School Trip Attractions in Paris
Every kid knows that the best bit of any school trip is bagging the back seat of the coach and flicking rolled up pieces of paper at increasingly agitated teachers the whole way there and back. But that doesn’t mean the destination can’t be fun too. And where better to take the little darlings on a school trip than one of the planet’s most glamorous and culture-rich cities? Yep, we’re talking about Paris, where opportunities for fun and educational outings abound. Our pick of the best school trip attractions in Paris visits world famous landmarks, covering off science, history, the arts and more, and includes:
- The Louvre Museum
- Musée d’Orsay
- Eiffel Tower
- Notre-Dame Cathedral
- Paris Catacombs
- Arc de Triomphe
- Palace of Versailles
- Disneyland Paris
Even in the age of TikTok and Snapchat, the Eiffel Tower still has the power to enthrall. Whiz your school group straight to the top in the great glass elevators or unleash your inner sadist and make them climb the 674 steps to the second floor (while you take the elevator, natch). Once at the top, wow the kids with ‘riveting’ information about the number of bolts that hold the Eiffel Tower together (see what we did there?) and impress them with the tales of engineering derring-do that saw Gustave Eiffel bring this great iron latticework to life in the first place. More info for teachers here.
The Louvre Museum
Only the largest and most-visited museum on the planet, the Louvre is home to priceless artistic treasures including the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace and, of course, Da Vinci’s enigmatic Mona Lisa herself. And that’s not all. School kids will be bedazzled by the vast collection of Old Masters by the likes of Vermeer, Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo and the rest of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as Roman amphoras, Egyptian sarcophagi, an actual sphinx and stacks more. In short: 9,000 years of human artistic endeavor under one quite enormous roof. Truly mind-expanding stuff. More info for teachers here.
Just across the Seine, the Louvre’s younger (and much smaller) sibling provides a relatively bite-sized option for art-mad school groups. For inside this former railway station, a decorative Beaux-Arts beauty complete with huge station clock, lies the world’s largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting. It’s truly a masterclass in French and European art of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including literally dozens of instantly recognizable pieces such as van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhône, Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette, Whistler’s Mother and Monet’s Water Lilies. Don’t miss show-stopping sculptures that include Rodin’s Thinker and Degas’ Small Dancer Aged 14 in the main hall. More info for teachers here.
It’ll take more than a fire to bring down this gothic masterpiece, which has been setting hearts aflutter for nearly a thousand years and will likely continue to do so for a thousand more. All soaring bell towers, graceful flying buttresses, decorative sculptures and eye-poppingly extravagant medieval rose windows, this architectural masterpiece oozes history and is all but guaranteed to enchant students of art, history, literature, engineering… and the rest. Visitors will be able to get back inside the Grand Dame de Paris from December 2024.
The Paris Catacombs
Kids just love the macabre, and there’s certainly no dearth of death-related attractions to choose from in Paris, from its vast sepulchral cemeteries to this, the absolutely bone-chilling network of underground ossuaries that is the Paris Catacombs. Contained within these dank, dark tunnels lie the mortal remains of some six million Parisians of yore, displaced here from the city’s oversubscribed graveyards in the 18th and 19th centuries. The result: claustrophobic subterranean caverns stacked top to bottom with human remains. Legend has it that if you enter after midnight, the skulls in the walls begin to whisper to you, luring you to your certain doom. Might be a difficult one to explain away to the parents, so perhaps best stick to daytime tours. More info for teachers here.
Arc de Triomphe
Standing proud and immutable at the west end of the Champs-Élysées since 1836, the Arc de Triomphe is one of the most popular school trip attractions in Paris. This monumental Neoclassical arch provides a suitably somber and grandiose memorial to soldiers who have died in combat since the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary wars. History students can pay their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the vault, artists can discover the monument’s many sculptures and lovers of literature can learn about Victor Hugo’s connection to the arch. Meanwhile, older kids can climb the 284 steps to the summit for those critical Champs-Élysées selfies, with awesome backdrops that take in the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Eiffel Tower and more. More info for teachers here.
Palace of Versailles
As flamboyant as the king who commissioned it, Louis XIV’s extravagant Palace of Versailles is a fairytale confection of opulent state rooms, mirror-bedecked hallways, art-stuffed galleries, and perfectly manicured gardens that brim with ornate fountains, sculptures and statues. Students can visit Marie Antoinette’s rustic model village, grab selfies among the pink marble colonnades of the Grand Trianon, admire the vast collection of 16th-19th century painting and sculpture, and enjoy a moment of quiet reflection in the Hall of Mirrors. Discover the history of the Bourbon dynasty and learn all about the palace’s role in shaping French society on a school trip that’s all but guaranteed to wow. More info for teachers here.
And if none of the above appeals to your particular group of students, there’s one Paris attraction that’s sure to cement your reputation as teacher of the year. Go on: take them to Disneyland Paris and you’ll be considered a legend forevermore. More info for teachers here.