Parc zoologique de Paris Parc zoologique de Paris © Paris Tourist Office © Daniel Thierry

5 'sunny day' things to do with children in Paris

From games on the Seine, park-life fun and picnics under the Eiffel Tower, there are adventures galore when the sun shines in Paris

When in Paris with kids, a fresh air is always welcome. Stretch those legs, discover the various playgrounds, the pretty vintage carousels or the swings, or discover the Seine’s hip banks. Here are our five best spots to enjoy Paris al fresco en famille.

Parc Monceau

Parc Monceau-park © Paris Tourist Office/Photographer Amelie DupontParc Monceau © Amelie Dupont/Paris Tourist Office

Possibly one of the French capital’s prettiest parks, the Parc Monceau is a total cliché. Spread across 8.2 hectares, its lawns, blooming borders, chic crowds and benches aplenty transport you into a bygone era of Paris. Monuments including a small pyramid and classical colonnade dating back to 1778 give the kids a unique backdrop in which to play. Juniors will also appreciate the duck pond, the sandpits, swings, the beautiful Victorian style carousel and the pony rides which take place on Wednesday afternoons or weekends when school’s out.

Berges de Seine

Les Berges de la SeineLes Berges de Seine © Amelie Dupont/Paris Tourist Office

The newly rehabilitated ‘Berges de Seine’ are the perfect place to while away a sunny afternoon. With the embankment now pedestrianised over several long stretches, one can make the most of the riverbanks. Head to Solferino, les Invalides and Port du Gros Caillou, where each area has its own attractions. Kids are not forgotten, with garden workshops, climbing walls for budding mountaineers, Teepees that are bookable for hourly slots, 100m race track to test your running skills, games and playgrounds aplenty, as well as a slate wall to be creative on! Free entry.

Jardin des Plantes

jardin plantes secondaire3 924Jardin des Plantes © MNHN

On the left bank, the Jardin des Plantes, France’s first Botanical Garden is a fantastic place to take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle. Its main outdoor attraction is the Menagerie zoo, the oldest in France dating back to 1795 – worth seeing just for its grandiose old buildings, though junior visitors will probably be more interested in the furry inhabitants. The Jardin is also home to the the Musee d’Histoire Naturelle with its snazzy Grande Galerie de L’Evolution and its impressive taxidermy collection (not as bad as it sounds) and the Paleontology department for dinosaur fans. Open 7.30am to 8pm. Free entry. Menagerie €8 adults, €6 kids.

Champs de Mars

158-10--Sport-and-leisure-at-Champ-de-Mars--Paris-Tourist-Office---Photographer---David-Lefranc-David-Lefranc-Free-of-rights-except-for-commercial-postersChamps De Mars © David Lefranc/Paris Tourist Office

Let’s face it; the kids will want to see the Eiffel Tower. You might want to avoid the queues and vertigo so instead of climbing up, organise a picnic on the Champs De Mars where you can admire Eiffel’s creation in all its glory. As well as lovely lawns, the area is home to a couple of good playgrounds for younger kids, complete with slides, trains to ride and sandpits. It’s also worth popping to the nearby Musee Rodin to visit the famous Thinker and stretch little legs in the pristine gardens. Free entry.

Zoo de Vicennes

193-52--Parc-zoologique-de-Paris--Paris-Tourist-Office---Photographer---Daniel-Thierry-Daniel-Thierry-Free-of-rights-except-for-commercial-postersZoo de Vicennes © Daniel Thierry/Paris Tourist Office

Since its rebirth, the Zoo de Paris has become a must on the ‘To Do’ list for families visiting the French capital. Home to several ‘biozones’, including Patagonia, Europe and Madagascar, the entire place has had a very chic overhaul and is now a beautiful place in which to wander. Children can get up close to endangered species such as the puma or lemurs as well as the usual giraffes, lions and penguins who always put on a good show! Visit early to avoid the crowds. Open 10am-6pm. €14 (under 12s), €16.50 (12-25), €22 for adults.

1 Zoo de Vicennes
2 Champs De Mars
3 Jardin des Plantes
4 Parc Monceau
5 Berges De Seine