Things to do With Kids Near Gare de Lyon

Don't ever let anyone tell you Paris isn't a child-friendly city. Yes, it's big and busy and can be outrageously expensive. And the world-class museums and historical monuments might not be exactly what your kids are after on a vacation. But even children aren't immune to Paris' unique charm. Plus, French culture is very accepting of children, and you'll be welcome with your kids just about everywhere you go.

Gare de Lyon is one of the six major railway stations in Paris, and it's the gateway to the city for millions of travelers every year, particularly those coming from or going to the South of France. If you find yourself in the area around the train station with kids in tow, don't worry. There are plenty of things to do to keep them occupied, whether you're just looking to kill some time between trains or are on a longer trip. Drop off your bags at a Gare de Lyon luggage storage and try some of these family-friendly activities.

gare de lyon luggage storage
Photo by Jonathan Merzougui

Jardin des Plantes

The Jardin des Plantes is a large public park in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, near the Gare de Lyon. The garden is home to over 10,000 different species of plants and even contains its own miniature zoo. The gardens are beautiful and peaceful and a perfect place to let your kids run around and explore. This is a great place to let the kids burn off some energy, and you'll enjoy taking a break from the hectic pace of the city and discovering this little patch of nature in the middle of one of Europe's biggest cities. It's hard to believe that this garden is as close as it is to the chaos of Gare de Lyon, but all you have to do is cross the Seine to immerse yourself in the tranquility here.

Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy

The Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, now known as the Accor Arena, is an indoor arena and sports complex located in the 12th arrondissement. The arena hosts sporting events and concerts, and there is also a swimming pool, a gym, and a rock climbing wall on site. This is a great place to come with kids if the weather isn't cooperating or if you're just looking for a change of pace from all the sightseeing. 

The arena schedule is posted online, so you can see what's happening during your stay and plan accordingly. There are usually several events going on every day, so there's sure to be something that everyone in the family will enjoy.

Paris Zoo

The Paris Zoological Garden is located at the western end of the Bois de Vincennes, a sprawling park that is one of Paris's biggest yet is quite close to Gare de Lyon.

Photo by Dylan Mullins

The zoo features animals from all over the world. Kids will love seeing the jaguars, lions, giraffes, baboons, and monkeys, as well as learning about some of the more unusual animals like Komodo dragons and axolotls. The zoo also has a petting zoo where kids can get up close and personal with some friendly animals.

Bois de Vincennes

If you're going to the zoo anyway, you shouldn't miss the chance to explore one of Paris's biggest parks. The Bois de Vincennes is more than twice the size of Central Park in New York City, and it's a great place to come for a picnic, to go for a walk or run, or just to relax in the sun.

The park has plenty of open space for kids to run around, as well as a lake where you can take a rowboat out for a peaceful paddle. There's also an outdoor theatre and several playgrounds, so there's no shortage of things to do here.

Photo by Chris Linnett

Parc de la Villette

The Parc de la Villette is a large public park in the 19th arrondissement, not far from Gare de Lyon. The park is home to the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, a huge science museum that has exhibits on everything from space exploration to DNA. Kids of all ages will enjoy visiting here, and it's a great way to spend a rainy day.

The park also has an open-air theatre, an outdoor cinema, and several other attractions. If you're looking for something a little more low-key, you can just stroll around the park and enjoy the greenery and the people-watching. Either way, your kids are sure to love spending some time in this Parisian oasis.

Pavillons of Bercy

The Pavillons of Bercy is a large industrial building that houses a museum on fairground arts of the 19th century. While the kids might groan at the thought of a museum, this one is different. It’s truly unique and can only be accessed via guided tours, but the guide is actually an actor, so you know it’ll be fun.

If you happen to be in Paris at Christmastime, you have to head here. You’ll find a magic-filled festival with tons of programs and shows that don’t require an advance reservation. The Festival du Merveilleux is a must-visit in Paris in December, especially if you're traveling with kids.

Photo by Yusuf Ak

Jardin Luxembourg

The Jardin Luxembourg is a beautiful public garden in the 6th arrondissement, also not far from Gare de Lyon. The garden is a great place to go for a stroll or to relax in the sun. Kids will love playing in the park's two playgrounds, and there are also several green spaces perfect for picnicking.

Young kids will enjoy launching boats on the park's famous boating pond, and you can rent beautifully crafted miniature sailing boats from the concession stand in the park. The boating pond has been entertaining children in Paris for over a century, and even in an age of glowing screens and high-speed Internet access, there's still something magical about this miniature world.

Pompidou Centre

The Pompidou Centre is a modern art museum located in the 4th arrondissement, which is about half an hour's walk or a ten-minute metro ride from Gare de Lyon. The museum is home to an impressive collection of contemporary art, and kids will love exploring the many interactive exhibits. Even if your kids aren't particularly interested in art, they're sure to enjoy visiting here.

After you've explored the museum, you can head to the top of the Centre's famous escalators for a panoramic view of Paris. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Sacré-Cœur and beyond.


There's plenty to do in Paris with kids, thanks to the city's many parks and other attractions. Drop off your bags at convenient luggage storage in Gare de Lyon, and you'll find that the area around the station has no shortage of things for you and your family to do.