If you’re going to Paris with kids in tow, you might be thinking that they’ll drag on your fun. But, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy the city with a family. Here’s how to make sure everyone has a great time.
Aquarium de Paris
You want something uniquely French, but it’s raining outside. Answer? Aquarium de Paris. The aquarium has a restrained, but entertaining, variety of fish and other marine life. It’s across the way from the Eiffel Tower and the Palais Chaillot.
Enjoy the clown fish, puffers, sharks, and sting rays. There aren’t any dolphins or sea lions, but there are a lot of small workshops and demos every day. The aquarium’s natural fish-life is rounded out with films and activities that help flesh out the experience here – there’s even a show featuring pirates.
The Bateaux Mouches is a boat ride that takes you across the Seine, and it’s covered – perfect for inclement weather. Depending on which boat you take, you get both English and French commentary, while others feature pre-recorded audio only.
Different services leave from different areas. For example, one leaves from the Eiffel Tower, while other leaves the Pont Neuf, still another leaves Notre Dame, and another leaves Pont de l’Alma.
Passage des Princes
Paris is a unique city in that it contains many covered passages that offer shelter from the rain. It rains a lot here. But, the Passage des Princes is a place where you can shop with the youngsters for some serious toys. The gallery is split up into sections. Each section contains something different: dolls in one, stuffed animals in another, and electronics in yet another.
You could conceivably spend all day here. There’s even an arcade that lets you revisit your childhood.
It’s easy to get carried away in this place but, at the same time, it’s designed to be a safe-haven from the rain. This is a repeating theme in Paris. When it rains outside, people seek shelter, and it’s these types of shopping areas where people find respite. At the same time, not all of them are as kid-friendly as Passage des Princes.
These Paris hotels are a lot cheaper than staying in Disneyland Paris hotels, and they’re only about 20 miles from the park. So, not only can you and your children have fun, you can save some money, too.
Disneyland Paris is like the American version, but in Paris. It can be a little less crowded than Orlando, Florida, and they really play up some relevant themes like Ratatouille and Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course, they have all the classics too, like Space Mountain, and It’s a Small World.
The cuisine in Disneyland Paris is a little more French than its American counterpart. It’s a perfect blend of the classic Americana and some local favorites. Be sure to do some research to learn more about character dining at Disney and why it’s such a unique experience in the City of Light. Enjoying a nice meal while your kids meet their favorite Disney characters can be a magical experience for the whole family. Don’t forget to make reservations in advance, as character dining experiences tend to fill up quickly.
Musée des Egouts
The Musée des Egouts is a sewer attraction – yes, the sewers. This one ranks pretty high on the weird scale. Yet, it attracts a ton of visitors every year. Come early, before Paris’s bathrooms are operating as 100 percent, and learn about how the underground lives. Kids generally find this fascinating, if not a little gross. It does smell like you would expect a sewer to smell, but at least there’s a no-splash zone to keep you relatively dry. Try to avoid touching things.
Kid-friendly café are, thankfully, abundant so that you get some downtime and your kids can just run it out of themselves. Les 400 Coups or Le Poussette Café have spectial children’s corners set up so that your little tikes can run, run, run, while you chill out with some coffee.
These cafés have coloring, kid-friendly food, and toys for them to pay with. There are even high chairs and plastic cups to help make it baby-proof. You won’t find glass things – a good thing if your toddler is prone to breaking things and, honestly, what kid isn’t?
If you have picky eaters, some places, like Petit Café du Monde Entier has an extensive brunch menu for kids without sacrificing on the adult menu.
Stella Natale is a work at home mom. She likes to share her experiences on the web. Her posts can be found on many travel, living and wellness sites.