In the summer of 2014, my husband Brad and I took our three girls (then ages 2, 5 & 7) to Paris. Brad and I had traveled to Paris several times (in fact, we got engaged in the romantic city of lights & love many, many years ago) but this was the first time we brought our kids along. The experience of exploring one of our favorite cities with our kids in tow, made us fall in love with Paris in a whole new way. On this trip with the girls, we never actually set foot inside Notre Dame Cathedral or the Louvre museum (we did spend a rainy morning in the D’Orsay museum), but we also spent hours enjoying the kid-friendly parks that surround these Paris landmarks. The parks in Paris are exquisite – they are huge and gorgeous, they have playgrounds and ponds, puppet shows and carousels, museums and trampolines. And we rode every carousel we saw (which averaged about one a day). Brad and I commented over and again that Paris with kids is a totally different – but in its own way, magical – experience. Here were our favorite spots with kids:
Jardin de Plantes
A botanical garden with an entrance directly across the street from our apartment. There are several museums and a zoo in this park, but we stuck to picnics, walks and carousel rides (the carousel has prehistoric creatures…and I read about the blue whale skeleton in the Natural History museum which we didn’t see but is high on my list for another trip some day). We were able to observe a few of the zoo animals (without actually entering) including the kangaroos. There is also a labyrinth made up of bushes and trees that the kids adored running through and exploring.
Jardin de Luxembourg
This is a gorgeous, picturesque park where we rented small toy sailboats. There is an awesome playground with a zip line and plenty of climbing structures. We also saw a marionette show (which plays every Wednesday afternoon) which is in French but has enough physical comedy that the (older) girls loved it (my 2-year old was napping).
Jardin de Tuilleries
Another stunning garden near the Louvre museum full of statues, a beautiful carousel and in-ground trampolines where the girls spent hours jumping (for a small fee so bring change).
The Park behind Notre Dame
A simple park with a few riding toys and a swing, plenty of pigeons and benches and gorgeous views of Notre Dame.
The Park by the Eiffel Tower
There are carousels on either end of the Eiffel Tower and large patches of grass perfect for picnics. One carousel is over 100 years old and pushed manually by the man who runs it. They also have old-fashioned go-carts and crepe and ice cream stands, galore.