Exploring The Heart of Paris With Kids
Activity: Heart of Paris Walk Tube Stop: Saint Michel – Notre Dame. Cost: Entry to sites covered by your museum pass. 10 euros to climb Notre Dame, free for under 26. Hours: Opens at 7 am, works best to start touring in the morning.
Got some jet-lagged kids awake at the crack of dawn? Notre Dame opens early and is a great place to explore in the mornings. We love using Rick Steves Audioguides while traveling with kids! We can chase them and learn without being confined to a tour group. Download the guide and the Rick Steves app when you have Wifi and it will be waiting in your Rick Steves app for you to listen to. While you’re at it, download the app Je File to get reservations to climb Notre Dame. Reserve your spot for a few hours after you plan on arriving at Notre Dame to give you time to see everything.
Historic Paris Walk: Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, Latin Quarter. Begins at Notre Dame. Use your downloaded Rick Steves Audioguide so you know what you're looking at. Take your time on this walking tour. Enter anything that strikes your fancy. Do not miss Sainte-Chappell! The stained glass is unreal.
Don't miss the sweet little playground around to the right of Notre Dame. We loved watching our son play at this playground with Notre Dame in the background! We met the coolest travel families there. Now you're one of them!
During your walk, you are going to purchase a museum pass. Usually I don't advise getting passes with children because they have one bad day and you lose money on the pass. But this pass covers Versailles and all the important museums and monuments so it's worth it. Plus, kids are free everywhere so you really only need a pass for the adults! If you’re following one of our itineraries, I've planned out the next four days very carefully so everything worth seeing covered by the pass is planned for the next four days. Go hard for a few days and then explore slowly after if you happen to be here longer.
You can buy the pass it at the souvenir shop on Ile de la Cite (5 Boulevard du Palais). Buy a pass for the adults in your party for 62 euros each. The children do not need them.
The walking tour will probably take up most of your morning, but don't miss your Notre Dame reservation! The tower climbing entrance is outside the cathedral along the left side. No baby backpacks allowed, not even if you carry them on the front, so be prepared to heft your kid, Quasimodo hefting Esmerelda style. Climb up and hang out with the gargoyles.
Embarrassing story: I was SUPER into The Hunchback of Notre Dame when I was little. The first time I went to Paris when I was 16, I looked all over for a plaque talking about the hunchback. My sister informed me that he was in fact a fictional character and laughed at me for a very long time.