I’m so excited to share our loose itinerary for spending a weekend in Paris with kids. I say “loose,” because when you’re traveling to Paris with kids, the number one thing you need to remember is that you need to stay flexible.
This particular trip was actually rescheduled three times. We were going to visit in early 2022, but Covid hit our family and we were out for an entire month. Thankfully, I saw a three-day weekend on their school calendar in September, so I quickly made plans.
For this trip, it was just me and the girls (ages 7 and 9 at the time) traveling to Paris alone. (Not my first time in the city alone, but my first time alone with my kids in Paris!)
The boys stayed home and camped in the backyard, complete with late-night Lego-making sessions, Switch games, pizza delivery, grilled hot dogs, and s’mores…naturally. Needless to say, they had a blast.
The girls and I had the best time. Truly, it was great, and I 100 percent recommend a trip like this to Paris with your kids.
We lucked out with wonderful weather (it was slated to rain, and then the clouds parted and we had blue skies instead); the girls giggled and laughed together pretty much the entire trip, and they were always being responsible and looking out for our safety.
Traveling to Paris with Kids: Our Plan
Spending only a weekend in Paris with kids means not packing too much into your days. I know it’s easy to want to see and do alllllll the things, but it’s just not possible in a short amount of time, especially with little ones.
So here’s my best advice: pick two or three must-see “high attraction” things to do in Paris with your kids for your whole weekend and then go from there. That’s it; don’t overdo it.
Then, pick one or two of those to see/do per day. Anything else you have time for will be a cherry on top.
Things on our must-see/do list:
- Go up the Eiffel Tower
- Take a macaron class
- See the Louvre
- Sail boats in the Luxembourg Gardens
We are going back to Paris as a family in December and plan on going to museums during that trip, which is why we didn’t actually go into the Louvre. However, if you only have one weekend in Paris with kids, and you’re likely not going to return for a while, and going to a museum like the Louvre is important to you, add it to your list and make it happen!
Where we Stayed
Since it was just me and the girls for our weekend in Paris, safety was my number one concern as I looked for a place to stay.
I came across the Astotel hotel chain, and their reviews sold me: we booked the Hôtel Caumartin Opéra, and it was perfect for us.
The room was small and without a view*, and it wasn’t the cheapest option out there, but the staff was incredibly friendly, the breakfast was fantastic, the location rocked and was close to several metro stops, and (bonus!) there were several other Americans staying there.
The girls got a kick out of the hot pink and black in the room, and I loved crashing every night on the comfy bed.
It was perfect for the three of us. In fact, I’m staying at another location with a friend of mine when I return next month.
My oldest was expecting to see the Eiffel Tower when she looked out our window, and was greeted with the the elevator shaft. Welcome to Paris, kid!
Find a Place to Stay in Paris
Our Weekend in Paris with Kids: Itinerary
Since we live in Germany, we took the high-speed train (2 hours 40 minutes) from Aachen to the Gare du Nord train station in Paris. We left on a Saturday morning and returned on a Monday morning, taking advantage of a three-day weekend.
Things to do with Kids in Paris: Day 1
Morning: Drop Off Bags
We arrived by train into Gare du Norde and took a cab to our hotel in the Opéra district. Our plan was to drop the bags off at our hotel, but luckily (!!!) our room was ready.
After quickly reconfiguring our bags and going to the bathroom, we were off to get tickets for the metro.
PRO METRO TIP: Using Google Maps, plug in your current location and your destination. Then click the train icon; it will show you all the different routes to get to your destination. After the routes load, I go to options (on the same tab) and click off everything but the “subway” option. BAM! You now have the exact routes to get to and from your destination. It’ll tell you what direction to go on the Metro and how many stops until your destination. It’s almost, practically, foolproof.
Lunch ended up being a fun treat: we got to meet and hug a fellow blogger friend who was also in Paris. We met Bri (from Home Base Belgium) at La Frégate, next to Museum d’Orsay and across the street from the Louvre.
If you want a classic Parisian brasserie, this one fits the bill, and it’s in an excellent spot for people-watching and exploring afterward.
Afternoon: Macaron Class
Taking a macaron class was a highlight for the three of us, and something we only did because I knew we were coming back to Paris again. Otherwise, I’d swap this experience with going into the Louvre.
