I read everything I could get my hands on before a single parent trip to Paris with two kids (my husband could not fly due to an eye surgery). Despite the hours of research, there were still things that I could not entirely get my head around until I spent some time there, including what would be the best district (or arrondissement as they say in France), to stay in. In this post I would like to share some suggestions on the most desirable neighborhoods in Paris with babies, toddlers and kids as well as a selection of the best hotels and vacation rental options for families If you are looking for additional information, please see our other posts on the getting around with kids in Paris and the best attractions for toddlers and kids in Paris.
where to stay in paris with kids (in order of preference)
note: Paris is divided into numerical districts called arrondissements
This corner of the park hosts the best playground in Paris for babies, toddlers and kids of all ages (well worth the nominal entrance fee), including a puppet theatre and carousel (shown in this video clip). On weekends and Wednesdays, when the children are out of school (and more frequently in the summer) there are pony rides, carriage rides and little boats available to sail on the Grand Basin in the center of the park. This area is also home to many lovely children’s stores including Petit Bateau and Jacadi both at (26 rue Vavin) , and is only a short metro or cab ride to most major attractions.
2. the 3rd arrondissement – Le Marais
This lively area of town hosts the recently renovated Centre Pompidou which is a great area to visit with kids, owing to the wonderful square, fountains and street entertainers. The Pompidou contains a wonderful Children’s Gallery should you choose to venture inside. Make sure to also visit Place des Vosages, the first planned square in Paris, where your child can play in a sandbox while you admire the surrounding 17th century architecture. Also not to be missed is a visit to the fabulous children’s store Bonton ( 5 boulevard des filles du calvaire).
3. any arrondissements near the river (1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
Anywhere near the Seine puts you a stone’s throw from many great attractions and close to all the transportations options (boat, bus, metro, taxi stands). Sidewalks are also roomier in these areas making getting around with a stroller easier than in the smaller neighborhoods, where the sidewalks frequently diminish or disappears altogether.
paris hotel and other accommodations for families traveling with kids
Brace yourself…..Paris hotel rooms are small and expensive. If you are feeling discouraged after working through this list, despair not. Paris has some wonderful vacation rental apartment options that are much more affordable and often make a lot of sense for a family (kitchen, laundry etc.).
best five star family friendly hotels in paris
note: As in many big cities, these three luxury hotels only allow a maximum of 3 people per standard room. Larger families would require a suite or adjoining rooms. I must admit that I was desperate to stay at Le Meurice for their kid’s program, but in the end I found something that was more in line with my budget.
best four star family friendly hotels in paris
note: There is a huge price difference between the 4 and 5 star hotels in Paris. If you can slum it (I’m joking), then you will find much better value here.
best family friendly vacation rental apartment in paris
Many websites recommend renting an apartment in Paris instead of getting a hotel, especially for families, since hotel rooms are often small. Benefits can include more space, better value, a kitchen, laundry facilities and no additional charges for wifi.
The website all paris apartments has a nice filter for child friendly apartments in Paris. I am also a fan of vrbo.com for their large number of properties to choose from and airbnb.com with it’s larger concentration of reasonably priced, designer style accommodations.