Museum visits involving fun and games, child-friendly festivals, treasure hunts, escape games and haunted houses are among the many family-friendly activities in Paris that adults will enjoy just as much as the children.
The vast majority of Paris museums are welcoming for families, offering tours suited to children, educational workshops, storytelling tours and so on. Some museums even have special areas and exhibitions for children.
The Richelieu wing of the Louvre has an exhibition space devoted to children and families: La Petite Galerie, where each year an exhibition explores a particular theme, together with a programme of readings, screenings and concerts at the Louvre Auditorium.
On Wednesdays, Sundays and during the school holidays, the museum puts on two family tours per day, providing an opportunity to explore the collections with a different theme for each visit – Animals at the Louvre, Gods and Heroes, Monsters and Mythical Creatures, etc.
Besides the themed tours, there are workshops, storytelling sessions and actor-led performance tours – fresh, entertaining ways to explore the Louvre’s permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, and great fun for all the family.
More info about the Louvre
The Pompidou Centre
Several of the Pompidou Centre’s spaces and tours are specially geared to families.
The Galerie des enfants for children presents two new exhibition-cum-workshops each year for children aged 4 and older. These are the ideal way for the whole family to learn about the artistic vision and creative techniques of contemporary artists working across all genres.
The Atelier des enfants, a creative space for 2-to-10-year-olds, offers workshops to explore artistic techniques as well as museum trails in the company of an artist or musician and tours involving visitor participation. These activities complement the permanent works and the temporary exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou, enabling both children and adults to learn about the art on display and its creation in a different way.
More info about the Pompidou Centre
Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle
Paris’s natural history museum, the Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle, is a favourite with families. It houses the fascinating Grande Galerie de l’Évolution, where lifelike specimens of nearly 7,000 animals are displayed, as well as the Galerie des enfants (children’s gallery) and the Ménagerie (zoo) at the Jardin des Plantes. The Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie presents no fewer than 650 skeletons of fish, birds and mammals. Children and adults alike will be impressed by the diversity of species on display, both extinct and living. The precious specimens on display in the Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie provide information about the treasures of the Earth and the solar system.
More about the Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle
Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie
The Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie located within the Parc de la Villette makes learning science easy for children. Several permanent and temporary exhibitions explain subjects like insects, special effects, video games, the Universe, water and Darwin in a simple and fun way. The Cité des Enfants has two spaces packed with games and experiments for children aged 2 to 7 and 5 to 12.
More info about the a Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie
The Musée d’Orsay has a treasure hunt trail for families. It is free of cost, and an entertaining yet instructive way for all ages to explore the museum’s collections. Other activities such as shows and family workshops are also available.
More info about the Musée d’Orsay
All the companies offering cruises along the Seine have family-friendly options.
- The Bateaux Parisiens ‘enchanted cruise’ is an enjoyable way for children to see the sights of Paris. Vedettes de Paris organize cruises specially designed for children during the school holidays, as well as an entertaining ‘Mysteries of Paris’ themed cruise.
- Bateaux Parisiens and Bateaux-Mouches have a children’s menu on their lunch and dinner cruises.
Adventure and brain games
I Fly Paris in the Vill’Up shopping centre offers an introduction to indoor skydiving for people from 5 years of age. It’s the perfect activity for any family of thrill-seekers!
More info about I Fly Paris
Many escape games in Paris are either suited to children or take place in venues specially designed for people of all ages. Inside Opéra, which takes place in the Palais Garnier, is suitable for children from 8 years of age. All of the Team Break venues are suited to participants 8 years and older. Leavin Room’s escape game ‘Le Pays des Merveilles’ is for players from 7 years of age. The Kairos game, ‘Pirates des Antilles’, can be played by families with children aged 6 and older.
More info about escape games
Another fun thing to do with the family is a virtual reality experience, which lets you get inside an actual movie, or go diving or rock climbing without ever leaving Paris. The VirtualTime Voltaire and VirtualTime Montorgueil centres are open to kids, as long as they are at least 120cm (3.9 ft) tall.
The Anima agency organizes treasure hunts, quizzes and orienteering for families in search of an offbeat activity for all age groups.
More info about Anima
Other family-friendly activities
Parc Zoologique de Paris
Kids and grownups alike will have a wonderful time gazing at the 180 animal species in the Paris zoo. There are five biozones to explore, and you can also watch the wolves, rhinos, sea lions and lemurs being fed.
More info about the Paris Zoo
Le Manoir de Paris
In this eerily lifelike haunted house, visitors wander from one room into the next with no prior warning of what to expect. The blood-drenched scenes and kooky characters at the Manoir de Paris will send thrills down everyone’s spine.
Not recommended for children under 10
More info about the Manoir de Paris
Something a little different, which everyone is sure to enjoy: watching a horse race at one of the capital’s racecourses. At Vincennes Hippodrome de Paris, the ‘Super dimanche’ event on Sundays is intended to get the whole family interested in horse racing. Every year in springtime, the ‘Dimanches au Galop’ event at the Auteuil and Longchamp racecourses on Sundays offer horse-related fun and sport: races, rides, a merry-go-round, etc.