Wrap yourself in the exquisite beauty of Paris on this 4 days in Paris itinerary. Experience the spectacular Eiffel Tower from every angle, get up close and personal with an Impressionist masterpiece and eat all of the delectable sweet treats this fabulous city has to offer.
For full European immersion, find all our Europe posts here. From Rome to Windsor Castle, Barcelona to Disneyland Paris.
- Why visit Paris?
- Map of Paris
- How to get to Paris
- Getting around
- Where to stay in Paris with kids
- 4 days in Paris itinerary
- Day 1 – Hop on hop off bus and Seine cruise
- Day 2 – Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées
- Day 3 – Musee d’Orsay
- Day 4 – Disneyland Paris
- Unique French experiences
- Short trips from Paris
- Where to eat in Paris with kids
- Our 3 days in Paris with kids itinerary
Why visit Paris?
Paris is a head-spinning concentration of epic attractions in a setting famous for romance and culture. Elegant buildings line the gently curving Seine and the Eiffel Tower is like a beacon drawing you in. The patisserie windows are a constant temptation and the art galleries are bursting with world-famous paintings. Wandering the streets of Paris is like stepping onto a movie set.
We have visited Paris many times, but for our first visit with the kids we combined a pinch of culture with a large dose of fun to ensure we had a magical stay.
Map of Paris
How to get to Paris
Catching the Eurostar from London is my favourite way to get to Paris, especially with kids.
This super fast train is the most relaxing way to travel. You can get up and wander through the train whenever you like, buy a snack at the cafe onboard and you arrive right in the centre of Paris, ready to catch the metro to your hotel.
Book early for table seats, which are ideal for four people to sit facing each other around the table. Play card games, chat or simply enjoy the view whizzing past your window.
If you’re flying into Charles de Gaulle airport, then it’s easy to jump on a train into the city. Buying your tickets from a machine at the station removes the language challenge.
We find the Metro to be the simplest and most fun way to get around Paris.
The best value ticket is to buy a carnet from a machine at the station. This is a book of 10 single trip tickets. It’s hard to guess how much you will use the Metro, so this way you use the tickets until they’re gone, then buy another book.
Find your route
Use your phone to find out how to get from one place to another. I use the Apple Maps app. Just enter your start and end points, click Public Transport and there you go. It will tell you which line and in what direction.
Or pick up a paper map at a Metro station. Look at the end of the line you need and there will be a stop name in bold plus a number/letter in a coloured circle. The number/letter, colour and stop name is the information you need to find your platform once you get to the Metro station. For example, you might want the red RER A line towards Marne-la-Vallee.
See the online version here.
Trains are very frequent, so you don’t usually need to worry about checking times. Just make sure you check the screens on the platform to make sure you get on the right train.
Where to stay in Paris with kids
We loved our hotel, Hotel Excelsior Latin.
The location is particularly ideal for kids since it is close to the vast Luxembourg Gardens where you’ll find plenty of running around space plus a fabulous playground. The hotel is located between the Luxembourg and Saint Michel Metro stops and is on a direct line from the airport.
Within 5 minutes you can walk to two Metro stations, the restaurants of the Latin Quarter and the Luxembourg Gardens. In 15 minutes you can walk to the Seine for a boat ride or to the Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, the Shakespeare and Company bookshop or a little further for Berthillon’s famous ice-cream.
Our room suited us perfectly with two bedrooms and one bathroom. We especially loved the comfortable ground floor lounge with delicious hot drinks available (free for some room types including ours).
Check prices for accommodation near the Luxembourg Gardens here.
4 days in Paris itinerary
Day 1 – Hop on hop off bus and Seine cruise
Starting your visit to Paris with a ride on the Hop On Hop Off Bus is a great way to get an overview of the city and not wear out your legs!
There are two routes, the Classic route around the main part of the city past the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Champs-Elysées, as far east as the Notre Dame and west to the Arc de Triomphe.
The second route takes you up to the home of bohemian Paris, Montmartre, where you will find the artist-filled Place du Tertre and the incredible views at the Sacre-Coeur.
I suggest staying on board for much of the trip and getting off at those destinations further afield that are perhaps a bit harder to get to on your own, like the Arc de Triomphe, Opera Garnier or Montmartre.
Try this one to have your choice of 1 or 2 days, plus you can even include a 1 hour Seine cruise. Since the Seine river goes right through the middle of Paris with beautiful sights lining the banks, I highly recommend taking a boat trip. Such an enjoyable way to experience a city.
But you don’t have to bundle your Seine cruise with your HOHO bus. While there are several Seine river cruise options, we found the hop-on-hop-off Batobus convenient with several stops near all the main attractions. Buy tickets here.
