Eating with young kids in Paris can be tricky. We had a month to figure out kid-friendly restaurants in Paris and we found a treasure of places so that we could enjoy this culture’s cuisine in our own little way.
Since our little one still goes to bed pretty early and dinner time can really be tough with younger kids, we found breakfast and lunch to be easier ways to enjoy a special meal out on this trip. After adjusting my expectations, we dove into some really great meals during the early hours of the day. Think amazing brunches, the best pastries, and lots of great cheese!!
Here’s how our days looked: Around mid-morning we’d exit our 6th floor apartment, ready for adventures around the city until late afternoon. We’d usually have a pastry or something sweet to get us going then we’d hit up our destination for the day (museums, famous sites, playgrounds, or parks, depending on the weather).
For lunch we loved getting ham and cheese baguettes for quick bite on the go (most bakeries have these). There were a few days that Ruthie would be napping in the stroller so Everett (my 4 year old) and I could sit for a meat and cheese plate or French onion soup (+ glass of wine for me) and we’d get to have a more lengthy lunch. For a good snack, the cheese shop nearby sold aged gouda in little cubes in to-go bags that were great on-the-go snacks. During the afternoon hours, a sweet pastry or treat was always a good motivator to keep the kids out a little longer before they pooped out from all the walking around. Of course I partook as well, one of the many benefits to traveling with kids to Paris… macaroons, meringues, fine chocolates, designer cookies, cream puffs and so much more!
For dinners, I would stop in at a local produce shop near our apartment for the freshest veggies, cheese etc and put together an easy meal. And it had to be easy because we only had two burners and no oven in our tinny tiny Air bnb. Think pasta and veggies, ham and cheese crepes, eggs with veggies, or a cheese plates with bread, olives and salami. I tried to make it fun, using local ingredients, some French culture, and of course the best cheese. If we did eat out for dinner, we enjoyed eating at establishments that had heated patios. If our kids were a little louder, this felt more comfortable and we could push the stroller up beside us if our littlest was sleeping.
So that’s how we made our meals work in Paris. We did go out for a few special dinners but for the most part, we enjoyed great meals during the day-time. Here are a few of our favorite spots for pastries, breakfast, brunch and lunch:
Best kid-friendly Brunch and Lunch Restaurants in Paris
- La Bossue – fun brunch in Montmartre neighborhood (make a res). I took Everett here for a special mother-son brunch date! They have a full spread of food so it was fun for him to try several French treats. They even brought him a special hot chocolate to go with his brunch.
- Frenchie to go – some of the best food in Paris available in a casual cafe or to-go. We dined here for lunch and breakfast. I also stopped in for an allonge (similar to an americano coffee) on many occasions and one of their maple bacon scones to go.
- Merci – this design store is not only a fun place to peruse around but they have three casual cafes that are great to visit with kids. One is located in the basement (with lunch foods), another one on the main level with brunch and coffee, and the third is next door (the Cinema Cafe) and serves a smaller more casual lunch with old classic movies going in the back. We dined at the Cinema Cafe and it ended up being one of our favorite lunches. They have healthy salads, a few dessert options and a perfectly casual atmosphere for kids.
- Bread and Roses & Judy – two great lunch spots near Luxembourg gardens. We had so much fun at the Luxembourg gardens that we ended up finding a few great brunch/lunch spots nearby. Bread and Roses is more formal and has great quiche. Judy is more of a healthy spot but the kids and I loved it too.
- Les Bols de Jean – casual lunch spot that serves up creative foods in bread bowls. This was a fun one to go with the kiddos. I shared a big bread bowl of warm and comforting foods and we were fueled back up to walk back to our flat.
- Chez Meunier – Bakery in the 2nd arrondissement. This was hands down our favorite bakery experience in Paris. They have a modern feel and so many amazing pastries to try. We’ll have many memories of their almond croissants and sitting down for a pastry and a few minutes to chat or work on reading and writing.
- Vino e Cucina (dinner) – fun, casual Italian restaurant for jazz, wine and light dinner, our kids even enjoyed this late night experience. We happened upon this late one evening and we are suckers for Italian food and wine. Their jazz was beautiful and the kids loved the live music and casual Italian atmosphere (unlike some of the nicer French restaurants you’d go to in the evening)
Best Hot Chocolate in Paris
If you’re traveling to Paris in the winter, and with kids, finding the best hot chocolate is a necessity! Most cafes around town sell chocolat chaud, which is how your order it in French and what to look for on menus. If it’s a little bitter you can always add a sugar pack for the kids. Right near the Tuleries Gardens (and playground) is our favorite spot for hot chocolate. It’s also many other people’s favorite spot for hot chocolate so plan for crowds.
- Angelina – hands down the best cup of hot chocolate in Paris, more like drinking chocolate so don’t be fooled by the small cup or high price because you can’t drink too much of this! We get it to-go here and head over to the Tuileries for the carousel or playgrounds.
Since we ate in for most of our dinners, I did a lengthy post on the best grocery stores and food markets in Paris as well.
A Few Simple Tips to Eating Well with Kids in Paris:
- We loved buying pre-made crepes from some of the grocery stores. It was a fun French meal, yet simple and easy to prepare. We filled them with Nutella or ham and cheese. Crêperies are also great places to stop in for a casual meal with kiddos.
- It’s hard enough eating healthy when you’re traveling and eating out a lot. Both of my kids love beets and broccoli so whenever I went to the store I’d always bring those home so I knew we’d get in a few nutrients even if we were eating baguettes and pastries all day long.
- If you find pre-sliced or cubed cheese at a cheese shop, this makes for a great kid snack!
- Bring snacks with you if you do attempt to eat out with kids, this way as you wait they’ll have something to nibble on.
- Let your kids pick out a few things they’ve never had before to try, maybe something as simple as a Kinder Egg from the grocery store, or a fruit at the market. My kids loved trying new cheeses and interesting fruit like currants.
- My kids walked a whole lot in Paris so I didn’t mind the extra candy, pastries, or chocolates along the way. They were well earned and also wonderful motivators to keep the kids moving.
So, even though visiting Paris with young kids didn’t look like we’d envisioned (having lengthy dinners at the best establishments around town), the brunches, pastries, and sweets made the trip memorable and special in its own way! And I got to use beautiful local produce in the kitchen as well as trying out a few simple French recipes. So set your expectations fair and I promise you’ll have some beautiful and delicious meals while visiting Paris with your kids.