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Travelling with your kids : Paris
   Prepare your stay with the kids in Paris: bookings apartments and booking hotels
  
Alexandre (8 years),Fanny (13 years),Julie (15 years)

and their parents in Paris

Discovering of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with so many monuments and famous places to discover with your family! 

(4 days, April 2010) 

 

 

 What we adored 

To walk up to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower! First because it avoids queuing at the elevators, then because it’s really very beautiful to be inside the structure. The view of Paris is spectacular from the 2nd floor, 115 meters high – the bravest and oldest will be amazed by the 3rd floor , 276 meters high! A little booklet  made for 6 to 10 year olds, offers adapted information, to learn more about the place and its creator: withdraw it on the 1st floor of the Tower, at the Cineiffel. You may purchase tickets directly on the web , which will avoid the endless queues. The Eiffel Tower is open every day from 9:30am to 11:00pm. It might also be a good idea to go to there at sunset and discover the enlightened city… 

Take the small funicular to discover the Sacré Coeur, then wander around the Montmartre area. A funny way with kids to go up to the top of the Butte Montmartre  and to climb the equivalent of 220 steps! Place du Tertre is not the important place for painting it once was, and you’ll see more bad painting than any Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani or Picasso… but the place is really pretty, and the small houses in the charming streets around, allow you to imagine what Paris might once have looked like… A very pleasant stroll. 

Departure of the funicular: Place Saint-Pierre, 75018 ( subway station : Anvers), access with a subway ticket. 

To organise a picnic in the park of the Château de Versailles! We started with the visit of the castle: the King’s room, the Queen’s room, apartments, the marvellous Gallerie des Glaces… An audioguide for the children ( from 8 years) is provided at the entry. The kids really like the visit, it is not too long. Then we can enjoy a pastoral meal in the picnic area. The best is to discover the park during « les grandes eaux » (Saturday and Sunday, from April to October), when all the park’s fountains are working:  wonderful! You can also  ride a boat along the water or rent bicycles to ride in the park. To avoid waiting, you can buy your ticket on the web.

To see  Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum :useless to specify it, with children, it’s necessary to choose among the 35.000 art works presented in this gigantic palace! Among those, the department of Egyptian Antiquities, with its splendid sarcophagus, interests children greatly. You need to go past many paintings before seeing the Mona Lisa, and some other master pieces: the Radeau de la Méduse by Géricault, La liberté guidant le peuple by Delacroix, and the beautiful Venus de Milo and Victoire de Samothrace… quite a good walk! Underneath the Pyramid, in the Allee du Louvre, the bookshop “Les enfants du Musée” offers a great choice of books on art and educational and cultural plays, also in english.

The museum is open every day except on Tuesdays. Purchasing tickets online, usable any day of the year, will keep you from waiting.
Perfect to slacken after a visit of the museum, a walk in the Tuileries Gardens towards the Place de la Concorde. Along the way, different activities for the children: adventure playgrounds, merry-go-round, ponies, trampolines…

Go on a ride on one of the river boats for sightseeing : nice, a seated promenade!

A different and quiet way to discover Paris, and in particular to discover the historical center: Palais de Justice, Notre Dame, the island of La Cite, quays of the Saint-Louis island… Cruising lasts approximately one hour, and the children really enjoy it very much. Departure on the quays at Pont de l’Alma’s (accross from the Eiffel Tower), or at the Pont-Neuf. 

 

Our favorite places
  
The Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, in the Museum of Natural History. A splendid place: in the entrance, you are bluffed by the whale’s skeleton hanging from the ceiling. In the central big room, a spectacular parade of stuffed animals: giraffes, elephants, hippopotamuses, tortoises… a procession worthy of Ice Age ! Nearby, for teen-agers, the in the permanent exhibit the diversity of the living species is explained along with the evolution of the organizations and the genetics.
Museum d’Histoire Naturelle: 36, rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire 75005 Paris – Opened every day from 10:00am to 6:00pm, closed on Tuesdays.

As you leave, you should walk through the Botanical garden (Jardin des Plantes), where there are plenty of things to do for young people: adventure playground, old and pretty merry-go-round, and the menagerie (small zoo) with its orang-outang, Nénette, a real star! Lastly, very close is the Paris Mosque and its tea room to taste mint tea and oriental pastries (39 rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire).
  
