1/10 Centre Pompidou: art gallery fun
The street performers, caricaturists and mime artists outside the Pompidou Centre – not to mention its inside-out rolling staircase – will have your children hooked before they step inside. Once through its doors, the art gallery is great for all the family. The ground floor houses a centre dedicated solely to children, to help them understand exhibits running through the rest of the building. There are also workshops designed for 2-12 year-olds, while for teens there is the 13/16 Studio.
2/10 French Army Museum: military models
Originally a hospital for disabled soldiers set up by Louis XIV, Les Invalides now houses a military museum, as well as the tomb of Napoleon. The collection of weapons, armour and artillery models span seven spaces, which are divided chronologically or in themes, so you can pick out favourites. The audio guide’s interactive trails are designed specifically for children and will help bring the museum to life. Perfect for kids that love history!
Facilities: There’s a café on site for snacks and a lift for buggy access.
3/10 Notre Dame: climb a bell tower
Sit your brood down to Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame (if they haven’t already seen it) and then take a trip to Paris’ most famous cathedral, which will prove even more exciting. Start by feeding the pigeons that swarm outside the building, then climb the 387 steps up to the tower – pointing out gargoyles as you go – to see Quasimodo’s bell.
Facilities: There’s no lift, so this isn’t for the buggy-bound or those with mobility difficulties.
Why not add to the experience by being shown around the Cathedral and the rest of the Latin Quarter by a true Parisian local? The kids will love playing the detective game and discovering the true history of the world’s most famous Cathedral.
Find out more at Withlocals.com.
4/10 Eiffel Tower: the famous tower
To add to the fun for children visiting the Eiffel Tower, a route around the monument has been created (targeted at 6-10 year olds) by a character called Gus. Follow his yellow footprints to discover clues, which will help answer questions in an activity booklet and teach them about the building. The best way to get there is either by Metro, on the Batobus, which links up all the major tourist attractions by boat. If you’re with older children, travel by bicycle.
Price: Unders 4s go free; 4-11 years, €10; 12-24 years, €13; adults €14.50.
Why not combine your visit to the Eiffel Tower with a private walking tour hosted by a local Parisian? Over a two hour tour, you can learn about all the spots that kids love with the knowledge that only a local would know.
Find out more at Withlocals.com.
5/10 Musée D’Orsay: art Attack
Musée d’Orsay, right in the centre of Paris on the right bank of the Seine, has walls full of famous impressionist paintings and is a great introduction toart for children. Aside from the art, there is plenty in the former train station to capture a child’s imagination, from the striking architecture to the kid’s bookshop.
Facilities: If you’re travelling with younger children, it’s worth knowing that buggies are allowed through the disabled entrance (which also has a shorter queue), and there are ramps all over the museum.
6/10 Disneyland Paris: mousing around
Forget ancient architecture, world-class museums, Michelin-starred food, what the kids really want from a visit to Paris is life-sized cartoon characters, giant pink castles and an endless stream of rides. So to Disneyland Paris it is. Split over five magical lands the theme park really is every child’s dream, and as a parent you’ll get serious brownie points. Go for a day from Paris on the train, which takes 35 minutes or the Eurostar will take you straight from St Pancras. There are seven on-site hotels to choose from, including the fantastical Disney Hotel, with themed bedrooms and breakfast with Mickey.
7/10 Cité des Enfants: interactive science
Based in the Science Museum just outside the centre of Paris at La Villette, the Cité des Enfants is designed to introduce children to science in a fun way. It’s split into two age categories, 2-7 and 5-12 year-olds. Both are made up of interactive exhibitions, divided into themes such as the body, water games, the garden and the factory. The museum is so popular that it’s timed; you have an hour and a half to soak up as much science as you can. Book tickets online.
8/10 Jardin d’Acclimatation: a carnival theme park
Even the theme parks in Paris are chic, as proven by this 152-year old amusement park in the north of the Bois de Boulogne, which will transport you back in time. Steam trains, magic mirrors, dodgems and flying swings create a vintage carnival feel in the park. There are plenty of cafés to refuel at, too.
Don’t miss: La Prévention Routière, a miniature roadway where children drive small cars following street signs and stopping at lights.
Price: Entrance is €3, and rides are extra.
9/10 Paris Plage: a city beach
Every summer, the banks of the River Seine are transformed into a man-made beach. From July to August the stretch from the Louvre to Pont de Sully, and the Rotonde de Ledoux to the former Magasins Généraux (Bassin de la Villette), are decorated with bucket-loads of sand, deck chairs and icecream sellers.
Facilities: There’s a swimming pool suspended over the river, volleyball, petanque and free evening concerts, while the site at Bassin de la Villette offers watersports, with kayaks, pedal boats and dinghies to hire.
10/10 Jardin des Plantes: an exotic zoo
Paris’ botanical gardens are lovely to walk around or play in at any time of year. They also house The Galerie de l’Evolution (the city’s natural history museum) and the Menagerie, a little zoo that has been around since the mid-19th century and hasn’t changed since. Full of charm, it has 1,800 species, which include orang-utans, big cats and nearly 400 birds.
How to get there: British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Paris; from £109 return.
Travel time: 1 hour and 20 minutes.