Camping in France with the Kids: Our Top 10 Activities in the Ile-de-France Region
Camping in France is a blast, but finding activities your kids will enjoy can be difficult. But if you're camping with the whole family in the Ile-de-France Region, check out this article.
Think of a holiday in France, and you might imagine luxurious strolls down cobblestone roads while eating bread and drinking cafe. But when you're holidaying with the kids, France can be quite different.
The Ile-de-France region is chock full of activities and things to see. You can visit Paris and see the sites. Moments away are idyllic villages where the great painters honed their skills.
Lucky for mums and dads, there's also plenty of kid-friendly things to do. You could take a few days at Disneyland Paris or visit the zoos.
But no matter where you go, you'll need a place to stay. Hotels are expensive, especially when you've got children. That's why camping in France is a great option for families.
Take a look at our recommendations on where to stay and what to do on your family's French holiday.
Where to Camp in Ile-de-France
If you want to enjoy all Ile-de-France has to offer without the bustle of a big city, then find a space at a campsite.
You might wonder why you'd spend your holiday camping when you could get a hotel inside the city. Rest assured: camping in France is nowhere near "roughing it."
In fact, campsites in France often have onsite restaurants, wifi, and hot showers. There are some campsites with pools and activities for your kids to do while you relax in the cabin.
For your stay in Ile-de-France, we recommend two campsites.
Camping Sandaya International Maisons Laffitte
For a site that's close to the heart of Paris, there's Camping Sandaya International Maisons Laffitte. The campsite is only a 10-minute walk away from the RER (Metro). You can spend all day in the city taking in the sites, then return to your campsite with ease. This short commute makes camping in France a no-brainer.
You can rent a site for your tent or camper for about 26 GPB per night. You can also rent a whole cabin for about 85 GPB a night.
Camping La Belle Etoile
For a less expensive option that's further away from the city, you can stay at Camping La Belle Etoile. This site is on the banks of the Seine and has an outdoor playground for your kids. It also has a pizzeria and mini-market for anything you might need.
You might need a car if you want to explore from this campsite, but staying here is very cheap. Sites for campers and tents are 7 GPB per night, and you can rent cabins from 29 GBP per night.
Things to Do While Camping in France
Ile-de-France is one of the most visited regions in France. That's because there's no shortage of things to do, both for adults and kids.
1. Bake Bread in Paris
If people know Paris for one thing, it's their fantastic food. As of 2018, there are 40,000 restaurants in the city, but that number is growing by the day.
With so many places to eat, you know the French take their food very seriously. They're so good at it, we gave their name to one of our favorite foods: the French baguette.
For a fun hands-on experience with the children, you can take cooking classes in Paris. One 2.5 hour tour starts with breakfast at the bakery, followed by a baking lesson from expert bakers. At the end of your session, you'll have your own freshly-baked baguette.
This tour costs 75 GBP per person. If something comes up, you can cancel for free.
2. Explore the Catacombs of Paris
If you've got teenagers, this tour could be a big hit. The catacombs of Paris are underground tunnels that run under the city. Built in the Middle Ages, they became the final resting place of around 6 million Parisians.
This tour is perfect for historians and teenagers with an interest in the bizarre. You can go through a self-paced tour with audio guides in English, German, French, and Spanish. You can pay 71 GPB per person to skip the line and enjoy a two-hour-long tour
3. Play in the Park of Versailles
Adults and young ones are sure to enjoy the splendor of the Palace of Versailles. Pop over to the Notre-Dame cathedral and see if you can spot the hunchbacked hero, Quasimodo.
For parents with young children, plan for a picnic in the park behind the Palace. It's the perfect place to take a break from guided tours and crowds. Give your children a chance to run off some of their energy while you bask in the glory of the royal garden.
4. Visit a Medieval Festival at Seine-et-Marne
Seine-et-Marne is a well-preserved Medieval town. Children can walk along the fortified walls and pretend to be knights under siege. Afterward, you can enter the town itself and admire the old houses and monuments.
If you're lucky enough to visit Seine-et-Marne in June, you'll be able to catch the annual Les Medievales festival. Your kids can watch historical re-enactments and medieval shows about brave knights. This kind of fun is sure to be a hit with your young ones!
5. Experience Childhood at the Luxembourg Gardens
This Parisian garden is wonderful for kids! It has a wonderful playground, a marionette theatre, and a pond for sailing toy boats. There's even a carousel designed by the same man who built the Paris Opera.
The park is the perfect place for parents to relax on the pebbled walkways while kids go wild. Be aware that most of these attractions will cost money. But it's free to sit at any of the works of art and enjoy a loaf of bread and cheese.
If your kids get bored of running around, then create a Luxembourg scavenger hunt. There are so many statues and sites that you could play this game for hours.
6. See an Inside-Out Building at the Pompidou Centre
Everything about the Pompidou Centre is odd. The building's pipes and escalators are on the outside instead of inside. Everything is a bright color, from blue air-conditioning ducts to green water pipes.
If this doesn't capture your child's imagination, send them to the Galerie des Enfants. There they can touch anything and everything, including the exhibits and puzzles.
They might also enjoy the street theatre outside, or they can run around the pedestrian area.
7. Explore Your Inner Artist at Auvers-sur-Oise
Break out the paints for this one! The village of Auvers-sur-Oise sits in the picturesque Oise valley. It's where many famous painters lived, including Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Duabigny.
But while you and your partner will enjoy a stroll down Painter's Trail, your kids might not appreciate it.
That's why you should take this opportunity to tap into their creative sides. Sit them down with paper and some art supplies, then let their imagination go wild! Your little ones will embrace the imperfection of impressionism, and make fantastic pictures.
You can either take the art home as a unique souvenir. You could also leave it at the information points, as an homage to the great artists.
8. Visit Mickey Mouse at Disneyland Park: Europe
This location is most likely at the top of your child's list. There's a good reason for it. Disneyworld has a reputation as "the most magical place on Earth." Its European counterpart is just as enchanting.
You can explore the castle, ride the rides, and meet all your favorite characters. Plus, now that Disney owns Marvel, you can even meet the superheroes you love.
Create your own Disney autograph book, and see who can get the most characters to sign it! The one with the most autographs can decide what to eat back at the campsite.
9. Explore France at France Miniature
Unless you're going on an extended holiday, you won't be able to see all France has to offer.
But lucky for you, there's France Miniature. This unique theme park is an interactive miniature map of France. Stand taller than the Arc D'Triumph and the Eiffel Tower. Then step over to the South of France to roam the Alpes.
The kids will love this little tour of the country, and you'll have got great photo opportunities.
10. Visit the Lions at Thoiry Park
Thoiry Estates is about 50 km from Paris. This beautiful Renaissance park is the home to 130 different species of wild animals. Most of them are free to roam around the park, meaning you can get up close with the animals.
Take a safari tour or zip line over the lion's den! It'll be a fun memory you and your children will cherish forever.
Ready to Go Camping in France?
France is a beautiful country with so much to offer. It's the perfect place to go holidaying with your family. What better way to spend that holiday than camping in France?