Did you know that there are around 180 museums in Paris? And they aren’t all dedicated to art- there is a museum dedicated to magic, which happens to be around the corner from the wind-up toy museum. And a stuffed animal and hunting equipment museum and carnival arts museum for something even more quirky!
But what is the best way to see Paris museums with kids, especially if you aren’t sure that your kids will even like them?
Here are my 9 tips for visiting Paris Museums with kids!
Visiting Paris Museums With Kids
When visiting the Musee D’Orsay, take the kids upstairs to see the cool clocks and for a walk on the balcony
- Choose museums that your kids will find interesting: Most school-aged kids learn about art and artists at school. Ask your kids which painters they have learnt about, and find out whether any of their art features at a Paris museum. Older kids and teens find the Catacombs fascinating (even though it’s quite macabre) while some girls may enjoy the Musee de la Poupee dedicated to antique and collector dolls.
- Prepare your kids: Talk about the Paris museums you will visit, to get the kids curious and excited. A great book that can help you with this is the Kids’ Travel Guide- Paris Museums which can be found HERE . The book contains interesting facts, fun activities, tips and quizzes to introduce Paris museums, artists and art terms to your kids.
The Louvre: close to kid-friendly Jardin des Tuileries.
- Choose museums that are close to other kid-friendly activities: For ideas of what to do with kids in Paris, see my post HERE. Pick a museum near a playground or ice-cream shop. The Louvre is next door to the Jardin des Tuileries– check out the museum then walk over to the park for an ice-cream from Amorino’s and a play! The Natural History Museum is located within the Jardin des Plantes, which is also home to a menagerie/zoo.
- Find out the best time or day to visit: With kids, try to avoid visiting museums when the queues are long and the crowds are big (especially in August). For example, the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay are both opened late on certain evenings. We visited the Musee d’Orsay on a Thursday evening and there was no queue at all and admission was discounted. Many museums will have long queues on the first Sunday of the month when entry is free.
Quick reference guide to the Paris Museum Pass and the Paris Pass
- Buy a Paris Museum Pass or Paris Pass: These passes often work out cheaper than paying individual adult entry for each museum you visit, plus they can sometimes allow you to skip the queues. Most museums are free for kids!
- Keep your visit short and simple: Plan to keep your visit short and go straight to the places you really want to see. Going to the Louvre? Go straight to the Mona Lisa and any other art that interests you. Then wander around until you’ve had enough. If you wander around first, your kids might get too tired or bored to then go looking for the Mona Lisa. When we went to the Musee d’Orsay, we went straight to the top floor to see the post-impressionist art that we were most interested in rather than working our way from the bottom floor up to the top. This would have taken far too long!
Is the museum you’re wanting to visit open on the above public holidays?
- Check Facebook or websites before visiting: Check social media or websites before visiting your museum in case it happens to be closed that day. Regardless of whether it’s the peak tourist season or not, some museums may not be open due to renovations or other reasons (such as a Public Holiday!). The Musee Rodin happened to be closed the day that I went to visit it! Most museums are closed one day each week (usually a Monday or Tuesday).
Cite des Sciences. Image by Wikipedia.
- Visit museums dedicated to kids: Don’t just take the kids to traditional art museums to see famous works, take them to the best museums dedicated to kids. The Cite des Science and the Cite des Enfants are interactive science and technology museums especially created for kids.
- Minimise kids’ pain points: A negative Paris museum experience is usually due to kids either being bored, tired, hungry, thirsty or needing the toilet (or all of these!). Take some snacks and drinks with you. Don’t take the kids when they are already tired. Make sure they visit the toilet before leaving your accommodation or take them to the bathroom at the museum before you start exploring. And read your kids’ cues: if they are starting to get bored, don’t wait too long to leave! Book accommodation close to museums and other attractions to minimise travel and walking time- read THIS POST for tips on where to stay in Paris.
Whether or not you have a positive Paris museum experience with your kids depends on prior preparation and planning. It’s important to involve your kids as much as possible in choosing the museums you visit, while also planning the best time and day to visit to minimise boredom and waiting in long queues. Kids hate visiting museums when their parents drag them around for hours!
Have you been to any Paris museums with your kids and if so, which ones? Do you have any other tips for parents? Share them here!
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