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Tips what to visit in France with kids

Hi everyone! Our situation is a bit different than the rest I think, because we live in Europe. We have been living now for 2 years in Holland and are planning a trip to France in May 2021. My husband and I have been there before but it will be new for the kids. It will be a short trip (8 days) but it's not too far from us and we have done extensive driving and travelling with the kids. So, our kids are 11, 10, 8 and 4. We have done lots of travelling with them (New York, Calgary, Kelowna, Miami etc) so we know the pros and cons of travelling with kids. We definitely want to go to Paris and book an Airbnb (because we are 6 and this makes more sense as in hotels we would need to book separate rooms). I already checked kid friendly things to do so Paris is taken care of (if you have a super tip I would love to hear it though!). I was wondering what you recommend to visit other than Paris with kids? (Not Disney land this time) Of course we don't have allot of time but if we spend 3/4 days in Paris we still have enough days elsewhere. Thanks for all the help! Samantha

Posted by
6670 posts

Disclaimer first: I don't have kids so you can take my input with several grains of salt. But you already have ideas about what to do with them in Paris, and lots of experience with them on more ambitious trips.

I would think you'd find plenty to do in Paris for eight days, but I see the appeal of another base for at least a few nights. How about Normandy? Close by, nice beaches (historic for the older kids, just nice beaches for the little one I guess), pretty towns. Or one of the Loire Valley towns where you can take them to palaces. Or Versailles, ditto. I'm assuming that cathedrals and museums don't hold a lot of appeal for kids that young.

But really, plenty to do in Paris, without having to pull up stakes and move. One suggestion would be an alternative to going up the Eiffel Tower, which takes a long time. That's the Tour Montparnasse, not as high and not nearly as good looking, but still a very good birdseye view of the city (including the ET) for less trouble. I've done both, and glad I went up the ET, but Montparnasse was much easier.

Posted by
6113 posts

Does your 8 days include the 3/4 of a day each way to get there? It sounds like in practice you may only have 6 days.

Paris would be better with 4 full days as there is lots to see. With your timescale, unless you want to spend a fortune on road tolls and as you will be going from Holland, I would stick to northern France, otherwise your children will get bored.

If you have 3 full days, I would head for St Malo or Dinard on the Brittany coast. There’s some great coastal walks and cycling combined with historical places. Walk out to Fort National at low tide and the city ramparts. Take a boat trip. Spend time on the beach.

If you only have 2 days after 4 in Paris plus travel time, I would head to either Le Touquet or Deauville on the coast for some relaxation and beach time and to soak up some French life. It’s less time in the car for your children.

Posted by
11507 posts


Took my then 11 yr old and she loved it

Same wjth Provins !

Posted by
20 posts

Hi everyone! Im trying to replay to each person but I can't see how to do that. Thanks for the tips! Yes technically 6 days, but it's about a 5 hour drive from Paris back home so that is not a complete waste of day. But better to plan less than too much. I'm thinking a couple of days of Normandy with some time at the beach would be a great option. I hadn't heard of Le Touquet or Deauville, or St.Malo/ Dinard before so googling that for sure. A friend of ours went to the beaches of Normandy too and did one morning of horseback riding with their oldest daughter. That sounds really nice too. Thanks so much for all your tips!

Posted by
104 posts

Hi Samantha. We did a Paris/Loire Valley combo trip with our kids a number of years ago. Ours were 5 years and 22 months at the time (both are now teenagers - now with more adventures under their belts!). We all had a great time. We stopped at Versailles on our drive from Paris to the Loire (we had the Paris Museum Pass and Versailles is included - this was a godsend as the line to buy tickets was at least an hour long). We rented a sweet cottage just outside of Orleans. The owners are amazing, the cottage is lovely, and we loved the pool. The Loire was great fun. We of course did some chateau exploring. Chenonceau will go down as one of our favorite family travel days of all time! The chateau itself is fun and interesting, with that storied grand gallery that stretches across the river. But we also had one of our favorite meals in their restaurant - the Orangerie. We sat outside, looking at the chateau, the kids played in the grass (it was allowed there) and had a rare leisurely meal with small children. The area itself is also just lovely for natural exploring and relaxing. It was a perfect complement to the hubbub of Paris (which we had also enjoyed). If you are wine drinkers, this is Vouvray country - delicious! Whatever you decide, I’m sure you’ll have a great time!

