Ahh Paris! The City of Lights! The first time I ever traveled to Paris I was 16 and ready to take on the world! Returning 14 years later with a little more understanding of the world…and with my daughter in tow it was a very different experience of Paris than the first time I walked her cobbled streets!
Most people would think that returning to Paris with my daughter, at such a young age, wouldn’t be as much fun – on the contrary! There is SO much Paris has to offer for fun for the whole family.
L’Atelier des Lumières
This beautiful and jaw dropping studio recently opened as a space dedicated to digital art and is a huge hit for kids of all ages. Formerly the building was an iron foundry, this building remained empty for nearly two decades until Culture spaces decided to launch the city’s first digital art center. Its goal? To give the works of one artist – so far, they’ve had van Gogh and Klimt – the attention they deserve by projecting them across the ten-meter-high walls using first-rate equipment including 140 film projectors with BARCO lasers.
What kid doesn’t like Disneyland right? Well Disneyland Paris is just as fun as its American and other international counterparts, with the added European culture (Mickey speaks French fluently). This wonderland is a short train ride from the city, but well worth the trek. And depending on your toddler’s energy you could visit both parks in one day. Fans can meet and greet everyone from Goofy to Captain Hook. In autumn Disneyland hosts celebrations for both Halloween and Christmas. I highly suggest that if you are traveling with toddlers as the title suggests to invest in the Fast Pass to avoid enormous queues.
To me, catacombes are good for any age – if you know your kids won’t be freaked out. The original Paris Catacombes were built between the 17th and 18th century, right at the start of the city’s effort to shore up its former stone quarries so as to reinforce the streets above (and prevent buildings collapsing). But with public burial pits overflowing during the Revolutionary Terror, the bones of six million Parisians were transferred here. These sinister tunnels 20 metres below the ground will never stop fascinating Parisians and tourists alike – especially younger ones.
Jardin du Luxembourg
I know, personally I still love puppet shows and pony rides – which is just a few of the things you’ll find at Luxembourg gardens. The famous carousel, the city’s oldest, was designed by the same architect behind the Opéra Garnier. The nearby playground is the standout here, with plenty of things to climb and jump on, though there is a small entry fee. The entire playground is fenced in, so mother hens need not worry about their little chicks running off too far.
Marché aux Fleurs et Oiseaux
Throughout the Spring and Summer every Sunday on Île de la Cité, the flower market comes alive! Beautiful colors from hordes of flowers and then accompanied by the sound of squawking and chirping birds! Your littles will get a kick out of the parrots, chickens and canaries that line the market. Easy access if you are using the metro system, it is right next to Cité metro station. Vendors sell other animals like ferrets and mice, but children are usually especially keen on the dwarf bunnies (which can be petted).
I didn’t take my own advice here and I made this impressive climb with my little in my backpack! The view from the Sacré Coeur is one of the best in the city and your kids and toddlers will enjoy all the space to run, the view and of course all the fun random street vendors that park there for the day. Warning…there are about 300 stairs waiting for you and the virtual lack of a queue means a no-fuss ascent. From atop the dome, Paris is at your feet, and children who make it to the top successfully will feel triumphant knowing they are nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower.
Parc André Citroën
If you need a good alternative to scaling the Eiffel Tower – take a hote air balloon ride! Resting in the Parc André Citroën you can enjoy a more original view over the city. Ticket prices are on the same budget as visiting the Iron Lady, but there won’t be nearly as many tourists. Call ahead if you can to make sure that weather conditions are playing ball. It’s in a pretty park, in a pretty neighborhood, but there’s not a whole lot else out there. Parks are always a good place for toddlers to visit and take a break.
Paris is full of light, love, culture, and food! These aren’t things that you can only enjoy as an adult! My toddler was 3-years-old when we went last year (2020) and we had a blast just going through the city streets, eating and riding the tour “Red Bus”. Memories on our first venture are ones I know that will stay with her for a lifetime and that was just the first trip!
Always check a head before making plans – we still live in a weird time and I’d hate for you to make the trip and not be able to hit the best places to bring your children to truly enjoy how much Paris as to offer!
If you wanna enjoy some parent time that you’ll enjoy – check out my blog post about Spending a Weekend in Bordeaux
Stay tuned for more stories, tips and travel tricks!