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France with Kids

If you are looking for one of the best places for a family trip in Europe, you should consider traveling to France with kids. With so many incredible regions to travel within France, there are few destinations in Europe better for a family vacation than France.

a 9-year old girl on a family vacation to France visits the Lavender fields in Provence

Planning a Holiday in France with Kids

When to Visit France with Kids

Our advice for when to book your family vacation to France is a pretty standard European guideline. Most families (like us) will need to visit France in summer during their kids summer vacation from school, but there are also many benefits to visiting France with kids in the spring or fall.

a family watches paragliders while hiking in the Chamonix Valley

High Season in France

High season for France is July – August, in the heart of the summer months. The temperatures throughout France are the hottest of the year and the chances of getting blue skies are at their best.

In exchange for the best weather of the year, a visit to France with your kids in high season also means expensive accommodations and big crowds at the top tourist destinations in Paris and throughout the country. Book your accommodations as early as possible if you are planning a family vacation to France during high season.

a 7-year old boy on a family vacation to France in summer enjoys ice cream on a hot day
We had ice cream almost every day!

Shoulder Season in France

Shoulder season for visiting France with kids tends to be in April, May, June or September. During shoulder season in France, your chances for good weather are still quite good, but the odds of inclement or cooler weather also increase a little. If you can schedule your France family vacation during shoulder season, you will enjoy to fewer crowds and more affordable accommodations.

exploring the produce markets was one of our favorite things to do with kids in France

How Long to Travel in France with Kids

With so many world-renowned tourism regions such as Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, Burgundy, the French Alps, Provence and the French Riviera, you could visit France with kids for over a year and still not see everything. Traveling with kids, this isn’t realistic, so coming up with the best France itinerary for your family will depend entirely on your interests and how much time you have.

a girl makes friends with a fuzzy caterpillar on a family trip to Chamonix, France

We created our France itinerary by focusing on our interests – we wanted to go on a family cycling trip as well visit the stunning French Alps. We then factored in travel times (via train and our rental cars), to strategically give our kids some downtime on travel days.

With a 30-day France trip itinerary, we tried to find a balance between the places we wanted to see, as well as plenty of family-friendly attractions in France for kids.

a girl feels the freezing ice walls of the Chamonix ice caves during a family summer trip to France

If you’d prefer a 2 week itinerary for your France family holiday, we offer some suggestions below on how to reduce our 30-day France itinerary to a two week France itinerary.

Getting Around France with Kids

Chances are good that you’ll be flying into Paris to begin your family vacation to France. If you do not plan to visit Paris, then either Paris airport is a great spot to start your France self drive itinerary. Both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports are on the outskirts of Paris, allowing you to avoid driving in the heart of the mega-city.

If you do plan on visiting Paris (and you really should visit Paris with kids), then we recommend holding off until you leave Paris to rent a car. France has an extensive train network, allowing you to easily get from Paris to your first destination, where renting a car will be easier and less stressful.

a boy on a family trip to France admires a field of sunflowers on a high speed train from Paris to Provence
Sunflowers!

After spending time in Paris with our kids, we took the train south to Provence where we got our first short-term car rental to enjoy the lavender fields. Then, after a week-long family cycling tour in Ardeche, we picked up another rental car, this time for a French Alps road trip. Having a rental car was so convenient, allowing us to see and do things on our own schedule.

a family road trip through Provence offers incredible beauty, such as this windmill surrounded by purple lavender flowers

We returned our car rental in Strasbourg, where we began our second self-guided family cycling tour in France. We finished our summer family vacation in France by taking a high-speed train back to Paris to catch our flight home.

As you can see, with easy train connections, there are many iterations for a family road trip in France. Just be sure to avoid renting a car to visit central Paris.

Browse train tickets and car rentals in France.

Where to Stay in France with Kids

Aside from a few one-night stays in Paris and Provence, we found vacation rentals to be the best option for our family while traveling around France. When we travel with kids, we prefer vacation rentals (like Airbnb or VRBO) over kid-friendly hotels as we value the family-friendly amenities such as kitchens, laundry facilities and separate bedrooms.

there are many great places to stay in Chamonix for families

Family travel to France during high season can be quite expensive, so as a bonus, staying in France vacation rentals allowed us to buy groceries to make our own meals. We liked to eat breakfast at our apartment, pack a healthy lunch then eat at a nice restaurant for dinner. This strategy made it easier to eat healthy and to travel to France with kids on a budget.

