Ciao Bambino has many articles offering information about traveling to Paris with children, but Paris with a baby requires extra attention, and we don’t just mean which stroller to bring or where to buy diapers. Here are ten proven tips for a baby-friendly trip to Paris.
Tips for Visiting Paris with a Baby
Arrival: Paris CDG airport is 40km away from Paris. There are many transportation options to reach Paris, however, most of them are not easy to manage with young children. I recommend that you book a car prior to arrival. You can request a car seat with many companies, but quality can be unreliable. It may make more sense to bring your own.
Diapers and baby food: You’ll find international diaper brands easily (Huggies and Pampers). Baby food is available in all (even small) supermarkets in Paris. You can also now find organic options in almost any shop selling baby food. Formulas are different than those you can find at home. For questions, simply go to a pharmacy and bring your formula label with you.
Strollers: You will need a lightweight stroller as sidewalks are often not family-friendly and can be narrow on some streets. Note, you might need to carry the stroller and baby a few steps to get into museums and restaurants. Also, you will not be allowed to visit the Eiffel Tower if your stroller won’t fold up, so that’s a great time to use a baby carrier or an umbrella stroller (if your baby is old enough for one).
Public transportation: If you plan to take public transportation (bus or metro), you’ll have to carry your baby and stroller to get up and down the stairs. The metro is definitively not a stroller-friendly place! Only about half of the stations are equipped with escalators and a few have elevators. Buses tend to become more and more accessible (you can get into the bus through the rear door with a stroller—sign the driver and there’s usually a dedicated location inside just for strollers). Babies and toddlers are free: children under 4 don’t pay for metro/bus/train in the Paris area.
Public gardens: There are at least 100 parks and public gardens in the city. When determining where to stay in Paris, you’ll want to consider finding a hotel or apartment near one. Some are large (and famous) like Jardin du Luxembourg and some are local ones (and can be very tiny). Many parks offer playgrounds for children 18 months to 2 years old, or at the very least, swings for babies.
Restaurants: Few Paris restaurants are 100% baby-friendly (with high-chairs, changing table, specific baby food), however, most restaurants will welcome and accommodate you and your baby (leaving space for your stroller, warming up your baby-food etc). The French usually start having dinner around 8 p.m. If you go to a restaurant before that time, you’ll be in a quiet place (restaurants usually open between 7-7:30 p.m.). It is a good idea to pack a portable high chair for a trip to Paris with a baby.
Accommodations: Hotels usually offer travel cots for babies. This can be suitable with one child. With two small children, it may be less expensive and easier to rent an apartment or to find an apart-hotel with kitchenette facilities. Our family travel advisors can help with your search, as you’ll want to be sure you rent an apartment that is vetted for quality and maintained by a reputable rental agency. Our advisors have traveled to Paris many times with their own children… so we know what accommodations are kid-friendly from first-hand experience.
Museums: Traveling to Paris with kids inevitably involves visiting one of the world-class museums. Museum policies vary on accepting strollers inside the exhibits. You’ll need to check in advance or at the entrance. In museums where strollers are not allowed, you can usually borrow (for free) a baby carrier. In any case, I recommend that you bring a baby carrier with you so you always have one on hand.
Public toilets/changing baby: Paris has free and clean public toilets that are easy to use with potty-trained toddlers. For babies in diapers, toilets with changing facilities are still quite rare; bring a light portable changing mat, it will allow you to change your baby almost anywhere. Don’t worry, Parisians won’t be bothered by this.
Breastfeeding: Public breastfeeding is still quite rare in France, but rest assured you can feed your baby anywhere.
This is a guest post from Camille Spanjaard, founder of baby’tems, a baby equipment rental and supply company in Paris, France. Camille is a French mom with two small children who has lived in Paris for more than 10 years. She decided to start baby’tems after traveling with her children and realizing that baby equipment rental and supply services existed in many cities, but not in Paris! Odd for one of the most visited cities in the world. Baby’tems delivers rental equipment right to your doorstep in Paris. Our products are all recognized brands kept in perfect condition. We also can provide nappies/diapers, milk, baby food, and a range of other childcare accessories. We make it easy to travel to Paris with babies and toddlers!
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