Don’t even think about leaving your kids at home when you visit Europe this season. While Paris may seem like an adult-oriented city at first glance, the “City of Lights” offers a plethora of activities for children of all ages. Take in one or more of the top kids attractions in the city or sign up for one of the organized children’s program that proliferate in Paris and let him explore on his own.
Things to Do with Kids in Paris
Beyond the Eiffel Tower, the delicious and elegant restaurants, and the sophisticated shopping, Paris offers a variety of attractions and activities that are sure to delight your children. Just a few of these are listed below:
1. Disneyland Paris. Whether it’s in Florida or Paris, the mouse is guaranteed to bring a smile to any child’s face. The French Disney franchise is located about 20 minutes east of Paris by rail. The park includes many old favorites, like Cinderella’s castle, as well as a few attractions unique to the French park, like the Story Land Canal Boats and the Casey Jr. circus train.
2. Musee Grevin. What kid doesn’t love a wax museum? Paris has one of the best in the world. Opened in 1882, the Musee Grevin, in the city’s Montmartre neighborhood, features more than 300 wax figures, everyone from Marilyn to French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Grevin is open daily year-round, except for the first week of October.
3. Paris Zoo. The Paris Zoo, called the Menagerie, is the oldest zoo in the world. It was created as a sanctuary during the French Revolution for the animals that had been kept at Versailles by Marie Antoinette and her court. Located near the Austerlitz rail station on the city’s southeast side, the 15-acre park today is home to more than 1,000 animals. The zoo is open daily year round.
4. Museum of Science and Industry. The Museum of Science and Industry, located on the north end of Paris in the Parc de la Villete, makes learning about science fun for all ages. This interactive museum has a variety of permanent exhibits, such as transport, energy, earth watch and innovations. There’s also a special area for younger children with entertaining early learning situations and activities. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays.
5. Paris Sewers (Les Egouts). Remember the scene in “Les Miserables” where the police inspector chases the hero through the Paris sewers? Well, they still exist and there are public tours that take visitors down through the belly of Paris. Located near the Quai d’Orsay on the Left Bank, the tour begins with the Paris Sewer Museum before embarking on a short tour of the 19th century labyrinth.
Paris Family Programs
Sometimes it makes sense to have someone else with more knowledge of the city arrange your day’s activities. This is true for kids as well as adults. Fortunately, Paris offers a number of excellent family programs, just a few of which are outlined below:
1. Paris Kid. It’s kind of nice for you and your child to get away from each other on vacation for a few hours. Paris Kid makes this possible and FUN! This service-based company is designed for children visiting from overseas, ages 6-12. The company arranges excursions and activities so kids can learn about French culture and art while making new friends. It’s a win-win.
2. Paris Muse Clues. Paris Muse offers a family scavenger hunt that gives families a fun way to explore the sighs of Paris. The two-hour tours give you set things to find (as well as clues) in popular attractions like the Louvre. What a fun way to learn!
3. Fat Tire Bike Tours. If you happen to be in Paris during the warmer months, Fat Tire Bike Tours offers a pleasant (and low-stress) way to explore Paris. This company doesn’t just hand you a bike, they organize a well-designed route for you and give you a pre-tour briefing in English to make sure that you get the most from your tour.
Have you taken your kids to Paris in the last few years? What attractions or organized program did they particularly enjoy?
This is a guest post by Crystal Groome. Crystal has specialized in barging vacations specifically for over eleven years and visits Europe yearly to personally inspect individual barges and operators. She is the owner of Barge Connection, a leading tour operator in the United States specializing in barge vacations since 1998. Barge Connection provides unparalleled experience in providing the best in luxury barge vacations for individuals, groups and travel agents.