When you travel as a family, you’ll want to know about kid-friendly activities. For your next trip to Paris, Oliver’s France has you covered. (It’s not too early to plan ahead!)
Here are 10 ideas to keep your kids happy! (And you, too!)
ONE La Villette This is the largest and most unusual park inside the Paris city limits. on the far northeast corner. It covers 136 acres and contains 12 different gardens, including a bamboo garden, dune garden, a garden of the dragon, with an 80-foot steel dragon kids can play upon. Sculptures can be large and weird, such as that representing a huge bicycle buried in the ground. In the same location are a planetarium, an IMAX theater, and a real submarine (The Argonaut) you can visit.
TWO Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie Inside the La Villette park is the largest science museum of its kind in Europe. Its first 2 interactive floors are dedicated to space and the universe. The ground floor is a museum within a museum, La Cité des Enfants. There’s a section for kids ages 2-7 and another one for ages 5-12, 6 themed zones of interactive learning, and special animal exhibits.
THREE Le Jardin des Plantes In the 5th district, you’ll find this multifaceted botanical garden that dates back to 1635. Here you’ll find 11 individual gardens (and a zoo for small animals), as well as 3 natural history museums: evolution (with the skeleton of a blue whale), paleontology (with 650 skeletons), and mineralogy (with meteorites, giant crystals, and jewels from the collection of Louis XIV.)
FOUR Bike around Paris The central part of Paris (where most of the tourist sites are) is compact and easy to get around, especially on a bike. You can use the Velib city bike system or else rent a bike by the day or week. Freescoot and Paris Vélos, Ç’est Sympa are two companies to check out.
FIVE Double-decker on/off bus tours (including a boat ride on the Seine). There are several companies that do city tours and/or offer a hop-on/hop-off option to view the whole city from inside or atop a double-decker bus. It will definitely be more scenic than the metro and more comfy than a city bus. Tickets often include a boat ride on the Seine.
SIX Musée Grévin This is Paris’ own wax museum. See your favorite singers, actors, or historic heroes reproduced in wax. Open daily.
SEVEN Parc Floral This is the second of the two biggest botanical gardens of Paris (along with the Jardin des Plantes.) Take the metro line 1 all the way east and you’ll be in the town of Vincennes (right next to Paris city limit). The Parc Floral is an enclosed park inside the Bois de Vincennes, one of the largest forests in the region. In the Parc there are 3,000 types of plants, a lake, and a special play area just for children.
EIGHT Musée des Arts et Métiers This museum of industry and progress can only be called fascinating! Here, you’ll see early models of airplanes, cameras, cars, and all kinds of instruments. Whoever likes inventions and mechanical devices will love it. It’s closed Mondays and free the first Sunday of each month.
NINE Hot Air Balloon (tethered) The Parc Andre Citroen sits on the lower edge of the 15th district (southwest Paris). It is 35 acres and has 2 greenhouses, 2 themed gardens, a large fountain, and a moored helium balloon. From there, you can see all of Paris. Not your usual tourist activity!
TEN Jardin d’Acclimatation This is a children’s amusement park first opened in 1860 (renovated 2018) on the northwest end of Paris. Some fun activities: a house of mirrors, a mini-golf course, a zoo, a puppet theater, rides like the log flumes and the merry-go-round, shooting galleries, an archery range, and small cars.
These ideas and many, many more have more detail in my book Magical Paris: Over 100 Things to do Across Paris. There will be a 2021 edition as post-Covid life becomes more clear. (Yes, despite Covid closings, delays, and other unpleasantries, Magical Paris will be updated with hopes and confidence of returning to normal life very soon, including travel!)