Our class was fantastic and we had a blast. We made our own macarons from start to finish, and then we got to bring them all home with us!
The girls totally held their own; they were so proud of their creations. I was so intimidated by macarons before, but the process and instructor made it seem so easy…we might even attempt to make them at home sometime!
We picked Maison Fleuret simply because it was the only one I found with a day/time available for when we were there (they have a lot of options, which is awesome), but there are several other family-friendly classes in Paris.
INSIDER INFO: Read my entire Macaron class review in this post!
Here are a few more to check out in case the one we did doesn’t work for you.
- Kids in the Kitchen
- Galeries Lafayette Family Experience
- Unique Macaron Cooking Class
- Learn How to Make Macarons
- Macarons Small Group
PRO TIP: Several classes had a minimum age to attend, but I highly suggest sending an email and simply asking if younger kids can attend.
Afternoon: Louvre + Jardin des Tuileries
If you don’t have any other plans, this would be a great time to go into the Louvre. As I’ve mentioned, we’re doing that in a few months, so we skipped seeing the art. Instead, we had fun seeing the glass pyramids and walking around Jardin des Tuileries.
If you have time during your trip to Paris with your kids and want to explore the Louvre, here are some top-rated tours specifically for families.
The Louvre is HUGE, and these tours help keep those kiddos engaged and excited.
- Private Tour for Families
- Louvre Family Treasure Hunt
- Family Skip-the-Line Private Tour
- Teens Tour of the Louvre
Since we skipped the Louvre we walked around Jardin des Tuileries. It was relaxing and fun. There’s a playground the kids played at, and we sat at one of the ponds and enjoyed our macarons.
Evening: Galeries Lafayette
We ended up walking back to our hotel in the Opéra district and found dinner along the way. (Honestly, it was nothing to write home about, which is why I’m not mentioning it.)
I had a surprise up my sleeve for the girls, so we headed to Galeries Lafayette—a gigantic and gorgeous department store.
While the store itself is impressive (make sure you make your way to the middle), the surprise was on the terrace.
The rooftop of Galeries Lafayette gives you a stunning (and free) view of the city, including the Eiffel Tower.
Keep in mind that the entire department store closes at 8 pm. We had a genius idea to see the Tower twinkle from the terrace the next night, but it closed too early. If we go later in the winter we might luck out.
Things to do with Kids in Paris: Day 2
No weekend in Paris with kids can be complete without seeing (and going up) the Eiffel Tower!
Today was our Eiffel Tower day, and here are my two biggest recommendations: Get tickets to go up the tower as soon as you know your trip dates, and book them for early in the day!
PRO TIP: If you can’t find tickets up the Eiffel Tower directly (honestly, that’s the cheapest way to go), check out this skip-the-line tour option, or see if your dates are available below.
Morning: Eiffel Tower
PRO TIP: Get yourself some coffee before you get to the Eiffel Tower area. I couldn’t find any place near the Eiffel Tower that was open, and I really could have used a warm cup of coffee while standing in line.
We enjoyed our hotel’s breakfast as soon as it opened (7 am) and then hopped on the metro. Our destination? The Alma-Marceau metro stop, then you’re going to walk to this spot (the intersection of Ave. de la Bourdonnais and Rue de l’Université).
If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Paris, then here’s a gem: Have an impromptu morning photo shoot in front of the Eiffel Tower.
The girls LOVED this. And seeing their expression when we rounded the corner to this “secret” spot was priceless. You’ll want to arrive early. We were there at 8 am and we already lost a coveted spot.
Thankfully, we found some angles that worked out for us.
Around 8:30 am, we walked towards the Eiffel Tower and found the security line to enter the Tower right in front of us.
We had tickets for the second level at 9:30 am, but I’m really happy we got there early because the line got long very fast. We ended up being some of the first people in.
PRO TIP: Have your bags open and ready for the first security line. People were as slow as snails going through here. There will also be another security line before you get on the elevator, but your bags can stay closed there.
We didn’t go to the tippy top of the Tower simply because there weren’t any tickets available. You can get tickets the day of, but the line for tickets was crazy long.
The second floor ended up being perfect for us.
We took the elevator up, walked all around, got some coffee, a treat, and a souvenir magnet, and then ended up walking down to the first floor.
