Planning a trip to Paris and want to make the planning process fun for kids, get them ready to explore once you’re there, and help guarantee a memorable experience?
The problem is there are SO many awesome books about Paris that it’s almost impossible to narrow it down. So, I spent way to much time doing that for you. What’s my methodology?
Mostly gut. A heavy reliance on positive reviews. And a few different categories to keep it fun.
A Language Book for Paris
This series is an easy way to introduce children to new languages. The included CD, basically, reads the books and sings the songs that go along with the storyline. The story follows the narrator’s day from morning to night with many familiar tunes sung in both English and French. While there are a ton of bilingual French books available, this one really appeals to my kids, so maybe it will appeal to yours.
Please note: We have the German version of this book. Since my kids went to preschool in Germany, I’m very familiar with the songs my kids learned in school. I wouldn’t say this is the most authentic experience because I do think the goal is to introduce the language with rhythms kids are used to. But, still, my kids really enjoy listening and singing along.
A Board Book for Paris
There are several board books about Paris. This one is brought to us by the people who do the BabyLit series.
It’s simple: Illustration. French word. English word. But, it’s meant to be simple. I picked this book for the parent of a baby who wants to make the tiniest connection between book and place.
A Loved Book for Paris
People love this book. As grandfather and grandson walk around the city, the reader gets to experience Paris right along with them.
This made the cut because it is the one book that I see parents rave about in family travel groups I belong to. Their one request? That this style of book was made in every city. Sounds like a win to me.
A Journal Book for Paris
This book feeds into all of the ways I think books help kids learn about other cultures. (Real quick, scroll to the first sentence I wrote for this post, or click to one of my first posts about travel books – this is something I can’t stress enough.)
Anyway great travel books do at least one of three things: gives them info, helps them explore, and makes a great souvenir. The Leap and Hop Paris Travel Journal surpasses all three. It gives them the foundation of information needed to make a successful trip, provides prompts and space to give readers opportunities to think deeper and journal those thoughts while there, and it is a souvenir from the trip with their personal memories making it, most likely, the most valuable souvenir.
Check. Check. And Check.
A Guidebook for Paris
While many big travel guide publishers offer specific guides to the city for kids, I like this one.
This guide to Paris was written by a mom with three kids. She shares information on the sights to see, with the added bonus of including Paris-only type of experiences that will make this trip stand out amongst the rest.
I only have one caveat with this and any guidebook that isn’t updated annually. If you’re planning an itinerary using this book, cross reference operating hours via the web to make sure you don’t waste your time looking for something that no longer exists. Yep. That’s from personal experience (though not with this book).
Award-winning books for Paris
A Caldecott book for Paris
This Caldecott-award winning book tells the story of the orphan, Madeline, who lives in Paris. The illustrations bring the reader to some of the sights that they are sure to see on their trip and will give them an easy way to connect those places with a beloved tale. Most of all, this book made the list because it is a classic that has stood the test of time. Even though the illustrations are from the 1950s, kids will still be able to relate to the places they’ll visit.
A Newberry book for Paris
This Newberry-award honoree holds a special place in my heart. On my last trip to Paris I waited, with my family, to board a boat to view the city. While we waited, my kids (1 and 3 at the time) played a game where they counted in German, said go, and took off from one tree to another. During this game, a family sat on a bench and ate their picnic lunch. They watched my kids play. I don’t think this family was French. They weren’t American. Or German. But, they connected with my kids. Their preteen kids soon joined in. They counted. They ran. They laughed. It was one of my favorite travel moments ever.
And that is why this book is on my list. Not because it’s my story, but because it reminds me of my story. And it takes place under a bridge in Paris.
Visiting Paris with kids
If you’re looking at books for your trip to Paris, I thought you might also appreciate a few travel tips. I’ve been to the city both as a kid and with my kids and here are some of my favorite tips:
Visiting the Eiffel Tower with kids
There are many different ways to approach the tower, but I think the most awe-inspiring one is via metro. You will want to go to the Trocadero station and make your way onto the platform. There you will get a beautiful view of the Eiffel. Go at night. Be prepared for a lot of peddlers. Enjoy.
I’ve taken the elevator up and walked up the steps (between two levels, not all the way to the top) and I prefer the elevator. However, now with Paris being as busy as it always seems to be, you’ll have to deal with lines. There are two ways to avoid the lines at the Eiffel Tower: go during low season or buy passes in advance. You can purchase passes via Viator here.
The Eiffel Tower’s official website has a page dedicated to family visitors. Included is information about Gus, their mascot. You can follow Gus in the tower itself, and download a free activity (in English and French) prior to your trip here.
Visiting a theme park or amusement park in Paris
You can easily get to Disneyland Paris from downtown Paris. Or you can visit a more… non-American theme park and see Parc Asterix (the second largest theme park in the country) which is also outside of the city limits. If you want to stay in then visit Le Jardin de Acclimation. You can read my review on my old site here.
More books for Paris
This really is just a tiny fraction of books about Paris. There are so many, many more awesome books that should be part of your collection whether you are traveling there or just love this beautiful city. As of the writing of this post there are 57 books on the KTB Global Bookshelf set in France, with a good chunk of those set in Paris.
In looking for Paris-specific books I’ve discovered more that I’m putting in my queue to add. So, please come back and check. Let me know if I’m missing any obvious books, and let me know what your list would look like.