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19 of the best child-friendly days out in and around Paris

Whether you are looking for a kid-friendly day trip outside of Paris, or activities to enjoy in the capital, Paris-based journalist and mum-of-two Helen Massy-Beresford offers the best places to visit with children in tow.

19 of the best child-friendly days out in and around Paris
Children set their wooden sailing boats, rented from a stall, in the pond in the Jardin du Luxembourg park (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

In the city of Paris


Taking a river boat is an ideal way to see the sights of Paris without wearing out little legs and if it’s your (or their) first trip it will allow you to get a real sense of the layout of the city and its main monuments.

The Batobus boats offer a flexible formula – the whole circuit of the Seine takes about two hours but with hop-on hop-off tickets you can break up the journey with stops at the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay and Jardin des Plantes–the lovely botanical garden that is also home to attractions including the natural history museum and a small zoo. You can find ticketing information for the Batobus HERE.

A Batobus disembarks from the dock in Paris (Photo by JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP)

Jardin du Luxembourg 

If it’s sunny you could easily spend a full day in the Jardin du Luxembourg, the chic Left Bank park that also houses the Senate building. Sailing the little wooden boats (that you can hire from a cabin just nearby) across the pond is just as much fun for the grown-ups as the kids.

For a small fee, you can access the Ludo Jardin, a safely enclosed playground with lots of fun equipment including a huge slide/climbing frame, zip wire and (all-too-rare-in-Paris) swings. There’s also an old-fashioned merry-go-round and a puppet theatre and plenty of food options within the park plus summer concerts which take place in the little bandstand. 

Just make sure you obey the pelouse interdite (no walking on the grass) signs and don’t move the garden chairs a centimetre in the wrong direction (the actual rules remain a mystery) in such a way as to annoy the Senate guards that patrol the park – they won’t hesitate to call out your misdemeanour with an officious whistle.

READ MORE: ‘Section internationales’: How do France’s bilingual secondary schools work?

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

This charmingly hilly park in the north east of Paris is a remodelled former quarry, complete with caves, a lake and a folly perched high above the capital, with truly panoramic views. In the summer, as in many of the capital’s bigger parks, children can go for a pony ride, have a go on the merry-go-round or fish for rubber ducks and win some plastic tat at the fairground-style stalls.

The Sibylle Temple on the Belvedere Island in the Buttes-Chaumont Park in Paris (Photo by JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP)

If you want to make a day of it, the park is also home to cafés and restaurants–the laid back Rosa Bonheur and the slightly more formal Pavillon du Lac

The Big Museums

In a city as famous for its museums as Paris it can be hard to know where to start even as an adult. If you have children to entertain, the prospect of a long queue and a crowded visit may not appeal but many of the city’s most famous museums make huge efforts to win over younger visitors. Paris highlights including the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée du Quai Branly organise guided visits, workshops, story sessions and more aimed at children (look out for “jeune public” on their websites) that should make sure the little ones become museum-addicts for life. 

The Musée de l’Orangerie combines accessible art – Monet’s water lilies as well as small collection of treasures by the likes of Rousseau, Picasso and Matisse – with close proximity to a large running around space (the Tuileries gardens).

Atelier des Lumières 

The Atelier des Lumières is the ultimate child-friendly cultural attraction, not to mention an ideal rainy day destination.

Images are projected onto the walls and floor of this huge space in the 11th arrondissement – visitors can wander around or just find a spot to sit and watch the immersive exhibition slide by.

Themes range from the expressly kid-friendly (Tintin, Thomas Pesquet’s space mission) to the more artistic, including Klimt, Cézanne and currently Chagall – but children will enjoy a taste of the art world in a truly relaxed setting no matter what. The nearby Square Maurice Gardette has a good playground and lovely shady spaces to let off some steam afterwards.  

A man looks at a projected painting by French painter Louis Valtat during a digital exhibition at the Atelier des Lumieres in Paris (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)

Get Reading 

From the classic Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans to the more recent A Lion In Paris, there’s no shortage of children’s literature about Paris. Why not get creative and plot out a literary route. The lovely A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino follows a little girl and her grandpa as they tour the city in one long sights-and-pâtisserie-filled day.

Like them, you could visit a market, spend some time in the Tuileries gardens (not least because there are trampolines) and end up by the Eiffel Tower after dark to watch the lights sparkle.

