Paris: 5 Best with Kids Under 5
The best places to visit, dine and play in Paris
with babies, toddlers and young children
Contributed by Camille Spanjaard
Paris is full of great places and activities for kids. Many of them are referenced in travel guides, including parks and public gardens such as Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Plantes, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, or Parc Monceau. For restaurants, Chez Clement or Leon de Bruxelles are great places highly frequented by Parisians as well (included on map below).
As a mother of two young children living in Paris for more than 10 years, I'd like to also share with you my "5 Best" addresses from an insider. Simply enjoy!
1. Best Children's Museum - La Cité des Enfants (see map)
The Cité des Sciences has dedicated a part of the museum to children from 2 to 7. Kids can access a hundred activities for a 75- or 90-minute session. The Museum is divided in five areas: 1) I discover myself, 2) I can do, 3) I locate myself, 4) All together, and 5) I experiment. Cité des enfants recommends to focus on 1 or 2 areas only as time is limited. It should also be noted that most activities are accessible to impaired / disabled children. Note that it's mandatory to book your session in advance, especially if you're visiting during French holiday periods. Follow this link to read more about La cité des enfants in English.
2. Best Baby-Friendly Café - Les 400 Coups (see map)
Les 400 Coups, located on top of Butte Chaumont, is the perfect place for a break after running and climbing in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. This child-friendly cafe and restaurant offer homemade organic food (with a children's menu), wifi, newspapers for parents, and a reading corner for children. Workshops are also offered in French throughout the year. The cafe is open Wednesday to Sunday, and the staff speaks English. More information at their website (French only).
3. Best (hidden) Public Garden - Square de la Roquette (see map)
Besides 15 large parks, Paris offers more than 400 public gardens that Parisian parents love to visit with their children. Square de la Roquette in Rue de la Roquette, on the way between Bastille and Cimetière du Père Lachaise, is an 18,000 square meter garden. With its gate, its sinuous paths leading to a fountain and its children's playgrounds (one for young children from 2 to 6 and another for older children), the Square de la Roquette is our favorite on the east part of Paris. Quick recommendation: in summer, don't forget sun hats for everyone as there are few shadows, especially on the playgrounds.
4. Best Indoor Playground - La Maison des Petits (see map)
In Le 104 (Centquatre), this is an artistic place that welcomes children under 6 years, accompanied by an adult. The House for Children is a place for "listening, speaking, meeting, using art and play," as described on the 104 website. The place is designed by Matali Crasset, with unique shapes, colors, materials, and light. La Maison des Petits is open from Tuesdays through Fridays from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and on weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Entrance is free and no booking is not necessary, but there are a limited number of places available.
Besides the large chain stores (Bonpoint, Bonton, etc.), one of our favorite addresses is the shop of Petitappetit brand: Home Sweet Môme. In Rue Lepic, at the bottom of Montmartre, this small purple shop is full of colorful accessories for children, including cutlery, bibs, aprons, clothing, etc., and all is fun. And if you like old-fashioned children's pedal cars, it's mandatory that you have a look at this store.
Café Grenadine - www.cafegrenadine.fr
Baby-friendly cafe with play areas, changing table, etc. Open Tuesday - Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
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Familiscope France - ideas, events, and information for families vacationing in France http://www.familiscope.fr/
Babyccino Kids - a guide to baby- and toddler-friendly sites and activities in Paris http://babyccinokids.com/paris/