Last year, we took our family of four to Paris for spring break, and my kids enjoyed the city in ways I could not have imagined. Here were our five favorite family-friendly attractions:
1. Eiffel Tower (Le Tour Eiffel)
I am not sure a trip to Paris is complete without a visit to this iconic landmark. We arrived just about dusk, and to my surprise, my kids insisted on walking up, rather than taking the lift. It was a great adventure, one they still talk about today. Night fell as we made our way to the top and we enjoyed the lights of Paris below. And as we departed the Eiffel Tower, we turned around and saw the lights on the tower twinkle on and off. What a beautiful site!
2. Pastry, Chocolate, and Ice Cream Shops
Not necessarily an attraction, unless you have a couple hungry kids! Mine enjoyed stopping into pastry shops in the morning to choose their pastry of the day (Apple turnovers and Pain au Chocolate were their favorites); gazing at the glorious displays in the chocolate shops; and stopping every afternoon at an ice cream shop for a frozen treat. My favorite, Caramel au beurre sale at Glacier Berthillon on Ile St Louis.
3. Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathédrale de Notre-Dame)
Attracted by the Gothic spires and gargoyles, my kids honed in on this landmark our first day out. Inside the church we lit a candle for our family at home, as we admired the portals and alters. Outside, we walked around the corner and stood in line to climb to the top of Notre-Dame. Wow, totally worth it, even with the crowds!
4. Luxembourg Garden (Jardin du Luxembourg)
This park is huge and well worth a visit for families of all ages. My son had a quick game of chess with the players on the northwest corner of the park. We went to the Children’s Puppet Show (Le theatre du Luxembourg- Les Marionnettes) and even though the entire show was in French, my kids had a great time. They met a couple of trilingual kids who translated for them! And we checked out the well maintained playground on the way out. As I said, something for everyone.
5. The Louvre and the Musee D’Orsay
All right, in all honesty, I cannot say these were my kid’s favorite attractions, but they did get excited about seeing the Mona Lisa (“Mom, look how small it is!”), as well as entering the Louve through I.M.Pei’s glass pyramid. The Musee D’Orsay is housed in a converted train station and had a great family guidebook, available at information as you entered. My kids also enjoyed the recorded audio tours, and went through an entire floor of Impressionist Paintings without a complaint.
Photos courtesy of Gudrun Enger, Kitchen Gadget Girl.