Wherever you choose to get off your bus or boat, take your time to wander. We found the most stunning Parisian scenes when we were on the way to somewhere else. Don’t rush too much and miss these soul-satisfying unplanned moments.
Heading back to the hotel we crossed the Seine and were hit with this gorgeous glimpse of the Notre Dame.
Leaving the Luxembourg Gardens on our way to Rennes metro station we passed this typically Parisian scene.
Popping out for some chocolate croissants for breakfast, we were rewarded with the sun peeking over the Sorbonne university at Place de la Sorbonne.
Extend your day – Explore Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur
Get off the Hop On Hop Off Bus at the Sacre Coeur to explore this famous area.
Visiting the Sacre Coeur church is less about the interior and more about its stunning exterior architecture and the expansive view of Paris from out the front. It is located in Montmartre so a trip here gives you the opportunity to wander those historic cobbled laneways with artists still painting portraits in Place du Tertre and the famous windmill of the Moulin Rouge.
This family-focussed walking tour is an ideal way to experience Montmartre.
Day 2 – Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées
Today is the day to get up close and personal with the Eiffel Tower.
There’s no need to spend any money to enjoy the grand architecture from the outside –
- Grab some Nutella crepes from the food stalls and sit by the river to admire it. For such a touristy location we were very pleasantly surprised that these were our yummiest crepes in Paris.
- A ride on the beautifully classic carousel gives a fun viewpoint.
- Take a selfie, play with perspective to pretend you’re picking the tower up, take some souvenir family photos.
- Explore the enormous Parc du Champ de Mars, which stretches almost a kilometre from the Eiffel Tower. This is where you can take those Instagram-worthy shots of picnicking on the grass with the tower in the background. Visit a boulangerie on your way and you can relax while the kids run around on the grass.
The only thing my kids (9 and 7 years old) wanted to do in Paris was go up the Eiffel Tower (or Tour Eiffel in French). With such a short wish list this was easily achieved, so anything extra was a bonus.
Book your ticket well in advance on the official Eiffel Tower website.
If you miss out on tickets as we did, get there before it opens and keep your fingers crossed the line is not too long.
Or buy skip-the-line tickets here.
Next, jump on the metro at Bir-Hakeim, a short walk from the Eiffel Tower, straight to the Champs-Élysées.
Perhaps the most famous shopping strip in the world, the Champs-Élysées is indeed something to behold with its super-wide footpaths and smart rows of chestnut trees. But keep in mind that it is nearly 2 km long, so I suggest walking a shorter section of it.
Choose the top end near the Arc de Triomphe and Charles de Gaulle Etoile metro station for Cartier and Swarovski and stop in at the large, modern McDonalds which has a light, quiet upstairs overlooking the street. Or the middle section near George V metro station where you’ll find Laduree macaron cafe, Louis Vuitton, Sephora and Starbucks. Or perhaps the bottom end near Franklin D. Roosevelt metro station for the Disney store, Chanel and Five Guys burgers.
Extend your day – Go up the Arc de Triomphe
As an alternative to going up the Eiffel Tower, or perhaps as well as, head to the Arc de Triomphe.
It’s only 12 euros per adult and queues are generally minimal. While there are 284 steps to the top, a lift is available. The view is especially lovely, because you can enjoy both the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées.
Even if you don’t go up to the top, get off the Metro at Charles de Gaulle Etoile to admire this magnificent war memorial and the epic intersection of roads around it. This mind-boggling roundabout is in the shape of a star (hence “etoile”) with 12 roads radiating from the Arc de Triomphe, including the Champs-Élysées. There is a tunnel under the roads to get to the centre where the arch is.
Day 3 – Musee d’Orsay
The Musee d’Orsay is my favourite art gallery in Paris. It is not as daunting as the Louvre because it focusses on French art from 1848 to 1914. This narrow timeframe means that it has the most spectacular collection of Impressionist paintings in the world.
Head straight to rooms 29-34 to find famous paintings by Monet, Renoir, Degas and many more.
Alternatively, the Louvre is completely do-able with kids, despite its size. The key to success, just like at the Musee d’Orsay, is to choose a small selection and be in and out in an hour or two.
Take a family-friendly guided tour like My First Louvre which lasts 1.5 hours (more information here). Or take yourselves around using their audio guides or their app on your phone. I did a highlights tour on my own using the app and found it very easy to follow with clear instructions on how to get around.
If you don’t venture inside, check out the outside with its grand buildings and glass pyramids. I was surprised by how much my kids loved these.
