Family Trip to Paris: 8 Tips for a Fun Trip to Paris with Kids

In this comprehensive guide, Beth McCarter from The Travel Fam will share all of the tips she picked up from her recent family trip to Paris, France with two young children. 

From the best things to do with kids in Paris to practical tips for your first family trip to the City of Lights, this guide will cover everything you need to know about planning your family trip to Paris.

Family trip to Paris

Best Things to do on a Family Trip to Paris

Although Paris traditionally is portrayed as a romantic destination for couples or young solo travelers, the French capital also makes for the perfect family-friendly vacation spot.  

There are lots of things to do for kids without breaking the bank, including visiting gardens, eating delicious baked goods, and viewing popular tourist sights from a stroller-friendly perspective.  

Get Your Kids Excited About a Family Trip to Paris

There’s plenty to see in Paris for travelers of all ages. Getting your kids excited about your upcoming family trip to Paris can be as simple as showing them pictures of the places you will visit.  

Dedicate some time to collaboratively plan your family trip to Paris with your kids.  Allow them some say in building your Paris family itinerary. You might be surprised at what they find interesting and where they are excited about going.

Finally, there are plenty of kids’ books that you can use for inspiration and to promote daydreaming about your family trip to Paris. 

Head to your local library and check out children’s books on the Eiffel Tower, the French Revolution, D-Day, Joan of Arc and other famous French icons to prepare for your family trip to Paris. Kids will be excited to recognize famous symbols, statues, and works of art when visiting Paris.

Our Top Tips for an Amazing Family Trip to Paris

After spending three months in France with two little kids, The Travel Fam gathered quite a few tips to help you plan a successful family trip to Paris.  

These tips will help you spend less money, see more popular sights, and overall have a wonderful time on your family trip to Paris.

1. Visit the Gardens

The best and most affordable way to spend your time on a family trip to Paris is by exploring the capital’s many gardens.  

Kids will love the opportunity to stretch their legs and play in the grass, while parents can easily pick a nice picnic spot and supervise from nearby.

We spent several afternoons outside of the Louvre, sitting on the grass and watching our kids play while we enjoyed a glass of wine. You won’t get lonely because the locals will be doing the same thing!

2. Eat!

You don’t need to break the bank to enjoy one of Europe’s most treasured gastronomic capitals. Although eating out on a family trip to Paris can add up quickly, we were able to enjoy local cuisine on a budget by following a few guidelines:

  • Eat out at a cafe for lunch, not dinner. The lunch menu is generally lighter (and less expensive). Get the most out of your dining experience by taking your time — this isn’t a hit-and-run drive through experience.

  • Pack a picnic. For a few dollars, you can purchase some ready-made sandwiches from a patisserie, perfect for picnicking in one of Paris’ many gardens.  

  • Shop patisseries. Each one will have something unique. Even when the selection looks similar to every other place you have visited, you will find that each patisserie makes one individual pastry better than the others. Don’t think that visiting one Parisian bakery means you’ve seen them all.
Family trip to Paris: ice cream is a must-do

3. Learn some French

If you don’t know French already, it is important to pick up a few useful phrases before your trip.

Don’t stress if you’re not a natural language learner — it doesn’t have to be that complicated! In fact, it can be as simple as googling what it is that you want to say before entering a shop, and then practicing it inside. A few phrases jotted down in your phone’s notes app will go a long way.

Don’t think that you can get by in Paris without knowing any French! It is impolite and unrealistic to expect that everyone knows English. In fact, we almost got stuck in the metro because we did not know how to request to open the gate for our stroller. A quick Google search helped us out!

Tips for Considering What to do in Paris with Kids

A family trip to Paris will require plenty of pre-planning in order to visit everything on your must-see list.  

Not to mention, checking off even a quarter of the popular tourist sites will have you seeing some impressive numbers on your step counter. Paris is big — you will be doing a LOT of walking!

Be sure to follow these tips for planning your family trip to Paris so that you leave feeling like you saw everything that you wanted to see.

4. Map Out Your Day Beforehand

I highly recommend mapping out your day before setting out from your hotel. Begin by selecting 1-2 places from your list that are located relatively close to each other.  Add a “stretch” goal in the form of one more additional stop that you can tack on or leave off depending on how your party is feeling.

You might consider jotting down the route you will take just in case your phone map craps out in the metro, or your phone dies.

Calculate how long your map app says it will take to walk between each location. (Don’t forget to calculate the distance walking to and from public transportation!) Then realize that the time it takes will increase dramatically when you’re walking with little kids. 