Tip: It can get very hot in France in summer. If possible, try to find accommodations with air conditioning to help everyone get a good night’s sleep. A swimming pool is another family-friendly amenity which rewards kids for a good day of travelling!

kids play in a hotel swimming pool on a hot family summer vacation to France

France Road Trip Itinerary

Here is our one-month France itinerary with kids. As mentioned previously, this was a combination of trains, cycling tours and a self-drive road-trip itinerary for France.

Family travel is all about finding balance. Although we planned many family friendly activities in France for the kids, we also added activities we love to do (like hiking and cycling) to our itinerary. You’ll see our month-long France itinerary tried hard to achieve a good balance, hopefully making parents and kids happy and satisfied.

a girl enjoys the Jungle Parc adventure park in Briancon, France

France One Month Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1: Paris
  • Days 2-3: Provence Lavender Fields
  • Days 4-10: La Dolce Via Family Cycle Tour
  • Days 11-14: Briancon
  • Days 15-19: Annecy
  • Days 20-24: Chamonix
  • Days 25-30: Alsace Family Cycle Tour
  • Day 31: Paris
a 7 year old enjoys the views of the French Alps on a family vacation to France

30 Day France Itinerary & Best Things to do in France with Kids

We loved our summer holiday in France and couldn’t be happier with spending a full month in France with kids. Our itinerary gave us sufficient time to explore each area and find some of the best things to do in France with kids.

Day 1 – Paris with Kids

We spent 7 days in Paris with a baby a few years back, so for this trip to France with kids we only dedicated a single day to seeing Paris. But this was no throwaway day – we found some special things to do in Paris with kids.

Birthday Lunch at the Eiffel Tower

The baby we took to Paris many years ago? Well, it was her birthday while in Paris, so we booked a special birthday lunch for her at the Eiffel Tower. We arrived at the Eiffel Tower about an hour before lunch to explore and take family pictures in front of this iconic Paris landmark.   

two kids take iphone pictures of the Eiffel Tower on their family trip to Paris, France

Our birthday lunch at the Eiffel Tower was at Madame Brasserie restaurant on the first floor. We were pleased to see many families enjoying lunch at the Eiffel Tower with their kids – it’s still a fancy restaurant and everyone needs to bring their manners, but seeing other families took the pressure off a bit.

We loved our daughter’s birthday lunch at Madame Brasserie. In addition to the three course lunch menu for adults, they have a special kids menu as well. We were worried our finicky son wouldn’t eat anything at this fancy restaurant, but our kids loved their croque monsieur sandwiches (which turned out to be our go-to food for picky eaters in France). Their chocolate dessert was a big hit as well!

a special Eiffel Tower birthday lunch for a 9-year old girl at the kid-friendly Madame Brasserie restaurant

Although you can make reservations directly with Madame Brasserie directly, we chose to make our reservation though Get Your Guide. Reservations made directly with the restaurant are non-cancellable, while you can cancel up to 24 hours beforehand with Get Your Guide. With the risk of jet lag, we wanted to maintain the flexibility to cancel, just in case.

Paris Hop On Hop Off Bus

Although we parents remembered much of our previous family trip to Paris, our daughter was too young to remember and our son wasn’t even born yet, so to show them the highlights of Paris, we booked a Hop On Hop Off sightseeing bus tour of Paris.  

a girl on a family trip to Paris enjoys the sights on the upper deck of a Tootbus sightseeing tour

In under two hours we were able to see all the major attractions in Paris, including the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and much more. Despite being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the splendor of Paris will likely be lost on young kids. Still, if you want to show your kids the best of Paris in a limited amount of time, a sightseeing bus is a fun way to do it. 

There are several sightseeing bus tours of Paris, but we chose Tootbus as they offer a kid-friendly audio commentary throughout the tour.

