One of my favorite places to take a break from the busy streets and sites of Paris is the Jardin du Palais-Royal. It is just off rue Saint- Honoré about two blocks north of the Louvre. This peaceful park never seems to get too busy and has quite a few benches to enjoy the formally landscaped garden with a fountain and marble statues.
A series of arcades surround the park which are lined with restaurants and a mixture of vintage and designer stores including the revered Didier Ludot consignment boutique. I always stop at Épice and enjoy their latest of collection of scarves in the most exquisite color and pattern combinations. On a hot day, these arcades can provide a shady spot to cool off a bit.
Don't leave the area without checking out Les Deux Plateaux, a modern art installation (otherwise known as the Colonnes de Buren). It is tucked away in an inner courtyard (Cour d'Honneur) just south of the Jardin du Palais-Royal. The graphic black-and-white striped columns created in 1986 by Daniel Buren in varying heights are whimsical (and probably even more amusing to kids who are sure to have fun playing among them).