So, you're in Paris with the kids, and you've set up an impressive sightseeing itinerary. You have a hearty breakfast, step out of the hotel, and realize that it has started to rain… and it doesn't seem like it'll stop anytime soon. Here are some of my Paris rainy day suggestions:
Reservations are needed to visit the Musée des Arts Forains - Fairground Art Museum - but it's definitely worth the effort, because there is no other museum quite like it in Paris, with its carnival atmosphere and the beauty of these rare objects. Jeal-Paul Favand's collection of funfair rides can be viewed in the Parc de Bercy in Paris. Beautiful Belle Époque carousels, game tables from the 1900s, Folie Bergère costumes, and more, are bound to hypnotize every child - and bring out the child in every adult as well.
For the kids: There are many carousels and games to choose from, but if you must ride one, be sure to go on the Vélocipède, a carousel made of bicycles that require audience participation: you to pedal furiously to make it go faster.
For the parents: This is a great chance to discover the beauty of these Belle Epoque carnival objects, and it earns you bragging rights for unearthing this off-the-beaten track museum.
Against the dramatic backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, the Cineaqua at the Trocadero is a great place to spend an afternoon with kids… especially during those cold and rainy days when being outdoors is out of the question.
For the kids: The aquarium, like all aquariums, will work its magic on children, whatever age they are. There are mini cinemas, a petting fish pond (make sure to bring an extra change of clothes for your kids, as they are most likely to go overboard trying to "hug" the petrified fish), and a cool light show that projects swimming fish on the floor just in front of the shark area - where children run wild trying to stamp at them.
For the parents: If you go on a Sunday, Cineaqua now serves brunch, which you can enjoy while staring at the 8-meter high basin right in front of the restaurant.
The largest movie theater in Europe with around 2,800 seats, the Grand Rex offers backstage tours, a great chance to go behind the scenes of this unique art deco cinema.
For the kids: It's a Universal Studio-type tour, with transparent elevators taking you up several floors for panoramic views of the cinema's back stage. Definitely an interactive tour, children are bound to get a kick out of the role-playing games, where they can try out different roles as a director, a projectionist or an actor. Make sure to request an audio tour of your preferred language. There is a particularly delightful surprise at the end of the tour as a reward for the audience's participation.
For the parent: Try to see the Grand Rex hall while the children are occupied, and marvel at the beautiful art deco furnishings, sculpture and ceilings.
The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Pompidou Center, Institut du Monde Arabe and Musée d'Orsay are known to give wonderful bird's-eye views of the city. If you've had enough of the museums, you could always incorporate shopping and sightseeing. Consider ascending to the top floor of the department store, Printemps, along Boulevard Haussmann. The Panoramic Terrace offers fantastic views of the city and it boosts a rooftop café, where you can take in the view of Paris and savour a snack. Indulge the kids in a bit of shopping at the store's two floors dedicated to children. The Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysées also offers fantastic views of the city, and it also hosts 3 exhibitions per year - and it's free.
Technically not in Paris, but still worth bringing the kids to, France Miniature is located about an hour away from the city via RER, and is probably the cheapest way to tour France entirely in the space of one afternoon. Visit replicas of historical monuments and regions of France, from a mini Chateau de Versailles right up to the port of Saint Tropez. It's a fun outing for the entire family, and also in the park are attractions and rides, as well as restaurants. Book your tickets online, and be sure to get there early before the crowds arrive.
It's easy to overdose on art in Paris, what with all the museums to visit. A fun, pop-culture alternative to all the classic art you've been seeing is Chase the Space Invader - a tour designed by Localers to involve the entire family in a search around the city for the ubiquitous Space Invader mosaics! The proposed three-hour hunt is a great way to visit the streets of Paris: children happily hunting for mosaics, and parents leisurely following behind, free to take in the beautiful architecture. Definitely a win-win situation for the entire family! Localers also proposes a Historic Family Adventure tour in Paris, engaging you and your children in a historical walk down the Faubourg St. Antoine quarter and the Marché d’Aligre.
Disneyland Paris is a popular destination for the entire family, but for a veritable French amusement park experience opt for the Parc Asterix instead. This theme park has five different 'worlds': Gaul, Roman Empire, Kings, Across Time and Ancient Greece. There is no lack of rides and spectacles here, and a daily coach departs from the Louvre in the morning and brings you back in the late afternoon.
An do forget to read the article "Paris with the Kids Part 1" in our Travel Guide.
Agathe was absolutely delightful! Her knowledge and charming personality made her an excellent tour guide. I would highly suggest this tour!!
Jesica was a great tour guide and made the experience one of the highlights of our entire trip to Paris. It certainly met our expectations.
Marjorie was just great! I didn't really want to do the Louvre but she made the history come alive in stories and I just LOVED our experience!
Alberto was a great guide, he was very informative. The Catacombs were just awesome. Would definitely recommend this to everyone!!
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