The Ile-de-France region is full of chateaux steeped in history: genuine treasures of French cultural heritage. Offering many activities for children, including trails for kids to enjoy and walks in the gardens, they make for a wonderful excursion on a family trip to Paris.
The Palace of Versailles tops the list of must-sees, and a visit is a great way to get children interested in French history. While the Hall of Mirrors and the magnificent gardens designed by Lenôtre usually grab their attention, there are also specific activities for young visitors: guided tours of the collections, a discovery trail and interesting workshops.
At the Château de Vincennes, children will have fun exploring the famous medieval keep. They are given a little illustrated booklet featuring Marc, a winged lion, who reveals the secrets of life in the Middle Ages on every page.
And, for a visit combining culture and the outdoors, head to the Domaine de Chantilly. The estate has trails specially designed for children aged 3 and onwards. After a visit, kids love to run and play in the grounds and gardens of the chateau, where they can spot wildlife or find their way through a 4,000 m² maze.
The Château de Breteuil is a magical kingdom inhabited by some of the best-known characters in fairytales by Charles Perrault: Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Tom Thumb and so on. Animated scenes in the outbuildings recount their adventures, and there are many other activities to keep children entertained. Another fairytale castle to visit near Paris is the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, where children can take a costumed tour.
Medieval buttresses, a vast, light-filled cloister, imposing buildings and a vegetable garden filled with unusual edible plants make up the timeless charm of the Abbaye de Royaumont. There are discovery trails for children, and a range of activities to choose from.
Finally, the Château de Pierrefonds near Compiègne, famous for its raised walkways and imposing keep, organizes inventive tours and workshops for children on weekends.