Friday, February 8, 2013

Une question: Eating in Paris with kids

Hi Amy,

We are planning a trip to Europe this summer including London, Paris and Budapest. My kids have never been across the pond. I've been a few times and my husband has been once. kids, and let's face it, my husband too, have incredibly bland, boring, white bread palates and the thought of trying to keep them all fed on our European adventure is cringe-worthy. I really want to avoid resorting to the dreaded golden arches (or at least no more than once per city :) or feeding them nothing but baguettes and chips. My kids are now 7 and 10 years old, and won't touch anything remotely spicy or with sauce! 

So what's a Canadian family in Paris to do? Do you have any (edible) advice for me?


Dear Kathy,

When I lived in Paris, my niece and nephew visited on several occasions and, while they were born abroad and were maybe exposed to more foreign flavors than plain pizza and fried potatoes, they were still kids. And we still ate up the city.

After a visit to the Natural History Museum (fabulous!), we went to La Mosquée. There is enough on the menu—from couscous to kebabs, steaks to frites—to satisfy everyone. And you must order pastries and mint tea. I know it might seem counterintuitive to go even more exotic, but never underestimate good entertainment. There are little birdies flying through the dining room, and the waiters dramatically pour tea from three feet above the cup, and it’ll probably be one of their favorite experiences.

On that note, the old-timey waiters at Le Chartier just might shame them (in the most pleasingly French way, bien sur) into ordering and eating something as palatable as roasted chicken and fries.

Do they like cheese? Like, hot, melty cheese? It could be really fun to go for fondue—especially at a fun place like Le Refuge des Fondus (just down the hill from Sacre Coeur, a great destination and charming neighborhood).

You could also walk around a market and let them choose. Le Marché des Enfant Rouge, the oldest market in the city, is chockablock with French, Moroccan, Japanese, Italian—certainly they’ll find something that whets their appetite. (You, my friend, will have to stop by Alain’s counter for “the best sandwich in the universe.”)

Since they love pizza at home, no doubt they’ll become hopelessly addicted to street crepes. And pourquoi pas? Cheap, delicious, simple. Done.

I hope you're getting excited for your trip - it sounds like it's going to be wonderful!


  1. Merci merci merci!!! Thanks so much for all your advice Amy!! All those restaurant suggestions sound amazing! I'm especially excited about the fondue! I will be sure to let you know how it goes!

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  3. There's also a great book by Message Paris, called Parenting in Paris, with updated lists of kid-friendly restaurants and places in the capital. We're a non-profit support group for expat parents in France.

  4. Relais d'Entrecote or Relais de Venise for steak frites. This won over midwestern family members who'd never been across the pond and whose palates were not very adventurous.