With kids and teens in tow, Paris sparkles. Find masterpieces at the Louvre, discover centuries-old walls beneath a plaza, take in sweeping views from a tethered hot air balloon, kayak the Seine, and share a roomful of Monets.
There are broad boulevards and cobblestone streets to explore, boutiques with trendy clothes, and some of Europe’s best crêpes, macarons, and croissants to taste.
Enjoy these 13 best things to do in Paris with kids.
See Masterpieces at the Louvre
As one of the best museums in the world, visiting the Louvre is a classic adventure to enjoy in Paris with kids. Decide ahead of time with your children which of the 35,000 displayed paintings, sculptures, and works you want to see.
Iconic masterpieces include Leonardo de Vinci’s Mona Lisa with her enigmatic smile and eyes that seem to follow you. Then there’s Guido di Pietro’s detailed and colorful The Coronation of the Virgin; and sculptural feats of form and movement such as Aphrodite, known as Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
The gilded and elaborately decorated Grand Salon reveals the Louvre as a place of power, and the French crown jewels are eye-popping.
For lunch or snacks, choose from takeaway pastries and sandwiches to sit-down cafés, some of which are located in the nearby Tuileries Garden, part of the Louvre Estate.
Read: One Day in Paris: The Ultimate Itinerary
Take in the View From the Eiffel Tower
The best way to view the Eiffel Tower is from a distance, but the best way to experience it is by going for the view of one of the most beautiful skylines in the world.
From the top platform, 905 feet above the city, Paris unfolds as a magnificent metropolis of grand buildings and tree-lined boulevards. From the two-level second floor, 377 to 410 feet high, the city’s monuments come into closer view.
You can also book a tour of the machinery beneath the tower, on which technicians will show you the huge cogs and chains that operate the late 19th century elevators.
There are buffets on the first and second floors for lunch with a view, and more eateries nearby.
Relax at Paris’ “Beach”
Deckchairs, sun umbrellas, picnic tables, and palm trees transform two sections of the Seine’s banks into a beach party from mid-July to late August, when the city sizzles.
Hanging out at the Paris Plages is one of the best things to do in Paris with kids on a hot day in the summer.
At Parc Rives de Seine, chaise lounges overlook the river, offering views of Notre Dame and the Louvre.
At La Villette Canal Basin, splash in one of three canalside swimming pools or paddle canoes and kayaks on the water. Check the schedule for DJ sets and live events.
Read: Discover the Pleasures of Summer in France
Stroll the Champs-Élysées
One of the best places to go shopping in France, the Champs-Élysées, a wide boulevard lined with London plane trees, runs for just over a mile from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe.
Beyond textbook images, you may well recognize the broad boulevard as the finish line for the Tour de France.
Cafés and high-end boutiques line the boulevard. The window displays alone are a reason to wander past Dior, Louis Vuitton, and other swanky shops.
But your teens may prefer to spend their Euros in Zara, or in the case of soccer fans, the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) shops for shirts, caps, and other logo items.
Read: Best Shopping Cities in Europe
Explore ĺle de la Cité
ĺle de la Cité, an island in the Seine, is where Paris began. The roots of the beautiful neighborhood of narrow streets and 17th-century buildings date back to 200 BC when the Parisii Celtic tribe inhabited the area.
The Romans conquered them in 52 BC. In 508, Clovis, the first King of the united Franks, built a palace on the island.
In the 12th century, construction began on the great Catholic cathedral Notre-Dame, one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
Although Notre-Dame Cathedral remains closed for repairs resulting from a devastating 2019 fire, you can admire the facade from the reopened square, Place Jean-Paul II.
As befits the city’s historical heart, Paris Point Zero, a circular paver in the plaza, marks the spot from which distances are measured in the city.
Explore the archeological crypt beneath the plaza to see remnants of long-ago Paris—stone pillars, walls, and fragments of foundations dating from the fourth century to the medieval era.
Also, take history-loving teens to La Conciergerie. Originally part of Clovis’ sixth-century palace, the enlarged building with its towers and turrets stands as an exemplar of 13th-century Gothic architecture, home to French kings.
La Conciergerie housed the Revolutionary Court and prison cells during the French Revolution. The most famous inmate was Marie Antoinette.
While on ĺle de la Cité, see the 15 dazzling stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle that date to the 13th century and immerse yourself in flowers at Marché aux Fleurs Reine Elizabeth II, which first opened near the cathedral in the early 19th century.
Try Delicious Parisian Food
The City of Light isn’t all Michelin-starred restaurants. Tasting streetside French fare is one of the best things to do in Paris with kids.
Typical Parisian treats include warm crêpes filled with Nutella or jam, waffles (gaufre), and croque monsieur, the Parisian version of a grilled cheese sandwich made with Emmental cheese.
Pop into a bakery for fresh, out-of-the-oven baguettes, those family-sized, long thin loaves of bread. Don’t stop there. Bag some flaky croissants and macarons.
These sublime bites consist of two airy meringue shells filled with flavored buttercream. According to legend, the Italian cookie was introduced to France in 1533 when Queen Catherine de Medici of Italy married King Henry II of France.
Discover what many claim is the city’s best ice cream at Berthillon on the ĺle Saint Louis. The family has produced ice cream since 1954 and offers more than 70 delicious ice creams and sorbets.
