One of our favorite family vacations was our week-long trip to Paris! We packed a lot of restaurants, sights and experiences in to a short amount of time and today I’m sharing the highlights! This guide will help you plan an Amazing Week in Paris with Kids, including amazing food, all the essential sights, and maybe even a day trip to Disneyland Paris (or Versailles, if you’re so inclined).
One Week in Paris with Kids
When planning a week-long vacation, it’s easy to over-extend yourself in your efforts to pack every possible experience into your visit.
While that can sometimes work out, often it leads to frustration and disappointment. After 8 years of travelling to 15 countries with my daughter, I’ve learned a few secrets to making the best travel itineraries:
- Over-estimate the amount of time needed for each location
- Plan your transit
- Have back-up plans for inclement weather
- Book tickets or reservations in advance
- Have a list or map of “bonus” activities ready.
PS – Be sure to PIN THIS POST for your future planning! Check out our full collection of Paris Travel posts here.
I also made a free printable itinerary that you can download at the bottom of this post.
Over-estimate the amount of time needed for each location
There is nothing worse than rushing through one experience to get to another.
If you think an experience only needs 20 minutes, plan for an hour. If you think it needs an hour, plan for two. You can always find something close-by from the list of “bonus activities” but you’ll be frustrated (or will frustrate those you’re travelling with) if you’re cutting experiences short, or missing out on things you were looking forward to due to poor planning.
Extra time allows for crazy line-ups, unforeseen issues (like computer systems being down at an attraction), transit delays, snack stops, or lingering longer at an experience that ends up being more amazing than you thought it would be.
For example, I had no idea my daughter would love the sailboats at the Jardin de Luxembourg as much as she did. She was 7 at the time, and I thought it would bore her quickly. We could have spent three hours at the pond alone between our picnic lunch and the sailboats, let alone exploring the rest of the gardens.
Plan Your Transit
Again, still allowing for more time than you think you’ll need.
You’ll save tons of time on vacation if you know where the nearest metro stop is and which line you need to take to get to the next item on your itinerary. You can plan this in advance using Google Transit – be sure to set the time of day when doing your research.
(Plus, you’ll probably save money if you’re the type to get frustrated and just order a taxi or Uber if you start running out of time.)
Have Back-up Plans for Inclement Weather
I always have at least one full day of indoor activities planned and that day can easily be swapped for another day that was originally planned to be outside, but can’t. (Or you can borrow one of that day’s activities if your day is only going to be partially affected by weather.)
Know the inclement weather plans for any activities that you have to pre-purchase tickets for.
Book Tickets or Reservations in Advance
Skip-the-line tickets are essential for making the most of your vacation. The line-up at the Eiffel Tower alone can take hours if you don’t have those skip-the-line tickets. (And some locations book up fully online in advance – an issue we ran into a lot in Amsterdam.)
Have a List or Map of “Bonus” Activities Ready
When planning my vacation, I plug everything that sounds like fun into Google Maps and make a list. That way, if we’re done at a location a bit early, I can look at the map and easily find something amazing to do.
And yes, you can find things to fill time without previous planning but it’s always so disappointing to find out that there was something amazing just one block away that you missed while you were “killing time” at something less stellar.
All that said, while planning this One Week Paris Itinerary for Kids, I tried to stick to two or three main activities per day.
This gives you flexibility to add in your own “Paris Must-Do’s” and also allows for that most wonderful of Paris experiences – long, lingering lunches. After you’re done the activity, if you find yourself with bonus time, hit up your “bonus activities” list or just enjoy a leisurely stroll. Stop in at cafes and interesting-looking shops. Take plenty of pictures. You’re in Paris! Enjoy it.
Every experience recommended here is one that we enjoyed during our trip – I haven’t included any experiences that we didn’t find enjoyable or didn’t actually experience ourselves.
Day One: Arrival
I try to keep the first day of travel flexible to account for any travel delays or possible jetlag, and plan for an early bedtime.
The first day your priorities are to check in to your hotel or Air BnB and handle any groceries or supplies that you need for the remainder of your trip.
