Sandra Baker / Alamy
Kate van den Boogert
August 14, 2014

In Paris with the whole family? Exploring Renaissance art isn’t doing it for your ten year old? You’re resisting an inevitable trip to Disneyland Paris? If many Parisian pleasures are of the sophisticated variety, related to the history of art and ideas, many appeal to all ages. Climbing up high for panoramic views over the city, climbing down into the bowels of the earth to look at skeletons, pretty parks and funfairs, fountains and sandpits, these attractions and activities should keep everyone engaged and happy. And of course there’s always the riverbanks, boat trips, a chocolate crepe from a creperie, the busy markets, ice-cream or hot chocolate breaks in any café, chasing the pigeons, and if you’re feeling tired, hopping on a bus is a great way to discover the city while sitting down. In truth, Paris is one of the world’s great family-friendly cities—and it beckons for travelers of all ages to explore its famous sights, and its secrets.

Sacré Cœur

Stop by the merry-go-round at the bottom of the hill, then wind your way through the gardens up to the top of the “Butte Montmartre.” Then keep tiring the kids out with a further 234-step climb up a narrow spiral staircase to the very top of the church’s dome, where you will be rewarded with one of the best views of Paris.

Eiffel Tower

Many families have this icon on top of their list of places to visit. Open every day, it stays open until midnight in summer (11 p.m. the rest of the year). It can be fun visiting at night when the tower is lit up with sparkling lights for a few minutes every hour. The queues for the lifts can be ridiculous, so why not take the stairs up to the first level, then the lift to the top. Tickets are cheaper, too.

Jardin des Tuileries

This massive garden stretching West from the Louvre is home to a fun fair every July and August, and in winter a huge Ferris wheel sets up on the Place de la Concorde. But the Tuileries are popular with kids year-round because of the different adventure playgrounds, merry-to-rounds, and trampolines.

Place des Vosges

Picture postcard pretty, the Place des Vosges Square in the Marais is a great spot for picnics with all the family. In fact, the small park at the center is one of the few places in Paris where you’re allowed to sit on the grass. The splashing water from the fountain provides a soothing soundtrack, and there’s even a sandpit.

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