La Villette

There really is something for everyone at La Villette, the vast park and cultural centre in eastern Paris – the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie is a vast temple of scientific knowledge and interactive exhibitions and there’s a concert hall, the Philharmonie des Enfants (a fabulous interactive music exhibition), the Cité des enfants, a child-centred space for exploring science through hands-on games, an aquarium, adventure playgrounds and huge expanses of canal-side grass that you’re actually allowed to run around on.

Oh, and a real submarine to explore. From April until November 2024, if you have children aged between 6 and 11 years to entertain you should check out the Métamorphoses exhibition, which is billed as dialogue between science and imagination.  

Musée en Herbe

The Musée en Herbe bills itself as the only museum aimed at 3 to 103 year olds, where visitors are encourage to touch and interact with the exhibits and get a fun treasure hunt sheet to guide them through the rooms. Themes range from street art to Manga and beyond. Its latest exhibit, En Avant La Musique!, runs until May 2023. 


If you’ve exhausted all the cultural Parisian options and your kids just want to do something unashamedly fun and splashy, you could do worse than Aquaboulevard, a vast indoor and outdoor water park in the 15th arrondissement, with water slides (including one that involves climbing up inside a giant fibreglass whale – more fun than it sounds), a sandy outdoor beach and garden and a wave machines. It’s tacky and fun but frighteningly expensive (children’s tickets are around €22) – look out for special offers and opportunities to buy tickets in advance.  

READ MORE: 14 places to visit and festivals to enjoy in France this Spring

Paris Plages 

In the month of August, the banks of the Seine in central Paris and the Bassin de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement are transformed into “Paris Beach” – Paris Plages, with swimming and other sports, merry-go-rounds, deckchairs, sandpits, boules and other outdoor games, beach bars and more. It’s a fun way to spend a few sunny hours and many of the attractions are free. 

A view of the Bassin de la Villette on the opening day of the 19th edition of the “Paris-Plages” (Paris Beaches) summer event in 2020 in Paris. (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

Just outside the city

Parc Zoologique de Paris, Vincennes

From some high vantage points in the city you can see the 65m tall artificial rock that towers above the Parc Zoologique de Paris out to the east, in Vincennes. It’s well worth the trip to explore the five “biozones” represented in the huge and recently refurbished site – Madagascar, Africa, the Amazon/Guiana, Patagonia and Europe – where the priority is providing an environment close to the animals’ natural habitat.

If touring the site, home to around 180 species and more than 2,000 animals, isn’t enough, the huge expanse of the bois de Vincennes is nearby for a run around too. 

Jardin d’Acclimatation/Fondation Louis Vuitton

Head west for a day out that will please adults and children alike: first stop, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which houses an impressive permanent collection as well as carefully curated exhibitions. I thought my 7-year-old had enjoyed the recent must-see pairing of Claude Monet and Joan Mitchell but she later confessed that the escalators were her favourite part.

To be fair, the Fondation is housed in a remarkable building designed by the architect Frank Gehry – the views from the top are breathtaking. And the good news for children just tolerating the art is that just outside the doors, is the Jardin d’Acclimatation, likely to be much more up their street.

This huge park is a kids’ paradise of rollercoasters, climbing frames, fountains to splash in and animals to visit. Check out the options on the website to pay in advance for the rides – paying for them on the spot adds up quickly. If your children still need to burn some energy after all this, the Bois de Boulogne is close by. 

Further Afield

READ MORE: Ten of the best day trips out of Paris


Even the most culture-weary youngster will be able to get on board with the extraordinarily over-the-top aesthetics of the famous Château de Versailles, home of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The good news is that entry is free for under-18s (with some date restrictions for the gardens – best to check on the website) – let them visit castles! 


A slightly longer train ride from Paris will take you to Fontainebleau, where there’s a huge forest and an equally huge castle just waiting to be explored. You’ll be far from the enormous crowds that flock to Versailles and the little town itself is a nice peaceful place for a wander and a lunch-stop. 


The medieval ramparts of Provins, around 1.5 hours away from Paris by train, are ideal for wannabe knights. Even better, the town organises spectacular shows that include birds of prey displays. The show took the adults’ breath away but is probably best for children aged five and above. My then-two-year-old’s verdict after half an hour or so of dramatically swooping eagles: “What are those pigeons doing?”


