Paris is known as the city of love, but it’s also the city of museums- did you know there are over 180 museums in Paris and they aren’t all dedicated to art? Some of the lesser-known but fascinating museums include one dedicated to magic, a wind-up toy museum, a stuffed animal museum and for something fun, a carnival arts museum!
If you’re looking for something to do in Paris with your kids, visiting a museum is a great idea. With a little planning and preparation, you can turn a Paris museum outing into a fun day with your kids. Here are my 9 tips for visiting Paris museums with your kids.
9 Tips For Visiting Paris Museums With Kids
What are they interested in?
When choosing the best museums for kids in Paris, think about what your kids are interested in, whether it relates to a hobby or interest they have, or something they have learnt about in school. Most school-aged children learn about artists- find out whether any of these artists have works featured at a Paris museum. Older children and teenagers love the Catacombs, while many girls love the Musee de la Poupee which is full of antique and collector dolls.
Choose museums close to kid-friendly activities
The best museums for kids in Paris are those that are close to a children’s park, a zoo or even an ice-cream shop. The Louvre is next to the Jardin des Tuileries which has a playground and Amorino’s ice-cream. The Natural History Museum is located in the Jardin des Plantes, which also has a zoo. Combining a museum visit with something else that’s kid-friendly can help if your child is suddenly bored or you need to leave sooner than you hoped- plus a little bribery can help!
If you want to book a hotel close to main attractions such as the best museums for kids in Paris, then read my guide to which neighborhood to stay in Paris.
Prepare your kids
Talk about the museums you plan on visiting, to get your kids excited and curious. Have a look at the museums’ websites, and talk about what they’d like to see when they visit. Get your child to make a list of the things they’d like to see or do at the museum. If you’re visiting one of the more popular museums such as the Louvre or d’Orsay, look for children’s books about famous artists such as Van Gogh or Monet.
Best visiting days and times
Many of Paris’ museums have long queues and big crowds, something that most children don’t like! Find out the best day or times of day to visit a museum. August is a peak tourist month, so most museums will be very busy. The Louvre and Musee d’Orsay are opened late on certain evenings- we went to the d’Orsay on a Thursday evening and there wasn’t a queue (plus the admission fee was cheaper). Another day to avoid is the first Sunday of the month when entry to most museums is free of charge- these days are busy and have long queues.
Also think about your child- younger children get tired (and cranky!) during the afternoon so it’s better to visit a museum in the morning. Older children and teenagers prefer to sleep in, so visiting a museum in the late afternoon or evening would be better.
Buy a Paris Museum Pass or Paris Pass
If you plan to visit a few museums, buying a pass can save you money as it often works out cheaper to buy a pass than to buy individual tickets. Sometimes a pass lets you skip the queue. Most museums are free for children.
Keep your visit short
Plan to stay for a short time, as most children won’t want to be dragged around a museum for hours. Make a list of the things you want to see at the museum, and see these first. Then if your children are still happy, keep wandering around until they’ve had enough. If you’re going to the Louvre, head to the Mona Lisa first, and then explore the rest of the museum at your leisure.
When we visited the Musee d’Orsay, we went straight to the post-impressionist art on the top floor as this was what interested my children the most. If we had started looking at the art on the bottom floor and worked our way up, my children would have been too tired and bored to reach the “fun stuff”.
Check social media or websites before visiting
I highly recommend checking social media or a website before visiting the museum in case of any unexpected closures. There would be nothing worse than planning an exciting day out only to arrive at a closed museum! Check what days the museum is opened- most museums are closed one day each week, usually a Monday or Tuesday. The day I went to visit the Musee Rodin, it happened to be closed unexpectedly.
Visit museums dedicated to kids
Don’t just explore the traditional art museums of Paris. The best museums for kids in Paris are fun places like the Cite des Science or the Cite des Enfants, which are interactive science and technology museums created for kids of all ages.
Minimise pain points
When families have a negative museum experience, it’s usually because their children were bored, tired, hungry or needed the bathroom. Before going to a museum with your children, pack some snacks and drinks and make sure they have been to the bathroom. Find the easiest route to get to the museum, to minimise travel and walking time. When at the museum, if your children are starting to get bored, don’t wait long leave or the whining could turn into a tantrum!
Visiting a Paris museum with your kids doesn’t have to be a painful experience. A little prior planning and preparation will make the day enjoyable. Involve your kids in deciding which museums to visit, make sure you consider their needs and most of all, have fun!
37 thoughts on “Visiting Paris Museums With Kids”
What a great informative post! My 5 year old loves museums although sadly we don’t tend to visit them all that often, I really should change that! I also love Paris although sadly we haven’t been since 2012, hopefully we get to live in Europe once again so that it will be an easier trip!
It’s great that your child already loves museums from such a young age! Thanks for stopping by Hannah.
Fabulous tips Natalie! It’s so important to do your research and know what to expect when travelling with kids (if you want to enjoy the trip!).