Going to an art gallery is not compulsory while in Paris, but the sheer number of treasures that live here mean that it’s on most visitors’ wish list.
A fun visit to an art gallery often means a short visit if you’ve got kids with you. You can achieve that by visiting a smaller gallery like the Musee de l’Orangerie. The queue is often short (non-existent when we went!) and, if you bypass the rest of the gallery, the stars of the show are the 8 vast, curved Monet paintings created especially for two oval rooms.
This is a calm space where you can have a wander around, sit down and a rest, talk about whether the paintings’ names suit them or just choose your favourite.
As with many art galleries, the gift shop is fabulous.
Extend your day – Hit a French-style playground at the Luxembourg Gardens
These gardens are amazing! Absolutely gorgeous and so much space for the kids to run around.
The formal part of the gardens are stunning with gigantic pond and precision-styled hedges and garden beds. After school and on weekends there are remote-controlled boats available to play on the lake. You might even find a puppet show or carousel.
Explore further and you’ll find forests of trees, fountains and endless statues. Art is everywhere in Paris – there’s no need to drag the kids around a gallery if you don’t want to.
The Luxembourg Gardens playground is particularly fabulous with its flying fox, climbing frames, sandpits and slides. Although it wasn’t busy when we visited, it is a fenced playground and you need to pay to get in. It’s not expensive and guarantees there is always someone on duty taking entry fees and running the adorable little kiosk with snacks, drinks and most importantly, toilets.
If you’re near the Louvre you might find that the Tuileries Gardens are more convenient for you than the Luxembourg Gardens. They are located on the right (north) bank of the Seine and lie in between the Louvre and the Champs Elysees, opposite the Musee d’Orsay on the other side of the river.
Similar to the Luxembourg Gardens in that there’s acres of space, formal garden beds, a playground, lots of statues and beautiful buildings (including the Musée de l’Orangerie art gallery).
You’ll even find a bronze cast of Rodin’s famous statue, The Kiss, located outside the Musee de l’Orangerie.
Day 4 – Disneyland Paris
With four days in Paris you don’t need to leave the city. But if you are big Disney fans or would like to give the kids a special treat, then this is a fabulous day trip.
We took a Disneyland Paris day trip during our Paris stay and had a ball.
Read all about it here – Disneyland Paris day trip.
Alternative – Notre Dame
If Disney is not your style, then I recommend heading inside one of Paris’ famous churches.
With the devastating fire at Notre Dame, one of the most significant things to do in Paris is temporarily lost. You can still admire the facade, but to be honest it is quite sad to see it so decimated.
So instead visit the glorious Sainte-Chapelle. Like Musee l’Orangerie, Sainte-Chapelle is a smaller, less daunting option with smaller queues, which makes it ideal for visiting with kids.
Surround yourself with the wall-to-wall, sky-high stained glass windows. Watch the sunlight flood in, making rainbows through this architectural masterpiece.
Unique French experiences
See if you can fit one of these typically French and very delicious experiences into your Paris visit.
Fill your belly with Nutella crepes
There is nothing like a Nutella and banana crepe bought from a Parisian take-away food stall. Absolutely heavenly and one of our favourite memories of Paris. Have one at every opportunity.
Of course there’s plenty of other topping options, like lemon and sugar or strawberries. You could even try them sitting down at a cafe, but they will be more expensive and not as yummy as these.
Indulge in cakes and pastries
If all you do in Paris is see the Eiffel Tower and eat lots of yummy sweet treats, then your time will have been well spent.
We did our best to live on chocolate croissants (served warm for breakfast) and Nutella and banana crepes (for lunch while out and about). We enjoyed croissants from Brioche Dorée, a French chain, but fell in love with the ones from Starbucks! I know that’s sacrilege and I’m sure you’ll find a charming boulangerie to frequent near your hotel, but do not discount Starbucks.
Even if you speak no French, be polite and give it a go. The staff really appreciate it and each day you’ll get a little bit better. That is one of our favourite Paris memories too.
For something fancier, head to one of the Ladurée restaurants for tea and macarons or Angelina for decadent hot chocolates.
Have an ice-cream by the water
Find famous ice-cream shop Berthillon Glacier on Ile Saint-Louis in the middle of the Seine, not far from Notre Dame cathedral. Grab ice-creams for everyone, sit by the Seine to eat them and watch the world go by.
Short trips from Paris
If you fancy getting out of the city, then there are some fabulous options to take one or more short trips from Paris during your stay. For a 4 days in Paris itinerary you could definitely fit enough city sightseeing into 3 days and take off to explore further afield on the other day.
My top picks for Paris day trips are the lush gardens of Giverny, the grandeur of Versailles or Disneyland Paris (as mentioned above).