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been up the Eiffel Tower and was shocked by the first floor. It was so much fun!
They modernized it with lounge seating, a bar, and some fun “swing” seats.
Afternoon: A River Cruise + Champ de Mars
I honestly didn’t have any plans after the Eiffel Tower and figured we’d just play things by ear. It turns out that river cruises leave from that same area, so we figured, “why not?!”
We grabbed some ham and cheese baguettes, bought tickets for one of the most popular (and cheapest) river cruises, and hopped on board this river cruise.
Honestly, I didn’t love the cruise. I had issues getting the audio guide to work, but I think it was a user (me) issue. The kids liked seeing the city from the water, and it was nice to have a little break.
If we had a do-over I would’ve like to try this hop-on/hop-off river cruise.
An hour later we were back where we started. I asked the girls what they wanted to do and they asked to see the Eiffel Tower again and for some treats (crepes and ice cream to be specific).
If you’re traveling to Paris with kids and have the time, I highly suggest hanging out at Champ de Mars (the big lawn area in front of the Eiffel Tower). We grabbed some crepes and just hung out for a while.
Evening: Le Jardin du Luxembourg
With our day coming to a close, there was one other place I wanted to take the girls: Le Jardin du Luxembourg.
If you’re looking for something fun to do with kids in Paris, then make sure this place is on your itinerary. The girls both said it was one of their favorite parts of their trip.
When you get to Le Jardin du Luxembourg, make your way to the man-made pond. If you’re there on a Wednesday or a weekend (random, I know), then you’ll see little sailboats whipping around on the water.
Those sailboats are there for kids! Rent one of them for 30 minutes (6 euros), and watch as it sails around the water.
And yes, you get to pick what country you want your sailboat to be from. It was fun hearing other Americans comment on the USA boat floating out there.
Kids get a stick to push it away from the edge or from other sailboats while parents hang out around the perimeter.
It was such a simple activity, but so much fun at the same time; the girls loved it.
After sailing our boat, we took the metro back to our neck of the woods.
We grabbed a delicious dinner near our hotel, and then made our way back to Galeries Lafayette to see the Eiffel Tower light up at night.
That’s when we realized the department store closed early and we couldn’t go up to the roof. I won’t lie, there were some tears from the girls since they wanted to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle from the rooftop.
The girls decided what we’d do next; I thought they’d choose to go back to the tower, but they actually wanted to go back to the hotel, watch TV, and sleep. I wasn’t going to argue with that, so back home we went.
(Honestly, once the sun set I didn’t feel comfortable walking the streets of Paris alone with the girls. We were in a safe area and there were lots of people around since it was only around 8:30 pm, but I was much more aware of our surroundings then.)
Things to do with Kids in Paris: Day 3
Technically our train didn’t depart until 11 am, and there was one more place I wanted to take the girls.
After a quick, filling breakfast, we high-taled it over to Île de la Cité.
This is the island where Sainte-Chapelle and Notre Dame are…only we didn’t go to either of those. (HIGHLY recommend both of them, especially when Notre Dame opens back up.)
We walked across the island and went to Shakespeare and Company, a quaint English bookstore nestled along the Seine that’s been around since the 50s.
I remember visiting the bookstore about twenty years ago and I’m happy to report that it’s just as I remembered it (only with a lot more people)! I can’t tell you how surreal it was to be back with my own daughters.
The girls are both avid readers, so I bought them each a keepsake book.
Pro Tip: If you buy a book at Shakespeare and Company, ask them to stamp the inside!
And then, just like that, my weekend in Paris with the kids was over.
After the bookstore we grabbed some crepes for the road, as one does when you’re in Paris, and continued on our way.
Then we jumped back on the metro, and made it back to Gare du Norde with just enough time to pick up some sandwiches to go for lunch before we got back on our high-speed train.
a Great Weekend in Paris with Kids
I hope you enjoyed seeing what I did in Paris with my kids. This Itinerary was pretty flexible, but we still saw and did a lot.
It was relaxed, exhausting, and so fulfilling. The girls were at the perfect age for this solo trip; they were responsible when I needed their full attention, and I know they had fun.
If you do a quick weekend trip to Paris like this with your kids I’d love to hear about it, and I hope you enjoyed reading about our experience.