This post covers the family-friendly things to do in Paris, including a top ten list, free activities, nighttime activities, dining options, museums, and things to do with teenagers.
Here is our top 10 list to help you narrow down the best things to see and do in Paris with your family! It includes tours, museums, dining suggestions, and entertainment.
(1) Sightseeing Tours
One of the best things to do when exploring a new city is to take a sightseeing tour.
A popular option with families is to take a bus tour. Everyone can keep up, you’ll get to see more of the city in less time, and Hop-On-Hop-Off tours give you a chance to take time at attractions you care about most.
Taking a boat tour is another fun option. These tours go down the River Seine and give you a chance to see the city from a different perspective. Many of them offer lunch or dinner options as well. And if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, maybe try a 2.5-hour Segway tour.
(2) Museums and Attractions
Many of the museums in Paris are great for the whole family or have exhibits aimed at younger viewers. For example, The Pompidou Center has the largest collection of modern art in Europe and also regularly holds arts and crafts workshops for visitors between the ages of 2 and 10. They also have art exhibits that are interactive and interesting for the whole family.
And don’t forget about the classics like the Zoo or Aquarium! Paris has a wide range of options for kids who are interested in animals, history, and even magic. Check out the section below to see more museums and attractions.
(3) Go to the Theatre
Several Paris theatres have shows for children, from classic children’s plays to modern productions. If you have really young children, Theatre Astral puts on puppet and mime shows for kids 2 and older from February to November every year.
There is a puppet character called Les Guignols, who was invented by a dentist looking to distract his tooth extraction patients. The figure is well-known to French children and the puppet shows happen in multiple parks, such as Guignol de Paris, Marionettes du Luxembourg, and Les Guignols des Champs-Elysees.
For any older children who might be aspiring singers or ballerinas, you might also consider seeing a Paris ballet performance.
(4) Sporting Events
For sport-loving families, what could be better than a day out at a football match or watching the French Open? Whether you’re looking to see who wins a big tournament or just want to experience the exhilarating atmosphere of a regular match, Paris has some sort of sporting event going all the time.
And even better - many stadiums and tournaments have game areas for the kids!
Fifa Women’s World Cup
Tennis French Open (Roland Garros)
Tour de France
(5) Dining Options
Parisian food offers a wide variety for people with all palates. If you’re unsure of where to start, try any of the amazing food tours on offer to keep your stomach happy!
Secret Food Tours offers several kid-friendly food tours which you may want to consider in the following neighborhoods:
For more family-friendly dining options, check out the section below.
(6) Enjoy Parisian Parks
Parc du Champ de Mars is the large green space right next to the Eiffel Tower. While the park is often used for public events, it is also the perfect spot to have a picnic while looking at the Eiffel Tower. The kids will have plenty of space to run around and stretch their legs.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is the perfect spot for getting away from the hustle and bustle of Paris when the little ones are getting antsy. This is one of the largest parks in Paris, with plenty of shady footpaths and grassy space to run around in.
Jardin de Luxembourg is a huge playground close to the center of Paris. While not free to enter, it has a wide variety of play equipment such as swings, slides, see-saws, and playhouses.
(7) Enjoy Paris at Night
After dark, the monuments of Paris are lit up. There are multiple ways to enjoy the city at night - you can take a walk to see what you can find on foot or hop on an evening coach tour. For those who enjoy spooky stories, ghost tours are fun.
And of course, there are multiple light shows to be found, from the one at the Eiffel Tower to Versailles. Take a look at the section below for our recommended things to do and see at night.
(8) Visit the Eiffel Tower
When people think of Paris, they usually think of the Eiffel Tower. It is one of the most famous landmarks in the world and definitely worth a visit up to the top if you love observation decks. While it is free to enjoy the view of the structure from the ground, you do need a ticket to either climb the stairs or take the elevator.
If you prefer to go up into the Eiffel Tower, we have a guide on getting the best tickets here.
(9) Take a Guided Cemetery Tour
Older kids might enjoy a guided tour through the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. There are well-manicured and shady cobblestone paths, which contribute to the peaceful atmosphere.
If you have a budding writer or musician in your family, they could be interested in seeing the headstones of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, or Proust.
(10) Utilize a Tourist Pass
The Paris Passlib’ Mini is one of the most affordable tourist passes to use in Paris.
For 40 € per adult, 35 € per teen, and 26 € per child, you’ll get:
- 1-hour River Seine cruise
- 24-hour L’Open tour sightseeing bus ticket
- Info Booklet and Map
It will help you get your bearings in Paris and give you and the kids some of the most fun tours to use for the day!
Honorable Mention: Enjoy an Exploration Game
If you're having trouble getting the kids interested in sightseeing, consider engaging them with a self-guided exploration game. These services will put you to the task of solving a mystery.
There are currently three different games available in Paris, and they each cover different subjects and locations in the city.
While some of them might not be appropriate for younger children, these would certainly be fun activities for teenagers.
