The Paris Kids Guide
While Paris might not come to mind as the most kid-friendly place, it’s actually kind of one giant playground, with some pretty incredible and accessible parks. That, plus the ease of being able to grab a crepe from one of the million stands dotted across the city make it kid nirvana.
Monoprix71 Rue Saint-Antoine, 4th | +188.8.131.52.13.73
This is so much more than a grocery store: In fact, in true French fashion, it does simple clothing—streamlined totes, striped tees—really, really well. And at prices you’d expect from a supermarket. The baby selection is particularly sweet. Other locations: 9th Arrondissement, 6th Arrondissement, plus several others throughout the city.
Bonpoint6 Rue de Tournon, 6th | +184.108.40.206.98.20
You might cringe when your Bonpoint-clad kid heads to the playground on a muddy day, but no matter: While the pricetags are admittedly steep, the quality is so high, these perfectly-turned out pinafore dresses and sweet little corduroy pants can take a beating. Meanwhile, their embroidered slippers and glittery flats are so sweet they’ll send your ovaries into overdrive.
Bonton82 Rue de Grenelle, 7th | +220.127.116.11.09.20
Launched by the son of the founders of Bonpoint, Bonton is styled like a department store for minis: Heart shaped cushions, bedside lamps cast in the shape of geese, knitted rattles, strawberry-printed crib sheets, stationery, tutus, and toys mingle with the house line of solid (and adorable) basics. Beyond baby shower gifts and souvenirs for little ones back home, this is an excellent pitstop if you have kids in tow. After all, there’s an in-store hair salon and a retro photo booth. There are also locations in the 3rd, Le Bon Marché, and Galeries Lafayette.
Pain d’Epice29 Passage Jouffroy, 9th | +18.104.22.168.08.68
If you have a young collector on your hands, look no further: This old-world spot is an amazing resource for dollhouse furniture.
Centre Commercial Kids22 Rue Yves Toudic, 10th | +33.1.42.06.23.81
Fittingly tiny, this packed-to-the-rafters shop is lined with kids clothing from up-and-coming European designers. Union Jack-emblazoned booties, tulle skirts flecked with sequins, and wee gingham shirts are as appealing to parents as they are to little ones. It's the counterpart to the main, Centre Commercial.
Baudou7 Rue de Solferino, 7th | +22.214.171.124.42.79
Stuffed animal taxidermy, carefully turned-out cribs, incredibly chic rocking horses, kids wallpapers you wouldn't mind hanging in your living room, and wooden toys galore round out the mix at this baby-themed newcomer. Even if you're not in the mood to ship a toddler bed back home, there's plenty of packable treasures to tempt.
Paul & Joe64-66 Rue des Saints-Pères, 7th | +126.96.36.199.98.98
Launched in the '80s—and named for owner Sophie Albou's two sons—this much-loved French brand traffics in a girly-meets-modern sensibility. We love the floor-skimming, floral-print gowns and flippy little skirts, which are great for both moms and their daughters.
Zef32 Rue de Richelieu, 1st | +188.8.131.52.61.04
You'll wish everything at Zef came in cuts for adults (if you're the size of a teenager, you're in luck), whether it's a star-print sweatshirt, an elbow patch adorned sweater, or a sheepskin jacket. Owned by the daughter of fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, there are no mis-steps here: In fact you'll want your kids to stop growing so they can wear this stuff forever. The range runs from newborn to 16-years. There are also locations in the 6th, 7th, and 16th.
Wowo59 Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth, 3rd | +184.108.40.206.84.80
Small and sweet, this kids boutique stocks pieces you won't find anywhere else, like embroidered tunic dresses, muslin skirts finished with fluoro tassles, and pillows sewn into the shape of the Eiffel Tower.
Petit Pan76 Rue François Miron, 4th | +220.127.116.11.90.84
Owned by Belgian artist Myriam De Loor and Chinese kitemaker Pan Gang, Petit Pan revolves around delicately patterned—and exuberantly colored—textiles, haberdashery, clothing, and home goods. There are oilcloth bibs, intricate little mobiles made from bamboo and silk, baby quilts, pendant lights, and even ceramic tiles, which are from a recent collaboration with Carocim (they've teamed up with Monoprix and Petit Bateau in the past). They also offer crafting workshops for kids where they can learn various trades like ceramics, textile design, sewing, and kite-making.
Petit Bateau116 Avenue des Champs-Élysée, 8th | +18.104.22.168.02.03
Sure, you can get Petit Bateau across the globe, but the Paris flagships have the full range of baby goods, including the basics, which are much more affordable in Paris than they are in the States. This is a good place to stock up on shower gifts, too. There are locations all over the city, but their outpost in the 8th is nice and central (for minimal shopping bag schlepping).
La Piñata25 Rue des Vinaigriers, 10th | +22.214.171.124.01.45
When Columbian-born owner Elena Farah moved to Paris more than two decades ago, she noticed a gap in the kid's party market, notably that there was no place in the city to score a piñata. She resolved to learn how to make them in every conceivable shape, and now employs a handful of inmates to help her turn out custom orders. Beyond piñatas, you'll find loads of little trinkets to fill them with, along with balloons, party supplies, and other bits of themed décor.
Deyrolle46 Rue du Bac, 7th | +126.96.36.199.30.07
A devastating fire nearly destroyed Deyrolle in 2008, sending nearly 90 percent of its rarefied inventory up in smoke. Everyone rallied: Customers donated animals purchased in years past back; Christie's held an auction; Hermes reissued their "Plume" scarf to raise funds; and ultimately Deyrolle reopened its doors to a collective sigh of relief. Founded in 1831, it's one of the most special stores in the world, after all, since it's essentially a shoppable natural history museum. As you move past the gardening boutique that occupies the ground floor and climb the stairs, you'll come face to face with lions, tiger, bears, and thousands of exotic birds, butterflies, and beetles—all carefully preserved, and even more meticulously displayed. We love the reissues of the 19th century pedagogical prints (horse breeds, the anatomy of the eye, the trees of France), which are more affordable—and packable—than a giraffe.
Papier Tigre5 Rue des Filles du Calvaire, 3rd Arrondissement | +331.48.04.00.21
You'd know a Papier Tigre notebook (or envelope or calendar or day planner) if you saw one. They're all distinctly colorful and geometric and always totally utilitarian. Another bonus of buying paper goods in bulk to hand out to friends back home? They don't take up much suitcase space at all, and they make recipients giddy with glee.