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Paris is always magical. But Paris in Spring may be the most magical time of all. These are some of the highlights of our trip to France where we also visited Mont Saint-Michel and the towns of Rouen and Honfleur.
Paris was our first stop on an extended European roadtrip through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. If you love family travel, click here for all our Travel Posts about some of our favorite recent travels. If you are just here for the recipes, feel free to browse through my Recipes Index, or come by tomorrow and I’ll have something new for you to make!
Paris in Spring
There is so much to see and do in Paris that even though we have been a couple of times there is no way I could cover everything in one post. Instead, I’m going to focus on some of the highlights we loved on our most recent trip when our girls were 6 and 4 years old. We only spent a couple of days in the city and then rented a car to drive out and see other parts of the country that we hadn’t visited before.
If you are planning a trip to France, I highly recommend you consider branching out to other parts of the country than just the main city that everyone goes to.
“Can’t miss” Paris highlights with kids
Our first trip to Paris was during law school when we were young, childless, and interning in Germany at law practices. Paul had an assignment that took him to Paris his very first week, so I joined him for a long weekend. We visited the Louvre, the catacombs, and other fascinating and fun sites that we didn’t want to attempt during our few days in the city with kids in tow on this particular trip.
Not that our girls wouldn’t have enjoyed some of the art in the Louvre, but when you have limited time, you have to make hard choices. These are the things we prioritized on this kid-friendly trip.
Riding bikes around the city with Fat Tire Tours
This post isn’t sponsored by Fat Tire Tours, but I have to say that it was such a fun and unique way of seeing this city. Our friends who lived in France for years and had just taken a trip back to visit had done one of their tours and told us it was one of their favorite things they have ever done in Paris, so of course we took their advice and booked one. We LOVED it and it was such a unique experience to go for a bike ride in the spring sunshine on the Paris streets.
Since Paris was our first stop on an extended European roadtrip, we knew we would be dealing with jetlag. Choosing to do a bike ride on our first full day was intentional in the hopes that it would keep us awake and still let us get out and see a lot with our kids without burning them out and having to carry them most of the day.
It turned out to be a fantastic move because the girls were absolutely thrilled to ride the tandem bikes through the streets of Paris in a small group setting. And we loved learning a bit about different parts of the city from the knowledgeable and friendly guide who lead our group.
If your kids are bigger and you are confident in their riding abilities, Fat Tire Tours has bike rentals in their sizes, but we chose instead to rent the tandem bikes where the girls still had pedals and felt like they were riding, but were connected to our bikes so that they didn’t swerve into the streets! We also really liked that they had baskets on the back of their bikes for holding our bags and water bottles.
Fat Tire Tours has multiple tour choices to choose from, and if you are thinking about going out to Versailles one day, they have tours there too. I can’t recommend them enough.
Enjoy the flowers at Tuileries Garden
The Tuileries (Jardin de Tuileries) was perhaps our favorite place to slow down and soak up the sun while we were in Paris. It’s a huge public garden located between the Louvre on one end and the Place de la Concorde (where so many lost their lives to the guillotine) on the other. It has been a public park since 1667 and is a wonderful place to spend a relaxing morning or go for an afternoon stroll.
Bring a picnic or there are cafes where you can grab a bite to eat since it’s the perfect place to take a break. There are loads of beautiful flower beds and shade trees, and larger ponds or smaller fountains where you can rent toy sailboats for kids to push along with a stick for just a couple euro.
Climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for the views
If this is your first time visiting Paris, you have to go see the beautiful Arc de Triomphe which is at the end of the Champs–Élysées and surrounded by one of the busiest roundabouts in the world. You can actually go inside it and climb to the top for some of the best views in the city.
Even though you might see a tourist or two try to do it, do not attempt to cross traffic to get to the base of the Arc de Triomphe. Instead, use the underground pedestrian tunnels to cross safely. Then after paying a small fee, you can climb a winding spiral staircase up to the top and look out over the Champs–Élysées, get a lovely and unique perspective of the Eiffel Tower, and see the vastness of the city and its arrondissements.
I’m sure the views are gorgeous throughout the day, but I recommend going in the evening for the sunset.
Visit the Eiffel Tower (of course)
We loved the Eiffel Tower so much that we found ourselves going back multiple times to see it from different angles and at different times of day.
During the day you can picnic and lounge on the Champ de Mars. It’s a large grassy open space in front of the Eiffel tower and during the springtime you will find the French and visitors alike enjoying the sun and the view there, especially if the day is warm.
The first time we visited Paris, we were broke college students and we opted not to wait in the long lines and pay the cost of going to the very top of the Eiffel tower. It has been something we regretted for years, so we made sure to take the elevator up this visit and I can definitely say this experience is 100% worth it. Being able to see the entire city of Paris from this vantage point was amazing!
But possibly the most dazzling experience of all is seeing the Eiffel tower sparkle at night. Like, it literally starts to sparkle and twinkle every night at 10:00pm instead of just being lit up like normal.
If you are lucky enough to get a hotel room with a view, you can watch from your balcony windows. Or go for a stroll along the Seine for a closer vantage point. There is a carousel just below the Eiffel tower that the kids enjoyed riding and we got crepes for dessert from a cart on the street.
It doesn’t get much more magical than that.
Stop at a patisserie for your favorite French dessert
France is known for it’s delicious cuisine. We love it so much that we often make many of our favorites back here at home. My French Fruit Tart and Crepes are two of the most popular recipes on this site, so if you want an authentic taste of France, be sure to give those a try! I still want to try my hand at croissants and baguettes, which are two of our other must-haves on any trip to France.
And of course you cannot go to France without getting some macarons! Our girls loved choosing from the vast assortment of rainbow-hued macarons in every flavor. I’ve made many at home since this trip and recommend you try them yourself. So far I have made and shared recipes for:
Enjoy the blossoms all over the city
One of my favorite things about Paris in the spring is how it blooms out with beautiful pink blossoms. Some of our favorites were at Notre Dame. I’m so glad we got this trip in before the terrible fires happened, and we are hoping that they are able to save the beautiful old building that is so iconic and means so much not just to the French people but people all around the world.
As of writing this post, I don’t think anyone is sure of when or possibly even whether Notre Dame will reopen, but I know that the French people are making every effort they can to save this beautiful, historic, and iconic building.
If you are interested in reading more about our European Roadtrip, be sure to check out the following posts:
- Visiting the Normandy Region of France with Kids: Rouen, Mont Saint-Michele, and Honfleur
- Best Things to See and Do in Belgium with Kids
- Best Things to See and Do in the Netherlands Outside of Amsterdam
Have you been to Paris? What places, foods, or experiences did you love? Let us know in the comments below!