A helicopter flight, an escape game in a famous monument, a detective challenge in the Palais Royal, an art workshop in a museum, a cooking class with a popular chef: these are some of the more unusual things and one-of-a-kind experiences to try out in Paris with the kids.
Get an adrenaline rush
Paris, the City of Lights, is also a great place to have some truly unique experiences. Thrill-seekers will not resist the temptation to book a helicopter flight with Helipass to admire the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe from on high, or soar to a height of 150 metres in a hot-air balloon at the Parc André Citroën. Another thrilling experience – an indoor one – is iFly’s freefall simulator, a 14-metre glass tunnel that lets both children and adults see what skydiving feels like.
Fans of immersive experiences will enjoy the new 4D film Attention menhir at the Parc Astérix theme park. Moving seats and physical sensations like wind and rain make viewers feel they are actually inside the little Gaulish village. And at Sherwood Park, a 260-metre-long zip wire and a night-time treetop trail will get your heart racing. Adventure lovers take note!
More ideas for thrilling things to do in Paris
New ways to see monuments
Paris’s monuments and museums are world famous. They are welcoming to children, offering exciting new ways for visitors to explore the collections.
Set off to track down the Phantom of the Opera, find clues to solve a mystery or step into the shoes of a historical figure: these are just some of the challenges set by the escape games cropping up all over Paris, inside many of the city’s landmark sights. In the Palais Garnier’s popular escape game, visitors explore the opera house in the course of an immersive detective investigation led by costumed actors and musicians. If you’re an escape game fan, you’ll find that many other places can be explored this way, including the Conciergerie (a Murder Party), the Louvre (escape room challenges at some times of year), the Montmartre district (Myurbanexperience), the Musée de l'Armée, and the Manoir de Paris (Skeleton Key).
More info about escape games
Unusual guided tours provide an opportunity to see a different side to Paris. On Visites Spectacles tours, actors tell stories or lead investigations as they take you through Montmartre, the Marais, the Palais Royal etc. using techniques like dramatization and treasure hunts. Some monuments, such as the Invalides, put on sound and light shows that bring the history of the place alive. For a more in-depth visit, you can go behind the scenes at the Palais Garnier, the Stade de France and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
More info about Paris behind the scenes
Experience virtual reality
Virtual reality (VR) is an increasingly popular leisure activity and among the most unusual experiences to try with the kids. At MK2 VR, an immersive VR-focused venue near the Bibliothèque nationale de France, kids can fly above dinosaurs in the course of a Jurassic flight. You can also take to the skies in the FlyView Paris simulator, where you fly over Paris with a jet pack. There’s an immersive adventure to suit all tastes!
Meet your favourite heroes
Paris has some unmissable events for manga, superhero, cosplay and video game fans. Every year, fans flock to the capital and its environs for the Paris Manga & Sci Fi Show, Japan Expo, Comic-Con, and Paris Games Week. Another major event for young book lovers is the Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse in the town of Montreuil, with a vast selection of books and a number of fringe events.
More info about Paris for geeks
See what it’s like to be an artist
Art workshops organized by the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Pompidou Centre and the Château de Versailles give budding artists the opportunity to learn to draw, paint and sculpt inside some of the greatest museums. Some are dedicated venues for children and teenagers, like the Petite Galerie at the Louvre, the Galerie des enfants and Studio 13/16 at the Pompidou Centre, and the Musée en herbe. At the Monnaie de Paris, children are taught how to make a medal and at the Palais de Tokyo, they are initiated into contemporary art.
At the Philharmonie de Paris, parents and children can be in a participatory concert together and attend sessions in which children are introduced to music. On the visual arts front, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie organizes photography workshops for beginners, while the Cinémathèque Française has filmmaking workshops for kids.
Take advantage of the half-term holiday to enrol kids in a children’s workshop or take part in a family workshop. There is something for everybody and all ages on themes such as drawing, collage, sculpture, photography, cinema and music!
Learn about science and Nature
For budding scientists, there are the collective experiments at the Palais de la Découverte, where visitors of all ages take part in scientific demonstrations. In the spectacular Faraday cage experiment, for example, kids and grownups will be astounded to see how a high-voltage shield makes the hair of a volunteer from the audience stand on end. It will definitely make an impression on you!
Another must-see venue in Paris is the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, where child-friendly exhibitions are organized all year round. The venue is also home to the one-of-a-kind Cité des enfants for 2-to-12-year-olds.
Nature lovers will have an unforgettable experience at the Parc zoologique de Paris (Paris zoo) watching sea lions and lemurs being fed, and at the Aquarium de Paris, where they are allowed to feed the sharks and pet the koi carp.
Take a cooking class together
Food is a big part of life in Paris and for foodies both big and small, a trip to the City of Lights is a good opportunity for the entire family to sign up for a cooking class. The eminent chef Alain Ducasse’s Ecole de Cuisine offers a range of different classes at which children accompanied by their parents can learn how to make tasty snacks, or a complete meal in the company of other kids. The Cordon Bleu cookery school teaches children the basics of cooking at workshops led by professional chefs. Other options for little foodies include learning to make chocolate at the Musée du chocolat, making pizzas at the Casa Luca restaurant, and making French macarons and viennoiserie at WeCanDoo’s workshops.
Paris by the river
On sunny days, the redeveloped Seine quaysides are the perfect place for a leisurely stroll with the family. For a journey along the water, try the Bateaux Parisiens ‘enchanted cruise’ where actors tell children the story of Paris in a highly entertaining way. Sporty kids will enjoy the one-of-a-kind offers from CN19glisse: an aquaplaning or sky ski experience on the Seine. And if you’d like to take the helm, hire a small motorboat from Marin d'eau douce to sail the Canal d’Ourcq, stopping for a snack along the way.