The Jardin du Luxembourg was our first outing in Paris! We had glorious weather and it was so nice to walk in a huge green space after the long line at the airport for border patrol. Our hotel was in the 6th arrondissement so it was nearby and we entered the farthest end from the pool where kids can sail their boats. I remembered the boat pond from a previous trip three decades ago. I had visited in January then, and it was a dull grey day. Kids were still sailing boats though. It reminded me of Madeline, so this list is an ode to picture books featuring Paris.
This list has many stories of adventures in Paris from many different perspectives. Use this list to get kids ready for their own trip to Paris whether it’s by plane, train, automobile or just an armchair!
How about you? What are you favorite books featuring Paris? Thanks for sharing!
18 Amazing Books for Kids Before Visiting Paris
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
The Madeline series is quintessential reading for a visit to Paris. Not only does Madeline get into charming adventures, but the illustrations also detail landmarks in Paris to visit including the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Seine. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Eloise in Paris by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hillary Knight
I love the Eloise books for showcasing voice! Both the words and illustrations burst with Eloise’s energetic huge personality. “Everyone knew we were going but no one cried” is a favorite line from this book. Eloise gives quite a bit of advice of what to do and where to go in Paris. I’d listen to her. She has rahther beaucoup experience in Paris but I don’t think she made it to Jardin du Luxembourg, at least in this trip. Pas de quoi. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek
Sasek lovingly portrays the charms of Paris from museums, sidewalk cafes, and gardens in this beautifully illustrated and well-designed book. You can also use it as a tourist guide! [picture book, ages 7 and up]
Hudson and the Puppy (lost in Paris) by Jackie Clark Mancuso
Hudson and the Puppy Lost in Paris by Jackie Clark Mancuso. My dog (@pragmatic.dog on Instagram) helped me make this book video and he was appropriately excited, sad, stressed, and happy for the required shots. This picture book is for ages 4 and up and will make you want to go to Paris! Your dog will want to go too! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Adèle & Simon by Barbara McClintock
Think All-of-a-Kind-Family but just an older sister and younger brother plus Where’s Waldo, but set in turn-of-the-20th-century Paris. Instead of looking for a “Waldo” character, the readers can enjoy the sights of Paris including The Jardin du Luxembourg. Famous paintings are also referenced in the illustrations. Part of the charm of this picture book is also locating Simon’s lost things in the illustrations. This is a beautifully done picture book to learn about Paris and to read over and over again since there’s always something wonderful to discover with each new reading. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino
A girl and her grandfather take an extensive walk through Paris. There’s no way that I could do all that they did in one day! In fact, we were there for four days and missed most of what they saw: Place Maubert, Place Saint-Michel, Notre Dame (closed due to the fire), Seine riverboat ride, Le Marais, Pompidou Center, le Louvre, and Tuileries Gardens. We did have similar experiences though! The factoids on each page spread give an interesting slant on the history of Paris! This is the perfect book to armchair travel in Paris! And it goes to show you that there is much to see and do in Paris! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Henri’s Walk to Paris by Leonore Klein
Compare Henri’s walk to Paris with A Walk in Paris. Henri’s misadventure begins with a journey from his small town near Paris with a misdirection that takes him in the wrong direction. I love the graphic quality of the illustrations and the story of a mixed-up adventure that finds home as the best place in the world. This is a story that almost takes you to Paris! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Giraffe that Walked to Paris by Nancy Milton and Roger Roth
There are quite a few picture books involving walks in Paris but this is a true story! The giraffe that walked to Paris was a gift from the Pasha of Egypt who sought to patch up relations with the French king in 1826. The giraffe caused quite a sensation among the French people who had never seen this animal before. In order to deliver the giraffe to the king, she had to make the journey by walking from Marseille to Paris. This is such an interesting snippet of the history of King Charles X before he was overthrown. [nonfiction advanced picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Cat Who Walked Across France by Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben
This is another misplaced adventure involving Paris, but in this case, it’s a little sad. A cat, abandoned after his own dies, is shipped to Paris and forgotten. The cat makes its way across France back home. I wish the illustrations showcased the monuments of Paris more clearly but the painterly style is reminiscent of the impressionists. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Kiki and Coco by
Kiki has a doll named Coco that accompanies her on a trip to Paris. When they are separated at a cafe, Coco has a little adventure of her own. Because this story is told from a child’s point of view, it’s the perfect book to show young kids what Paris will be for them. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna
This is a large book with an unusual orientation. The book is read horizontally instead of vertically which can be unwieldy but makes for a nice read-aloud presentation because it is as the book is “large screen.” A lion leaves Africa and comes to Paris without any luggage. Naturally, he fits right in. This upsets the lion who wants to be noticed. Slowly, the lion makes a few friends. First a girl. Then an old lady. He likes Paris and finds a permanent place there. This story references the lion statue at Place Denfert-Rochereau in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. This is a Paris picture book for kids who are in the know about Paris! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Emma in Paris by Claire Frossard and Christophe Urbain
Emma is an American sparrow in Paris to visit her cousin Amelie. It’s quite a feat to find her. The illustrations are photographs of Paris with animal drawings superimposed so this feels like a tour of Paris from Emma’s perspective. And, if you read it another way, this feels like a story of Roma gypsies with subtle references to a caravan and a street circus act. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Harry and Lulu by Arthur Yorinks and Martin Matje
This is part Madeline and part Eloise in Paris and part dream fantasy. It all adds up to an adventure when Lulu gets a stuffed dog instead of a real puppy. Harry is a talking dog and takes Lulu to Paris (where he’s from) when Lulu fails to appreciate him. It’s a bonding adventure for both of them. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Everybody Bonjours! by Leslie Kimmelman and Sarah McMenemy
Learn at least one French word in this rhyming picture book that takes you through the sights, sounds, and especially delicious tastes of Paris. Bonjour, you will see, is a very useful word! Endnotes detail all the sights referenced in the book. This makes for a nice tourist itinerary for kids! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Mirette on the High Wire (series) by Emily Arnold McCully
Nineteen century Paris comes alive in this story of Mirette and the mysterious high wire walker that comes to live in her mother’s boarding house. He has lost his ability to perform but she finds a way to bring back his passion. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Anatole series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone
Anatole is a French mouse with a keen palate. He’s like the OG (Original Gangster) before the rat in the movie Ratatouille but in a cheese-making setting instead of a restaurant. I have this book series on my list for Best Picture Books To Build Vocabulary. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
A hobo, Armand, slowly changes his ways when he meets three children and their mother who are newly homeless and join him under the bridge. This book romanticizes homelessness through the depiction of Armand and implies that this is a decision he has chosen that is balanced by the mother and her three children that are homeless through eviction. This is on my Understanding Poverty book list. [chapter book, ages 7 and up]
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Winner of a Caldecott, The Invention of Hugo Cabret seems lengthy but it’s only because it is mostly gorgeous pencil illustrations that also tell the mystery of an invention an orphaned boy discovers as the key to unlocking the secret to his past. [illustrated middle grade, ages 7 and up]
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These book lists for kids are based around a particular location:
- Undocumented Immigrant
- Sri Lanka
For a complete index of all my posts, please see: List of Lists: All My Posts.
Book Lists for a Particular Location
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