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‘You get to places you wouldn’t otherwise get to so quickly’

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Femke (40) knows Paris like the back of her hand. Yet the city continues to surprise her and her husband Dennis, especially when they are there with sons Tijmen (6) and Jonas (4).

“Although not everyone agrees with us, Dennis and I actually enjoy doing a city trip with children. It’s the perfect combination of culture and playgrounds. I like the city life, the hustle and bustle. We have been living near Maastricht for a few years now and we like that very much, but I do want to be able to feel that commotion every now and then.

Before we had children, we often traveled to cities. Because my aunt used to live in Paris, I have been there forty times. But now that we are going with Tijmen and Jonas, I notice that we still experience it in a completely different way.


Paris cannot be compared to any other city. For us it is only a four-hour drive, but we are really gone, in an un-Dutch environment, a mega city. I like that there are plenty of places that are not touristy. I really like Paris without hordes of tourists, but of course we also visit a tourist attraction every now and then. For example at the Sacré-Coeur, where we always go.

The surrounding area, Montmartre, has always been loved by painters. Place du Tertre is famous for the portrait artists. It’s busy, but if you go down the steps of Rue du Mont-Cenis and turn left, you’ll end up in a nice quiet area. Further on, at Rue des Abbesses and the surrounding streets such as Rue Lepic, the weather is a bit livelier, with typical Parisian terraces and bistros.

vacation with kids paris

New places

Paris is beautiful in all seasons, but in winter it has something magical, with all those lights everywhere and the decorated Eiffel Tower
which you can see from many places in the city: they make it sparkle every hour, the boys love that. With children you will in any case visit places where you would otherwise not go quickly, such as typical children’s museums and playgrounds.

“Paris has something magical in winter, with all the lights and the decorated Eiffel Tower”

But they also allow me to look at the environment in a new way in other places. For example, once we all went to the Panthéon for the beautiful view, but once there it turned out that we still had to wait for 45 minutes before we could go up. Dennis and I looked at each other: how are we going to do that with two children? But somehow the boys made it their own story. In the basement they saw tombs and we explained that famous people were buried in them. “Would Jesus lie here too?” they wondered aloud.

There was a large mirror on the floor that I had just walked past, but they thought it was hugely spectacular and played together for half an hour. And then the pond at the Jardin du Luxembourg, where I’ve been alone and had coffee so many times. I already noticed the toy boats in the pond, but now we rented one ourselves.

Read also – To Paris with the kids: 7 tips for a great holiday >

vacation with kids paris vacation with kids paris


Normally we are not big on planning, but in a city it is important to make a program. Especially for the boys. This way they know where they stand and that means we have few problems. I always make sure there is variety: a playground after a museum, or something fun for them. But actually I find few things in Paris not suitable for children.

“I don’t think many things in Paris are suitable for children”

Usually we have lunch with a sandwich and coffee from the bakery, but we can also sit on terraces or in bistros with the boys. For example, we eat crêpes at least once on every visit, and then always the galette complète: a savory variant with ham, cheese and a fried egg. I also try to eat a good steak tartare every time, preferably one that they prepare at my table. I never eat that at home, only there.


It’s nice that I’ve been to Paris so often, so I don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel and we enjoy the old familiar; I’m already looking forward to going back to the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution natural history museum in a few weeks, with all those stuffed animals. The boys are always very good at that.

When they are a little older, I want to take them to explore the catacombs, which are underground tunnels of up to three kilometers long where bones and skulls are piled against the walls. The youngest has already said that he wants to live in Paris later. ‘Then I’ll become a chef and live next to the Eiffel Tower!’ For now, we will go together, there is still plenty to discover.”

vacation with kids paris vacation with kids paris



If it’s too busy at the Eiffel Tower, we’ll see Paris from the roof of the Panthéon. At least as beautiful.


Go to Center Pompidou for a beautiful view over roof terraces and the square. The escalators are an adventure for the boys. There is also a Galerie des Enfants, the special children’s area.

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