Although locals argue over the best, dark chocolate and mango always rank high.
See Monet Paintings at Musée de L’Orangerie
Situated in the Tuileries Gardens, the Musee de L’Orangerie features a collection of Impressionist paintings and early 20-century art. Instead of intimidating kids with vast rooms, the relatively small museum’s galleries invite you in.
The highlights are a series of Claude Monet’s famous water lily paintings, some of which the artist created especially for the space. It’s enthralling to be surrounded by the vivid colors and movement of Monet’s works.
The permanent collection also showcases paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, and Cezanne. Reserving timed tickets ahead is recommended. After your visit, stroll the Tuileries Gardens.
Soar Above the Skyline in a Hot Air Balloon
Get a bird’s-eye view of Paris from a tethered hot air balloon. Although it’s designed to measure the city’s air quality, the stationary Ballon de Paris Generali offers you and your kids a unique vantage point.
Standing in the balloon’s basket, you rise 492 feet above the city for an impressive view of the Eiffel Tower and other Parisian landmarks.
The short, 10-minute experience satisfies older kids’ and teens’ sense of adventure and it’s the next best thing to an actual flight.
The balloon anchors at Parc André Citröen, the former site of the Citröen factory. The 35 acres on the Seine’s riverbank feature greenhouses, gardens, and open fields.
Explore the Centre Pompidou
Exploring the Centre Pompidou is one of the best things to do in Paris with kids. Designed by noted architect Renzo Piano, the structure wears its brightly colored pipes, beams, ducts, and even elevators and escalators on the outside as an exoskeleton, enabling the interior to be more flexible and functional than a traditional building.
The building houses the popular Musée National d’Art Moderne and a public library and music center. Among Paris’ most visited art museums, the facility showcases work by Picasso, Pollack, Braque, Miro, Matisse, and Dali, as well as temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary artworks.
Outside the Pompidou Centre is almost as interesting, especially on weekends when musicians, mimes, and other street performers hold forth in the plaza.
Tour the Catacombs
Creepy enough to interest grade-schoolers and teens with a sense of the macabre, the city’s catacombs contain the bones of more than six million Parisians.
At the end of the 18th century, Paris’ overcrowded cemeteries were unable to cope with the number of dead. Starting in 1786, the city began to remove remains, reinterring them in former mining tunnels 66 feet underground.
Rows of bones line the walls, punctuated by borders of skulls. The ossuary accepted the last bones in 1860. Be sure to bring a sweater as the underground chambers at 57℉ (14℃) chill the living.
See How the Wealthy Lived at the Hôtel de la Marine
At Hôtel de la Marine, see how the wealthy and powerful lived just before the French Revolution. The newly opened museum showcases French 18th-century decorative arts and furnishings in a unique setting, a palace on the Place de la Concorde.
Louis XV commissioned the grand structure, which opened in 1774 as the Hôtel du Garde-meuble, a repository for the crown’s furniture and decorative items.
In the recreated apartments of the Baron de Ville d’Avray, Louis XVI’s royal steward, and in refurbished ballrooms and salons, view exquisite tapestries, chandeliers, multi-colored marquetry floors, as well as hallways and ceilings with ornate gilded moldings.
Life was good for the baron and other nobles until the French Revolution. The museum’s name derives from the fact that the French Navy occupied the building from 1789 to 2015.
Take a Boat Ride on the Seine
A boat ride along the River Seine is one of the best things to do in Paris with kids for the views. The cruise provides a relaxing respite welcomed by walk-weary kids and adults, and the outing gives you a new perspective on the city and its vital waterway.
From the water, you’ll get Instagramable views of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, and other French landmarks. All the cruises come with narration.
Stroll & Shop the Marais District
Exploring the Marais District is a great activity for teens, who appreciate the popular area’s mix of trendy and traditional, historic and hip.
Stroll cobblestone streets past 17th-century stone houses and turn down lanes lined with bakeries, cafés, markets, and boutiques. At the Village Saint-Paul-Le-Marais, pick through many antique shops for finds.
Vendors at the Marché des Enfants Rouge, one of the oldest covered markets in Paris, have been selling produce and other goods since 1615.
The market is a feast for your eyes. Stalls offer strawberries, mushrooms, and greens, brightly colored flowers, meats, seafood, and rounds of cheese stacked like building blocks.
Purchase sandwiches, crêpes, and other goodies to go or buy snacks from the Marais’ street vendors.
Allow time for the shopping that Paris is known for. Teens might want to sweep through the department store BHV Marais before browsing elsewhere. Although some shops may be beyond teens’ budgets, browsing is exciting.
The concept shop Merci, easy to recognize with a red Fiat 500 parked outside, sells vintage and designer clothes. Kooples Sport sells trendy unisex casual wear, and Swildens draws the fashion conscious in with slouchy sweaters and leather jackets.
Liquid, a perfume bar, makes sniffing and dabbing for the perfect scent fun. For best friends back home, consider packaged teas from Mariage Frères Tea and chocolates from La Chocolaterie de Jacques Genin.
The Marias is also home to such noteworthy museums as the Center Pompidou and the Musée Picasso.
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