Paris with your enfants terribles

Ice creams, cartoons, child-friendly museums and glorious green space – there's lots for families to love in the City of Light, says Aoife O'Riordain

What's the attraction?

Paris may be the capital of style, but the city is more child-friendly than you might imagine. Its many of cultural institutions and attractions will keep young visitors occupied, while the French capital's countless green spaces come into their own for games and picnics in spring and summer. And if you really must venture out of the city, Disneyland Paris (0844 8 008 898; is celebrating its 20th anniversary with special events, while the Parc Astérix (020-8792 9715; has opened an ancient Egypt kingdom and new rollercoaster. For affordable family friendly accommodation, see

Mini Cinéastes

The City of Light is one big film set. There are several themed film trails around the city including Martin Scorsese's Hugo and animated comedy Ratatouille, where you can visit the 150-year-old Aurouze rat-catching shop in the 1st arrondissement. For downloadable self-guided itineraries, go to

The Forum des Images (00 33 1 44 76 63 00; is a museum dedicated to all things celluloid. It has an extensive program for children, as well as a corner where youngsters can discover a huge array of films and animations.


Deluxe sleepover

Several of Paris's luxury hotels are surprisingly family friendly. The welcome at Le Bristol, the epitome of Right Bank chic (00 33 1 53 43 43 00;, extends to a family mascot: Hippolyte the bunny. There are interconnecting rooms, children's welcome gifts, baby equipment and a children's menu as well as a Hippolyte kids' club next to the spa. A rooftop swimming pool and a small garden are bonuses. The concierge will even devise a treasure hunt around the hotel. Le Bristol also has a resident Burmese cat, Fa-raon, to play hide and seek with. Doubles start at €850, room only.


Buckle up

Take a tour of the city in that most classic of French cars, a vintage Citroen 2CV – 4 Roues sous 1 Parapluie (four wheels under one umbrella) (00 33 667 322 668; offers a selection of tours in the company of one its Breton-striped-sweater wearing guides.

Its Cartoon Paris tour is designed for children and takes them on a whistle-stop journey through the city, taking in sights associated with classic cartoon characters such as Tintin and Astérix & Obelix. Tours start at €60 per person with up to three people per vehicle.


Childs' play

The Jardin du Luxembourg ( has plenty to offer visitors, with its pony rides, merry-go-round and large playground the Parc de Jeux (00 33 1 44 07 28 29; €2.50 per child, €1.20 per adult). Also inside the park is the Jardin de Roseraie, which has a fenced-off lawn and sandpits. On the Right Bank, the Jardin des Tuileries has trampolines, a playground, merry-go-round and a pond with miniature boats. Admission free. The Jardin d'Acclimatation (00 33 1 40 67 90 85; is a sprawling park in the Bois de Boulogne with rides, animals, walks and diversions for all ages. Admission €2.90 (under threes free).


Culture fix

The Egyptian mummies in the Louvre (00 33 1 40 20 53 17; are captivating for older children. The Musée du Quai Branly (00 33 1 56 61 70 00;, with indigenous art from far-flung corners of the globe, offers a children's trail in English on its website. There are also family audio guides in English. The Galeries des Enfants within the National Natural History Museum (00 33 1 40 79 54 79; is dedicated to children aged six to 12. On 19 May many Paris museums will take part in the European Nuits de Musées (, opening to midnight.


Beach babes

Who needs the Côte d'Azur, when you have Paris Plages? This year, Paris's urban beach along the banks of the River Seine opens on 20 July to provide a sandy escape for citizens and visitors until 19 August ( It is the 10th anniversary of the city beach. The first stretch reaches 3km along the Seine from the Louvre to the Pont du Sully with deckchairs, a swimming pool, lots of activities for children, food stalls and palm trees. Another stretches from the Bassin de la Villette to the Magasins Généraux in the 19th arrondissement; it features a watersports centre with canoes, rowing boats and dinghies.


Mini bites

Brasseries, found on many street corners, serve up plenty to keep children happy – croque monsieur, pommes frites and fresh orange juice. If you are travelling with smaller children, it's wise to pack a seat that will fix to a chair; highchairs are the exception in Paris, not the rule. The stylish Bonpoint flagship clothes store at 6 rue du Tournon (00 33 1 40 51 98 20; has a children's café in the basement. In the Marais district, the Breizh Café, 109 rue Vieille du Temple (00 33 1 42 72 13 77; in the Marais, serves savoury galettes and sweet crêpes from Brittany. Berthillon Glacier, on the L'Ile Saint-Louis at 29-31 rue Saint Louis en L'Ile (00 33 1 43 54 31 61; is the city's most celebrated ice-cream maker. And À la mère de Famille, 35 rue du Faubourg Montmartre (00 33 1 47 70 83 69; is Paris's oldest sweetshop.


Who said that?

"What do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France" – Pablo Picasso

"Paris is a moveable feast" – Ernest Hemingway

"I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles" – Cole Porter


Insider information

"We live in Paris, so we've been to pretty much every child-friendly destination in the city. The location my kids ask to go back to, on any given weekend morning, is my favourite too: the Jardin des Tuileries. They like the in-ground trampolines, the wooden merry-go-round, the giant sculptural slide, and the toy boats on the basin. My kids may talk about the ice-cream cart, but I think they're also affected by the park's perfect proportions. It's the kind of place that makes you happy to live – or just be – in Paris." Pamela Druckerman is the author of "French Children Don't Throw Food: Parenting Secrets from Paris"

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
Andy Murray shakes hands after defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy in the third round of Wimbledon, Saturday 4 July, 2015
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
Could Greece leave the EU?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'