Days 2 -3: Lavender Fields in Provence with Kids

Our visit to France with kids was from mid-July to mid-August. This fortunate timing gave us a chance to visit Provence to see their famous lavender fields in full bloom.

On day 2 of our family trip to France, we took a high-speed train from Paris to Valence TGV, and then rented a car to begin our road trip through Provence. We could have taken the high-speed train to Avignon (which is much closer to the epicenter of Provence lavender country), but the rental car companies there were putting mileage limits on their vehicles. Valence car rental didn’t impose these restrictions.

kids write in their travel journals in a high speed TGV train from Paris to Provence

Self-Guided Tour of the Provence Lavender Fields

We are not from France, nor are we Provence lavender experts, so we leaned heavily on some local bloggers, who provided the GPS coordinates of the best lavender fields which we could plug into Google Maps and easily find our way.

Let’s be honest here – unless your kids are big gardeners, they aren’t really going to love a road trip through Provence to look at the pretty purple lavender flowers. But, this very special thing to do in France is more for the parents.

a woman walks through a brilliant field of lavender fields in Provence, France

We kept our kids entertained listening to audiobooks and podcasts for kids. We love audiobooks and podcasts as road trip entertainment for kids as it keeps them mentally occupied, yet leaving them free to look out the window and soak in some amazing Provence scenery.

lavender fields in bloom are a highlight of a family road trip through Provence in summer

Even if your kids don’t love the lavender fields of Provence, they may enjoy the fields of sunflowers, which are in bloom around the same time.

a boy takes pictures of a sunflower while on a family road trip through Provence, France

Effective Strategy for Seeing Lavender Flowers in Provence

When researching our Provence road trip, we discovered that the dates the lavender flowers bloom vary each year, but is typically around mid-July. There are three major lavender growing areas in Provence:

To give yourself maximum chance of seeing beautiful fields of deep purple lavender flowers, we recommend you plan two days in Provence with a plan to drive through all three primary growing areas. This way, if you are too early or late for one of the areas, you have a good chance of seeing lavender at its prime at a different location.

a field of lavender in full bloom during high season in France

This lavender viewing strategy worked well for us. Our first day we toured through Valensole and saw a mixture of lavender fields in full bloom and some that had already been harvested. On our second day, we drove to Luberon and found most of the fields had been harvested.

We finished Day 2 in the Sault Plateau and were blown away by the massive fields of peak lavender flowers. The lavender fields were stunning and even the kids had to admit they were pretty special.

a 7-year old boy admires the lavender field on a family road trip through Provence

Roussillon

Widely known as one of the most beautiful villages in France, you will be charmed by Roussillon. Virtually every building in Roussillon is the deep earthy orange color of ochre, which is abundant near the village. The oche colored buildings are so unique and beautiful that it is easy to instantly fall in love with Roussillon.

we loved the ochre buildings in Roussillon during our family trip to Provence for the lavender fields

On the morning of our second day in Provence with kids, we drove to Roussillon to hike the short and very popular Sentier des Ocres trail, but unfortunately it was closed to mitigate wildfire risk during the ongoing heat wave.

We made the best of it by taking the time to explore the ochre-colored streets of this charming Provence town. Being a hilltop village, there are no shortage of amazing viewpoints in Roussillon. There’s also an abundance of shops, many selling lavender goods and several tempting cafes to stop and take it all in.

we stopped to admire the ochre buildings in Roussillon, France during our lavender tour through Provence

Where to stay in Provence with Kids

We had originally booked a vacation rental in Roussillon, in the heart of Provence lavender country, but our family vacation to France was in the middle of a heat wave, so we reoptimized into some hotel rooms with air conditioning.

Our first night was in a quadruple room at the L’Aptois Hotel in Apt, not far from our original Roussillon vacation rental. Apt is a great base for a lavender road trip through Provence with many excellent fields nearby.

we drove past this large lavender field in bloom during our family road trip through Provence in summer

Our second night was north of Sault Plateau in a charming small village called Puy Saint-Martin. We stayed at the Logis Hotel Champ De Mars as it offered family-friendly hotel rooms with three beds spread over two bedrooms.