Why not follow up on your Paris museum visits with a complementary trip to Monet’s house (which you can visit) and stunning garden? Seeing the actual bridge and lake the great artist painted still there and the garden in full bloom, today, makes a fun way for art to come alive, and only around 1.5 hours from Paris by car. 

Ferme de Gally 

Head out of the city for a taste of country life at one of the Fermes de Gally, all close to the city (although you’ll probably need a car) for farm visits, Easter Egg hunts, pumpkin patches during the autumn, pick-your-own and more. 


You don’t have to take your kids to Disney … but they’ll love it if you do. Check out the EuroDisney website for more details and to book in advance. You can stay on site or it’s an easy train ride from central Paris, to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station which is only a few minutes’ walk from the theme park entrance. Make sure you book in advance. 

Parc Astérix

Thirty four hectares of theme park dedicated to everyone’s favourite Gaul – and only 40 minutes from Paris.

Rides at the Asterix amusement park in Plailly, outside of Paris (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

The second-biggest theme park in France will be a fun day out for everyone but bear in mind smaller children will not be allowed on all of the rides. You can find ticketing information in English here.

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For members


LATEST: The transport strikes that will hit passengers in Europe this summer

Inflation is pushing unions across Europe to demand new pay hikes, raising the risk of train and airplane strikes this summer. This rundown will help you plan ahead to know if your holiday plans will be affected.

LATEST: The transport strikes that will hit passengers in Europe this summer


Italy’s unions this week announced plans for strikes in both June and July. 

On June 18th, security staff at Milan’s Malpensa Airport will strike for four hours from 11am to 3pm. 

Then on June 20th, baggage handling staff at airports all around the country will take part in a 24-hour walkout. Ground staff at a number of Italian airports, including Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, Milan Malpensa Airport and the Amerigo Vespucci Airport in Florence will also hold separate protests on the day. 

On July 15th, staff at ENAV, Italy’s main air traffic control operator, will take part in a national 24-hour strike. 

So far there are few details of which flights will be affected by these strikes, but they are very likely to cause disruption. 

Anyone travelling between Italy and the UK, should also be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Florence, Rome, Milan and Venice on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 

READ ALSO: The transport strikes to expect in Italy in summer 2023


On June 7th the Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (Sepla) called for strikes against Air Europa, Spain’s third largest airline, over the “confrontational attitude” of the company’s management. 

The union gave no details of exactly which days the strikes would take place in its press release, but they will happen between June 19th and July 2nd. 

Air Europa operates flights within Spain, and to destinations across Europe and the world, including Germany, France, the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, and Switzerland.

The Sepla union also on June 6th launched a “daily indefinite strike” against Air Nostrum, the regional airline run by Iberia. The strike has forced the cancellation of 20 percent of the airlines flights and also delayed other flights. 

The strike is taking place between Monday and Friday every day of the week and there are no signs of a breakthrough in talks so far. 

People flying between Spain and the UK using either British Airways or Iberia should be aware that security staff at Heathrow airport are striking almost every weekend (and some other days as well), causing major disruption at Terminal 5 and Terminal, which are used by Iberia and British Airways. 

Flights from Edinburgh to Spain may also be affected by strikes there. 


So far no big airline or air traffic control strikes have been announced by the French unions to follow on from the one-day action on June 6th that saw around 20 percent of flights in and out of France, and some flights just flying over France, cancelled. 

It’s not impossible, however, that unions will call for further action, even though turnout for the nationwide strikes over pension reform has recently been falling, making it look like the battle over pension reform may be reaching its final stages. 

The pattern so far as has been for the inter-syndicale, the federation that represents all eight French unions, to wait until one strike day is over before announcing the next, so there could well be announcements in the coming weeks. 

The summer holidays in France traditionally mark a break in mass strike actions, but they are often a time for industrial action from specific unions – especially those involved in the flight and tourist industries.

Travellers to and from France from the UK should be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Paris, Toulouse, Nice, and Mulhouse airports on some dates. There is also potential for a strike at Edinburgh Airport, which could affect flights to France run by several airlines, including Air France.


So far no strikes have been announced in Germany which will affect transport, but EVG, the union that represents workers for 50 train companies has reached a deadlock in its negotiations with Deutsche Bahn. 

The two sides are far apart, with Deutsche Bahn suggesting a 12 percent pay hike over two years, while EVG wants the same rise over 12 months.  This means there is a real risk of strikes over the summer. 

