When most people think about Paris, their first thought is a romantic get-a-way for two. I admit, that does sound wonderful. However as an avid traveler and adventure-seeker, I have been determined to not allow motherhood to slow me down. Traveling with my child has been a source of immense pride and priceless bonding for our family. Experiencing Paris through the eyes of my son from a baby to the 9-year old boy he is now has made be grow to love Paris even more than I thought possible.
Renting a private apartment with your family is an experience like no other. It enables you to enjoy some home cooked meals, do some laundry, and spread out and relax in the evenings. Take Me To Paris Apartments is the perfect, service-oriented agency to work with to book an apartment. (www.takemetoparisapartments.com). We have apartments ranging from studios to 4-bedrooms, which would suit any of your needs.
Outside of the obvious zoo (www.parczoologiquedeparis.fr/en), aquarium (http://www.cineaqua.com/index.php/en/), tons of parks, bike (paris.fattirebiketours.com) and boat tours (www.bateaux-mouches.fr/en), some of our favorite activities in Paris are:
Outdoor Adventure Park – Bois de Vincennes
This park is nothing short of incredible. The zoo here was fully refurbished in 2014, and is a great afternoon activity. Along with horseback riding, 4 lakes, rollerblading, ideal picnic spots, trails, and playgrounds – this park has it all. It is also a very Parisian place to go, and is populated with lots of locals and French tourists. Taking a day to explore here is fun for everyone of any age! The most convenient metro stops for accessing this section of the park are Porte Doree and Liberte on line 8.
Zip-lining in Parc Floral de Paris – Bois de Vincennes
The Parc Floral de Paris is located on the other side of the Bois de Vincennes. It is a lovely spot full of giant jungle gyms and playgrounds. By far our favourite activity here is the Accrobranche park. A huge network of bridges and ziplines ranging from 1.5-12m high are available for kids and adults to climb through the trees. There are four different courses with varying degrees of difficulty, which are appropriate for anyone above the age of 6. Kids of all ages absolutely love it. We recommend taking a picnic and eating in the park and spending a few hours climbing afterwards. The most convenient metro stops for accessing this section of the park is Chateau de Vincennes on line 1.
AquaBoulevard – 15th Arrondissement
This is a small but very fun water park inside the City for children over 3 years of age (be prepared to show ID for small kids). There is a large outdoor area that is open in the warm weather but we also go in the winter for the indoor pools and slides. Wave pools, lounge chairs and slides for all ages abound. There is also a handy changing area and lockers for your personal items. The most convenient metro stop is Balard on metro line 8.
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie – 19th Arrondissement
This is my all time favorite place to spend an entire day with kids. I have to admit, I visited the Parc de la Villette (that extends over 35 hectares) for years before I actually ventured inside the exhibits. The Parc has expansive playgrounds and rides appropriate for all ages. The Cite building is full of fun and interactive exhibits for all ages as well. Booking in advance online is both easy and highly recommended if you’d like to gain access to popular exhibits or the planetarium. This is a very inexpensive, entertaining and educational day for kids. Take line 7 on the metro and exit at the Porte de la Villette Station.
EuroDisney – Marne-la-Vallée
This experience could not be any easier as the Paris RER trains literally drop you off at the gate of the theme park (RER A train). It is the ideal way to enjoy a taste of familiarity while staying in the heart of the city (I would take this out… It is easy to get there but Eurodisney is considered to be in a very distant suburb). I prefer not to stay in the chain hotels around the resort that offer packages, as they are all quiet generic and lack charm. Luckily, the metro ride to the park is typically 25-minutes and even buying a weekend pass is worth the investment with the close proximity. I recommend going in April or October but if you are going in the summer, you can buy a fast track pass to skip the long lines. There are typically discounts for purchasing your tickets online and I HIGHLY recommend doing so as the ticket counters are not the most efficient. Print your tickets before hitting the park! Take the RER A Metro Line to the Marne-la-Vallée — Chessy Station.
Finally, carving out time to enjoy an adult dinner or two is also invaluable. Paris has a licensed and bonded babysitting service that I swear by called Babychou and the website is in English for your convenience!
Ultimately, experiencing Paris with children is an education in and of itself. It exposes kids to cultures from around the world and expands their horizons immeasurably. It’s healthy to take children out of their comfort zone without being dangerous and allow them to explore the possibilities of their future!
Bisous from Paris!