Days 4 – 10: La Dolce Via Family Bike Tour

The hilly Ardeche region of France is renowned for its beautiful forests and excellent trail network. One such trail in Ardeche is the La Dolce Via biking trail. This amazing France bike trail follows the route of a former rail line, which ensures the trail never gets too steep, making it a perfect biking route in France for families.

a young girl enjoying a family cycling trip in France along the La Dolce Via trail in Ardeche

We joined the La Dolce Via family cycle tour through Safran Tours – a very family-friendly tour company in France. Take a moment and browse through the impressive number of active family-friendly tours offered by Safran Tours in France and you’ll see what I mean.

The La Dolce Via family cycle tour begins in Tournon-sur-Rhone, a charming historic town on the Rhone, with easy train connections from Paris. The best part about visiting Tournon-sur-Rhone? A visit to the Valrhona chocolate museum! Kids love chocolate, and yes, there are plenty of chocolate samples to enjoy!

a boy runs across a pedestrian bridge over the Rhone River in Tournon-sur-Rhone, France

Most families will enjoy an amazing steam train ride through a beautiful valley to get from Tournon-sur-Rhone to Lamastre. (The train doesn’t run one day of the week). Once in Lamastre, you’ll hop on your bikes and start cycling La Dolce Via with your kids.

families on the La Dolce Via family bike tour will likely enjoy a steam train ride through a beautiful valley from Tournon-sur-Rhone to Lamastre.

From Lamastre, your family will enjoy many fun days of mostly gentle downhill cycling through the Ardeche region. It begins by following La Sumene River to Le Cheylard, then along the L’Eyrieux River to Les Ollieres.

a family cycles over a beautiful viaduct on the kid-friendly La Dolce Via biking trail

Along the way there are many former rail tunnels which are so much fun for the kids (and parents) to cycle through.

while on a family vacation to France, a 7-year old boy cycles through a former railway tunnel on a kid-friendly bike tour

Your family will also enjoy many opportunities to cool off with a refreshing swim in a river, cycling past orchards, and kid-favorite farm animals like horses, goats, etc. For the adults, the incredible river valley scenery of the Ardeche is simply breathtaking.

a family cools off in L'Eyrieux River after a day of cycling on the La Dolce Via bike path

From Les Ollieres, you’ll follow the L’Eyrieux River to its confluence with the mighty Rhone River. From there you’ll cycle all the way back to Tournon-sur-Rhone on the Via Rhona cycle path, with an overnight stay in Soyons. Don’t miss a chance to take a tour of some caves in Soyons which Neanderthals and bears used to call home.

a young girl is cycling the La Dolce Via trail near the L'Eyrieux River

If you are interested in a family cycling tour in France, read our full blog post on the La Dolce Via family cycle tour.

If you book a family cycling tour with Safran Tours, please use code “familycantravel” to let them know we referred you.

Days 11 – 14: Briancon with Kids

The moment we heard about Briancon, we knew we had to make room for it in our family vacation to France itinerary. There are so many reasons to visit Briancon with kids: It’s the highest city in France, a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s the northern gateway to the incredible Ecrins National Park.

hiking at Serre Chevalier was one of our favorite things to do in Briancon with kids

Briancon is right next to Serre Chevalier, one of the largest ski resorts in France, which has plenty of fun family-friendly summer activities to enjoy with your kids. During our stay in Briancon, we enjoyed downhill mountain biking, cross-country mountain biking, hiking, sightseeing gondolas, adventure parks and even canyoning.

a family enjoys an easy mountain biking tour near Briancon, France

The only thing holding Briancon back from being a major tourist destination? It doesn’t have great rail connections. So, why not hop into your rental car and come enjoy Briancon with your kids before the rest of the world discovers this place!

a 7 year old boy climbs a spider web made of rope at an adventure park in Briancon

Read more on our time in Briancon with kids.

Days 15 – 19: Annecy with Kids

I’ve always dreamed of going to Chamonix, so it was part of our France itinerary from the very beginning. Once we added Briancon to our itinerary, we looked for a family-friendly France destination on our way to Chamonix. It didn’t take us to long to discover Annecy – a stunning lake resort town in the French Alps.