On June 2nd, the union threatened further industrial action if DB refused to come back to negotiations. “If nothing happens at the negotiating table, we have to apply pressure with #Warnstreiks,” it tweeted.

If the union does hold warning strikes before the next round of talks, they are likely to last for only a few days. 

Lufthansa pilots, who went on strike last year, in September agreed in a pay deal not to strike until June 2023, leaving the possibility of a renewed round of strikes later in the summer. 

The two main unions representing airport security workers, meanwhile, Verdi and the German Civil Service Federation, reached a pay deal on May 17th. 

Travellers to and from Germany from the UK, should be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hanover, and Berlin. Flights to Germany from Edinburgh Airport could also be affected by the strikes announced there. 

READ ALSO: When will the next set of rail strikes take place in Germany?

The United Kingdom

The UK is the county most affected by strike action this year with a busy schedule of strikes planned at London Heathrow airport, and strikes announced at Edinburgh Airport. 

The Unite union at the start of June announced a total of 31 days of strikes over the summer for security staff at Heathrow Airport outside London,  with walkouts almost every weekend from mid-June to the end of August.

The strikes will involve as many as 2,000 security officers working at both Terminal Three and Terminal Five, as well as Campus Security responsible for checking all personnel and vehicles going over to the runway side of the airport.

European travellers flying with British Airways and the Spanish flag carrier Iberia are the most likely to be affected. 

Iberia flies non-stop from Terminal 5 to Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, and Málaga.

British Airways, meanwhile, flies non-stop from Terminal 5 to Paris, Toulouse, Nice, and Mulhouse airports in France, to Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland, to Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hanover, and Berlin in Germany, to Copenhagen in Denmark, Gothenburg and Stockholm in Sweden, to Oslo in Norway, and to Florence, Rome, Milan and Venice in Italy

British Airways also operates some flights from Terminal 3, including to Bastia in France, Gibraltar, Naples in Italy, Billund in Denmark, Vienna in Austria, and, outside of the country’s covered by The Local, to the cities of Porto, Pristina, Pura, and Tirana. 

Other airlines based in Terminal 3, such as Virgin Atlantic. American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, and Qantas mainly offer long-haul flights outside of Europe. 

The workers will be on strike between June 24th and and 30th, and then between July 14th to July 16th, then from July 21st to July 24th, then from July 28th to 31st, and then from August 4th to 7th, 11th to 14th, 18th to 20th, and 24th to 27th.

Staff at Edinburgh Airport represented by the Unite union voted at the end of May to take strike action over pay and working conditions by an 85 percent majority but the union has yet to set dates. 

Edinburgh is the busiest airport in Scotland, with direct flights to most major cities in Europe, operated by Air France, British Airways, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, EasyJet, Iberia, Ryanair, Norwegian and SAS, among others. 


After major pilot strikes in the summer of 2022 and rail strikes this May, Sweden looks set for a conflict-free summer when it comes to travel into, out of, and around the country. 

Travellers to and from Sweden from the UK should be aware, though, of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Gothenburg and Stockholm on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 


The ongoing dispute between unions and Naviair, the state-owned company that employs Denmark’s air traffic controllers, has yet to be fully resolved, although Naviair on May 16th issued a plan for the summer,which it says will minimise delays and disruption. 

The plan prioritises travellers and and airlines at Copenhagen Airport, meaning flights to and from Roskilde Airport are likely to be reduced. 

Flights between Copenhagen and Greenland could be affected by strikes from June 23rd after Dansk Metal, which represents mechanics working for the airline, failed to reach a pay deal on May 23rd. 

Travellers to and from Sweden from the UK should be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Copenhagen on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 


Travel into, out of, and around Norway looks to be unaffected by strikes this summer. 

Travellers between Norway and the UK, should be aware, however, of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Oslo on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. Flights from Edinburgh Airport to cities in Norway may also be affected to the strikes announced there. 


Travel into, out of, and around Austria looks to be unaffected by strikes this summer. 

Travellers between Austria from the UK, should be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Vienna on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 


There are no strike plans that The Local are aware of directly affecting Swiss airlines or rail companies, but flights to and from Switzerland were affected by the strikes by France’s air traffic controllers on June 6th, and may be affected again if those strikes resume over the summer. 

Travellers between Switzerland and the UK should be aware, though, of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Geneva and Zurich on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 

This story will be updated as and when further strikes are announced.