If you’re looking for what can only be described as the LEAST romantic springtime in Paris, then you’re in the right place! One of the great trips we’ve taken together was to France. Rarely living on the same continent at the same time (more here) opens up a lot of opportunities to explore different parts of the world together, guilt free, so we loaded up our families & met in Paris. While we would’ve preferred to spend our time at Biologique Recherche getting the two hour Le Soin Biovecteur Marin facial, we did the responsible thing: implemented our ‘Extremely Low Expectations’ travel philosophy (we blogged about it here) that we swear by, and embarked on a simple, kid friendly Parisian itinerary.
All hotels, restaurants, museums & transportation mentioned below have active links, so please click on them for more information.
Rule #1A: Bring coins (euros) for the PAY TOILETS & take it easy on the Orangina. If your child needs assistance in the bathroom, prepare to pay the potty admission for BOTH of you.
Rule #1B: Make the kiddos use the free potty EVERY time you stop to eat.
Same rules as the monuments back home…
Just like this!
Where to Stay: We love a little luxury when traveling, especially with kids. Great service and amenities keep everyone sane.
Four Seasons George V -Love this place. I mean, who doesn’t?
The Peninsula Hotel -Also love the Peninsula.
Marriott Paris Champs Elysees -This hotel is nice and is in a Great location.
Le Claridge Fraser Suites – If you need something a bit larger for larger families, this hotel offers suites with kitchenettes, family rooms & is in a great location.
Gotta Feed the Kids: We love to hit up any decent looking cafe that doesn’t scoff at the sight of children.
Our kids preferred to eat Nutella crepes, croissants & cheese for most meals, and who could blame them? But we did stop at the local grocery store, Monoprix, for healthier options that we kept at the hotel. (Though, don’t be afraid to rack up the Room Service charges when necessary. #serenity)
A few simple, quick, kid friendly/parent friendly places to grab a bite are:
Paul – You can find these easily, as they are seemingly everywhere.
Angelina – Yet another kid friendly option! Pastries anyone?
Monoprix – The go-to grocery store when you just need to get some healthy options to take back to the room. We ended up with a ton of their cute reusable bags.
Getting Around Town: We had the concierge arrange chauffeured cars for any travel not within walking distance, but the kids loved a few other modes of transportation:
Batobus– This is a fun boat ride & water taxi in one! Get tickets & consider the unlimited all day pass for maximum flexibility.
It was as if these two were on an exotic river cruise. They had so much fun. We could’ve stayed on the Batobus all day and had happy campers.
Paris Metro – the city’s train system/subway was fun even though we take the train all the time at home. Check the map & fares before you head out with the kiddos.
TGV Train – great option if you want to explore outside of the city. We took a day trip and private tour of Normandy. The kids loved to explore the many battle sites & they learned a little bit of history as well. We can’t emphasize ‘PRIVATE’ enough. PRIVATE TOUR! Air conditioned Mercedes Sprinter Vans with Wifi, no worries that the kids are bothering other people.
Things to See & Do: We took a very relaxed trip, one excursion a day & didn’t stick to a rigid itinerary which is definitely the way to go with kids.
You are not going to see everything, but you will enjoy what you do see, so just mentally prepare.
Jardin du Luxembourg – here you can ride the oldest carousel in Paris, see puppet shows, run around the playground & eat ice cream. A must see. Paris is filled with carousels, so it may be worth mapping them out if your kiddos are into them.
The ice cream stand was like a glowing beacon. The kids spotted it within seconds.
Jardin des Tuileries – Here there is lots of space to run around and plenty of cool paths to explore around the basin. And like most everywhere, a great photo op.
Eiffel Tower – Buy tickets in advance to avoid the crazy ticket lines. You still may have to wait in line to actually get up into the tower, but you’ll be in one long ass line, not two, if you buy tickets ahead of time. As for kid friendly, we took a stroller up as far as we could on the lift, then carried it up the narrow stairs to the next higher level. We love the view of the twinkling lights at night, so it was worth it.
This little guy slept in most of the amazing places!
Louvre – CLOSED TUESDAYS! We are a museum friendly family. That said, map out the main things the kids like to see because you definitely won’t see everything. Buy tickets in advance and if there is some VIP quick entrance option, buy that too. This is a popular spot but worth seeing.
A Word of Warning: When traveling to see the windmill at the Moulin Rouge, keep in mind that it is in the Red Light District.
So, #1: if your kids can read, it may become an unexpected question and answer session, like when our kiddo asked “hey! What does that pink flashing sign ‘Pu**y’ spell?” and we replied that it was just the city’s Cat Hospital in Paris. Boy, was she impressed. And #2, be sure to go during the day. We went Easter morning before Mass at Sacre Couer. Our penance was having to walk up the 300+ steps from Pigalle to Monmarte en route to the Basilica, one person carrying the baby, two more carrying the stroller, as the line for the funicular was enormous. As if that wasn’t repentance enough, the Pay Toilet at Sacre Couer was completely shut down and we had to race through a packed Mass, out of church, BACK down the steps to a shop that we had to buy something from in order to gain access to the pay toilet. No advice on that one, other than you really need to time the potty breaks!
Moulin Rouge -Some say cheesey, but we say still fun to see. Afterwards, either test your endurance with a walk up hundreds of steps or take the Funicular to the top of the ‘hill’.
Basilica du Sacre Couer -Explore the really beautiful interior & the breathtaking view. So neat that even the kids liked it!
This view! A real ‘Wow’!
We loved taking a kid friendly trip to Paris & totally recommend it! We try to make our family adventures as simple, but as fun as possible and look forward to sharing more of our kid friendly adventures! And tips!