My daughter first visited Paris at five months old. Since then, we’ve been back more than a half-dozen times. At every age and stage, It’s a delightful destination for families, if you go smart. Here’s how to do Paris with kids, and not go crazy.

Paris Packing 101

Bring an iPad loaded with kids’ entertainment for inevitable jetlag, but go sans carseat. Public transport works well, and Parisian traffic is worse than colic. Baby carriers and backpacks help navigate stroller-unfriendly subway stairs and cobblestone streets.

Your Home Base

Beyond petite, Parisian hotel rooms flirt with closet-sized proportions. Rent a generously sized apartments through VRBO, Flipkey or AirBnB instead, and eat en suite. Sleep centrally located—for example, the 5th arrondissement embraces the Jardin du Luxumbourg, a real crowd pleaser with timeless marionette shows, a carousel, and pony rides.

Feed the Beasts

Patisseries will have kids speaking French in no time at all—eclair, galette, s’il vous plait. For more nutritional sustenance, seek to-go sandwich, crepe, and falafel shops for handheld meals. Casual-dining cafes fit family appetites (pack crayons for paper-covered tables) but stash a portable highchair for babies, or your lap may seat two.

The Cure for Museum Fatigue

Save the Louvre for an adult-only visit. Instead, enjoy kid-friendly art workshops and glass-enclosed escalators at the modern art mecca Centre Pompidou, march alongside thousands of animals at Musee d’Histoire Naturelle, or splash, build and play TV star at La Cité des Enfants, a science and art-focused exhibit for kids.

Planning a trip? Check out our ultimate guide to Paris!