Paris: where to stay, what to do, can we bring the kids?
The Mr has a chance to head to Paris for work next June, and I’ve never been, so I figured why not? I expect hotels will be insanely expensive so we are wondering about some non-traditional arrangement like air bnb. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions?
As for activities, I love food and wine and wandering through cities, but we’re likely to bring our 4.5 year old (the 10 month old will almost surely come), so any ideas for how to have fun with her while still getting a taste of Paris? Or am I crazy and we should wait until she’s older?
There are lots of great responses– here’s one with a good round-up of suggested activities:
Museums – If you think you’re going to want to see a few museums, I’d look into the Paris Museum Pass. This would help because while you might have to wait in entrance lines, you wouldn’t have to wait to buy tickets which I would think was a huge plus with kids.
I think if you really like impressionist art (it’s my favorite) then go to Musee D’Orsay which is one of the best. It’s in a cool looking building with an easy to follow layout and has a little cafe on the top floor.
I would probably skip the Louvre. It is often just overrun with people and things are REALLY far apart and I’d feel like trying to keep track of a little one in there would be a nightmare. I had a hard enough time keeping track of my husband.
If you’re already buying the museum pass, you might pop into the Cluny. The main draw there is tapestries – specifically unicorn tapestries. I don’t know what your daughter is into, but they are beautiful and for some little kids could be quite appealing, plus the museum is relatively small and comparatively uncrowded.
Rodin Museum – there are works inside the house, but the main museum is actually the gardens of the house – the Thinker is outside. So, your child can run about the grounds and not worry about being still or quiet or anything else you’d normally associate with museums.
Getting Around – if you plan on taking the Metro (one of the easiest ways to get around Paris) you might want a Paris Visite metro pass. It’s a tourist pass, which lasts for a certain number of days. There’s a cheaper pass, but it goes Sunday to Sunday (which isn’t helpful if it doesn’t line up with your dates) and is really complicated to purchase if you don’t speak French (and just slightly complicated to purchase if you do speak French). The reason you’d want a pass is to avoid having to purchase tickets each times and to avoid the trouble of holding on to the tickets. In Paris, you have to hold onto your ticket until you leave at your destination. There are REALLY high fines for losing/misplacing your ticket. I would not want to deal with getting myself and my children through the turnstiles, collecting everyone’s tickets, handing them back out, etc. The pass is harder to lose!
Eiffel Tower – The lines can be long, and it might be more fun to see from the ground than to go up. There’s also a carousel right nearby which might be fun for your daughter (I can’t remember what the situation is with lines for the carousel, but I do remember thinking it’s really pretty!)
Arc D’Triomphe I would avoid this. I’ve never been up it, but the access to it is shit. You have to go through one of the busiest train stations (Etoile) and then find the underground walkway to get to the Arc because it’s this huge dangerous intersection.
Luxembourg Gardens – Huge win! Pick up some picnic supplies at La Grand Epicerie or at a little boulangerie and then go to the park! They have lots of things to do there.
Want the travel writer take on what to do in Paris with kids? Check out Ten Great Things to Do With Kids in Paris by Paul Bennet, featured on David Lebovitz’s site Living the Sweet Life in Paris. (Which, how did I not know about this blog? I can’t wait to read more of it.)
Looking for a place to stay? Try one of these leads:
We found a place through VRBO and it’s excellent. The owners also have a separate website here:
I have no idea where they live, but they have a very competent property manager and our payment to them (via credit card) was processed via an affiliated entity in California (and in USD). The apartment is exactly as advertised.
Feeling bitten by the travel bug? Read the whole thread at Paris – where to stay, what to do, can we bring the kids? or check out some other recent travel questions (log in to read):
- Day Trips from London
- Cambridge, UK
- Lions, Tigers, and Gazelles, oh my!- African safaris
- more on France here: France! (I can’t believe there’s no thread!)
- …and a whole board of advice on travelling with kids