Be particularly mindful when planning the end of the day. This is the hardest part of any trip with kids because everyone is tired, cranky, and has blisters on their feet. Try to end up near the train that takes you directly to your hotel before everybody gets to their breaking point.

Family trip to Paris: Eiffel Tower sunset

5. Visit Places Multiple Times

Don’t feel like each day has to be a brand-new spectacle in order to be enjoyable. In fact, we enjoyed visiting the same spots several times because it gave us new vantage points. We visited Notre Dame three times because we enjoyed the creperie on the corner so much!

Many places on your must-see list warrant several visits. The Eiffel Tower, for example, gives off totally different vibes during a day-time holiday market (there’s a carousel!) versus in the evening after a Seine River cruise.

If you have the flexibility, consider splitting up one afternoon and visiting a couple places YOU are most excited about seeing on your own. For example, your partner could watch the kids at the hotel pool while you sneak off to the Louvre. I particularly recommend this tactic for the Louvre because, while still enjoyable with kids, it warrants several days worth of lengthy visits.

Practical Tips for Your Family Trip to Paris

Nobody likes to talk about the less exciting piece of traveling with a family to Paris — but here we are! These hard-earned tips will help you have a more successful trip with kids to Paris.  

From deciding whether your child really needs a stroller in Paris, to how to find decent public bathrooms, to what shoes to wear, this section has it all.

Never underestimate the power of planning ahead and packing appropriately when traveling with little ones!

6. Use a Stroller

We debated bringing a stroller for our three-year-old on our recent family trip to Paris and ended up purchasing one once we got there. We used it so much during our three-month visit that two wheels fell off!

If you have a child who is at the age where they prefer to walk, but tire easily, I highly recommend bringing or renting a stroller.  

The best stroller for Paris has large, sturdy wheels that can handle different terrain.  It should also be lightweight as you will be picking it up to load onto trains and buses. Choose a narrow model so you can more easily navigate through crowds.

A stroller in Paris is a must!

7. Plan Bathroom Trips Accordingly

It can be quite a challenge to take care of a child’s bathroom needs on a family trip to Paris.  

Public bathrooms are few and far between and are often port-a-potty quality (read: terrifying). Bathrooms in public transportation buildings, when available, often require that you pay 2 euro to use.

Small stores do not have public restrooms. Larger stores are a better bet. If you find a place that does have a bathroom, you might be requested to purchase an item before gaining entrance. 

Plan your day efficiently by using the bathroom at the restaurant where you’re eating at least once. (Also, keep in mind that bathrooms inside cafés are often on a separate floor and require that you access them via a winding staircase — definitely not wheelchair or stroller accessible).  

Map out where public bathrooms are ahead of time to avoid having to locate one in a potty emergency.

8. Wear Appropriate Walking Shoes

The best walking shoes for Paris are sturdy, close-toed tennis shoes with deep heel beds to protect your ankles. I like Adidas Grand Court tennis shoes because they can be dressed up or down.

Why am I so passionate about wearing appropriate footwear in Paris? For two reasons:

  • Unless you’re from a big city, you may not be used to all of the walking that you will do on your family trip to Paris. Sturdy shoes will protect your feet and prevent you from cutting plans short because your body is sore.

  • Secondly, I made the mistake of wearing cheap, non-supportive shoes from Walmart on my recent family trip to Paris and had the misfortune of spraining my ankle. This avoidable injury impacted the rest of our vacation and forced us to spend an entire day looking for an ankle brace.

Planning Your Family Trip to Paris: Where to Stay

Frequent visitors to Paris recommend staying with kids anywhere within the 1st and 8th arrondissement areas. 

This strip of streets will put you in a great position to visit many attractions as well as the Seine River.

The Best Areas to Stay in Paris with Kids

Stay in the Heart of Paris 

Staying in the center of Paris will be more expensive whether you are in a hotel or Airbnb; however, it may even out if you’re not having to pay for taxis or long train rides.

Maison Armance: Smack in the thick of things and rated great for families, this hotel is a fantastic option for families wanting easy access to all that Paris has to offer.

Citadines Les Halles: Only a nine-minute walk to the Louvre, this reasonable hotel is a great option for a family trip to Paris.

Stay Outside of Paris

Although staying outside of the center of Paris can be cheaper, keep in mind that transportation costs add up quickly. By the time you’ve gone into the city a couple times, you may have lost any money you were trying to save through your lodging choice.

