Traveling to Paris with Children

Happy Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend in store.

Today, I am linking up with other bloggers posting on France – Simply Irresistible! I decided to post on traveling to Paris with children, because I’ve done it! I’ll share the obvious highlights and a couple of secret tips. 

Traveling with children can have its challenges (and rewards) no matter how near or far you are traveling. But, toss in a foreign language and jet lag and you have a whole other set of issues to contend with. But, having traveled to Paris with my then 5 and 8 year old….there is no city more welcoming to children. Come on….I’ll show you how we did it.

First, we rented an apartment. On the Left Bank. Rue du Four via Elite Destination Homes. I just checked the rates and there is no way that’s what we paid…so if you seriously want to rent an apartment, ask for their best rate. The apartment sleeps 6 and has an amazing location. And, a concierge. Seriously…..such an amazing way to travel as a family.

The lines to see the Eiffel Tower really are long, unless you get there early. Make a reservation for lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants there and you get to use a special elevator and cut the lines. 
The hot chocolate at Angelina’s is reknown…but the pastries are what caught my eye!
A trip to the Louvre is a must in Paris. But, it’s huge. How in the world do you navigate it…much less with children? Enter Paris Muse. The company is comprised of scholars and teachers who love and live in Paris. They offer intimate, walking tours through all of the cities museums, but have a fantastic tour of the Louvre geared toward children and their parents. The tour is designed as a treasure hunt and keeps even young children engaged while learning. I highly recommend this experience….it was a highlight for our entire family.

After a tour and lunch at Cafe Marly (next door to the Lourve), walk through the Jardin des Tuileries and let you little folks take a spin on the carousel. Ride along if the child inside you wants to come out and play!
As a general rule, we tried to do our major sight seeing during the morning and after lunch we enjoyed one of the many beautiful parks and let the boys just be kids, run around, play on a playground or captain toy boats.

Over 850 years old, the architecture, gargoyles and rose window of Notre Dame are a delight for young minds.
Hemingway, Sarte and Picasso….all patronized Cafe de Flore. My boys just enjoyed their hot chocolate.

One of the unexpected highlights of Paris is Musee Rodin. Part home, part gallery, part gardens….this was one of our favorite museums to visit. I had to appreciate my 5 year old’s willingness to pose alongside world renown statuary.

One thing I’ve learned is that children truly are adaptable….to time changes, to unusual food and to new experiences. What a thrill to see Paris through their eyes.

To see more about Paris and other delightful aspects of France, visit Castles, Crowns and Cottages!

The Paris Diaries, Part 1:Luxembourg Gardens, the Louvre…and Little Boys

Now, that I’m back in the U.S.A. — I really wish I could go back to Paris with all that I’ve learned. Paris is particularly welcoming to children. So, if you or someone you know is headed there, below are my tips for going as a family. 

Jardin du Luxembourg:
The best place to let you children run free and shake off some jet lag. We met my friend, Heather, there with 2 of her boys….the boys played on the playground and pushed sailboats in the pond.

One of the best tips we got was to reserve a private tour with a guide from Paris Muse. The benefits were many:
♥ We skipped the long lines
♥ Our guide led the boys on a “treasure hunt”…so they were completely engaged for the entire 2 hours
♥ We didn’t just wander or get overwhelmed….and this museum is HUGE. They say that if you spent only 3 seconds in front of each piece in the Louvre, it would still take you 33 years to see it all.

Cafe Marly:
Although I had heard of Cafe Marly…I was shocked that it was so close. When you exit the pyramid, the restaurant is directly to your right. So, throughout our al fresco lunch, the pyramid was right behind us. Very cool!
Jardin des Tuileries:
After lunch, we walked through the Tuileries, which is the beautiful garden that links the Louvre to the plaze de la Concorde (the site of the guillotine during the French Revolution). The boys loved the in-ground trampolines and the carousel.

Famous for their hot chocolate, Angelina’s is near the end of the Jardin des Tuileries, on the Right Bank — and was a fun reward for the boys, after all that walking.

Having been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the boys loved having a gargoyle’s view of it from the top of Notre-Dame. What a magnificent architectural achievement!
After touring Notre-Dame, we walked over to the small Ile de St. Louis for the famous Berthillon ice cream. Balancing a morning of history with an afternoon of fun, kept the boys engaged.

Musee Rodin:

The sculpture garden at the Rodin Museum is a must! It is gorgeous and enjoyable for adults and children. This was my favorite museum visit after the Louvre and the Musee L’Orangerie, where Monet’s Water Lilies are displayed the way he originally intended.
Tulip Tip:
No matter what you’re planning on seeing, save yourself from waiting in long lines (and trust me, there were some long lines at the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay & Musee de L’Orangerie) by getting a Museum Pass. It covers your museum entry fee (children are usually free) at almost every major site in Paris, but what you will most enjoy is a special, shorter que.
If you had a day in Paris, where would you go and what would you do?
xo, Elizabeth
ps: Paris Diaries, Part 2 – shopping, dining & evenings without children later this week.