Oh my gosh! Your kids will love Paris! Even if it’s just a flying visit, a quick stopover in this beautiful capital is a must. This list of the Best Things to do in Paris with Kids on a Budget features ‘free’ or ‘good-value’ activities that will make sure that you make the most of your family visit.
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#1. Climb the Eiffel Tower, Champ-de-Mars
Your kids will love this stunning landmark! Tour Eiffel is a busy place and queues tend to be big. Take the stairs if it’s possible as the lines are shorter, it costs less and you are more aware of where you are in the tower.
Once on the 2nd level, you will need to take the elevator to the top. The queue here is shorter than on the ground but you may still have a bit of a wait. (Tip: Shorter queues and capture the Eiffel Tower in your Paris photo- see #5)
If you decide not to climb it, stand back and take beautiful family photos! There’s a small playground with a carousel at the south end of the Champ-de-Mars.
#2. Visit Notre-Dame
FREE: There’s a good reason why Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most popular attractions in Paris so don’t miss it! The building itself is truly impressive with magnificent stained glass windows and beautiful art work.
The kids are sure to love spotting all the hideous gargoyles (see if you can spot the gargoyle with a hat, round the side of the Cathedral!) After your visit, take time to enjoy the squares and bridges around it which are always teaming with live music and street performers.
#3. Cité des Enfants at Palais de la Découverte
Must see! There is so much to do at Cité des Enfants with activities centred on games, actions and fun experiments! There are 2 sections: one for 2 to 7 year olds and one for 5 to 12 year olds. Braille and sign-language are used in some activities, and while French is the main language, audio guides are available in other languages. There are demonstrations all day but make sure you book a visit to the Planetarium!
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#4. Outdoor Adventure at Jardin du Luxembourg
FREE: These breath-taking gardens were created in 1612 and are split into French gardens and English gardens. In between the two you will find a forest and a large pond where you can steer remote control boats.
The kids can learn about bee-keeping in the apiary or view the stunning orchids in the greenhouses. There are lots of famous statues dotted throughout Jardin du Luxembourg including the monumental Medici fountain. A small fee is required for the great playground and there are regular puppet shows and live concerts in the bandstand.
#5. Arc de Triomphe
A great alternative to visiting the Eiffel Tower, if you don’t want to face huge queues with the kids! The Arc de Triomphe is FREE for children and teens under 17.
The top can only be reached by climbing up its 40 stairs, but the view from the top is well worth it!
The ‘eternal flame’ for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is re-lit every evening at 6:30 pm.
#6. Views at the Sacré-Coeur
FREE: There are incredible views from outside the Sacré-Coeur so make sure you have your camera before you climb the steps to the top of Montmartre hill. Inside this gleaming white iconic building, the beautiful ceiling is covered with the largest mosaic in France. Another busy part of Paris, the streets around the Basilica have plenty of charming shops and restaurants.
#7. Take a Boat Ride on the Seine
If it’s raining, the Bateaux Mouches boat rides on the River Seine are usually covered, so it’s a super way to see Paris while staying dry – and you have a seat! Depending on the company, rides on the river usually run for about an hour and offer views of the city’s major sites. Live commentary is generally available in French and English, and there are also audio guides. For little kids, try to book the ‘Enchanted Cruise’ which features costumed actors dressed as elves who present stories about Paris through song.
#8. Free Visits at the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay
FREE: See some of the greatest art works in Paris for free by availing of special offers like Free First Sundays. Musée d’Art Moderne, the fabulous kid-friendly- Pompidou Centre, and the Musée d’Orsay all offer free first Sunday visits.
It’s also worth knowing that museums, like the Louvre and the Sainte Chapelle are free all of the time for people under 26. There is also a number of places, like the Musée de la Vie Romantique and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, which offer free entry every day, all year round so if you get a chance you should check them out!
Want more ideas for a Paris trip? See 10 FREE Things to do in Paris with Kids.
Can you recommend some more things to do in Paris on a budget? We’d love to hear your feedback, so please let us know below.
If you’re travelling with kids to other city destinations, check out Free Things to do in Brisbane or Free Things to do in New York.