Paris has a reputation for being difficult for family travel. We disagree. We’re head over heels for Paris as a family destination.
We’ve spent time in Paris as a family with two babies, and later with a baby and a toddler, and two tots. Here’s what we learned about how to have a good time in Paris with a baby, or small children.
Try speaking basic French in every encounter, and involving your small folk. Show you’re interested in French culture and maybe gain some good will. Or they’ll pretend not to understand you. Either way, travel is about being where you are. Your small folk are learning that too. Everyone’s a sucker for a tot who’s mastered “bonjour,” “coucou,” “merci,” and “au revoir.”
The Paris metro with a stroller (or double stroller!) is a great way to go prematurely gray. Use your legs, Uber, or our guide to Paris transportation with kids.
When dining out at a restaurant, make a reservation, or scout ahead and tell them in person that you’re coming with small children. Most restaurants are not continuous service. Cafes will serve drinks all day, but they only lunch and dinner at set times. Dine before peak hours, when possible. If your dinner reservation is for 7:30pm, when dinner service usually starts, show up at 7:15pm so you can get small bums in high chairs before the crowd. It will be buzzing by 8pm.
Toddlers and babies don’t give a dirty diaper about the Louvre, the Eiffel, or Notre Dame. Waiting in line for hours (which you will do even with advance tix) is boring. There are more accessible, equally enriching, less cliched experiences. See #5.
5. Traveling deeper. Parisian experiences.
There are many special Paris experiences you can easily enjoy with babies and toddlers.
- The parks of Paris, which have draws ranging from pony rides to puppet shows, carousels, sail boats, and suspension bridges built by Gustav Eiffel.
- Ordering fresh-baked bread and something sugary at a boulangerie or patisserie.
- The sights, smells, and interactions at an open-air market.
- Dancing in the streets to the tune of a lively accordion busker.
- Roaring at a lion, like the Madeleine story, at Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.
- Calmer museums such as the Musée de l’Orangerie
- People watching while dunking brioche in a bowl of cocoa at a cafe.