in a park. Even a trip to a grocery store will turn up with unique candy and other snacks that are new to your kids. While fine dining in Paris can be quite expensive and unwelcoming for a younger crowd, eating at a café on the open terrace is a great alternative that still feels effortlessly French. Try a croque monsieur, essentially a fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich, steak frites, a plate of steak and fries, or crêpes with savory or sweet toppings.
While you are visiting the monuments and exploring the arrondissements, be sure to pick up a souvenir or two for your kids to serve as reminders of their trip. You can never go wrong with a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower or a cool postcard, but consider buying a book for your kids as well. There are several English bookstores around Paris: Shakespeare & Co., San Francisco Book Co., The Abbey Bookshop, The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore. Most art museums also offer English language books and many, especially for children.
The options for a family visiting Paris are plentiful, and whatever you may choose to do with your children when visiting Paris, you will have lasting memories together as a family that will have your kids itching to travel again.tra