Ooh là là…Paris! France's capital city is famous for its bustling boulevards teeming with cafés and iconic destinations, from the Eiffel Tower to Notre-Dame Cathedral. It’s known as the City of Light as it began using streetlights before most other European cities.
Thanks to the many movies set in the magical city - from Aristocats to Ratatouille, to name a few - the whole family is undoubtedly familiar with Paris.
When KeeKee, AAA’s Family Travel Mascot and star of the award-winning children’s book series KeeKee’s Big Adventures, visits Paris, these are her favorite things to do and see.
TAKE IN THE EIFFEL TOWER (Tour Eiffel)
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. It’s a “must-see” and a “you can’t help but see” because it is the tallest structure in the city and visible from all over. It’s as tall as an 81-story skyscraper building.
Gustave Eiffel designed the Eiffel Tower, originally built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair entrance. It was meant to be temporary and taken down but has been there ever since.
You can even go up INSIDE the tower by elevator or steps. Sunset is a beautiful time to visit for incredible views. And the kids will love to see it sparkle when the sun goes down.
MAJESTIC GOTHIC WONDER, NOTRE-DAME CATHEDRAL (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris)
Notre-Dame Cathedral (pronounced noh-truh DAHM) is one of the world’s most famous Gothic cathedrals. In French, Notre-Dame means “Our Lady,” so the cathedral’s name means “Our Lady of Paris.”
You will notice that Notre-Dame has many arches, statues, intricate details, gargoyles, and stained-glass windows – this style of building – or architecture – is called “French Gothic.”
Just to the right front of the Cathedral’s main entrance, be sure to look down on the ground for a round, brass metal circle. This is called Paris Point Zéro and marks the official center of the city of Paris.
As of April 2019, due to the major fire the Cathedral experienced, it is temporarily closed to the public but due to reopen in 2024.
STROLL THE CHAMPS-ELYSEES TO ARC DE TRIOMPHE
The Champs-Élyées (shawn zay-lee-ZAY) is the famous street between the Arc de Triomphe and Place De La Concorde. Its name means ‘of the Elysian Fields’ (a mythical Greek heaven for heroes).
This tree-lined street is packed with shops and cafes. And while it can be a bit touristy, this 2-mile boulevard is still one of the most famous streets in the world.
At the end of the Champs-Élysées is another famous monument in Paris, the majestic Arc de Triomphe.
Standing 164 feet high, it's in the middle of the world’s largest traffic circle, where 12 different avenues come together. You can take the 284 stairs or the elevator to the top for great views down the Champs-Élysées and across the city.
ADMIRE THE TUILERIES GARDEN (Jardin des Tuileries)
Pronounced TWEE-luh-ree, this gorgeous public park was once the gardens of the Tuileries Palace. In 1667, the Tuileries Garden became the first royal garden open to the public.
It has walking paths, flower gardens, shady trees, and beautiful sculptures. There is even a pond where you can rent toy sailboats.
One of KeeKee’s favorite things to do is to get a banana Nutella crêpe at one of the food stands in the gardens and find a place to sit and enjoy!
MARVEL IN THE LOUVRE MUSEUM (Musée du Louvre)
The Louvre (LOO-vruh) is the world's most popular and largest museum. It was once one of France’s largest palaces, and Napoleon turned it into a museum.
It's full of very famous works of art (35,000!), including the world's most renowned painting, the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
When visiting the Louvre, it is best to have a map to find your way around and a guidebook – or hire a personal guide, especially for the kids – to learn the stories behind the art!
SAIL ALONG THE SEINE (La Seine)
The Seine River (pronounced seyn) is the long river winding through Paris, dividing the city into two sections, the “Left Bank” to the south and the “Right Bank” to the north. The river runs 483 miles (777 km) long through France.
KeeKee loves to enjoy the Seine River on a river cruise. You can find them at the end of Île de la Cité (isle with Notre Dame) at Pont Neuf. It is a fun way to see and learn about many of the city's famous sites.
FUNICULAR TO MONTMARTRE & SACRE COEUR
In addition to easily spotting the Eiffel Tower, you will notice a hill in the North part of the city with a big white church on it. This is Montmartre (mohnt-mah-truh), the highest point in the city and a great neighborhood to enjoy for a few leisurely hours.
The kids will love riding the funicular to get there. When you reach the top, you are greeted by the beautiful white Sacré-Cœur Basilica with a fantastic view of Paris. Then stroll over to the old village square, Place du Tetre.
Paris has so many wonderful foods for your family to try.
Did you know there are nearly 1,800 bakeries?! Perfect stops along the way for fresh baguettes, flaky croissants, or patisseries like a delicious macaroon.
Some other classics to enjoy are a croque-monsieur (grilled ham and cheese sandwich), steak frites (steak with crispy French fries), French onion soup, boeuf bourguignon (hearty beef stew), and ratatouille.
Be sure to enjoy at least one perfectly Parisian crêpe, like KeeKee’s favorite Nutella and banana.
MORE PARISIAN PLACES
Here are some other great options to consider depending on your kid’s age and how much time you have.
- The Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) - Just outside of Paris is the former royal residence of King Louis XIV. It's a beautiful place to explore, complete with manicured gardens perfect in the spring and summer. Kids will be fascinated by the history of the palace and its inhabitants.
- The Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) - This park is a beautiful haven of green and trees that has been around since 1612. They were once the private gardens of the Luxembourg Palace – and inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy. The gardens are full of statues, fountains, playgrounds, and ponds. Kids will love exploring the different pathways and discovering hidden surprises, such as the puppet theatre or the Medici Fountain.
- The Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris) - The Catacombs of Paris is an underground network of tunnels and caves that are filled with millions of bones of past Parisians. It’s a great place to explore and learn about the history of Paris. You can take a guided tour through the tunnels. An interesting and somewhat spooky experience; kids must be over 14 years old to enter.
- The Moulin Rouge - Located in the famous Montmartre district, the Moulin Rouge is a cabaret venue established in 1889. The original structure has been completely renovated but retains its characteristic red windmill exterior. Visitors can attend a variety of shows.
Paris is more than just a romantic destination; it's a treasure trove of family-friendly experiences. From climbing the Eiffel Tower to enjoying a banana Nutella crêpe in the Tuileries Garden, the city offers various activities to captivate children and adults. With its iconic landmarks, fascinating history, and delightful cuisine, Paris promises a memorable and engaging adventure for families looking to explore together.
Paris Adventure Awaits!