Staying outside of Paris might be a good idea if you’re looking for a quieter experience, but it can be challenging to add on commuting time if you’re in a time crunch.

Be You Luxury Apart’Hotel: Situated right next to the charming artist district of Montmartre, you may be further away from the Seine, but you will have ample opportunities for strolling with the family here.

Le Matissia: With exceptional ratings for families, this hotel is located away from the bustle of the busy tourist area yet within easy walking distance of a metro station.

Carousel near Eiffel Tower

Other accommodations in Paris

Explore other places to stay in Paris that fit your budget and preferences, using the interactive map below:

How to get around Paris with Kids

The metro is very simple to use. Your map app should direct you to which trains to take, and as long as you have reception, you can easily navigate your way.

At almost every train station in the city there are employees ready to help you purchase tickets from either a kiosk or a machine. Many will graciously help you in English, but be sure to have a few French phrases prepared just in case. After seeing a brief demonstration of the ticket kiosk, you should have no problem purchasing passes and getting all over Paris.

Famous Places to Visit on Your Family trip to Paris

No matter the length of your family trip to Paris, you won’t want to miss the must-see popular tourist haunts. Remember, you don’t have to do a “one and done” take either. Visit the Eiffel Tower several times to get a good feel for it during different times of the day!

The Eiffel Tower

There are many nice places to stop and take a break in the shade around the Eiffel Tower. Although the large gardens around the tower were closed during our visit, there were still plenty of grassy areas to sit and relax.  

You can go up the tower for a fee, although we were satisfied with a view from the ground.

Family trip to Paris

the Louvre

The Louvre is massive. If you only have one chance to visit the museum on your family trip to Paris, be sure to head here first thing in the morning to get the most out of your visit.

When traveling with impatient little ones, it’s a good idea to know which pieces you’re most interested in seeing before entering the museum. That way you can check them off first and won’t be as disappointed if you’re forced to leave earlier than you’d like because the rest of the family is bored.

One Week Paris Itinerary for Families

Day 1: Easy Walking Tour with Paris Highlights

Spend the first full day of your family trip to Paris with an easy walking tour that checks off plenty of sites, including the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Élysées.

Totaling less than 4 kilometers, (2.5 miles) this mild expedition will refresh your legs after your long plane flight and gauge your kids’ walking stamina for the rest of the trip.

Day 2: Seine River Cruise and the Eiffel Tower 

Spend a few hours floating on the historic Seine River and end up at the Eiffel Tower. This is a beautiful way to experience the city that kids are sure to love, too.

Options vary between affordable tours that include a snack to all-inclusive evening dinner cruises. Choose what fits your family’s itinerary best!

Day 3: Notre Dame Cathedral and Crepes

Although the cathedral is closed to the public, it still merits a view from the outside.  Our favorite place to see the building from was the touristy yet delicious La Crème de Paris crêperie located right across the street. 

Day 4: The Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries

The Louvre deserves multiple days worth of visits, but if you don’t have the time, be sure to squeeze in at least one trip.

The fantastic Jardin de Tuileries and Palais-Royal Garden are perfect places to let your kids explore while you admire the architecture, fauna, and statuary from a comfortable spot on the grass.

A family trip to Paris wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Louvre

Day 5: Versailles Palace & Gardens 

Versailles is a 30-minute train ride from the center of Paris and needs its own dedicated day for visiting. The estate spans over 2,000 acres and is so large, in fact, that many people like to rent bicycles to travel around the palace grounds.

There are endless things to do and see once you arrive. The palace itself has over 700 rooms, and the grounds include gardens, a park, the Petit and Grand Trianons, and Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet.  

You could definitely split the visit to Versailles into two days, especially if you have little ones that expire early in the day.

Day 6: Montmartre (and Moulin Rouge)

A family trip to Paris would not be complete without a visit to the artist district. Snap pictures of the neighborhood’s white basilica, view the Eiffel Tower from a hilly vantage point, and check out the permanent Dalí exhibit.

There are tons of cafés to choose from in this bohemian neighborhood, and you can’t miss the famous Moulin Rouge theater. If you aren’t able to sneak away to a show on this trip, you can at least appreciate the outside of this iconic building.

An itinerary that includes a Montmartre visit will be more affordable than most because you can simply spend the day moseying about, looking at street artists’ wares and soaking in the boho vibes. 

Day 7: Shopping at the Galeries Lafayette

The streets surrounding the Galeries Lafayette are full of famous brand names like Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, and Givenchy. You don’t have to be in the market for luxury items to snap photos of the famous names in the most fashionable city in the world.

