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Three fun things to do in Paris with kids

For three children born in Quebec, seeing the Eiffel Tower other than between two buildings on the ring road is a dream come true … But since they are not (yet) heavy city trippers, a stop on our way down to the South was a good deal. I chose the Yooma Urban Lodge Eiffel for its location and its very cool family room. Via Indigo Neo I found a parking space in the parking lot of a supermarket nearby.

Yooma Room for 6, Yooma Urban Lodge Eiffel
Yooma Room for 6 (2 bunk beds + 1 double bed)

Paris is ours … But, apart from the Eiffel Tower, what are we going to see?

The Saint-Martin canal

The day is sunny and warm and since we can’t see everything in just a few hours, I trade a visit to the museum for a boat trip on the Saint-Martin canal.

The Saint-Martin canal
Shady banks of the Saint-Martin canal

The departure of the cruise is a few minutes walk from Place de la République (36min journey by metro – line 8, République stop). North-west of the square, take Rue Beaurepaire. At the end of the street, the Saint-Martin canal and the Chez Prune café. Given the crowd on the terrace, the place must be well-known in the neighborhood.

A little further on the Quai de Valmy, the Cidrerie offers more than 80 references on the menu. Cactus cider, cider aged in Scotch whiskey casks, and the famous Neige, an ice cider discovered in Quebec.

La Cidrerie, Quai de Valmy, Paris
The Cidrerie, 51 Quai de Valmy

We stroll for a moment along the banks lined with chestnut trees and off we go for a 2-hour cruise to discover the Saint-Martin canal.

Crossing the 10th and 11th arrondissements, the canal Saint-Martin connects the Seine to the Bassin de la Villette, passing through the marina of Paris-Arsenal. 4.55 kilometers long, it was built at Napoleon’s request, at the beginning of the 19th century, to transport drinking water and ease maritime traffic on the Seine. Inaugurated in 1825, the canal has nine locks and two swing bridges. Between 1860 and 1862, Hausmann decided to cover part of the canal with a vault. In 1906, a second vault was built in its extension. Both are pierced with ventilation oculi which allow natural lighting of the tunnel. The atmosphere along these 2 underground kilometers is really special

Canal Saint-Martin, underground vaults
Canal Saint-Martin, underground vaults

At the exit of the tunnel, we cross the marina to join the Seine. Saint Louis Island. Notre-Dame cathedral. Passage under the Pont Neuf and the Pont des Arts. Superb view of the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the long-awaited Eiffel Tower. The cruise ends on the Ile de la Cité, at the foot of the Conciergerie and the Sainte Chapelle.

➜ Although highly dependent on the weather, the cruise on the Saint-Martin canal is a very nice experience. You can see a lot of historic buildings while discovering a completely new side of the capital.

The Parc Rives de Seine

On leaving the boat, take the Quai des Grands Augustins to walk along the booksellers, opposite the Paris Correctional Court.

Paris Correctional Court
Paris Correctional Court

We descend to the banks, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to reach our hotel on foot (5.5 km) via the Parc des Rives de Seine. Following the pedestrianization of the banks over 7 kilometers, this park stretches from the Eiffel Tower to the Bastille, offering superb views of Parisian monuments.

The park also offers various sports facilities, petanque courts, playgrounds and climbing walls for children, cafes, terraces… There really is something for everyone.

The kids’ favorite spot is the Traversée des Invalides, next to the bridge of the same name. So fun, the children wouldn’t stop …

A few meters away, the Fluctuart defines itself as the first floating urban art center in the world. Offering free access all year round, the center promotes all trends in urban art, from street art to contemporary artists.

➜ The Parc des Rives de Seine is a great discovery! Walking along the Seine, admiring the buildings, and taking advantage of the activities along the route, allows you to enjoy the city while having the feeling of being elsewhere.

The walk ends with a photo session in front of the Eiffel Tower. The children are exhausted but delighted 🙂

Montmartre and the Sacré-Coeur

We extend the visit to the next day to discover Montmartre. We enjoy the view from the bus (line 30, 45min), and pass in front of the Arc de Triomphe and the Moulin Rouge. Pigalle, everyone out. Breakfast is taken in one of the many Parisian cafés on Rue des Abbesses before going to the Mur des je t’aime in square Jehan-Rictus. Composed of 612 enameled lava tiles, this mural, created by Frédéric Baron, Claire Kito, and Daniel Boulogne, reproduces 311 “I love you” in 250 languages.

From Place des Abbesses, rue La Vieuville leads to the stairs of rue Drevet, before those of Rue du Calvaire.

Calvaire Stairs, Paris
Calvaire Stairs

We leave the Place du Tertre to pass in front of the Parish of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre and the Château d’Eau de Montmartre. Still functional, it still supplies the inhabitants of the top of the Butte with drinking and non-drinking water. Visible for miles with its 43 meters high, the tower of the castle is dressed in a neo-Byzantine style concrete facing, to stay in harmony with the nearby Basilica.

A few photos on the Parvis du Sacré-Coeur and it’s time to get back to the hotel … We have seen a lot in less than 24 hours!

Sacré-Coeur, Paris
Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

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