How to have the best Paris holiday with kids, from top attractions to the best hotels

How to have the best Paris holiday with kids, from top attractions to the best hotels

Paris might have the “City of Love” moniker but it’s certainly not just a playground for couples.

There’s plenty to keep whole families entertained, and definitely enough to ensure it’s a city break that will leave children inspired, whether it’s because of the magnificent Eiffel Tower that dominates the skyline or the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo in the Louvre. The French capital brings art, architecture and history to life better than any book or lesson in school could.

The city’s small size, compared to other European capitals, means that you can walk everywhere, wearing out little legs and working up an appetite to enjoy delicious French treats, from such as croissants to macarons, cheese to crepe – wherever you go in Paris, you’re never too far from an open-air crepe stand serving up the delicious thin pancakes.

Hotels and aparthotels are increasingly geared up towards family stays, laying on special brunches or toy for the youngest guests. Some have swimming pools, which is an ideal way to use up any leftover energy at the end of the day. Others can arrange babysitters, leaving mum and dad free for a romantic evening a deux.

There’s almost too much to explore in just one visit. But if you want to make your children smile and create lifelong memories, here’s the place to start.

When is the best time to travel to Paris?

April and May are great months to visit Paris, as the weather is fresh and sunny and it’s not as crowded as summer. If you have children at school in the UK, you might want to make the most of the Easter holidays or end of May half-term to take a midweek break, especially as Eurostar prices tend to rise at the weekends. October can also be a good time of year as the weather is cool and pleasant. Fewer tourists in the city will allow you to enjoy the attractions peacefully – and remember that Paris is hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games from July until September 2024.

Read more on France travel:

How to get there

Take the train

The Eurostar is the most convenient way to travel with children, arriving in the centre of Paris around two hours after leaving central London; time it right and it will also be the most affordable. Scroll through the calendar on the Eurostar website to see the cheapest days and times to travel, with prices from £49 per person for midweek trips. There’s no charge for children under the age of three and the luggage racks have plenty of space for foldable buggies and strollers.

Skip the flights and catch a Eurostar train from St Pancras International (Getty Images)

Book in advance to secure a table seat, with space for magazines, newspapers, colouring books and snacks. When you run out of nibbles, a buffet car is a short walk away – and taking a visit to it breaks up the journey so it feels like it goes faster. The Eurostar is an ideal choice for larger families, too. You can fit two adults and four children around a table if the under-threes sit on a parents lap. It’s a much more comfortable way to travel than on an aeroplane.

Best family-friendly hotels in Paris

Aparthotel Adagio Tour Eiffel

A room with a view at Aparthotel Adagio Tour Eiffel (Adagio)

Offering you the space of a one-bedroom apartment with the convenience of a front desk, Adagio is a brilliant choice for families. One-bedroom apartments have a double bed, a double sofa bed and space for a cot, offering comfortable accommodation for larger groups. All have a kitchen so you can choose whether to sort yourself out for breakfast or pay extra for a contintental buffet. Should you choose the latter, you’ll be greeted with an array of fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereal and mountains of French pastries. Opt for an apartment with an Eiffel Tower view and you can fall asleep while watching Paris’ famous sight twinkle in the sky.

Paris St Germain and Lionel Messi in action or have a private tour of the Eiffel Tower, anything your heart desires can be arranged (for a fee). The best feature, however, is the kids’ club – located right next to the spa, so grown-ups can enjoy a massage, facial or body wrap while their little ones are get occupied.Eiffel Tower is Paris’ most iconic landmark, towering 330 metres over the city since 1889. For the best views of the city, travel all the way up to the summit and look down over all the tourist sights. For the best prices, book your tickets in advance on the Eiffel Tower website. If you leave it too late to secure a timed entry slot, walk-up slots are almost always available, especially if you visit first thing in the morning. These are half the price of guided tours and you can download the official Eiffel Tower app, which shows you where all the sights are.

Buggies are allowed in the elevators as long as they fold into one piece. Older children might want to take the 800 steps from the ground to the second floor, which is an adventure in itself.

Take a bus

A Tootbus tour will drop you off at the Louvre in Paris (Zoe Griffin)

To find your bearings in Paris, you can’t beat an open-top bus tour. Tootbus offers a hop-on, hop-off tour around the major landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc De Triomphe and Notre Dame cathedral. When you plug the free headphones into the ports next to each seat, you can choose from adult commentary or content dedicated to children. It’s a brilliant way to see what the children enjoy best, so you can return there for longer once you disembark the bus.

