When we decided to have our family vacation in Paris, I knew I wanted to focus on experiences. Taking a Hot Air Balloon over Paris was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am so happy I was able to share with my daughter, and I’m sharing all about it today in hopes that your family can have this amazing experience, too!
The Best Way to See Paris is by Hot Air Balloon
While researching our Paris family vacation, I really wanted to find the best view of the city.
I had heard that the Eiffel Tower was ironically not the best view because you end up missing the most iconic aspect of the city skyline: the Eiffel Tower!
We checked out a couple rooftop views and the view from Sacre Couer is amazing – but hands down, the best view of the city was from our hot air balloon ride!
(Above is how close you actually are to the Eiffel Tower, below is the view with binoculars or a good zoom.)
Ballon Generali Paris
When I stumbled on the Ballon Generali, I expected it to be expensive and a bit too scary for my sensitive girl.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Tickets for adults were 12€ and children 3-11 were 6€, so a hot air balloon ride for a family of four would only be 36€. Can you imagine? Being able to take your family for a hot air ballon ride in PARIS for the cost of a couple pizzas!
Those are the prices for a shared ride which will have about 5-8 other passengers on board with you.
We had plenty of room to wander around and it was nice having other guests available to snap a picture of Ella and I on the balloon!
If you’d prefer a private hot air balloon ride, the price is 375€ for 30 minutes.
The hot air balloon ride is a tethered balloon that rises up to 300 m (980 ft), making it the second highest point in Paris after the Eiffel Tower.
Tethering means the balloon is securely anchored throughout the flight. It ascends directly above it’s anchor point, and while the balloon will move around slightly due to wind, it doesn’t travel (and it’s not bumpy or jarring).
This was perfect for us for a first hot air balloon experience.
I dug into their site and was really impressed with their commitment to safety, however, just know that their commitment to safety means that you may need to be flexible in when you plan to ride the hot air balloon.
They absolutely will not fly the balloon in inclement weather. They update their website to let guests know if the balloon is flying or not, and that may change a few times throughout the day.
If you pre-book your tickets and they are not flying when you arrive, they can swap your ticket for a general, open-ended admission AND you get a free virtual reality hot air balloon experience.
So, when planning your Paris itinerary, plan to know what can be moved around if the balloon isn’t flying when you intend to visit, and try to plan your visit early in the week so you don’t run out of time.
Preparing Kids for a Hot Air Balloon Ride
So, as I mentioned, Ella is a very nervous little girl when it comes to experiences like this.
She doesn’t even like ferris wheels, so for almost a month leading up to our hot air balloon ride I prepared her for the experience.
We talked about the safety of a tethered hot air balloon ride; we talked about how new experiences can make us feel nervous and excited but that we didn’t need to let fear stop us from having this amazing experience; and, we talked about how we were going to handle any nervous feelings on the ballon ride.
Heading to the park and the check-in process were positive and Ella was so excited seeing the balloon up in the air from the waiting area.
But when it came to our time to board… there were tears.
The staff was really understanding and gave us an extra minute to take a breath before boarding. If your child needs to calm down for a bit longer, you can always join the next ride – it’s flexible and accommodating.
Ella started out the ride on the floor of the hot air balloon, nervous and positive that she would not be standing up through the flight…
But eventually, curiousity got the better of her and not only did she stand up – she started walking around the hot air balloon to see all of the different views!
She even complained at the end of the 15 minutes saying she wanted to stay on longer!
I was so proud of her, we took a tonne of special pictures afterwards to commemorate the experience, and also paid a visit to the Ballon Generali gift shop and picked up a special necklace to remind her of her bravery.
(The adrenaline rush afterwards was also pretty incredible.)
Ballon Generali is located at Parc André-Citroën, close to the Javel or Boulevard Victor metro stops.
It is one of the largest parks in Paris, and one of the few where you are allowed to walk and sit on the grass. The fountains and pools were empty during our Springtime visit, but the gardens were in full bloom!
The six serial gardens are each associated with a metal, a planet, a day of the week, a state of the water, and a sense:
- The blue garden: copper, Venus, Friday, rain, and the sense of smell,
- The green garden: tin, Jupiter, Thursday, spring water, and the sense of hearing.
- The orange garden: mercury (the metal), Mercury (the planet), Wednesday, creeks, and the sense of touch.
- The red garden: iron, Mars, Tuesday, waterfalls, and the sense of taste.
- The silver garden: silver, the Moon, Monday, rivers, and sight.
- The golden garden: gold, the Sun, Sunday, evaporation, and the 6th sense.
There are also two hectare-wide gardens adjacent to the park.
I would highly recommend packing a picnic lunch and planning to explore the gardens and just relax at the park following your hot air balloon experience. The Ballon Gift shop also had an ice cream freezer so you can plan on treating the kids to a treat if it’s a hot day.
We were both just so elated after our experience, it was nice to revel in it and not rush off to another experience shortly after.
(Plus, the gardens are gorgeous to grab some post-flight family pictures!)
Even though my knees felt like jelly for most of the ride, I would highly recommend this experience to any family planning on visiting Paris.
Not only is it an incredibly affordable experience, it’s truly one that you and your kids will remember for the rest of your lives! I still think it’s unbelievable that I got to take my little girl on a hot air balloon ride in Paris (and I didn’t have to save up for months to do it).
You can get more information or book your tickets online on the Ballon Generali website.
Taking a hot air balloon ride in Paris with your kids is something you will remember for the rest of your life – and they will, too!