Paris Children's Books, Guidebooks, Maps, Toys and More

If you're getting ready for a trip to Paris with Kids, you probably want more than just the usual guidebooks. A few children's books and some toys related to Paris will help set the stage, and a good map is essential when you have a soon-to-melt-down toddler in need of a playground. Here our our favorite resources:

Children's Books Set in Paris (and French Classics)

This classic tale is just as sweet as you remember, and I love pointing out the famous Paris landmarks on each page as we read through the book (there's a list of sites and page numbers at the end to refresh your memory). Madeline is a nice way to set the stage before leaving on your trip, or to help kids remember the scenery once they've returned home. Available from Amazon

The Little Prince

This timeless children's story book is available in both French and English, making it a nice choice for families who are trying to learn French before their trip. In Paris, you'll see "Little Prince" merchandise in toy-stores and kids may enjoy seeing a familiar character. Available From Amazon

Louvre Up Close

This oversized book makes famous artworks into a kids scavenger hunt. Each of 34 artworks from the Louvre is printed across two pages along with blowups of several different details "hidden" within the artwork. Kids try to find each of the details themselves. My daughter enjoyed this book as young as age two (with lots of adult help), and my son is fascinated with it at age 4, but the publisher recommends it for ages 9-12. Available From Amazon

Polo's Adventures

This French wordless book isn't set in Paris, but it is a great "read" about a dog's action packed adventure that might set the tone for your own travels. Only a few books in the series are available here in the US, and if your child likes the character (and the non-violent approach to telling an absolutely riviting story), it will be fun to search out a few new Polo books in Paris. Here is my full review of Le Voyage De Polo. The book is Available From Amazon

Grown Up Books about Paris With Kids
Paris to the Moon

This collection of essays and journal entries about the five years Adam Gopnik (a writer for the New Yorker) spent living with his wife and son in Paris is touching and funny. The light stories about everything from the carousel ride at the Luxembourg Gardens to his son's experiences at his French school to his daughter's birth in a Paris hospital will set the stage for your own trip to Paris with kids in tow. Available From Amazon

Julia Childs: My Life in France

From the first sentence of this book, where Julia steps off a boat with her new husband and all her possessions to start a new life in Paris, I was totally taken in. While this book has nothing to do with children, and everything to do with food, it's a fun read. After exploring Paris for a few days, you'll recognize the neighborhoods Julia talks about in the books, and you might even begin to imagine yourself as a budding chef starting a new life in Paris. Available From Amazon

Guidebooks to Paris With Kids
City Walks with Kids: Paris Adventures on Foot

Each card in this sturdy box identifies one major tourist destination, and several nearby points of interest, kid-friendly activities or snack ideas. On the back of each card are detailed descriptions of the walking tour. This is a nice way to organize your visit, and a great way to let older kids take part in the planning. Available From Amazon

Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris

For me, one of the most frustrating things about visiting Paris with kids is that I want to enjoy the food, but few of the traditional guidebook restaurant recommendations are appropriate. Chlotilde's Edible Adventures lists some of the best takeaway shops, casual dining, and bakeries in the city (in addition to traditional sit down restaurants) making it a great choice if you want to experience Paris' best food without worrying about your child's behavior through every meal. Available From Amazon

Paris Maps

There are few things worse than being lost in a strange city with tired, hungry children and a poor quality freebie map that shows only the major streets. We bring along our own maps when we travel, and we've found that having great maps makes it easier to find our way around and to find hidden parks and playgrounds (hint, almost any church in Paris will have a playground tucked around the side or back).

Streetwise Paris Laminated City Center Street Map

This sturdy laminated map does a great job of providing detail for the heart of Paris, and the small size makes it easy to fit in a purse or backpack. Arrondissements are clearly marked. It does not cover outlying areas like the 18th, 19th, and 20th. Available From Amazon

Michelin Paris Par Arrondissements Plan Atlas: Nouvelle Edition (Michelin Maps)

This spiral bound map is a perfect choice if you expect to get "off the beaten path." The guide includes outlying areas and a street index makes it easy to find even the small out-of-the-way locations. The small size makes it easy to fit in a purse or backpack and because the guide is spiral bound, you can leave it open to the page you need. Arrondissements and Taxi stands are clearly marked, but this guide is designed for visitors who plan to walk or drive and you will also need a separate metro map (available for free at most hotels or metro stations). This book is in French, but because the only details you need are the street names, it is easily usable by English language speakers too. Available From Amazon

Toys and Music
Putumayo Presents: French Playground

The best think about this CD of French music for children is that I enjoy listening too it too. This is the perfect way to set the tone for your trip to France! Available from Amazon

Lego Make & Create Eiffel Tower 1:300

This incredibly detailed LEGO model of the Eiffel tower is hardly cheap, but it would make a fantastic pre-trip project for a family headed to Paris. Available from Amazon

Ravensburger Celebrating Paris Puzzle 1000 Piece

For kids old enough to work on a 1000 piece puzzle, this would make a fun family activity to help build excitement for a trip to Paris or to remember the trip once you have returned home. Available from Amazon

Related Links
City Guide to Paris With Kids
Travel Toys to Keep Your Child Busy on the Plane