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13 Great Ways to Do Paris This Summer (Even if You Bring the Kids)

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There’s no bad time to stroll the City of Light, but there might just be a perfect time: right now. Paris is rife with new experiences for art and food lovers, shoppers, cool kids—and actual kids, too. For more on what’s happening in Paris, check out our October issue, on newsstands September 15th.

1. The quickie guide to what’s new

Where to See Art

Still Matters: The 38-year-old Centre Pompidou, known as much for its inside-out design as for its modern art. Brand-new: The year-old Fondation Louis Vuitton building, designed by Frank Gehry, looks like a massive glass boat sailing on the green Bois de Boulogne park. The space holds rotating contemporary exhibits and installations by artists such as Olafur Eliasson.

Where to Shop

Still Matters: Part café, part boutique, Merci is a trend hunter’s first stop for bohemian threads and quirky delights galore. Brand-new: La Trésorerie holds a beautiful mélange of modern hardware, plus dish towels, bed linens, and kitchen tools made from renewable materials like wood, linen, and glass.

Where to Drink

Still Matters: The Experimental Cocktail Club is the city’s original Prohibition-style bar for craft drinks, like the Perpette les Olivettes, made with fresh arugula, homemade almond syrup, olive-infused pisco, dry vermouth, lime juice, and Amargo Chuncho bitters. Brand-new: The main draw of buzzy Le Syndicat? Drinks made from French-only spirits. Try the Nevez OldFashion, spiked with whiskey from Brittany.

—Lindsey Tramuta

L’Éclair de Génie

2. Eat beyond the croissant

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Pâtissier Phillippe Urraca, a star of France’s equivalent of Top Chef, shares his tips on where to find the best pastries in town.

Tarte aux Pommes: “The chef at Des Gâteaux et du Pain mastered a baking method that leaves the crust perfectly crisp and the fruit juicy every time.”

Paris Brest: “At La Pâtisserie des Rêves, these wheel-shaped treats are sandwiched with a hazelnut cream that truly explodes with flavor.”

Éclair: L’Éclair de Génie has a genius update on the éclair au chocolat: half the size, half the sugar, and the highest quality chocolate from Grand Cru.”

Profiteroles: At Urraca’s own Profiterole Chérie, the cream- or ice cream-filled mounds are made to order.

—Lindsey Tramuta

Jardin du Luxembourg

3. Paris avec Bébé? Mais Oui! 

Play it right, and the city can actually be a delight with young kids.

Your home base: Rent an apartment in the central fifth arrondissement. That way you’ll always be close to the Jardin du Luxembourg, a real crowd-pleaser with plenty of room to roam, timeless marionette shows, a carousel, even pony rides.

The cure for museum fatigue: In return for good behavior at the Louvre, promise your kids a morning of spotting thousands of animals at Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle or of splashing, building, and playing TV star at the hands-on La Cité des Enfants in La Cité des Sciences et de L’Industrie, Europe’s largest science museum.

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Feed the beast: Michelin-starred meals and kids raised on Cheerios are not a happy combo. But the city’s endless array of patisseries, crepe places, and falafel shops will handily ward off food tantrums. For a sit-down meal, casual cafés are a good compromise, especially if you pack crayons for the paper-covered tables. Fair warning: If you don’t bring a portable high chair, your toddler will wind up in your lap.

Lora Shinn