Walking through this popular area is a great way to spend time on a family trip to Paris. Window shopping is easy on your budget, good exercise, and allows you to get a real feel for the city.  

Downtown Paris

More Things to do on a Family Trip to Paris

Aquarium de Paris

Featuring over 7,500 sea creatures from France’s waters, this aquarium is not to be missed. Our favorite part: The aquarium hosts the largest jellyfish exhibit in Europe.  

Le Café des Chats

If you’ve got cat lovers in your family, then Le Café des Chats is a must-stop on your family trip to Paris. Keep in mind that there are strict rules about interacting with the feline residents (especially for children under 12!).

Paris Catacombs

Though not recommended if your kids are little or easily scared, the iconic Paris Catacombs are a super creepy and cool piece of the city’s history. (Note that the catacombs are not wheelchair or stroller-accessible).

Jardin des Plantes and the Natural History Museum

The aptly named “Garden of Plants” is simply unparalleled in botanical beauty and a great way to soak in some sun on your family trip to Paris. The National Museum of Natural History is adjacent to the garden and has many incredible exhibits.

Napoleon’s tomb and the Esplanade des Invalides

Napoleon’s tomb is ensconced in the Hotel des Invalides along with many other military officers’ graves. There are several military museums on site as well. A short walk from Napoleon’s tomb will get you to the Esplanade des Invalides, which is a large grassy area ideal for picnicking and viewing the Seine River.

Pantheon and Luxembourg Gardens

The greco-inspired Pantheon was originally built to house the tombs of French nobles, but since the Revolution, it also includes many scientists (including Marie Curie), artists, writers, and generals. A short walk from the Pantheon will take you to the Luxembourg Gardens which are beautiful and a great place to hang out with kids on your family trip to Paris.

D-Day History Tour (Normandy day trip)

If you have extra time, be sure to take a trip to Normandy to view the historically significant beaches of WWII. An extra day in this part of the country should be spent at the awe-inspiring Mont St. Michel.

Disneyland Resort Paris

Disney fans will want to include a trip to the city’s two resorts on their family trip to Paris. Both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park are great bucket list items for those visiting Paris with a generous budget.

D-Day Memorial in Normandy

Questions about Planning a Family Trip to Paris

Here are answers to some common questions about planning a family trip to Paris.

How much does a family trip to Paris cost?

Budgets vary greatly and a family trip to Paris could easily rack up the credit card quickly.  

The average budget for a couple spending a week in Paris is $3,500. Traveling to Paris with kids will add food, entertainment, and transportation costs.

Our family was able to spend our family trip to Paris much more frugally — we spent closer to $1,200 for a week in Paris (not including plane tickets).

We stayed outside of the city (booked an Airbnb for a discounted rate) and were careful of our transportation and food costs. We also spent a great deal of time doing free activities, like exploring gardens or walking around looking at architecture.  

Is Paris good for a family holiday?

A family trip to Paris is a great holiday. The city is very family-friendly and there is plenty to do for kids of all ages.  

There is a lot of walking involved and you may want to build up your children’s stamina. I recommend bringing a lightweight yet durable stroller for the youngest members of your family.

How can you keep kids engaged on a family trip to Paris?

It is easy to keep kids engaged on a family trip to Paris because there is so much to see and do! If you find that your kids are getting bored, reevaluate your itinerary and include their input. They may be more engaged if they get to plan some of the family’s activities.

Should I bring a stroller to Paris?

Yes, yes, yes, you should bring a stroller to Paris! We did not bring a stroller to Paris for our three-year-old and speedily purchased one soon after arriving. I recommend a lightweight jogger-style stroller with sturdy wheels and an easy turn radius.

Conclusion: A Family Trip to Paris

A family trip to Paris is a great experience that doesn’t have to be hard on your budget. In fact, our family spent a similar amount traveling in France for months as we did on one weekend at Disney World Orlando! 

No matter your kids’ ages, there will be something for everyone in the City of Lights.  Help get the kids engaged by including their input in your itinerary planning. Keep things fun and fresh by including a variety of activities on your to-do list. 

Don’t over-exert yourself so that you become too tired (or sore!) to enjoy the next day. And definitely wear comfortable shoes.

With these tips in hand, you will not only have an amazing family trip to Paris, but you will also come away with unforgettable memories, beautiful pictures, and a heightened appreciation for French cuisine, art, and culture.

Follow more of Beth’s family adventures at The Travel Fam!

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