We just go to the ones we want to with the ‘well go to Luxembourg gardens on the way home, if you’re good’ – that tended to work well for everyone…but we all loved Musee des Arts forains. Hilarious!!
That’s a very good bribe there Lydia!
Oh how I’d love to visit Paris … and it’s museums! Wow there are a lot of them. My kids are grown up now so I’d be free to look around without kids. There’s some great tips here for those of us with grown up kids too! 🙂
Visiting museums without your kids would be bliss! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Wow! 180 museums? That is a lot. I like the idea of preparing the kids with books or pictures to make them excited about what they are going to see. I think some museum websites have some games or activity ideas that can be done during the visit.
Yeah I know I was shocked when I found out how many there are!
Excellent tips! I’m heading to Paris again in November, but have tended to avoid the museums in the past due to crowds. Looks like it’s worth some lateral thinking, though. And although I don’t have any children, I have a feeling most of these tips could equally be applied to reluctant husbands……
The crowds will probably be minimal in November- have a great time Rachel!
Wow, what a great round-up. Macabre or not, I’d really like to do the catacombs. I find it quite fascinating that there is this whole underground other-world from history.
It’s really fascinating, isn’t it? I’ve read a lot about the history of Paris, it’s quite depressing but very interesting.
Great advice, we had our toddler with us in Paris and she loved wandering the museums looking at the art, though I usually had a pocket of snacks and we certainly made sure we balanced it out with kid friendly activities in between.
Thanks for linking up for #wednesdaywanderlust
A pocket of snacks is definitely a must for a toddler!
Great tips here and very timely as we are heading to Paris in November. Thank you for linking up this great post with #TheWeeklyPostcard
Traveling with kids must be tough! I give my parents such props for always bringing me along! I think it’s really important to expose your kids to travel early, or they may not value it later in life! Still you have to find ways to make it fun and interesting for them, both for their sake and yours 😀 Great tips!
Love your practical travel tips! This would save me a lot of research time if I go to Paris!
Those Paris passes sound like a great idea. I’ll keep that in mind for my next trip to Paris!
Great tips! I think most of Paris museums aren’t child-friendly – especially when you compare with some of the London museums. But I believe, parents can make visit interesting or at least bearable for their children just by following your tips. 🙂
Older children can learn to appreciate museums without having kid-friendly activities available. For younger children, it can be more difficult. Thanks for stopping by!
Great tips! My hubby loved the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie – definitely great for kids, and adults who enjoy science! I would also recommend looking into doing a THATLou treasure hunt in the Louvre or Orsay. I did it with my (adult) brother and his fiancee who aren’t really into museums but wanted to see the Louvre, and having the objective of a scavenger hunt helped make the huge museum manageable to visit. It would be great to do with kids as well, and you do learn a lot along the way! https://thatlou.com/
Thanks Sara. Yes we originally booked a THATLou treasure hunt but after a bad experience with a different treasure hunt at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, I decided to cancel. It’s quite expensive for a family of 5 and I didn’t want to risk another bad museum experience. But it does sound like a lot of fun! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Great tips and I think these could be applied to any city. Planning is essential if you don’t want to miss out on all the opportunities to get the most out of museums when you visit #MondayEscapes
Yep definitely can apply these tips to any museum!
So many good tips here, I totally agree that you should go directly to the thing that interests you most and then mosey around afterwards. For us at the Louvre that always includes the mummies (those wrapped in bandages not the ones pushing the buggy!) Also a good idea to combine visits with treats afterwards like ice-cream or play in the park. Just one thing you may like to know, Ascension Monday is always 40 days after Easter Monday (it’s one of those changing ones) so it isn’t always on 14 May; next year it’s 5 May for example. Thanks for linking this to #AllAboutFrance
Thanks for the tip re: Ascension Monday! I’ll go and change it now 🙂
And bonus tip – don’t get lost inside a massive museum… haha damn you Louvre and your horrible exits! Thankfully that was minus kids though with the exception of my big kid brother in law who was 14 or so. We haven’t been to Musee D’Orsay yet.
Oh no I can imagine that happening, it’s a HUGE museum! It’s a good idea to have a look at the website and roughly plan out where you need to go. Luckily, everything we wanted to see was in the same wing and on the same floor as the Mona Lisa. The Musee D’Orsay is a lot easier to navigate.
The Rodin museum would be a great one with kids. Most of it is a sculpture garden outside. The gardens are beautiful and the kids can run around. Many of the sculptures are quite famous and well known.
Yes, including “The Thinker”!
Really great tips. I think you’re right – there’s no point taking kids to museums that aren’t catered to them or have specific activities or dedicated childrens’ areas. I think I’d be bored too! I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been to Paris properly yet, must change that soon! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes
No kids in tow, but heading to Paris for the third time this fall, and will do museums this time. Thanks!
Have a wonderful time!
Thank you for sharing this. We visited Paris 15 years ago before we had kids. I would love to take them to France sometime soon to show them some of the places we visited so many years ago.
It’s nice to be able to show kids where you have traveled before. Thanks for stopping by Allison!