Some parents put off traveling to famous cities with their young children due to the mindset that their kids won’t appreciate the world-renown landmarks. We threw that thinking out the window when we recently took our toddler with us to visit Paris. While it’s true that our daughter wasn’t in awe of the beauty of the Mona Lisa and other great works at the Louvre or the engineering feat of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, she found other ways to enjoy each famous Parisian landmark.
Louvre: This eye-catching building immediately caught our daughter’s attention. She was perfectly content for a long time riding in her stroller gazing up at the geometric glass windows and artfully decorated ceilings. We also played “I Spy” with some of the paintings. (You can see more of that in my article, "Museums are Family and Budget Friendly.") The grounds outside the Louvre are also exciting for kids because of the fountains, pyramid structures, and large open spaces.
Eiffel Tower: This place might just be more fun for children than grown ups. What kid doesn’t like to climb and ride elevators? And if you decide not to go up, there are plenty of pigeons to chase and treats to eat along the walking paths underneath the tower.
Sacre-Coeur And Notre Dame: As with Notre Dame Cathedral, the stained glass windows of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica are mesmerizing even to children. The light play and the colors of the expansive windows grab the attention of even the youngest tourists. Outside the basilica, the monorail offers an exciting ride while the steps and grassy areas offer a fun way to burn off excess energy. The numerous street performers add to the experience.
Versailles: A trip to Paris isn’t complete without visiting the Palace of Versailles. Although young kids may not appreciate the historical significance of the palace, they will find other things to enjoy about a visit to these magnificent grounds. Even rambunctious kids are stopped in their tracks by the awesome glittering of light in the expansive and opulent Hall of Mirrors. While you are taking in the details of all the king’s and queen’s chambers, your kids will probably be trying out the window seats and staring out the large windows into the amazing grounds below. The impeccable gardens of Versailles are a child’s dream come true. The kids will be so tired of running along the paths that they’re sure to sleep on the train ride back into Paris.
The Gardens: It seems everywhere you turn in Paris there is a park or garden of some sort. There are large expanses of walking paths along beautifully manicured grass and rose bushes, and there are play areas built specifically for entertaining kids. The trampoline park in the Jardin des Tuileries (near the Louvre) is a perfect combination of the two. Regardless of what Parisian experience is on your to-do list for the day, there’s always the promise of outdoor fun just around the corner.
Bakeries: Paris is famous for its boulangeries and patisseries. While not officially landmarks, these are definitely sites to see (and taste)! Every child, young and old, can appreciate the display cases filled with these amazing hand-crafted treats.
Don't wait until your kids are grown to visit Paris. They will enjoy and appreciate the City of Light in their own way. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, and go make some memories!