6 Petite Paris Things Kids Love

Visitng Paris? Read about its Top Parks and What To Pack.

Paris is a city built on a a grand scale, but kids like things on the smaller side, built on a scale they can relate to. Here are six small thins 6YO Tiny Traveler liked in this big city.

A Fun Museum

1. The Museum De Carnavalet offers a bit of a hodge-podge of Paris history, with paintings, antique furniture and even a small guillotine. But her favorite room, on the ground floor, had miniatures of Paris’ neighborhoods at various points in history. She poured over all the details and asked tons of questions and began making up her own stories about what was going on inside these scaled-down villages. The same room also featured old store signs, which were amusing. For example, an antique copper mermaid advertising a fish store.

a miniature of Paris at the Musee de Carnavalet

A Kaleidoscope Chapel

2. Walking into the Church of St. Chappelle on a sunny day is like stepping inside of a kaleidoscope. Even our cathedral-weary child looked up, stopped in her tracks and said, “whoh!” More than 1,1000 stained glass images surround you in the upper chapel of this intimate church. And unlike in the big cathedrals where the windows are hundreds of feet over your head, these are close enough to see in all their mind-boggling detail.

the windows of St. chappelle in Paris

Marie Antoinette’s Versailles escape

3. After you’ve toured Versailles and it’s gardens, venture over to the petite Norman hamlet where Marie Antoinette would pretend to be a peasant amid idyllic cottages, a stream, a water mill and tunnels of trellised grape vines. TT would have been happy to play alongside her and who wouldn’t? It’s charming and a sensory relief after the overload of Versaille. Walk from the hamlet back to the formal Petite Trianon and you’ll find a series of “secret” stone paths criss-crossing through the woods. TT could easily have spent an hour or two exploring all of them.

maire antoinette's hamlet at Versaille, outside of Paris

NOTE: Wear sturdy walking shoes. The grounds are rougher going than you would expect.

A Petite Treat

a lemon macaron from laduree in Paris4.TT made several new discoveries on the pastry front during her two weeks in Paris, but it’s the macarons she kept coming back to. Small enough to eat in a few bites and always displayed in a rainbow of colors and flavors, they quickly became TT’s go-to afternoon treat. You can buy one of every color and decide on your favorite (she favored raspberry and lemon, I liked pistachio). At least once, splurge on the fancy ones at Laduree, an upscale patisserie with several locations. Their macarons really are something special (and make great gifts).

A hidden playground

5. After you are awed by Notre Dame and your child has asked for the third time, “Can we leave now?” walk around to the gated Square Jean XXIII, directly behind the cathedral. There is a small but good quality playground crawling with kids from all over the world. TT romped with a girl from Italy while we ate sandwiches on a nearby bench.

square jean XXIII near notre dame in Paris

Small-scale theater

6. Guignol is a little guy in a black coat and is the hero of the hand-puppet shows staged all over Paris. You’ll find him in the Jardin Acclimitation, the Jardin Luxembourg and several local parks as well.

kids helping the king during a guignol puppet show in Paris

It helps to know French but isn’t essential; all the stories are the same. The Parisian kids love it and audience participation is part of the fun.

What are your favorite little things when you travel?

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  1. May 25, 2015 at 3:15 am — Reply

    Eileen, I’ve never heard of the Museum of Carnavalet, but it sounds like something even us big kids would love to go to. Making up stories is one of my favorite things!

    Go Team Weekend Travel Inspiration!

    • FG Editor
      May 25, 2015 at 10:28 pm — Reply

      It was in/near the Marais. Not far from the square where Victor Hugo’s house is. We liked that area a lot. it had a lot of interesting little corners to explore.

  2. May 24, 2015 at 11:32 am — Reply

    That St Chappelle shot is a winner, I can picture your child say ‘whoh’! I know the kids enjoyed the hand puppet shows.

    • FG Editor
      May 25, 2015 at 10:26 pm — Reply

      I wish I could say that that photo was mine. Alas….

  3. May 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm — Reply

    I heartily agree with your suggestions. St. Chappelle was indeed breathtakingly amazing but on a scale that little ones can appreciate. Versaille’s “backyard” was incredible. I think we enjoyed it more than the palace. Macarons are yummy, but people with nut allergies should be aware that they’re typically made with ground almonds.

    • May 24, 2015 at 8:21 am — Reply

      I didn’t know that about macarons. That’s good information!

  4. May 23, 2015 at 3:04 am — Reply

    We didn’t do Paris right. We didn’t even enjoy it enough to stay a week, and moved up our flights to leave early. We missed theChurch of St. Chappelle. I would have to agree with your girl, it is a “wow”.

    • May 24, 2015 at 8:23 am — Reply

      Hopefully you’ll get a chance to go back and have a do-over. As the singer Jonathan Richmond says, “Give Paris once more chance.” 🙂

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