Things to do with the kids over the autumn school holidays in Paris

Ideas for outings with the kids during the autumn half-term break.

During the half-term holidays there are plenty of fun activities to do with the family in Paris. From immersive and entertaining exhibitions to amazing treasure hunts and enchanting shows. Here’s a guide!

Soak up culture at a museum

© Elodie Gutborg Creatividie

The Louis Vuitton Foundation is organizing photographic and storytelling workshops for children and families.

The Jeu de Paume has a programme of activities for young children, with storytelling visits, films for the whole family to discover and art workshops

At the Atelier des Lumières, kids can explore the works of great artists in wonderful, immersive exhibitions.

At the Centre Pompidou, the Galerie des enfants (children’s gallery) hosts two exhibition-workshops by contemporary artists, every year, for young audiences. There are also practical art workshops, guided tours by artists (musicians, actors ...) to help kids discover their inner artist.

At the Cité des Sciences, the Cité des Enfants presents all kinds of games and experiments for kids, and the E-Lab plunges gaming enthusiasts into the world and making of video games.

And at the Aquarium de Paris, young visitors can attend educational events, animal feeding times, and entertaining shows, including the famous ‘Under the water’ show, in which a mermaid appears.

What if the holidays were the perfect time to learn more about the world's most visited museum? Every weekend, the Louvre offers free mini-tours. The beginnings of the Louvre, A stopover in Ancient Egypt, The treasures, The Napoleons... Lasting 20 minutes, they provide an informative and entertaining introduction to the secrets of the building and its works of art, with passionate and enthusiastic mediators. And for aspiring artists, workshops take place on Wednesdays and Sundays. There are also a number of guided tours on the theme of animals.

The Museum of Illusion has planned sensational animations and terrifying nights to scare you!

Pour tout savoir sur l'Histoire, le musée de l'Armée organise des visites guidées ludiques, visites-contes, chasses au trésor pour toute la famille.

During the school holidays, Capitaine Futur at the Gaîté Lyrique presents ‘My First Festival’, a film festival for young audiences, which this year puts the spotlight on female characters of all ages, including superheroines.

Set off to conquer the city

© Elodie Gutborg

Paris is one big playground!

That’s the motto of My Urban Experience, who organize treasure hunts through the streets of Paris: a great way to learn about the city’s history, unmissable treasures and splendid heritage. With themes like ‘The Mysteries of Montmartre’, ‘Street art at the Butte aux Cailles’ and (on rainy days) ‘The secrets of the covered passages’, these treasure hunts packed with puzzle solving, surprises and anecdotes show you a different side to Paris.

Another great way for kids to experience Paris is with the Tootbus Paris Kids Tour. Thanks to a guide who’s passionate about the city, the kids will have fun learning about the history of Paris through some amazing stories, fun guessing-games and mini-challenges – with a few sweets thrown in! All aboard the bus for a tour of the city!

At the Panthéon, for example, the whole family can learn about its architecture through an activities booklet and take part in a building workshop specially designed for the occasion.

Imagine yourself back in the eighteenth century at the Hôtel de la Marine thanks to their specially developed audio headset with immersive narrative and 3D audio effects.

For a family-fun adventure with children from 8 years up, Mystery Bag offers a treasure hunt through the streets of the Marais. The aim is to accomplish the missions set and discover what is hidden in the mysterious bag given to participants.

And the Conciergerie de Paris invites visitors on a journey through the poetic universe of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, proposing art and craft workshops and an aerial circus performance.

Live like a king

© Mathilde Hermouet

A visit to a French château is a wonderful journey back in time, especially over the autumn ‘Toussaint’ holidays. It’s well worth venturing outside Paris to experience it for yourself.

The Château de Vaux-Le-Vicomte, proposes various activities including immersive sound visits (The Fabulous History of Vaux and The Fouquet Affair), a quiz to discover the gardens (based on The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs) and an underground river adventure trail (The Styx, River of the Underworld). During the holidays, period costumes will be available for children so they can discover the interior of the largest privately owned historic monument in France dressed up as princesses or musketeers!

Fontainebleau, in the Seine-et-Marne département, has already put the clocks back for winter: kids can enjoy thrilling rides on karts pulled by sled dogs in the park.

Enjoy the magnificent galleries of the Palace of Versailles, the Musical Fountains Show or take one of the many guided tours.

Get outdoors in nature

© Studio TTG

Weather permitting, there’s nothing better than spending time outdoors to give the kids a breath of fresh air.

At the Jardin d’Acclimatation, the bewitched river and the haunted museum promise to give all children a gentle scare!

The Thoiry safari park in the Yvelines département is once again putting on its ‘Lumières Sauvages’ (Wild Lights) lantern festival this year from 28 October onwards, with huge Chinese lanterns in the shapes of animals and people and spectacular illuminated tableaux.

A treasure hunt, a workshop, exhibitions and more – for three weekends in a row the Paris Zoo takes visitors on a trip to discover some fascinating and mysterious species.

On weekends, the Parc Zoologique de Paris takes visitors on a journey of discovery of fascinating and mysterious species with the opportunity to have breakfast with the giraffes, discover the current exhibition ‘Regards Fascinants’, and observe how the animals are cared for.

Enjoy a family day out in the Fontainebleau forest, one of the most beautiful in Île-de-France. Combine a trip to the countryside with a guided tour with a difference – on a donkey or an electric scooter!

Give yourself a fright this Halloween

© Disney

Ghosts, pumpkins and witches are out and about during the most frighteningly fun holiday of the year. Halloween returns every year to thrill young and old alike in the most emblematic places in the capital, such as Disneyland® Paris, the Musée Grévin, Parc Astérix and the Parc Zoologique.

At the Gally Farms, many workshops (with or without parents) from 3 years old, including the popular pumpkin carving, activities, delicious snacks, discovering animals can be enjoyed during the holidays at the Pumpkin party.

Finally, Viltain Farm, a few minutes by car from Paris, also organizes pumpkin carving workshops. Children will certainly love creating their own must-have seasonal decoration!

Discover Paris differently

© JB Gurliat

Get off the beaten track and explore Paris in a different way!

During the autumn half-term (Toussaint) holiday treat the family to a trip to the top of Montparnasse Tower, where the panoramic view from the 200-metre-high rooftop terrace will take your breath away. And if you want a real bird’s-eye view of the capital, take a unique VR flight experience with Flyview Paris.

At Paris à vélo, hire a city bike, cargo bike or tandem and explore Paris along 60 km of cycle paths, either on your own or with a guide. With Bike Tour, enjoy an effortless all-electric circuit and learn all – or nearly all – there is to know about Paris.

Guided tours with a theme are also an excellent way to discover Paris and its secrets. A fascinating guided walk through the 7th, 15th and 16th arrondissements will reveal all about Gustave Eiffel, the father of Paris’s ‘iron lady’ as the Eiffel Tower is known.

To discover some of the many works of art hiding in plain sight in the city, the Musée en Herbe (children’s museum) organizes fun guided walks for families in the Tuileries Gardens, the 13th arrondissement and Montmartre (every day during the holidays).

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