It’s a great day to plan for casual exploration of your arrondissement and an early (but delicious) supper at a nearby restaurant. We found many wonderful playgrounds and parks in our area and stopped in at a few bakeries (for research purposes, of course). It’s also great to take note of nearby restaurants that offer delivery or quick take-out options for later in the week when you may need to adjust for earlier bedtimes for the kids. Take pictures of the menus and also note the operating hours of the business.
Day Two: Explore the City
Depending on your child’s ability to easily adjust their sleeping habits, you may want to play it nice and easy on the second day as well.
It’s a great day to book a Tuktuk tour of the city – it’s a way to see many highlights at once without tiring the kids out too much. Read our Paris by Tuktuk review here.
If it’s a nice day, grab a classic jambon-beurre sandwich from a local bakery (along with some other treats) and head to Jardin de Luxembourg. Here, you can have a casual picnic lunch, let the kids sail old-fashioned toy sailboats in the pond, stroll along the pretty gardens and check out the apiary and greenhouses.
(If it’s not a nice day, switch around Jardin de Luxembourg for Day Three’s Galleries Lafayette.)
Read more about Jardin de Luxembourg on the official Paris Tourism website. Make sure to note the closing time on the day that you are planning to visit. When we were there in the Spring, guards would not let new guests into the gardens after 4:30pm.
For supper, there are many great restaurants close to Jardin de Luxembourg:
- Angelina Paris (3 minute walk)
- Cafe Pierre Herme (6 minute walk)
- Le Bouillon Chartier (about a 30 minute walk or 9 minute taxi)
Day Three: Galleries Lafayette
We are a huge foodie family, so Galleries Lafayette had plenty to keep us happy! You can find some of Paris’s best food offerings under one roof – patisseries, truffles, fresh produce, etc etc. We ate an indulgent lunch at La Maison de la Truffe and were still stuffed by the time it came for supper at Angelina. (Read our review of La Maison de la Truffe here.)
They also have interactive art exhibits and experiences that the kids will love. They change all of the time, but when we visited there was an indoor beach, a suspended trampoline (two stories off the ground), and a glass walk 6 stories off the ground.
We also participated in a macaron baking class led by a French pastry chef here! (Read our review of our macaron class here.)
If you like to shop or browse, there is plenty in the main building. We purchased most of our souvenirs from Galleries Lafayettes Gourmet location (they are two separate buildings across the street from each other) but the main building had gorgeous jewelry, clothing and unique souvenirs, including commissionable paintings from a watercolor artist who works in the building.
During the summer, Galleries Lafayette boasts one of the best rooftop views of the city from its rooftop restaurant – open for breakfast and lunch.
Day Four: 1st Arrondissement (City Center)
There is so much to do in this area of the city – the Louvre, Notre Dame, Paris Island (Pont Neuf), the Conciergerie (where Marie Antoinette was held for years), and a bit further – the Pantheon.
In addition to these obvious spots, there are many hidden gems: Berthillion ice cream, Breizh crepes, Shakespeare and Company for books, Pink Flamingo for pizza, having a picnic or snack along the Sienne, and numerous Instagram-worthy cafes.
Ella and I also made our own customized perfume at Candora, located just minutes from both Paris Island and Notre Dame. Read our full Paris Perfume making experience review here.
One of my favorite restaurants in the city is also in this area – Le Comptoir (at 9 Carrefour de l’Odéon). Around the corner is Breizh crepes, making for a delicious and indulgent evening after a day of sightseeing.
Day Five: Disneyland Paris or Versailles
We are a bonafide Disney family, so there was no way that we could go to Paris without making a day trip to Disneyland Paris.
If Disneyland isn’t your thing, there are many other day trips from Paris that will be worth your while. Older children may love Versailles, or you could take a bus to Monet’s Gardens, take a quick train ride to Brussels or Spain. I don’t recommend taking the Chunnel to London unless you’re truly okay with spending only a few short hours there, as travel will be approximately 2 hours each way.
