From museums to parks, you’ll find fun for the whole family in Paris.
When traveling with children, it can be difficult to find suitable attractions that will hold their attention without leaving the adults with nothing to do. Luckily, Paris has no shortage of fun and interesting activities for all ages to enjoy. In addition to Disneyland in Paris, here are 10 family-friendly things to do in the French capital.
Check out the Cité des Enfants exhibit in the Science and Industry Museum.
30 Av. Corentin Cariou, 75019 Paris, France
Geared towards children ages 1 through 12, Cité des Enfants is a part of the Science and Industry Museum where kids can learn all about themselves and the world around them. This section of the museum has 3 areas, each suited for a different age group from 0-2, 2-7, and 5-12. The 0–2-year-old area, Cité des bébés, is complete with soft mats and a designated story time intended to boost cognitive and motor development. The 2-7 years age group’s space is split into 5 sections named: I Discover Myself, I Know How to Do, I Identify Myself, I Experiment, and All Together. Each department goes over a different concept, from examining emotions, to learning how to work together with others. Children aged 5-12 can also explore 5 sections titled: The Body, Communicate, TV Studio, Garden, Water Games, and Factory. Here, they can navigate the senses and learn how to communicate through signs, symbols, and drawings. The unique games and activities make Cité des Enfants more suitable for children who may not have the attention span for traditional museum settings.
Ride the merry-go-round at Jardin d’Acclimatation.
Bois de Boulogne, Rte de la Prte Dauphine à la Prte des Sablons, 75116 Paris, France
Parents and kids of all ages can enjoy Jardin d’Acclimatation, an 1860 amusement park conceptualized by Napoleon III after visiting Hyde Park in London. The park has been modernized since its inception, but still holds much of its historic charm even today. In addition to the many rides, there are several playgrounds, plus a puppet theater, petting zoo, and aviary on the grounds. When lunch rolls around, you can always find a nice spot for a picnic, or visit one of the many cafés in the park.
Watch the jellyfish at Aquarium de Paris.
5 Av. Albert de Mun, 75016 Paris, France
Home to over 7,500 sea creatures from sharks to sunfish, Aquarium de Paris is the ideal place to get up close and personal with oceanic wildlife. Here, you’ll find the largest jellyfish exhibit in Europe, an ethereal deep-sea experience you won’t want to miss. Fun workshops for kids are available throughout the day, as well as informative National Geographic films playing in the Aquarium’s own cinema. For a unique interactive experience, visit the koi pond, where you can pet the friendly fish.
Try hot chocolate at Angelina.
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Opened in 1903 by confectioner Anton Rumplemayer, Angelina is an Art Nouveau café where Coco Chanel was known to frequent. High society French women often used to host events in the elegant space, sharing various delectable treats. Today, it’s just about the best place in Paris to indulge in the coveted chocolat chaud (thicker, creamier, and richer than typical American hot chocolate). The sweet treat is sure to be a hit with the whole family – the perfect end to a day in Paris.
Go on an art scavenger hunt at Musée en Herbe.
23 Rue de l'Arbre Sec, 75001 Paris, France
Musée en Herbe is an art museum specifically geared towards children, featuring a collection of interactive exhibitions designed to introduce kids to the art world in a way that’s digestible for young minds. Despite the focus on a younger audience, the museum’s unique workshops and exhibits are also focused on encouraging adults to see art in a more playful way. Worksheets are provided upon entry to keep you engaged as you walk through – an enjoyable activity for the family to complete together.
Have a picnic on Champ de Mars.
2 All. Adrienne Lecouvreur, 75007 Paris, France
Opened in 1780, Champ de Mars has become one of the most popular parks in Paris due to its proximity to the Eiffel Tower. Many national events are held here in the summer months, but tourists and locals alike can be found enjoying the views all year round. When the weather is nice, Champ de Mars is the ideal place for a picnic lunch. You can shop at a local market nearby and find a spot to unwind after a busy morning of sightseeing. There are also 4 playgrounds around the park so the kids can let out some energy before the next stop.
Watch a magic show at the Musée de la Magie.
11 Rue Saint-Paul, 75004 Paris, France
Learn about the history of magic and optical illusions in a 16th century cellar full of antique props and artifacts. Everyone will be thoroughly entertained here, learning about the art and history of performance magic, while also getting to practice a few magic tricks of their own. A ticket gets you a guided tour with a magic show at the end, as well as entry to the Musée des Automates right next door, displaying an impressive interactive collection of old automated toys.
Say hello to the oldest red panda in Europe at La Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes.
57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, France
Opened in 1794, La Ménagerie is the oldest public zoo in France and the second oldest zoo in the world. Every building within the premises has been made a certified historic monument of Paris, due to the well-preserved Art Deco style. 146 different species are accounted for here, 1/3 of which are endangered. Over the years, La Ménagerie has become very involved in conservation efforts to protect these species from going extinct. Educational tours touch on the current dangers these animals face and what we can do to ensure they continue to have safe homes in the wild. Spring is a great season to visit, so you can see the newborns, but even the older animals (such as 19-year-old Maya, the oldest red panda in Europe) are a treat to see. La Ménagerie is located in the Jardin des Plantes, which includes a botanical garden and the Natural History Museum – both great spots to visit with the whole family.
Take a boat tour on the Seine.
Seine river cruises are a relaxing way to see the sites when you need a break from walking. There are countless varieties of boats, from those that serve lunch or dinner, private rides just for your family, tours with commentary, and musical entertainment. Most rides are around an hour long, depending on the activities offered, but each one is guaranteed to provide you with panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower, Pont Neuf, Notre-Dame, and Pont de l’Alma.
Hike to a waterfall at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris, France
If a calm reprieve from the city is what you’re after, look no further than one of the largest green spaces in Paris: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. The park was built on top of quarries, resulting in hills that boast spectacular views of the surrounding area. If you’re feeling energetic, you can climb up the hill and across a suspension bridge built by Gustav Eiffel himself to the 60-foot manmade waterfall at the top. You’ll also find a monument inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy on your way. If hiking isn’t your thing, the park’s lake is a great place to bird watch while enjoying a croissant on one of the many benches facing the water. No matter what you choose to do here, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is an amazing place to get off the beaten tourist path and enjoy some fresh air and greenery.
Spend a whole day at Disneyland Paris.
Bd de Parc, 77700 Coupvray, France
Just a 30-minute train ride away, the magic of Disneyland Paris sparkes. Make sure to get the FastPass, it’s worth the money not having to wait for hours in lines. Although not all the rides have FastPass access, but enough popular rides allow FastPass including the classics: Indiana Jones, Hyperspace Mountain Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan, the 3D Star Tours…and more.