- The Mona Lisa Curse
- Lovers of Montmartre
- Edith Piaf's Musical Paris
- Save the Statues of Parc Montsouris
FREE THINGS TO DO
It is possible to stay on budget with the whole family in Paris!
Here is a list of things we recommend to do for free including art installations, free museum days, and the best views to see. We have even more budget-friendly things to do in Paris in this article.
Go to a Free Museum
While some museums are always free, such as the permanent collections of sculptures and paintings at the Paris Museum of Modern Art, many spots that normally have an entrance fee are free on the first Sunday of every month.
The ever-popular Louvre, Orsay, and Musee Albert Kahn are included in the participating museums. The well-known museums will have a queue, so you might want to arrive early at the big-name spots.
See the “I Love You” Mural
This mural is easy to miss, as it is tucked away into a corner in the Montmartre neighborhood. But it is a great stop on any sightseeing itinerary. Le Mur des Je t’Aime, or the I Love You Wall, is a mural with the phrase written in over 250 languages.
Kids will love looking for the language(s) they understand. Plus, this is a great backdrop for a family photo to be printed and framed later!
Basilique du Sacré Coeur
After the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Coeur is the highest point in the city. It stands at the top of Montmartre’s hill, which means the church’s entrance has the best view in Paris.
Walk up the steps to the domed church and you’ll have the best panoramic view of Paris that you can find for free.
Go to a Park
There are plenty of free parks to explore, as mentioned above. One of the other parks that might be of interest is La Petite Ceinture. This stretch of green space was a former railway line that has not been in use since 1934. Now, you can explore the overgrown tracks.
This is one of the most famous roads in the city. The 1.17-mile stretch of avenue is covered with shops of big-name brands, cafes, street performers, and ample people-watching opportunity.
Kids can be entertained by buskers, dancers, and human statues. There is also a fun Disney Store on Champs-Elysees filled with their favorite characters.
Fete de la Musique
June 21, 2019 is the Summer Solstice, and Parisians celebrate the longest day of the year with free concerts. You can plan which concerts you’d like to see with the schedule or simply wander through the streets to see what you can find spontaneously.
If you're letting the kids stay up past their bedtime on vacation, here is a great list of things to do after dark.
This section includes tours, games, and light shows.
Take a Ghost Tour
If you’re interested in the spooky, eerie, or ghoulish side of Paris, take this Ghosts, Mysteries, and Legends tour of Paris. Your entertaining tour guide will take you on a 2-hour walk after dark to see haunted hotels, and hear about the ghastly incidences that happened along the River Seine. You’ll even see the Rat Trap Shop that was featured in the movie Ratatouille.
Note: This walking tour is not wheelchair accessible.
Take an Evening Coach Tour
A coach will drive you around the city to admire the monuments lit up at night. You’ll go past Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Place de l’Opera, and more on your almost 2-hour ride. The ride comes with an audio guide in eight possible languages.
The tour also offers a Kids’ Club experience to keep the younger ones entertained.
Play Laser Tag
Laser World offers the largest venue for laser tag in Paris. You’ll have a huge labyrinth of a course to explore while competing for your team. They can hold up to 24 players at a time, so there is space for the whole family to participate!
Free Light Show at the Eiffel Tower
Every evening, 20,000 light bulbs light up the Eiffel Tower. Every hour, on the hour after sunset the tower puts on a five-minute light show, where a beacon shines from the top and the rest of the tower sparkles.
Best of all, this light show is free. The best view is from the park right under the Tower, but you can see it from any high point in Paris!
See the Versailles Fountain Show
Every Saturday night at Versailles from mid-June through early September, the Chateau de Versailles puts on an impressive fountain show in their gardens. The finale at the end of the evening includes a colorful fireworks display.
This tour grants entrance to the gardens for the Saturday night spectacle.
See the Open-Late Museums
Several museums throughout the city stay open late, and are occasionally free on those nights! Here is a short list of some museums that are frequently open in the evenings.
- On the first Saturday night of each month (and on July 14, Bastille Day), the Louvre offers free entry to everyone between 6:00 pm and 9:45 pm.
- Visit the Musée des Arts et Métiers for free on Thursday evenings between 6:00 pm and 9:30 pm.
- The Pompidou Center stays open until 9:00 pm every night of the week, and until 11:00 pm on Thursdays.
- The Monet Museum is open until 9:00 pm on Thursday evenings.
- The Musee du Luxembourg is an art museum open until 9:30 pm on Friday nights.
RESTAURANTS AND FOOD
Whether you have picky eaters or are just looking for fun places to eat, we have a list of great family-friendly dining options in Paris.
Le Bal Cafe
This little cafe offers excellent breakfast and brunch food, such as scones, pancakes, and some traditional British items like boiled eggs. It is also conveniently located across the street from a playground so the kids can get some energy out before or after the meal.