Wander the galleries

The outside of the Pompidou centre whets the appetite for the treasures inside (Getty Images)

Whether you prefer modern art or the old masters, Paris has something for all tastes. A visit to the Pompidou Centre, with its futuristic elevators outside the building, will captivate little ones even before they walk through the door and explore the children’s gallery and studio. It’s worth seeing the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, too. Just be warned that the museum can get extremely busy, so work out what you want to see and head straight there to avoid any tantrums due to tiredness.

Sit for a portrait

Montmatre is full of charming cafes (Getty Images)

Children love the picturesque streets of Montmatre, located in North West Paris. If you have a buggy, think about taking an Uber to get there. The Paris subway is full of stairs and not very accessible for families with young children. It’s worth the trip as children can play in the famous Place du Tertre square while parents enjoy a drink in a cafe. It feels safer than central Paris, with less rushing around and fewer souvenir sellers. Instead, there are local artists seated in the square poised to capture your caricature. Prices displayed next to their stands may seem expensive but haggling to secure a better deal is acceptable. To continue the children’s artistic education, visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It’s free to enter and home to one of the largest mosaics in the world: a 475 square metre Mosaic of Christ in Glory, clothed in white and with arms extended, revealing a golden heart.

Best cafes and restaurants in Paris

Bouillon Republique

Experience classic French hopsitality at Bouillon Republique (Bouillon)

Bouillon is a small chain of restaurants in Paris, offering traditional French cuisine at affordable prices. Think delicious onion soup, toast and terrine, and steak frites. Prices are surprisingly low for a capital city restaurant, with steak frites coming in at €15. The restaurants don’t take bookings but there are 450 covers, so you should find a space. Even if you do face a slight wait, it’s worth it to feed hungry mouths on a budget. A meal for six, including wine, can come in at less than €100.

Angelina Paris dates back to 1903 (Angelina Paris)

Locals say this quaint cafe serves the best hot chocolate in Paris. Located on Rue Rivoli, right across from the stunning Jardin des Tuileries, you can burn off the sugar immediately afterwards by touring the gardens. Angelina’s hot chocolated is served “French style”, with a little ceramic pitcher that holds enough for two cups for you to serve yourself with. There is also a little bowl of unsweetened whipped cream to scoop onto your drink. It is technically a drink, but it’s so thick that you could also eat it with a spoon.

Les Pepites

Vegetarians have plenty of choice at Les Pepites cafe (Les Pepites)

Want to go shopping but worried about your children’s attention span? Les Pepites is a store selling children’s books, clothes and toys with a cute little cafe inside. The menu, 90 per cent vegetarian, draws on local artisanal products, such as bread coming directly from an local baker. The caramel pancakes are a must.

Where to shop

If you want to smarten up your children’s wardrobe without a significant outlay, head to one of the city’s many Jacadi Paris stores. Several are conveniently located near tourist sites, with one on the Boulevard de St Germain near the Musee D’Orsay and another in the Beaugrenelle mall (near the Eiffel Tower). Inside you’ll find smart tailoring and high-quality fabrics that look effortlessly chic.

A Monoprix store can be shopping paradise for young and old. They’re dotted around the city, so you’ll walk past one at least once a day. Downstairs is a classic French supermarket full of cheap but tasty cheese and freshly made baguettes. Upstairs, you’ll find clothes, accessories and shoes from babies to grown-ups. There are often sales, where you can bag garments for less than €10.

Galeries Lafayette is Paris’ most famous department store (Getty Images)

If you’re looking for some concealer to cover up the bags that can come while travelling with kids, or want to try to capture some of the classic elegance of a French woman, head to Galeries Lafayette Paris Hausmann, next to the Opera Garnier. This department store’s beauty hall is world-famous. Open until 9.30pm, you can put the children to bed and then have some time alone to pamper yourself in store.

How to get around?

On foot or by Metro. The Metro stations mainly have stairs to the platforms, rather than escalators, so it’s not advisable for people with buggies, strollers or wheelchairs.

What’s the best view?

Take a cruise along the Seine to see all the sights from the river.

Insider tips

The Eiffel Tower area can get extremely busy. If travelling with kids, think about buying a travel ID wristband for each child in case they get separated from the group.

All museums and attractions will be closed if there is industrial action, such as strikes over the pension age. Check the dates in advance to avoid disappointment caused by turning and finding them closed.

Ensure the whole family are wearing supportive shoes that fit well. Your children may walk further in one day than they do in a whole week back home.

What currency do I need?


What language do they speak?


Should I tip?

You are not required to tip. If you decide to, 10–15 per cent will do.

What’s the time difference?


Read more on the best Paris hotels