Monet’s House at Giverny
For a glimpse of the countryside, then a day trip to Giverny is a fantastic alternative and more practical for kids than Versaille.
A half day trip like this one will ensure it’s not too overwhelming for the kids.
This is an epic day trip, because the buildings and grounds of Versailles are so vast. But they are incredible, so if you’re up for it then you can either make your own way there on the train or get picked up from your hotel.
It’s an easy 45 min train trip, so buy your skip-the-line tickets and head to the station.
Or get picked up from your hotel with this convenient half day tour.
Where to eat in Paris with kids
We didn’t get too adventurous with food, mostly sticking to a constant supply of pastries and crepes. For dinners these burger spots were perfect. Kid-friendly and super delicious.
This is a casual, funky spot frequented by students due to the nearby Sorbonne University. At only 5 minutes’ walk from the hotel, it is an excellent choice for delicious fresh burgers and hot dogs. Only some English is spoken, but their helpful attitude goes a long way.
We had two dinners at Frogburger in the Latin Quarter because it was that good.
Only 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel with a wide range of freshly-made burgers, tacos, nachos and more. I also highly recommend their own craft beer.
Updated: Unfortunately this branch has now closed, but there is another Frogburger at 19 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Paris. Closer to the hotel (15 minutes’ walk) is a Frogpub, The Frog & Princess, which has a brilliant kids’ menu. It is at 9 Rue Princesse, Paris.
Our 3 days in Paris with kids itinerary
On our most recent visit we only had 4 nights and 3 full days, but we still had a wonderful time.
Arrival day – Dinner at Little Cantine
We arrived at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport mid-afternoon, jumped on RER B train direct to Luxembourg station, which was a short walk from our hotel, Hotel Excelsior Latin.
Dinner was a delicious burger/hot dog assortment at Little Cantine, a casual cafe just around the corner.
Day 1 – Eiffel Tower, hop-on-hop-off Seine cruise
I hadn’t been able to buy Eiffel Tower tickets online and today had the best weather forecast of our stay, so we decided we had better head straight there after breakfast.
With some drizzle before and afterwards we were so lucky to have perfect weather for our visit (no wind or rain). It had only just opened so lines were relatively short.
I find it incredibly peaceful and beautiful up there, hence why I keep going to the top every time I visit Paris. The kids brought binoculars and loved seeing what they could see.
Delicious crepes and pizza from the stall near the carousel and the kids had a ride on the carousel.
Rode the hop-on-hop-off Batobus boat from the Eiffel Tower stop. Got off at the Louvre for a wander around the courtyard – the kids liked taking perspective photos to look like they were picking up the glass pyramids. Got a Berthillon ice cream on the way back to the hotel, then a wonderful easy burger dinner nearby at Frogburger.
Day 2 – Luxembourg Gardens, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Musee l’Orangerie
This morning we took the short walk to the Luxembourg Gardens. Being a weekday it was very quiet and there were no boats or other kids’ entertainment, but the playground was a lot of fun. Climbing frames, slides, but mostly the flying fox were brilliant for the kids.
Took the metro to the Arc de Triomphe, which we looked at from ground level, then a short walk down the Champs-Élysées. The McDonalds we came across was a lovely spot to take a break for lunch as it has a big, modern and quiet upstairs overlooking the street.
Metro to Musee l’Orangerie after lunch. Our plan had been to go to Musee d’Orsay, which I had been to before and love, but last night we decided to book a last minute trip to Disneyland. Tomorrow seemed the best day weather-wise for Disney and Musee d’Orsay was closed today, so we changed our art gallery visit to Musee l’Orangerie.
This turned out to be a wonderful result, because it is such an easily do-able gallery with kids. The oval rooms capture the imagination and the vast curved paintings fascinated the kids. Such a beautifully uplifting space.
Took another Batobus ride using our two-day ticket.
Another freshly-cooked dinner at Frogburger – dinner options at 6pm seemed limited to very touristy looking places.
Day 3 – Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris (DLP) was not on our agenda at all for this trip. We had just come off a week-long Disney cruise around the Mediterranean and the kids had chosen to visit LEGOLAND Windsor instead of DLP when we planned our itinerary.
But after a couple of weeks of constant travelling through Spain, Italy and France, the kids were finding all the new environments, food and languages exhausting. Not to mention all the hours of walking we were doing!
There was a super-cheap deal on Disneyland tickets, so we thought the kids would enjoy a day of fun and familiarity. Lines were very short and the rain stayed away, so we had a wonderful day. Read all about our Disneyland Paris day trip here.
Want to save this to read later? Just pin the image below –