This whimsical restaurant is decorated with colorful pods to sit in and has a delightfully relaxed atmosphere. It is on the roof of the Pompidou Center, which makes it a perfect stop after exploring the exhibits or taking part in a hands-on workshop.
Everyone in the family will be happy with this restaurant, no matter how picky they are. The Maria Luisa is right off of Canal St Martin and offers authentic Italian pizzas. They also have kid-sized mini pizzas!
Take a Lunch Cruise
This Seine River cruise takes place on an intimate boat deck that is surrounded with large glass windows. You’ll get to admire the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral as you float past and enjoy a delicious lunch. Vegetarian meals are available on request.
La Crêperie de Josselin
This lovely little cafe has a light and airy interior and is great for families. This is the perfect lunch spot - especially if anyone in your group has been itching to try a Parisian crepe. They have sweet options combined with ice cream, and more filling savory options as well.
MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS
Paris isn’t all fashion shows and stuffy museums.
Here is a list of some fun and family-friendly museums and other attractions in the city!
Parc Zoologique de Paris
Visitors of all ages will love the Zoological Park in Paris! See the reptiles, birds, and other exotic animals in their habitats. The exhibits are divided into five separate climate zones and the creatures you’ll find in each one.
For a more interactive experience, the zoo has a free downloadable app to give you more information on each animal species.
Aquarium de Paris
This aquarium is built with colorful habitats and exhibits, which will keep everyone engrossed in learning about the different fish and water-dwelling species.
Kids will love walking through the shark tunnel and getting hands-on with the fish touch pool. If you're there at the right time, you can even catch a mermaid show!
The Museums of Sciences and Industry
Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie is the perfect museum to enjoy with the family! As the largest science museum in Europe, they offer a playground, hands-on exhibits, a submarine to explore, and a planetarium show that teaches about the solar system.
Kids will learn about the science of light, sound, genetics, image, ocean life, space, and more.
The Discovery Palace
This is almost another science museum - it includes a planetarium and hands-on exhibits explaining various natural phenomena.
You’ll find plenty of workshops and demonstrations at Le Palais de la Decouverte, as well as educational books and games for sale.
The Middle Ages Museum
Le Musee du Moyen-Age is a fascinating look at a time of kings, queens, knights, and fairy tales. If you’ve ever wondered about what life was like during this period in time, or have an interest in stories like Arthur and his knights, this is a perfect museum to see!
The Museum of Magic
Who doesn’t love a little magic? Go to Le Musee de la Magie et des Automates to look into the mysterious world of magicians, optical illusions, and animatronics.
Magicians are available to take you on a guided tour, demonstrating various illusions and techniques as you learn about the history of magic.
Museum of Natural History
This is not just one museum, but a cluster of various museums that all display different branches of natural history. Kids who love dinosaurs will enjoy the Gallery of Paleontology. Interesting taxidermy animals are displayed in the Gallery of Evolution. The Great Greenhouses are fun and take you to a tropical climate to learn about the ecosystems of other parts of the world.
The Curie Museum follows the discoveries of the four Curie family members who won Nobel Prizes for their work in radiology research and medical discovery. You’ll even see Marie Curie’s laboratory.
The museum is free to enter.
Le Musee en Herbe
This museum is specially designed to introduce children and younger visitors to modern art. How can you interpret abstract pieces? You’ll have a fun few hours looking at a kid-friendly approach to interacting with and appreciating art.
This art museum is well-known for its Impressionist collection, including work from Matisse, and Western art from the years 1848 to 1914. You’ll find paintings, architectural pieces, sculptures, and photos.
If you’re looking to keep the kids entertained, you can participate in the family-focused scavenger hunt through the museum!
Believe it or not, more people visit Disneyland Paris every year than the Louvre! There's a very good reason, because it's one of the best amusement parks in all of Europe.
Best of all, they have a lot of popular rides that fans will know and love from both Disneyland and Disney World in the United States. If you're looking for a fun family activity, this is definitely one of the best locations to visit in Paris.
For details on how to get tickets for the lowest price, make sure to visit our post covering Disneyland Paris.
Looking for something to occupy the oldest kids in your family?
Here are a few things to do with your teens in Paris.
An Escape Room
The Game in Paris is a great Escape Room in Paris that allows you to solve puzzles and unlock the door to your freedom within an hour. You can play any of the rooms in English. One of the more fun Escape Rooms is the Metro - and you’ll be escaping from an underground metro train!
Shop the Paris Sales
If your teenager is a fan of Paris fashion, and you’re in Paris during January, early February, late June, or July, you can hit up the sales. These massive sales are state-regulated, which is why they happen like clockwork twice a year. Each set of sales last for 6 weeks and you can find sales from 30% and up to 70% off normal prices.
Tour the Paris Catacombs
Any teenager interested in the history of the darker side of Paris might enjoy a tour of the Parisian catacombs. See the skulls and skeletons and listen to an audio tour as you explore under the city’s streets. Keep in mind you will have to climb up and down 130 steps and there are no elevators or bathrooms underground.