“Mommy, I want to go to Paris again!” This is not a typical wish you’d hear from a three year old. But for my daughter, it’s a constant desire. After spending three amazing months in the city this year, not a single day passes by without a mention of Paris in our innocent conversation.
Contrary to what many expect of Paris as a city for grown ups – after all, it is the city of love, of moonlit walks along the Seine, and of endless retail therapy – it is actually a wonderful place to visit with children. At age three, my daughter has been here four times.
It’s the place where she first walked long distances pushing her stroller along Avenue Montaigne, of course; where she enjoyed riding carousels and eating crepe; and where the Guignol puppet and the blinking Eiffel Tower mesmerized her. After all, she believes it blinks solely for her. But even if you only have 24 hours to spend in the city, Paris guarantees a magical experience for bonding with your little ones.
Start the day early with a hearty breakfast. Our favorite: Claus just off Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the first arrondissement. An order of Le Hugo with organic eggs and fresh ingredients is enough to satisfy my daughter and me. And considering this place is geared more toward the trendy crowd, it is relatively child friendly. We always have space for the stroller, the benches are very comfortable for my daughter to sit on, and the staff is always happy to serve our special request, babyccino (milk froth served in an espresso cup).
To burn off the calories and for my daughter to release the energy she stored at Claus, we walk a few blocks to Palais Royal where she loves hopping on and off the black and white columns. After a few rounds, we take a stroll in the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries nearby. As I enjoy the ambiance and watch Parisians and tourists take a break, my daughter is kept busy by the bounty of children’s activities: a carousel, a playground, a special area with trampolines, and sailboats!
After all the action, instead of sitting in a restaurant we save time by grabbing a sandwich at one of the eateries in the Tuileries, Paul’s, for example. We’re then ready to explore the Left Bank – with the bus, a practical and scenic way of getting around with children! Bus 95 takes us all the way to Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Paris, full of treasures for both parents and children
On Rue Bonaparte, my daughter’s sweet tooth is delighted by some macarons from Ladurée or Pierre Hermé. While she happily indulges and naps afterwards in her stroller (wishful thinking, I know), I treat myself to some retail therapy in the neighborhood’s charming boutiques or simply enjoy some quiet time with a café crème or a Monaco (a cocktail made of beer, grenadine and lemonade) near the Jardin du Luxembourg. Inside the park, we’re right in time for Guignol puppet show at the Theatre des Marionettes. Even though it’s in French, children of all nationalities have no trouble understanding the show.
My daughter recounts the story of the 45-minute show as we walk towards the church of Saint-Sulpice for a quick peek at Delacroix’s frescoes, then we hop on bus 63 to Trocadéro. The highlight? The beautiful double-decker antique carousel with a view of the Eiffel Tower! She insists on two rides and then a crepe at the stand next door, the best value in the area: €3.50 for nutella and banana.
As the sun sets eating our crepe, we patiently wait for the Eiffel Tower to blink at the steps of the Trocadéro. It has been a glorious day, a different Paris – full of treasures for both parents and children.
Paris, à bientôt!
- Oh Happy Day’s favorite child friendly spots in Paris
- My Little Nomad has ideas for Paris and kids
- Paris kid street fashion from HiP Paris