Museums, theatres, parks, hotels, restaurants … Explore Paris with the family
In every picturesque district, park or cultural venue in Paris, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. The city offers plenty of inspiring activities – many of which incorporate technology – for kids of all ages.
ARRIVING IN PARIS WITH THE FAMILY
Transport options for getting into central Paris from a train station or airport: by bus, metro, RER or taxi. Wherever you happen to be arriving from – the South of France, northern or eastern France, the U.K., Belgium, Germany, Italy or Spain – you’ll get off your train in the heart of Paris, at one of the city’s six mainline stations. Each station is served by metro lines, and has taxi ranks outside. From the Paris airports, there are ways of getting to the city centre. If you land at Orly, you can take the Orlybus – a 30-minute bus ride – to Place Denfert-Rochereau. Another option is the Orlyval, a metro that transports travellers to Antony RER station. From here, the RER line B takes you on to the city centreThe T7 tramway takes passengers from Orly airport to Villejuif-Louis-Aragan station, on metro Line 7, in 45 minutes. From Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport (Terminal 1), RER line B takes you to Forum des Halles (1st arrondissement) in the heart of the city in 30 minutes. And the Roissybus service drops you off at the Opéra Garnier in one hour. Le Bus Direct Paris Aéroport shuttles offer transfers from the airport to six locations in central Paris: Gare de Lyon, Gare Montparnasse, the ChampsÉlysées, the Eiffel Tower, Trocadéro and Porte Maillot. Alternatively, you can take a taxi. Some cab companies (like G7) have set up a cab-sharing system (to be booked in advance) to enable travellers to reduce the cost of a journey. Various private shuttle services into central Paris can also be pre-booked at a fixed fare.
Family services at the airport Games, films, digital reading material, baby facilities and more: with all the services at Paris Aéroport, time will fly as you wait for your plane. The long wait for a flight to be announced can be very trying for kids as well as their parents, but that’s a thing of the past at Paris Orly and Paris Charles-de-Gaulle, where there are free services designed especially for children: nurseries, pushchair hire and much more. At Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle, you’ll find play areas near the bars for 4-10year-olds, like the one with a Disney ‘Cars’ theme in Terminal 2. In the Gulli play areas (Terminals 1, 2A, 2C, 2th and 3), the focus is on educational games, with a hopscotch court and an interactive star chart, plus televisions showing children’s programmes. Meanwhile, teenagers can play all their favourite video games on Playstation (Terminals 1, 2AC, D, 2G, 2th, 2F and 3) or touchscreen tablets (Terminals 1 and 2B).
Orly has a new ‘control tower’-themed play area in Hall A for 4-to-10-year-olds, where they can play at being air traffic controllers. Other pastimes in Hall A include a slide, board games, tablets and Disney movie screenings.
Fast and efficient, public transport in Paris takes you everywhere in the capital. Paris has a comprehensive network of metro, bus and tram lines. Together they crisscross the 20 arrondissements, while the RER (Réseau express régional) suburban express trains also serve the inner and outer suburbs of the city. On the metro, children enjoy taking the overhead lines 2 and 6 to watch the bustle of city life beneath, and also lines 1 and 14, which are fully automatic, driverless trains. Riding in the front car and watching through the panoramic glass windows as the tunnels whoosh past can be just as exciting as a fairground ride. In most cases, it is more cost-effective to buy un carnet, i.e. 10 tickets. This ‘Ticket T+’ allows you to change between the metro and a bus, switch buses, or change between a bus and a tram in the course of your journey within a time period of 1hr 30. Buses are the most convenient way to get around town if you have a small child in a pushchair, or for people with reduced mobility. Let’s not forget that most of the Paris metro infrastructure dates back to the early 20th century!
RATP – www.ratp.fr
With people-carrier taxis and minivans, families can get around with ease. In Paris, regular saloon taxis are limited to three or four passengers. But there are other ways for large families to get around. You can find large estate car or minivan type taxis in the streets, or you can order one from a taxi company. More information on www.parisinfo.com
A hotel stay with the kids Child-friendly guest rooms and facilities, reduced rates for children … Parisian hotels know how to welcome families. In Paris, some guest rooms have communicating doors, or even triple or four-bed rooms. Cots are also available, and if children sleep in the same room as their parents, they often benefit from special rates, and sometimes stay for free. This applies up to the age of 12. Chain hotels in particular are very family-friendly.
More information on www.parisinfo.com
Other types of accommodation for families
From furnished rentals to camping: alternative accommodation for visitors looking for independence. A practical accommodation solution for families is renting a furnished apartment, a made-to-measure service offered by specialist agencies: you choose the district, the number of rooms, facilities for children, etc. An intermediary option is an aparthotel, which offers fully-equipped apartments where guests can do their own cooking. And fresh-air fans will enjoy staying on the campsite in the Bois de Boulogne on the outskirts of Paris, a stone’s throw from the Jardin d’Acclimatation.
Aparthotels Adagio City, Citadines Paris, Villa Daubenton, Residhome Paris Rosa Park, Hotel Home Paris 16, etc. Furnished rentals Sweet Inn, My Nest Inn Apartments, Home Rental Service, Paris Attitude, PFA Travel, Always an Apartment in Paris, Home Town, TrocMaison.com, We-Paris, My Paris Agency, Abritel Home Away, Onefinestay. Campsites Camping Indigo at the Bois de Boulogne, 2 allée du Bord-de-l’Eau, Paris 16th – M° Porte-d’Auteuil – www.camping-indigo.com
All adresses on www.parisinfo.com
Get a pass! A combined ‘transport and sightseeing’ ticket is the smart, money-saving solution for a family day out. Transport, museums, monuments, leisure … Passes and dual passes combining a journey with a visit are practical and cost-effective. You can buy them in advance online, which leaves you all set to start your day of sightseeing – no queuing up at ticket desks. The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau has come up with the Paris Pass Lib’. This pass not only saves you time by offering skip-the-line access to major museums and monuments in Paris and Ile-de-France, it also gives you discounts of up to 20% on transport, museums, cruises, etc. For transport, the Paris Visite pass gives unlimited travel on the metro, RER, bus, tram and suburban trains (3 zones) for 1, 2, 3 or 5 days. There is a reduced rate for children aged 4 to 11. Paris Visite also entitles you to special rates at some attractions such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Tour Montparnasse and Disneyland Paris. And, if you’re looking for a pass to visit Paris’s numerous museums (and other places of interest), you can buy the Paris Museum Pass, valid for 2, 4 or 6 days, which gives you access to more than 60 museums and monuments in Paris and the Paris region.
Paris Pass Lib – http://reservation.parisinfo.com Paris Museum Pass – http://reservation.parisinfo.com Paris Visite – http://reservation.parisinfo.com
Reductions and free admission
There is no reason for young people to miss out on culture, as they have free admission to national museums and monuments. Young people aged under 18 are entitled to free admission at national (i.e. state owned) monuments and museums such as the Louvre, the Musée du Moyen Âge, the Château de Fontainebleau and the Musée d’Orsay. European Union nationals aged under 26 can also visit all national museums for free (though workshops and special events are paying). Some establishments, such as Paris Story, have ‘family’ tickets, while others, like Mer de Sable and Parc Astérix, offer discounts for large families.