Head for the museums!
Top 5 museums that are free for children
Some of the museums that kids love most don’t even charge to let them in! Fans of stuffed animals will be impressed with the Grande Galerie de l'évolution at the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (free for those aged under 26).Young gourmets won’t want to miss the Musée gourmand du chocolat, which is free for under-6s accompanied by an adult.
For a great family outing, go and feast your eyes on the marvellous machines and life-size inventions at the Musée des Arts et Métiers (free for under-26s). Fancy rubbing shoulders with the great and good? Check out the waxworks at Grévin Paris (free for under-6s). Budding scientists will be fascinated by the hands-on Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie where they can conduct all kinds of experiments (Exhibitions are free for children under 2-years-old). It’s worth remembering that the aquarium in the Cité is free and open to everyone all year round!
Useful tip: Are you planning a family museum visit? The good news is that some of the major museums have child-friendly guides to help make it a fun adventure. The Louvre offers a playful downloadable kids’ route map/game on its website, the Musée d’Orsay dedicated website Les Petits M'O for 5-18 year olds, the game surveys or the Manip's at the house of the Musée des Arts et Métiers or the game booklets of the Musée de l'Homme. Other exhibition venues also have guides for children, ask for information.
Fun for kids at museums and cultural venues
A host of cultural venues have set up fun activities and workshops for children that are completely free:
- At the 104, the Maison des Petits (House of Children) organizes workshops, events, reading sessions and games around a particular theme or artwork for children aged 0-5 years.
- Every weekend the Fondation Louis Vuitton organises a 15-minute Micro-visit & Storytime for 4- to 8-year olds accompanied by an adult, with free entry and no booking required. Opening times may vary during French school holidays, so check in advance.
- The Musée des Arts et Métiers holds a Discovery Quest for families with kids aged 7 to 12, taking them on a child-friendly trail around the museum’s permanent collections. No booking required and it’s free when you show your museum admission ticket. Remember under-26s enjoy free admission to the museum at all times.
- On Wednesdays and Saturdays or fro Tuesday to Saturday (during zone C school holidays) at 3pm, the Institut du Monde Arabe holds a Story Hour, open to children from 4 upwards. Although it’s free, you must book in advance: call 01 40 51 38 14 between 10am and 5pm.
- The MAC/VAL organises, for babies, children and teenagers, several free activities on reservation (firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01 43 91 64 23): Babies at the MAC VAL from 8 months old, All-Terrain Visits from 4 years old, Artist's Book Workshops from 5 years old, Contemporary Art Factories from 6 years old and many other events!
- New at La Villette: Now there’s Little Villette, a 1,000-m² zone dedicated to children and families with all sorts of activities and workshops. Admission is free.
- Many museums, monuments and cultural sites in Paris and the Ile-de-France region also offer free virtual tours for the whole family. Find all the information in our article Discover Paris on a virtual visit.
Sports and Leisure
There are plenty of free leisure activities for kids all over Paris
The best places to go for some family fun in Paris are undoubtedly the city’s parks and gardens. Many of them offer children’s play areas equipped with the traditional swings, slides and sandpits, but that’s not all. You’ll find other free attractions that are well worth a visit, such as the huge slide in the Dragon Garden at the parc de La Villette, the hot air balloon in the Parc André-Citroën, the adventure playground in the Jardin Nelson-Mandela and the climbing wall in the Parc de Belleville.
- The Parc Rives de Seine also has lots of free activities for young kids: maze, snakes and ladders, slate drawing wall, hopscotch, climbing wall, via ferrata, football pitch, and more.
If your little ones still have energy to burn, why not sign them up to do some sports? The City of Paris offers free activities and lessons for children aged 7 to 17 years old as part of Paris Sport Vacances.
For full details, go to https://www.paris.fr/sport, section "Comment faire du sport
Free major events for kids
Paris Plages also has children’s play areas with workshops for kids.
The summer festival Les Pestacles is held in the Parc Floral de Paris and its shows for children are free, although you need to pay for admission to the park.
Mini Rock en Seine is a free event for kiddie rockers aged 6 to 10, held annually at the end of August. The programme includes storytelling sessions, workshops, dressing up and parties while adults enjoy the concerts at the Rock en Seine festival in the Domaine de Saint Cloud.
And to end the year in style, the City of Paris allows free rides on its children’s merry-go-rounds from mid-December to the beginning of January.