Child-Friendly Paris (10 things to do when you visit Paris, that’s not Disneyland)

I feel that as a nanny for 6 years in France I have some authority when it comes to child-friendly activities in Paris! I also am a firm believer that there is so much more than Disneyland Paris when it comes to the beautiful French capital. Here are my top 10 places to go with your children when you visit Paris! 

 

For more information on my services as a Travel Nanny click here!

 

This is a countdown so make sure to read all the way to the end to find the best activity in Paris (In my opinion).

10

Park Zoologique

Where?  12th Arrondissement

How Much? 15€ – 20€ (Estimation) 

A lovely day out for all the family, a classic zoo with animals from all over the world. The zoo is split into 5 biozones. The Madagascar biozone which represents a tropical island containing a tropical rainforest and a tropical dry forest. The Amazon-Guyana biozone located in the Great Glass House where you can find the manatees. The Europe biozone opportunity to spot some wolves running in the forest. If animals of the savanna are more your thing check out the Sahel-Sudan biozone for giraffes, lions, and zebras. And finally, the Patagonia biozone where you can watch the penguins feeding on fish. It’s worth looking up the timings for the feeding of the animals and planning your trip around that. The zoo also offers tours and workshops throughout the year.

9

Jardin Du Luxembourg

Where?  6th Arrondissement

How Much? Free entry

Jardin Du Luxembourg is a beautiful park situated in the 6th arrondissement, although like many parks in Paris you are not allowed on the grass apart from one small designated areas, there are many other fun things to do. First of all, exploring the garden and taking a look at the different statues, see if you can find the statue of liberty (one of several in Paris). There is a play area complete with slides, sandpits and climbing frames which costs around 2.50€ to enter. If you would rather not pay, there are also several sand pits located around the park that are free to enter and in the hottest months sometimes they are turned into paddling pools to splash around in. You could also take part in a traditional pastime and rent a toy boat to sail across the pond.

8

Mombini Café

Where?  15th Arrondissement 

How Much? Free entry

Mombini is a child and baby friendly cafe aimed at Mums in the 15th arrondissement, there is a selection of light lunches, cakes, and hot drinks. The best thing about this cafe is the play area within arms reach of the cafe area where you can let your little ones play while you drink your coffee in peace or chat with another mum. The cafe also offers classes such as baby gym, mum and baby yoga, baby massage. There is even a class where your little builders can create with lego! However, the STAR attraction of this whole establishment, what every mum gets excited about, is in the bathroom. Yes, you heard me right, you can tell when its someones first time because they rush out of the toilet so excited to tell their friends that there is a baby swing in there! Meaning you can pop the baby in without having to put them on the floor or hold them whilst you use the facilities!

7

Paris Aquarium

Where?  16th Arrondissement

How Much? 13€ – 20.50€ (Under 3’s go free!)

Your classic aquarium right next to the Eiffel Tower! Discover sharks, jellyfish and all other types of sea creatures. The aquarium is situated underground, which means there are steps at the entrance. However, there is a (rather stinky) lift to get you down to the reception. The rest of the aquarium is super pushchair friendly and very accessible. Some of the highlights include being able to touch the fish in one exhibit, regular shows and fun workshops for the little ones! There is even a mini cinema to have a bit of a rest halfway round which I’ve seen to show cartoons and documentaries. Last time I went they had redecorated with a Peppa Pig theme, I’m not sure if its a permanent change but it definitely made our visit a little bit more special for a Peppa Pig obsessed toddler! 

6

La Tete Dans Les Nuages (Arcade)

Where?  2nd Arrondissement

How Much? 2€ – 1.60€ Per token, Depending on how many you buy.

One for the older children and teens, this arcade is full of retro video games to give the adults some nostalgia, as well as more modern activities and games. From bowling, dance, air hockey, you name it they probably have it. Definitely should be on the to-do list of anyone traveling with tweenagers and older! 