There are shuttle buses to get to Disneyland Paris, but we found it easier to hire an Uber – it was about 120€ round trip.
I will have another post soon about What to Do at Disneyland Paris, but in short, we prioritized all of the rides and experiences that were unique to that park. While we did eat at the amazingly themed Chez Remy (super cute for a Ratatouille fan), I found the time that it took away from our day was definitely not worth the food part of the experience. I was a bit disappointed in the food at Disneyland Paris, especially considering how amazing the food at WDW and Disneyland is.
Wherever you decide to take your day trip, plan for it to take the whole day. Don’t plan on making it back in time for a dinner reservation.
Day Six: Eiffel Tower, Hot Air Balloon, Arc de Triomphe
We started off our day at Parc André-Citröen where we took a very affordable hot air balloon 300m up in the air, which provided amazing views of the whole city. My knees were like jelly for half the ride, but it was a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that I highly recommend to any family heading to Paris. (Check out our full review of our Paris Hot Air Balloon experience here.)
After checking out the gardens at Parc André-Citröen, we headed over to the Eiffel Tower and spent a good hour checking out the park and carousels surrounding it rather than scaling the structure. If you really want to go up the tower, consider purchasing skip the line tickets. The line-up alone can be several hours during peak seasons.
Personally, I think the best Paris views should INCLUDE the Eiffel Tower, so I prefer rooftop views, the view from the steps at Sacre Couer, or the amazing view from a hot air balloon. But if you’re going to do the Eiffel Tower – do it right! Visit each of the three flours, check out the glass floor on the 1st floor, have a glass of champagne at the in-Tower restaurant or the champagne bar on the third floor, etc.
We had an amazing late lunch at La Malakoff. There are several phenomenal restaurants close to the Eiffel Tower where you can order a prix fix menu for a very reasonable price and enjoy several courses of decadent French cuisine. This is a not-to-be-missed Paris experience that many tourists overlook in their haste to get to the next experience.
Slow down. Order everything that sounds delicious. Take in the view. Enjoy how good it feels to just relax and experience a few stress-free hours with your family. (Maybe bring a book or journal for the kids if they start needing a distraction.) Order the second cocktail or a great cup of coffee. Two or three hours will pass before you know it.
After supper, we wandered over to the Arc de Triomphe and explored the side streets until we were hungry again, and then indulged in a light supper and dessert at Laudaree. (The portions were very small – so you may want to just opt for dessert instead.)
Day Seven: Walking Tour
If you have time for one more Paris activity, I always enjoy taking a food walking tour as a great way to explore part of a new city and indulge in amazing treats along the way.
In Paris, we took a Secret Food Tour in Montmartre. This 3-4 hour experience allowed us to see all of the highlights of the area (Sacre Couer, Wall of Love, and several historic spots I would have overlooked in my own planning) and then indulge in a sit-down feast with our fellow travellers. (Check out our full review of our Secret Food Tour here.)
After the tour, we explored Montmartre a bit more. There are several small art galleries, an art walk, amazing shops, and of course, Sacre Couer. The view from the steps of Sacre Couer is arguably the best free view of Paris. You don’t even need to set foot in the building (especially if the line is super long).
If you have the rest of the day to continue exploring, hit any spots you may have missed or revisit your kids’ favorites! Ella could not get enough of the sailboats at Jardin de Luxembourg and I had to hit Galleries Lafayette one more time for some more French pastries.
Note: older kids may like the catacombs. While Ella was fascinated with the idea of them, after speaking with some friends who had visited, I decided it was probably not going to be worthwhile for us. The experience can last two hours or more (even with priority tickets), and many of my friends’ kids found them either boring or scary. You can read some reviews from other travellers here to help determine if visiting the catacombs is right for you.
Grab your free printable Paris Itinerary here.
Are you planning on taking your family on a Paris vacation? Let me know if you have any questions that I may be able to answer! We saw (and ate) much more than is described in this post, so I’m happy to help any way that I can!
Be sure to PIN THIS POST for your future planning! Check out our full collection of Paris Travel posts here.