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Paris with a Family
Paris is a cultured city that often seems geared to adults, but this city actually has a surprising number of kid-friendly attractions. There are museums, theme parks, and aquariums, and many high-end hotels that cater to their youngest guests. There are even many appropriate dining options for kids if you know where to look.
Paris has many family-friendly places to visit with kids. Disneyland Paris is an obvious choice, although it gets very crowded during peak seasons. Youngsters enjoy hands-on activities, and they can explore and experiment in an environment made just for them at the Cité des Enfants, or Paris Children's Science Museum. It's the largest science museum of its kind in Europe, with a planetarium and Imax museum. It has special sections for younger kids and teenagers.
The or Paris Tropical Aquarium, fascinates young visitors with marine life like sharks, exotic fish, crocodiles, and other creatures. Altogether, it has 350 species of fish and animals, housed in a building that dates back to the 1931 Colonial Exhibition.
The Grevin Wax Museum dates back to 1882 and still fascinates families visiting Paris today. Kids get a bit of a history lesson from the realistic depictions of the French Revolution. The museum also has models of many famous people, from politicians to actors and other entertainers like Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe. Sections that are especially appealing to kids include the magic area and the circus mirrors.
If you want a different sort of family activity, take your kids to the Musée des Égouts de Paris, or Museum of the Sewers of Paris. Many youngsters are fascinated by the way things work, so they'll enjoy this offbeat trip into actual sewer tunnels. A more conventional, but still fascinating family attraction option is the Musée national des Arts et Metiers, or Museum of the Arts and Invention. It celebrates human creativity, and kids tend to be especially fascinated by the vehicles and aircraft displays hanging from the ceiling.
You might not think of Notre Dame Cathedral as a particularly kid-oriented attraction, but if your family is familiar with the Victor Hugo work, or, more likely, the Disney cartoon, you can tie that into a visit to this famous tourist attraction. You can also take the kids on a ferry boat ride or to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Visiting Paris with a family means finding a kid-friendly hotel. Many properties in Paris welcome kids, and even cater to them. For example, the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris gives young family members a welcome amenity, provides them with kid-sized bathrobes, and even offers behind-the-scenes tours for them. The adults have access to babysitters at the hotel. The Hotel Plaza Athénée is another place where children get treated like VIPs. They get amenities like teddy bears and special child-sized tables for room service meals, and parents can take advantage of babysitting service. Le Meurice provides everything from cute stuffed dogs to candy to coloring books and cartoon DVDs for guests with kids. There is even a treasure hunt in the hotel.
Dinner time tends to be late in Paris, typically starting around 8 p.m., and gourmet meals may last several hours. Many Paris restaurants do not have children's menus, but eateries at hotels are much more likely to have special kids' selections. Crepes are a kid-friendly food, and it's easy to find crepe stands out on the streets, since they're a Parisian equivalent of fast food. Cafes are less formal than restaurants, which makes them an excellent family dining option. Many tourist attractions, like the Eiffel Tower, also have family-oriented eateries with kids' menus.
Family Travel Tips
You can easily get your family around Paris on the Metro, trains, or buses. since the city has an excellent public transportation system, although driving is a more convenient option with young children. Public restrooms are not as plentiful in Paris as they are in the United States, although tourist attractions generally have facilities. Take advantage of restrooms when you see them if you are traveling with youngsters who need frequent bathroom breaks.