Destinations, Kids

Rainy Day Activities in Paris with Kids

April 17, 2012 by

Paris. Oh, Paris. Such broad streets you have. Such flowing, swaying plane trees. Your ancient cobble stones and eye popping architecture delight the mind. You can’t even look gloomy in the rain. But you can be hard to see in the rain, especially with little children in tow. Oy-veh, where to run for cover?

After spending a wet summer in Paris, here is my family’s top 5 things to do in Paris in the rain:

1. La Passage

These all weather shopping passageways established in the mid 1800s are beautiful any day with their ornate glass ceilings and mosaic floors. But on rainy days, it’s great to take the kids to run around ‘outside.’ There are many but two come to mind as the best for children: Passage des Princes (5 Boulevard des Italiens and 97 rue Richelieu) and Passage Jouffrou where you’ll find a great toy store. Also the Galerie Vivienne is not to be missed for its sheer spectacularness.

2. Paris Aquarium

Located across the river from the Eiffel Tower, the aquarium is an excellent outing for children on rainy days, or if you’ve just had enough of seeing sights. There are a vast number of tanks to see sea creatures of all sizes. In one of the large tanks near the end of the walkway, you’ll find a school of fish seemingly dancing to piped-in classical music. It’s quite magical. Also, oddly, the cafe and the restaurant both serve sushi among other more kid-friendly meals and snacks. After looking at all those fish, you can enjoy them in an entirely different way…though to be sure they do NOT serve the fish on display!

3. Hot chocolate at Angelina

Across Rue de Rivoli from the Tuileries, Angelina is a must-do. You can stand in line and eat inside – it is unbelievably ornate and beautiful. Ask them to sit you downstairs in the main dining room. Upstairs is simply another room, not much to look at and next to the bathrooms. Unless, of course, you need a place where your children can be a tad, shall we say, less than quiet, then by all means, sit upstairs! Also, the Tuileries are across the Rue de Rivoli so if you need a place (rain or no) to burn off all that chocolate, then just scamper across the street and let the kiddos run.

4. Crepe along the river Siene

In every arrondissement you’ll find a creperie. You can go either high brow – cafe style – or low brow street vendor style. Either way, crepes are sure to please. Buy one. Scurry to a bridge crossing the river and descend the stairs. A good one is the Pont Neuf, leading to the Ile de la Cite. Watch the boats go by, the people running from the rain and simply enjoy. Yes, you will get wet. But in a good way! This was, by far, my family’s most preferred outing. I’m certain it had to do with the river and not the chocolate crepe ;)

5. Jardin des Plantes

The main botanical garden in France – though to be sure there are a bazillion gardens! – this one in the 5th arrondissement not only houses the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle but also the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution and Minerology Museum. We found these totally fascinating and deserving of more than one day to explore.

Funny, as our stay wore on, we found that we were looking as forward to rainy days in Paris as we were the sunny ones.

photo credits: Notre Dame by malias; Aquarium by Qiou87; Jardin des Plantes by Олександр, all others by Chic Traveler



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2 Comments so far

  1. JetSetta says:

    Great ideas. Especially like the Passages one – wouldn’t have thought of that.

  2. Frieda Burns says:

    I would add pretty much any of the museums in Paris to this list. Of course on rainy days they are even more crowded than usual, but they are always great escapes.


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