Although Paris is one of the top couple’s destination in the world, it is a great place for the little ones too!
CANAL SAINT MARTIN
The kids will feel like local Parisians as the walk along side the canal. There are 3 shops for kids and quirky goods. Along Rue Beaurepaire there is Ideco for fun gifts, toys, and things everyone wants but doesn’t need. Along Rue Bichat, on the east side of the canal, Pop Market also sells a selection of oddball, cutesy products for the young and young at heart. Wandering the streets is the best way to discover something new, as long as you grab a pastry at Du Pain et des Idées on Rue Yves Toudic just a block away.
Ile de la Cité Sunday Market
The Ile de la Cité each Sunday comes alive with all sorts of squawking and chirping birds. Kids will get a kick out of the parrots, chickens, and canaries that line the market, right next to metro Cité. Vendors sell other animals like ferrets and mice, but children are especially attracted to the dwarf bunnies that are available for some intense petting.
It’s a short train ride outside of the city, but it’s worth the trek for a guaranteed day of smiles – if even just a little pouting during the queues. The two parks can both be tackled in a day, and fans of the legendary characters can do meet and greets all over, with everyone from Goofy to Captain Hook. In the autumn, Disneyland becomes even more magical, as it hosts celebrations for both Hallowe’en and Christmas, turning the park into each holiday’s respective wonderlands. Themed parades and shows in the streets provide entertainment while running off to the next ride. Consider the Fast-Pass system to avoid enormous waits with the kiddies.
Puppet shows in Luxembourg or Buttes Chaumont, called the guignols, are great ways to entertain younger children aged 2 to 8 years old. The old world puppets are certainly a change of pace from iPads and videogames, and both parents and youngsters will appreciate the throwback to simpler times. The theatres are open year round but shows don’t happen daily. Check the well-maintained websites for Luxembourg and Buttes Chaumont ahead of time for prices and schedules. Afterwards, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the other kid-friendly activities that these parks have to offer.
Climb the Sacré Coeur
Some 300 stairs await you after purchasing a ticket, and the virtual lack of a line means a no-fuss ascent to one of the most beautiful views of the city. From atop the dome, Paris is at your feet, and children who make it to the top without conking out will feel triumphant knowing that they are just nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower, for a fraction of the price and wait time.
Jardin des Tuileries
The playground at Jardin des Tuileries is a big hit for kids around five and above. The mostly metal structures and rope tunnels seem like a hazard, but what kid doesn’t like a challenge? Various spinning, bouncing, and swinging apparatus will keep them occupied while parents enjoy the beauty of the gardens designed for royal parents (who had teams of servants to watch their children for them). There’s also a carousel if they want to take a few spins. During the summer, a carnival fills the garden, meaning extra smiles as children can dare the rides and games, including a Ferris wheel with a fantastic aerial view of the city.