Kids who like glamour will enjoy this walk, which takes in the opulent Palais Garnier (Paris’s historic opera house), a ghost and extravagant food and jewelry shops.
Begun during Napoleon’s rule, the Madeleine (1) church looks like an ancient temple – show kids the huge painting of the emperor in the cupola. However, the square’s true attraction is its luxury food shops.
At Maison de la Truffe (2, 19 place de la Madeleine), you can see the world’s largest truffe, while the jewel-like cakes, shellfish concoctions, and artistically arranged fruit in the window displays at the upscale delis Hédiard (3, 21 place de la Madeleine) and Fauchon (4, 24 place de la Madeleine) are a treat in themselves.
Take blvd de la Madeleine to the Palais Garnier (5), a splendid opera house that opened in 1875. Inside, go up the Grand Staircase and visit the Grand Foyer, where every inch is covered in gilt, marble, sculptures, mirrors, and chandeliers. Edgar Degas often drew and sculpted the ballerinas rehearsing here. The opera was also the haunt of the Phantom of the Opera, said to have hovered around one of the boxes. Backstage tours are available in English.
Afterward, turn right down rue de la Paix to place Vendôme (6). Here, in the windows of some of the world’s grandest jewelry houses, children can see diamond necklaces fit for princesses. The square’s central column depicts scenes of Napoleon’s battle victories. Leave place Vendôme by rue de Castiglione. Turn right onto rue Saint-Honoré and again onto rue Royale for tea (or delicious hot chocolate) at Ladurée (7, 16 rue Royale), a suitably regal treat. Be sure to order the famous mini-macaroons.
Metro Stations: Opéra (3, 7, 8), Madeleine (8, 12, 14)