If people ask me whether Paris is a child-friendly city I tend to say no. But Paris is so incredibly irresistible to me that this has never kept me from doing my very best to make my children love and enjoy Paris as much as I do.
Compared to other cities, especially Amsterdam which is just all about kids, it needs some insider information to keep the little ones happy. These are my favorite and fun things I like doing with my children. I deliberately use the word fun since sometimes activities in France can be a bit too intellectual (read: boooooooring). What I want are smiling faces, cries of joy and those little voices begging me to take them back to Paris. Let’s spread the word and grow a new generation of Paris lovers! (I will continue updating this list, so share your ideas with me through comments below or message me here)
Le Musée en Herbe
Of course, Paris would not be Paris if it wasn’t all about art and culture, this place is actually a museum to make children get used to museums … but in a very fun and accessible way with great themes, guided tours, and workshops for children starting at the age of 3. Check out the website to see the current exhibition. If you are interested in more culture for young children, have a look at the program of Le 104 as well (Les Toutes Petites Visites and La Maison des Petits are great )
23 rue de l’Arbre-sec 75001 Paris
5 Rue Curial, 75019 Paris
Young and old (admit you love this as well) can build their own Kapla world, with or without the help of professional Kapla experts at this former photo gallery in the 11th arrondissement. Open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and during holidays. Reservations are obligatory, which is great since you will not end up in a too crowded space.
Good to know: you can hire Kapla experts to take care of your child’s birthday party at your place!
27 rue de Montreuil 75011 Paris
Cooking like a Chef
– To create mini-chefs, http://www.ritzescoffier.com.The Ritz Escoffier school offers cooking lessons for children in the prestigious restaurant’s kitchen. They will not only be as proud as their parents, but also leave with the result and an official Ritz Escoffier diploma, which looks great in your living room to impress your guests. (110 € / 2 hours)
– For more daily cooking, there is always an Atelier des Chefs near to where you live with great lessons for kids (38 € / 1h30 lesson during which they learn several recipes)
– Do you know the marvelous shop dedicated to pastry and baking called Chez Bogato? They offer the most fantastic children workshops, both on rive gauche and rive droîte.
They also give a lesson once a week in the very trendy hotel Bienvenue in the 9th, so that mum and dad can show on Instagram how Parisian they are.
La Cité des Enfants (part of Cité des Sciences)
Yes, we all know it, but this is one of my son’s favorite activities in Paris and he would kill me if I didn’t mention it. A great place for children from 2 to 7 years old to play and learn at the same time. They can test their flexibility and senses, watch themselves in the mirrors, listen to their emotions, play with balance, sounds, and letters and explore pathways, setting their body in motion… Be prepared, you will have a hard time taking them back home. And have a good night sleep before, as it is quite exhausting for the parents. Try to go early in the morning or during lunch hours, it can get crowded. It is part of the Cité des Sciences, many things to do for older children and parents, like the Géode with its giant screen.
30 Avenue Corentin Cariou, 75019 Paris
French Touch Fishing
Do you know Street Fishing? Fred Miessner is a very passionate fisher and loves teaching children how to fish in the Seine and Canal Saint Martin. Classes are organized in an “improvised” way and take place every Wednesday between 12h30 and 14h00. Just contact Fred through the website and he will give you more information. From 7 years old and only during the fishing season: 1st of May till the end of February. If you are jealous, I am sure you can join them as a parent as well.
Musée de Poche
As you noticed, the 11th arrondissement offers many nice things to do for young children. Like this tiny museum for the little ones with books, toys, paintings, krafts and every month a new exhibition of another artist. It’s very cute, besides the small size of the museum (actually as big as a “pocket” ) every single detail is adapted to children, including the height of the paintings on the wall. Don’t miss out on their workshops, it’s all about art ( what else) but in a fun way, like the workshop ” the art of being a baby” for the age of 0 to 3.
41 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 75011 Paris
Puppet theatre // Les Guignols
You can find many of them throughout Paris, I would really like to promote the lovely small and cute theatre in the Parc du Rond Point des Champs Elysées. (next to the Avenue Matignon). No need to book a seat, check date and time at the website and just wait for the bell to ring. It’s outside so take some warm clothes with you if needed. You can buy a hot chocolate right next to the swings in the parc. And if you have some energy left, just cross the Champs Elysées and pay a visit to the Palais de la Découverte (the rat show is great, I promise).
Les dimanches au galop
Every Sunday from March 18th till May 27th at Auteuil and Paris Longchampp don’t miss out on the opportunity to become part of the world of horse races with the whole family. Poney riding, race simulation, Easy Racing workshops, the possibility to meet jockeys and follow live hours races will turn your visit into a real experience your children will not easily forget.
Children concerts Maison Radio France
Throughout the year the 4 different orchestra’s of the Maison Radio France in the southern part of the 16th arrondissement play child & family friendly concerts on Saturdays and Wednesdays ( as from the age of 3, younger are not allowed in the concert hall !). Besides this, as from the age of 4, you can participate in a number of workshops, all related to sound and music.
Text and picture by Renée Koudstaal
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