The 5 best museums for children in Paris


6 June, 2023


7 August, 2023

Paris is best known for its excellent restaurants, world-class shopping and romantic atmosphere. But what if we told you that the French capital offers plenty for children, too? In fact, family city breaks here are soaring in popularity. And if you've got a budding scientist, an animal lover or an art enthusiast in your household, taking them to one of Paris' famous museums is an absolute must.

Tips for visiting museums in Paris with children

Travelling with children doesn't have to be stressful. It can be incredibly rewarding – and even more so when they're having fun and learning new things. Here are our top three tips to help you get the most out of your tour of family-friendly museums in Paris.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is a must for the best chance of making your day a roaring success. It's a good idea to have a meal beforehand – whether it's breakfast or lunch – to keep hungry tummies from cutting your museum visit short. We'd also recommend checking out opening times – visiting later in the day often means fewer crowds and shorter queues.

Make it fun

Keeping kids engaged is key when you're visiting larger museums in particular. How about creating a treasure hunt for them to complete as you walk around? Or, bring some colouring pencils and paper and have them re-create their favourite art pieces. Some museums offer child-friendly audio guides and family tours, which are sure to keep boredom at bay.

Get them excited

Trying to convince children that museums are fun can be a tough task – even when you know they'll enjoy themselves. A great way to get them excited for their visit is to read them books or show them videos based on some of the exhibits, whether it's space, dinosaurs or something else. Before you know it, they'll be counting down the days until they can set eyes on the real thing.

Now that you've heard our top tips let's get straight into our list of the top kid-friendly museums Paris offers:

Discover the 5 best museums in Paris for children

With masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa on its résumé, Paris really knows how to impress when it comes to museums. And it's not all about the Louvre – although that is a must-visit. More than 130 museums are scattered across the city, so choosing which ones to squeeze into your itinerary is no mean feat. If you're travelling with little ones, the task suddenly seems even more difficult. But fear not – we've pulled together our top recommendations right here.

Science and Industry Museum (Cité des Sciences)

Set in one of the biggest parks in Paris – Parc de la Villette – the Science and Industry Museum will impress the children (and you) before you even set foot inside its doors. Its glass-and-metal façade is reflected in a giant mirrored sphere, which makes up part of the complex, housing a unique IMAX theatre. Step inside, and you'll be greeted with around 20,000 square metres of exhibition space.

The vast Science Museum Paris is one of the most child-friendly museums in Paris, with displays targeted at children as young as four years old. If your little ones are aged 12 or under, head to the Cité des Enfants section, where a series of interactive exhibits will get them learning about everything from bodily functions to construction. They can even try lip-syncing to music or pretend to be TV presenters. Meanwhile, teens can stroll around the onsite planetarium or check out a submarine.

Most of the displays here are translated into English so that you can explain everything to the little ones. Plus, with each room just off a central hall, it's easy to navigate. As for getting here, your best bet is to hop on the Metro from central Paris.

Museum of Natural History (Le Musée d’Histoire Naturelle)

The Paris Museum of Natural History is one of the most visited in France and one of the top Paris museums for children. Spread across the grounds of Jardin des Plantes in the 5th Arrondissement, it's easy to reach from the city centre, even with little ones in tow. If your kids love animals, they'll be mesmerised from the second they walk into this place.

The most famous exhibit is a central display of animal specimens, including giraffes, zebras, elephants and lions. Plus, there's an onsite zoo, which is one of the oldest in the world. Red pandas, orangutans and snow leopards are just a few of the 150 species that call this place home – 40% of which are endangered. And if your little ones are interested in biodiversity, you can take a guided tour or even meet with one of the zookeepers to learn about the threats to some of the animals' natural habitats.

Elsewhere, youngsters between six and 12 can play games and watch videos in the children's gallery. They'll have so much fun, thanks to bright colours and interactive elements, that they won't even realise they're learning.

Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre)

A visit to Paris would only be complete with a stop at the stunning Louvre Museum. But if you're clued up on this popular sightseeing spot, you might be wary of long queues and huge crowds. The good news is that if you're heading to Paris with children, you won't need to rule this one out – in fact, the Louvre children's tours let you skip the line and get straight to the good bits. You can choose two or three-hour tours, and if you're happy to pay a little extra, you can have a guide just for your family who can tailor your visit to the things your little ones are most interested in.

Built as a palace in the 12th century, the museum is as beautiful on the inside as its famous glass pyramid on the outside. But when it comes to family facilities, things are modern and up-to-date. You'll find a dedicated baby space on the ground floor complete with things like bottle warmers, nursing chairs, and pushchairs. Plus, older children can join in with French-speaking activities in the kids' studio.

Musee d'Orsay

You'll find this monumental art museum inside a former railway station by the banks of the River Seine. Not only is it free for under 18s, but there are heaps of things that make visiting Musee d’Orsay as a family easier. You can hire pushchairs for free, and baby changing areas are on the first floor. There are also three restaurants and cafés inside, so you can easily grab a snack if anyone gets peckish.

Now, onto the exciting bit. Little ones can listen to a dedicated children's audio guide led by the museum mascot, Pompon, the polar bear, as they navigate the exhibits. It focuses on three child-friendly themes – landscapes, portraits and animals – and they'll be free to choose which guides they want to listen to as they wander around – just look out for the audio guide symbol on the signage.

If you'd rather be shown around with the help of an expert guide, private family tours are also an option. These are great for when you're short on time but want to squeeze as much enjoyment as possible out of your visit – plus, you won't need to queue to get in.

Fairground Art Museum (Musée des Arts Forains)

This one is certainly worth a visit if you're after something a little different and off-the-beaten-track. Unlike most museums in Paris, if you want to discover this hidden gem, you'll need to book a guided visit in advance. But it's worth it, as not only will you be able to head straight in, but you'll have an expert with you all the way around – so the little ones can ask questions to their heart's content.

As its name suggests, the museum centres around the history of carnivals and fairgrounds. There are four main exhibits, each one focusing on a different theme. You'll even have the chance to watch mechanised performances and ride on an old merry-go-round, exactly as your children's great, great grandparents may have done in the late 1800s. As for where to find it, the museum's next to Parc de Bercy, in the city's 12th Arrondissement.

The onefinestay experience

Book a family trip to Paris with onefinestay, and you'll have a dedicated concierge to help make your break hassle-free. From booking your museum visits to organising your transport there and back, they'll ensure you only need to worry about enjoying yourself. What's more, our collection of stunning holiday rentals and apartments in Paris is ideal if you're looking for a sophisticated, central base that all the family will love.

Ready for an fun-filled city break with your family?