Pont Perrière Bridge in Annecy, France

Surrounded by towering mountains and located just north of the Massif Des Bauges UNESCO Global Geopark, Annecy and its namesake lake has a stunning natural setting with many beautiful beaches.

the views of the mountains surrounding Lake Annecy are amazing from the Jardins de l'Europe

If you visit France in the summer, be prepared for some crowds in Annecy. With hot French summers, it’s no surprise that its mountain setting, beautiful beaches and the cool waters of Lake Annecy are a draw for visitors looking for some water-based fun in France in summer. But there’s so many things to do in Annecy with kids in addition to the beach.

During our time in Annecy with kids, we enjoyed some excellent outdoor recreation with some very enjoyable hiking and a family bike ride all the way around the lake.

a family cycles along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Annecy, France

Annecy itself is quite stunning, so we enjoyed exploring the beautiful streets and canals of this beautiful resort town in the French Alps. And, of course, we spent some fun family time at a sandy, kid-friendly beach on Lake Annecy.

a family enjoys the real sand beach at Saint Jorioz beach on Lake Annecy, France

Read more on our time in Annecy with kids.

Days 20 – 24: Chamonix with Kids

Our time in Annecy with kids was amazing, but after 5 days around the lake we were itching to get back into the French Alps. And to visit the world-famous French mountain resort of Chamonix? We were incredibly excited!

a family shares a laugh while hiking near Chamonix, France

A renowned mountain playground in the very heart of the French Alps, you’ll have no trouble finding amazing things to do with kids in Chamonix. And it’s easy too! With a generous amount of gondolas, cable cars and chairlifts in the valley, the Mont Blanc Natural Resort makes it super-easy to get up high to enjoy the views and do some family-friendly hiking in the Alps.

a 9-year old girl on a family holiday to France soaks in views of Mont Blanc on a kid-friendly Chamonix hike

We did a ton of incredible kid-friendly hikes in Chamonix during our stay, including the Grand Balcon Sud which provides incredible vistas of Mont Blanc. The Grand Balcon Nord trail was a fun hiking trail to enjoy after our visit to the Aiguille du Midi on our way to the Mer du Glace. And the (almost) all downhill hike to Lac Blanc was a great outing with our kids.

the Lac Blnc hike was our favorite kid-friendly hike in Chamonix

Although we did a lot of hiking in Chamonix with our kids, we also enjoyed some of the other family-friendly activities in the valley. We loved our cable car trip up the Aiguille du Midi to see the summit of Mont Blanc and its glaciers up close. The kids thought it was cool that it was the highest they had even been above sea level, breaking their record from a few months prior during our trip to Tenerife with kids.

a father and son at Aiguille du Midi checking out the epic views of Mont Blanc

The incredibly scenic Mont Blanc Tramway was also a lot of fun with the kids, and we enjoyed some short hiking at the top. As scenic as the Mont Blanc Tramway was, it was a 75 minute trip in each direction. Cute trains and mountain scenery can only entertain kids for so long. We wish we had brought some entertainment for them to pass the time on the tramway to allow us to focus more on the epic French Alps scenery.

after a fun train ride on the Tramway du Mont Blanc, two kids enjoy views of the Bionnassay Glacier

No matter what your reason for visiting Chamonix with kids, we’re confident your family will love the scenery of the French Alps and all the amazing things to do with kids.

a 7-year old soaks in views of the French Alps on a hiking trail near Chamonix, France

Read more on our time in Chamonix with kids.

Days 25 – 30: Alsace Family Cycle Tour

Before deciding to visit France with kids, we were also considering a trip to the Black Forest and Bavarian Alps in Germany. We had already discovered the La Dolce Via cycle tour in France, and when we found out that Safran Tours also offered a family cycle tour in Alsace, we were sold.

a family cycles through a beautiful vineyard on a self-guided bike tour in Alsace

Considered by many as one of the most beautiful regions of France, Alsace is famous for its German influence, its castles and its wine. Alsace is so close to Germany that we could even see the Black Forest on several occasions during our cycle trip.

The Alsace family cycle tour begins in Strasbourg, the European capital with an incredibly beautiful old town. This will be your first taste of the colorful half-timber houses the Alsace region is famous for.