Posted by
20 posts

Hi Heather,
Thanks so much for these tips! I was thinking the same thing, after the business of Paris it will be nice to be in a quieter area. The cottage looks really nice! I am writing all this down and going to check it out for sure. Thanks so much for your recommendations. Now to decide which route to go! Merci beaucoup!:-)

Posted by
1073 posts

The Amazing Race this year went to a carnival museum in Paris where you can play old-timey carnival games, and there are clowns and jugglers and things. We think we'll take our kids there once we are allowed to travel again.

The place is called Le Musée des Arts Forains. Here is a link:

Posted by
2348 posts

hey hey samantha
couple ideas i'll throw out there for you to think about. how about camping at a park in a mobile home with amenities. your kiddos have pool and activites, bar and cafes, laundry, stores nearby to buy staples for where you lay your head. here's a few to check out port'land ( calavados site) port-en-bessin-huppain north of bayeux on the coast. (3 bedroom static caravan-family) cottage tamaris it's in the basque region, so don't know if too far
read all the fine print. be careful with airbnb's in paris. i'm sure you know the crackdown on illegal rentals. make sure it has the 13 digit license number. friendly they have activities for kids free with parents. if you are going up to top of eiffel tower order tickets online before you go (
hope this gives you some ideas about other things, have a great time.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks for the links and websites. The link "with locals", I think I saw it on youtube when I was searching for things to do with kids in Paris (same people). Thanks again everyone for taking time to help us out with tips. I hope we can all travel again soon. Have a great day!

Posted by
2381 posts

With only 6 days, not including travel days, I would stick to Paris. Maybe add a day trip outside of Paris. We spent 5 nights in Paris with our two teens last November. Here is how we spent our time:

Arrival day (from Normandy): Louvre in the evening followed by Christmas market at Tuileries Garden for dinner

Day 2: walk around Latin Quarter, Ste Chapelle, farmers market near St Germain, evening boat ride, Christmas market

Day 3: breakfast at a fancy restaurant, stroll around the Marais, Galleries Lafayette, evening bus tour of Christmas lights

Day 4: Sacre Couer, Eiffel Tower, Christmas market for lunch

Day 5: Versailles

It’s easy to fill up days in Paris! We didn’t even make it to some of several big sites.

We are a family of 4 and found it better to rent to rooms so we’d have two bathrooms, than rent an apartment (frightfully expensive for 2 bathrooms). We stayed at Residence des Artes. They have “apartments” which are actually two separate rooms: one room with a queen bed, mini fridge, and bathroom; another room with king bed, separate sitting room with sofa bed, mini fridge, 2 burner stove, microwave and bathroom. This might work well for your family. Each floor of the hotel only has two rooms, and there is a door from the corridor that you can lock, to restrict access to your rooms at night.

Posted by
8220 posts

In Paris there is so much for kids and it is a good place to turn over some planing to them -- give them a picture guide book and ask them what they most want to do. One place that would be great fun for your younger kids and probably reasonably fun for the oldest is the Jardin Acclimatation. It is adjacent to the Fondation Louis Vuitton and depending on what exhibit they have it might be worth going there first (the building is amazing) and if you do you can walk into the park for free. Otherwise there are pay exits into the park where you can also buy books of ride tickets. There are machines in the park where you can buy ride tickets too. Here is what it was like (it was worth it for me just for that unique antique deconstructed merry go round.
It is also a great place to bring a picnic lunch.

Another entirely unique amusement opportunity is the incredible Machines de L'ile. in Nantes.
If you decide to do this and your kids will I think love it, be sure you have checked ahead for tickets for the elephant and know when things will be open. You want to be there when the carrousel is running and not just to observe it. Their web site is:
We did a side trip from Paris to Angers for the amazing castle and the Apocalypse Tapestry and to Nantes for the Machines de L'ile --- great trip and we loved both places. We spent 3 nights in Nantes and did the Jules Verne inspired amusement complex as well as a nearby medieval town.