Plan ahead to get the most from your visit.
Paris is known for its bustling streets, chic cafés, rich history and beautiful art. But when visiting with the whole family, you'll need to ensure that everyone's tastes are catered for. Young children can be particularly difficult to please, as many museums involve long queues, especially during the busier seasons, and walking for long periods of time can prove tiring. With this in mind, creating a rough plan at the very least can be really helpful when visiting Paris. A river tour along the Seine can prove to be a relaxing way of seeing the city from a different viewpoint, and it might even be worth checking out the city's local walking tours.
A trip Disneyland is at the top of the itinerary for many families. Today the park includes many different attractions within both the Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Studios Park. In Walt Disney Studios, you can see how Disney animations are made, from the classics to the more modern computer-generated creations. Animagique shows stage performances of Disney stories, and even features the flying pink elephants from Dumbo's imagination. Older members of the family will enjoy Aerosmith's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster which blasts you from 0 to 100km/h in less than three seconds! The original Disneyland Park has rides and shows for all the family to enjoy, including the iconic Sleeping Beauty's Castle and the chance to launch into space in Space Mountain. After sunset, catch one of the evening shows and see the castle come alive with fireworks and lasers, as well as some of your favourite characters dancing across its walls.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
If your family is after a more realistic architectural wonder, then a visit to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is a must. One of the most iconic structures in Paris, many enjoy spotting the gargoyles that are dotted along the cathedral's exterior walls, and parents retell the fictional story surrounding it to young fans of The Hunchback of Notre Dame – the story of the deaf bell-ringer, Quasimodo, and the kind-hearted Esmerelda. A beautiful example of French Gothic architecture, the cathedral's features include large stained-glass windows, with the South Rose Window being the most memorable, the South Tower (387 steps to the top!) and an archaeological crypt. Whilst entry to the main cathedral is free, there are some small fees to enter the crypt and climb the South Tower.
Food, glorious food!
During the busy weekends, hundreds flock to the food markets in Paris to purchase quality local produce. If you're looking to cook your own food during your stay, food markets provide fantastic inspiration in the form of charcuterie, freshly baked breads, cheeses, fruit and veg, butchers and fish stalls. With a mouth-watering selection of foods to feast the eyes (and stomach) on, the Marché Beauvau-Aligre is the perfect spot for an entertaining stroll, but if you want to avoid the crowds then it's probably best to miss out a Sunday visit. One of Paris' most well-known covered markets, here you'll see the wonderful huge cheese wheels and warm treats from the local bakeries that make it a favourite destination for locals and visitors alike.
The Rue Mouffetard is another wonderful street market to visit, overflowing with sweet stalls, fresh seafood and yet more delicious cheese! The fairly narrow street market delivers some of the best organic and fair-trade goods the city has to offer, and is dotted with small, inexpensive restaurants, serving up delicious local cuisine. It is possible to fall into the occasional tourist trap here, so be sure to poke your head into a few places before deciding on somewhere to eat. The best day of the week to visit Rue Mouffetard is a Saturday, when you'll still feel the hustle and bustle of a busy market without feeling too overwhelmed by the crowds.
Discover the city's greener side
The parks of Paris provide quiet havens away from the city centre, and can be a great place for a picnic, or for the kids to have a run around. Parc Monceau is located in Paris' 8th arrondissement, and is very accessible if you have a wheelchair, or are with young children. The original sections of the park were designed by painter and writer Louis Carrogis Carmontelle in the late 18th century. Some of its most beautiful features include a classical Roman colonnade and a mini Egyptian pyramid, and a stroll through the gardens will lead you past water lily-speckled ponds, and benches that line the pathways that weave between informally placed plants and bushes.
For those willing to travel a little further out, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont lies to the north east of the city centre. A saunter through these gardens can be more of a strain if you're with children as the park has steeper slopes, but the panoramic city views are well worth it. The park boasts a lake, several hidden grottoes, waterfalls, temples and the grassy knolls are ideal for picnicking. Within the park, you'll also find a suspension bridge and a 98ft tall brick bridge, with a slightly unfortunate nickname (Suicide Bridge). The park is one of unmatched beauty in Paris, and on a sunny day is a must for visitors to the city.
Wildlife, science and art
Paris is bursting with museums and galleries to visit, and whilst a trip to the Louvre can be the cornerstone of any visit, a walk through the hushed corridors of an art gallery might not be suitable for all ages. The Menagerie due Jardin des Plantes is the zoo located in Paris' botanical gardens, and is a fantastic place to take the family for the chance to see all kinds of animals, from reptiles and spiders, to adorable red pandas, flamingos and orangutans.
The Museum of Science and Industry (Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie) is a fantastic interactive experience and stands as Europe's biggest science museum. Educational and inspiring, the museum features an impressive selection of temporary and permanent exhibitions, covering everything from the human brain, to the science of light and colour. 'The Great Story of the Universe' takes visitors through time to discover the theories of how the universe began, and how the laws of physics were established. Lovers of art and culture should head to the Centre Georges Pompidou which has been hailed as the cultural hub of Paris, and contains the largest museum for modern art in Europe – the Musee National d'Art Moderne.
Paris is a city like no other, and when travelling by car is roughly three hours from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais terminal.
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