Monday, June 17, 2013

Paris with Children

Paris is a kids city.
We love to think of Paris as super glamorous, sophisticated and romantic, but that's not how it seems after 6 months here. There's so much to do for kids (and for our inner kid). Most French families have an average of 3 children - a jolly threesome of kidlets.
Dejeuner sur l'herbe for these school children at Giverny where they get in free under the age of 7. When I stopped in the tourist office why was I surprised to see a pretty green round table laid out with crayons and coloring pages of French historic sights? Kids get perks everywhere you go in France. Almost every exhibition I've visited has free games for kids related to the exhibits.
There's no reason to think twice about bringing children to Paris. And Kim Horton Lavasque's new Paris with Children lays it out for you area by area:Louvre-Tuileries, Marais and Bastille, Notre-dame, Latin Quartier, Saint-Germain, D'Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Champs Élysées, Montmartre - where to play, stay, eat, shop in detail.
I've never seen a town with so many merry-go-rounds. If there's a park usually there's a merry-go-round somewhere. All aboard! Paris has like 600 parks. (Do get the wonderful free Paris park app called CityGardens) Who isn't a kid at heart anyway?
Nor have I seen so many scooters with both kids and grown ups.
Is there another town on the planet with as many pastry and chocolate shops? So much joy and whimsy.
More whimsy. Why I feel so at home here. Ladybugs for everyone.
Red riding hoods galore whether on your back or in a theatre...
So much goofiness in Paris and great glasses for kids. I know, I'm wearing them.
Lunettes cookies! What's one to think? I really didn't 'get' it until living here fulltime how playful and childlike the French are.
So many toy shops to drool over. Wait I've already done that.
What I love about Kim's book is we can all get great tips from it. It's got the best collection of kids shops I've seen outside a Japanese bookstore and it's in English.
Is it only in Paris you see future ballerinas-to-be prancing down the street? I think so.


  1. I always wondered why it was that I loved Paris so much. I love whimsy and child like happiness, so now I know. Thanks! Have bookmarked this book.

    1. It all makes perfect sense or nonsense rather.
      So many fun things to do inParis...really it's very child-centric IMHO

  2. I can see our Noah going there before me:) His mom and dad went on their honeymoon and they talk of going back..Love the aquarelle and I really enjoy when you takes us shopping in toy stores and art stores:)
    Beaucoup de ballerines here too..and superheroes shopping..

  3. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Love those little flying girls! SF is getting to a point where people with kids can't afford to live here. Too sad.

  4. I bet your previous observations about the polite deportment of French children has a lot to do with families having more kids and the city having so much for kids to in Paris are a pleasure to live with!

    1. Ahem...the French give a 'family allowance' for each child so...thanks to Socialism perks...

  5. We had a wonderful time with our children in Paris when we first took them four years ago at ages 4, 6, and 7. We are taking them again this summer. Beautiful pictures - thank you!

  6. François1:39 PM

    more difficult; Paris for the boys teenager

    Parc de la Villette : his submarine, the Géode (IMAX cinéma) etc ...
    Musée de l'air et de l'espace au Bourget

  7. Patricia3:09 PM

    Surprised and delighted that Paris is so kid friendly. You always give such great tips on books to read. I've enjoyed them all. And I do see junior ballerinas twirling down the street frequently ... my neighorbood library is across the street from a ballet studio.

  8. Anonymous6:33 PM

    Don't know how to post to your blog. Interesting PB today. I'm sure you know that the French Government subsidizes families to encourage more children. Huge maternity leave benefits, direct payments for third/fourth child. The population growth was stagnant, with immigrant population growing at a faster rate than home-growns. Gawd, as you would say, can't have that.
    The culture is very child-positive, with all the programs you showed, and Creches for infants, pre-schools with professinal teachers, and children welcome everywhere

  9. What fun!
    If only the US would support families in the same way!

    Buster says hi!

  10. in QC..there are.. Family Allowances paid for the government..paid on a monthly basis..not so in the US?

  11. The French do childhood very well!

  12. Anonymous12:22 AM

    Love love love the ladybug cake let and Limoges box?


  13. I think many of us are kids at heart--Joe is. You too, I think, Carol. I'm probably not as much--could learn from all the goofiness, oui!? But it's lovely to think about the French being so witty and charming about things.

    Did I tell you I loved the Monet sketches yesterday? I did. ;)

  14. And don't forget that the French loved Jerry Lewis! I live in a area of the country that is also very child-centric, so I take it for granted that there will be lots of activities for kids. Does anyone know how much the "family allowance" is for French families? Paris and San Francisco are certainly comparable in living costs.

  15. Anonymous10:28 AM

    France does love their children. I remember every summer, right before going back
    to the states, my mother would take us to get pencils, pens, the "cartable", folders. All the back to school stuff because it was so much nicer.

  16. Thank you for the tour! I would love to bring our boy there and combine it with staying innOrovance after visiting Paris((: great idea! Live the French for living kids and especially threat they bring them up... Not spoiled but well behaved(:
    My idea exactly...
    Hugs z

  17. Your drawing of the marry-go-round horse put a big smile on my face. I'll never grow too old to want to ride one.

  18. You are spot on, Carol. Yep, children are also suddenly given the treatment at Pierre Hermé. On my last 2 chocolate walks in the past week, children on the tour have been given macarons on the house! I wanna be a kid, I wanna be a kid...!

  19. I love seeing all the families in parks in Paris, but I never thought about all there is to do! This is a very helpful post!

  20. Great post, Carol. Paris really is great with kids. The French adore them. Recently, we were at lunch at a lovely old restaurant in the 16th and our group of four adults and five kids took up an entire wall of booth and four tables. The waiter brought each of the children a madeleine, but our youngest (age 6) happened to be away from the table. When the waiter discovered our guy missed out on the treat, he took him by the hand and together they set off to get another cake. Wyatt didn't know a word of French at the time, but they managed just fine. So sweet!! x Katie

    1. Fabulous story
      I love that!
      Kids are kings/queens in Paris without being spoiled


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