5

Parc de La Villette

Where?  19th Arrondissement

How Much? Free

Parc de La Villette is a large park that often is the venue for many exhibitions and events including music festivals, open-air cinemas, and workshops. It’s worth checking the website to see what events are on. This summer there was a Lego superhero exhibition which looked fantastic! There is a vast amount of grounds to explore whether you want to walk along the canal, have a picnic on the grass or explore the bamboo garden. The park also has two fantastic free playgrounds to explore. Le Jardin du dragon includes a colourful 25-meter long dragon obstacle course/climbing frame and Le Jardin des vents et des dunes which is a fenced area split into different sections according to age, it includes trampolines, giant hamster wheels, and zip lines! The park is also home to the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie which has many exhibitions that children would enjoy including Cité des enfants mentioned earlier. There is also the geode, a giant shiny spherical building you can’t miss which houses an IMAX cinema. The park also provides the classic children’s entertainment of fairground rides and games including a beautiful two-story merry-go-round. 

 

4

Jardin d'Aclimitation

Where? 16th Arrondissement 

How Much? 5€ (Under 3’s go free!)

Jardin d’aclimitation is a firm part of Paris History, first built over 150 years ago it is a wonderful mix of park-cum-zoo-cum-play area-cum-fun fair, there truly is something for everyone. You are able to buy attraction tickets to spend on the fairground rides or games, such as La Machine à Vapeur (The steam engine) roller coaster, Or Les Chevaux Galopants (The galloping horses) which give you a bumpy ride! Perhaps your children would be more interested in the Zoo that is incorporated in the park complete with a real bear! You are sure to find a pony ride however it has been known for camel rides to be available for those more adventurous children. One of the firm favourites of all the children I’ve taken to Le Jardin D’acclimitation is La Fontaine Sèche (splash pad) which is great to cool off on a hot day! There are countless other activities to choose from puppet shows to Zip lines, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is also based in the grounds for any fashion conscious parents who want to take a look around.

3

Cité des Enfants

Where?  19th Arrondissement 

How Much? 9€ – 12€

Situated in the science centre at La Villette this permanent exhibition is full of interactive fun and learning. There are two sections one for ages 2 to 7 years and the other for 5 to 12 years. I personally have only experienced the section for the younger children, however, others have told me that the older section is just as fun. The 2 to 7 section is split into 5 areas

“I can do”

“I discover myself”

“I locate myself”

“I experiment”

“All together”

Each area has several activities to explore their themes, such as experimenting with water (Aprons provided), discovering different emotions, finding your way through two mazes and our personal favourite a construction role play area complete with hard hats and wheelbarrows. There is also a special show during every session which the children are able to watch or they can continue with their activities.

As I have not personally experienced the 5 to 7 year old section I will not comment, however, I would assume that it continues the quality, educational fun that we find in the younger section. Please comment below if you have been to the older section, I would love to hear your opinions!

2

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Where?  19th Arrondissement

How Much? Free entry

By far my favourite park to visit in the whole of Paris, finally a park you are allowed on the grass! This park is great for little explorers who love to investigate nooks and crannies and secret passages. See if you can find a way to access the temple on top of the island, the hidden waterfall in the cave or the streams you can paddle in. There are two playgrounds to discover as well as a merry-go-round, pony rides, and duck-fishing. If you go on a hot day you can either run through the sprinklers or take a paddle in the pond. There are several places to stop for something to eat in the park, including the famous Rosa Bonheur cafe, but my favourite snack to eat in the park will always be a gaufre au Nutella which you can buy in the kiosks around the lake.

1

Parc Astérix

Where?  Plailly (30 minutes from Paris)

How Much? 36€ – 49€ per person

As a childhood fan of the comic books Astérix and Obélix, I may be slightly biased when I say that Parc Astérix is my number one activity to do in Paris. It is a favourite of my eldest charge in Paris as we have made it a tradition to go there once a year! Parc Astérix is everything that Disneyland Paris should be. It’s entertaining, interactive and captivating, never a dull moment that keeps us returning every year! With over 45 rides and attractions, you are sure to find something for the whole family from a cauldron ride for the little gauls to a roller coaster that reaches speeds of 80KPH for the thrillseekers. Our personal favourite will always be Menhir Express, a log flume ride with a thrilling (yet soggy) end! As well as the ride you can find other entertainment such as the characters in the village, adventure playgrounds and shows. We saw a particularly funny magic show which left us in fits of giggles! If you were going to do only one thing on this list, a visit to Parc Astérix should be it!

 

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