As your family cycles south through the Alsace wine region, you’ll love riding through the rolling hills of the region, each covered vineyards and capped with dense forest. Alsace is steeped in history as evidenced by the remarkable number of castles scattered among the hilltops.

a 9 year old girl on a family cycling trip in Alsace, France

We hiked to the ruins of a castle one day along this France cycle tour, but the highlight was our visit to Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg – one of the best restored castles we’ve ever seen in Europe.

a boy looks out a castle window at the Haut-Koenigsbourg chateau near Selestat, France

Alsace is also well known for its stork population and we were very excited to see many of them along the route of our bike tour. We were very lucky to see several on our first day and then a huge flock at a small zoo further along the cycle route.

The family cycle tour ends in Colmar, which is a smaller city than Strasbourg, but it gives it a run for its money as one of the most beautiful towns in Alsace. You can easily see why Colmar is often called The Venice of France

the canals of Colmar are why this charming town is often called the Venice of France

If you are interested in this family cycling tour in France, read our full blog post on the Alsace family cycling tour.

If you book a family cycling tour with Safran Tours, please use code “familycantravel” to let them know we referred you.

Day 31: Paris

After an incredible month in France with kids, we sadly took a scenic train trip from Colmar back to Paris to end our journey. We stayed at the Hôtel Libertel Gare du Nord Suède, which was conveniently located near the Gare du Nord train station, allowing us to take the RER B train to Charles de Gaulle airport in the morning. We had just enough time before our flight to sneak in a trip to Sacre Coeur.

a family visits Sacre Coeur during a family trip to Paris in summer

A 2 Week France Itinerary for Families

If you don’t have a full month for a France family holiday, here are some ideas for a 14 day France itinerary.

France Itinerary Idea #1: Paris – Provence – La Dolce Via Cycle Tour

Spend a few days in the City of Lights, before catching a high-speed train to Provence. Even if you are off-season for the famous lavender fields, a family road trip through the pretty villages of Provence is so rewarding. Finish your two week France itinerary with a beautiful family cycle trip along the La Dolce Via.

a family cycles along a scenic riverside section of La Dolce Via bike trail in Ardeche, France

France Itinerary Idea #2: Paris – Provence – Briancon – Lake Annecy

If a self-guided family cycling trip isn’t for you, why not take a high-speed train from Paris to Lyon to begin an incredibly scenic road trip through Provence, the French Alps and a French lake resort?

France itinerary with kids - Provence in summer

France Itinerary Idea #3: Paris – Annecy – Chamonix

This two week France with kids itinerary, takes you to the stunning mountain lake resort town of Annecy, followed by a visit to Chamonix, the most famous resort town in the French Alps.

two kids play in an alpine meadow with Mont Blanc in the background

Itinerary Idea #4: Paris – Chamonix – Alsace Cycle Tour

This idea for a two week family trip to France takes you to Chamonix, into the heart of the stunning French Alps, before visiting the very charming, German influenced wine region of Alsace for a fun self-guided family cycling tour.

our final stop for our family trip to France was in Colmar

What to Pack for France with Kids

If you’ve visited our family travel blog before, you know our trips are usually pretty active. We always try to be as prepared for the weather as possible and plan to be outside exploring nature, rain or shine.

For traveling to France with kids in summer, we knew this would mean lots of active wear for everyone. Although we brought rain gear with us, we only wore them for a few hours on a rainy day in Annecy.

we packed rain gear for our vacation to France with kids, but only used it once on this kid friendly hike near Annecy

The rest of our time was in shorts and t-shirts, using lots of sunscreen along the way. Be sure to bring sunglasses, hydration packs and sun hats for everyone.

when packing for a family trip to France in summer, be sure to pack gear to keep you hydrated

For the driving days on your France road trip, we recommend having some kid-friendly audiobooks to help your kids pass the time, while still allowing them to look out the window to soak in the incredible French countryside.

a field of sunflowers in bloom on a family driving tour through Provence, France

If your kids enjoy reading, we are big fans of the Epic reading app for family travel. Having some Read To Me stories downloaded onto your device helps your kids stay entertained for hours. Read our full Epic reading app review or try a risk-free Epic Basic account.

Watching a video of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site at bedtime on the Epic Reading App