The Conciergerie and the Sainte Chapelle: the children appreciated the guided visit especially adapted to children (approximately one hour) of the first residence of the Kings of France, also famous to have been Marie-Antoinette’s jail during the Revolution. A section of the history which impassionates them! At the Sainte-Chapelle, a splendid Gothic Church, a document designed for children ( from 7 to 8 year olds) indicates the most interesting parts, explains who arethe characters on the stained glass, and makes it possible to observe actively! Afterwards, you can go to Notre-Dame (10 minutes walking), at least on the square to contemplate the splendid frontage. And after all these beautiful things, time for a reward : an ice cream at Berthillon! (the best ice-cream parlour in Paris, on the Ile Saint-Louis : 29 rue Saint-Louis en l’île).
Conciergerie: 2, boulevard du Palais 75001 Paris – Opened every day
 
The Luxembourg Gardens: it is the largest park in Paris, in the heart of the Quartier Latin. Of course, you can simply walk through the gardens à la française, or lie down on the lawn, but there are also many things to do for children: eat a good waffle, go on a swing, crawl around the playground or ride a pony… Our very favorites: for the small ones, the puppet theatre, a real institution, for the oldest, miniature sailing ships (for rent) that you pushe with a stick and watch them gliding on the large central pond… all the charm of old amusements! 

 

Paris family hotels and apartments

The best solution with children: to rent an apartment! It is more roomy, more comfortable, more economical because you can eat there, more practical because you’ve got a washing machine, in short, full of advantages for families! And it is really pleasant to be able to rest,  as if at home, after a long day of visits… We recommend the apartments proposed by Friendly Rentals, pretty, well located and well equipped.

Here is also our selection of hotels in Paris which offer rooms that can accomodate families with children:

Right Bank:

(District of the Opera) Hôtel Alba Opera ***

Located in a quiet street, between Opéra and Montmartre, the hotel offers families a roomy Junior Suite (40 m2) with living room equipped of a sofa bed for two, twin beds, kitchen and bathroom with bath-tub. Very calm, they look onto a privative courtyard. Starting from 130€ per night. Click here to make a reservation

Very close, Rose Bakery, a tea room with delicious salads and home made pastries, and brunch on Sundays (46 rue des Martyrs – 75009)

 (Center)  Novotel Paris Les Halles ****

Modern hotel, located in the middle of Paris in the Halles district, five minutes away from the Forum, the Centre Pompidou, and the Marais area. Very positive ratio price quality for families: superior room with 1 double bed and a sofa-bed starting at 170€. The breakfast is nice but a little expensive, you might choose to have it outside! Click here to make a reservation

(Republique) Crowne Plaza Paris Republique ****

A large comfortable hotel, located on the Place de la Republique, 10 minutes away from Bastille and the Marais district. Pretty interior courtyard for sunny days.  Interesting prices for families: room for 4 with 2 double beds around 200€, without breakfast (the price of the breakfast is extra, may be better to buy a good croissant at the bakery nearby…) Click here to make a reservation

(Gare de Lyon) Hotel Lyon Terminus ***

Located just opposite of the Gare de Lyon, very close to the subway station, a simple hotel with a good ratio price quality. Clean, calm, very nice for a short stay in Paris. Rooms for 4 approximately 160€, breakfast included. The hotel also offers communicating rooms, for families with 3 children. Click here to make a reservation

(Trocadéro)  Best Western Hotel Pergolèse ****

 In a fashionable district, close to theArc de Triomphe, this modern and refined hotel offers family rooms made up of two communicating rooms (one with a double bed, the other with twin beds), 2 bathrooms and a privative entry. 
 It can accomodate up to 5 people. Ideal with teen-agers or big families! Starting at 350€ the night. Click here to make a reservation

Left Bank:

(Luxembourg) Hôtel Le Petit Belloy Saint Germain **

Pretty, small hotel in the heart of the Quartier Latin, excellent location neart the Luxembourg Garden, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area,  the Louvre and Notre-Dame. The rooms are decorated with taste. Quality positive ratio/price: two communicating rooms, for 4 people, starting at 210€ breakfasts included. Click here to make a reservation

(Saint-Michel) Hotel des Mines **

Small hotel very well located, right near the Luxembourg Garden and close from Notre-Dame. Nothing exceptional, but clean, well kept up, and reasonable prices! The quadruple room (at 180€) looks onto a very quiet courtyard. Click here to make a reservation

(Montparnasse) Le Méridien Montparnasse****

A large modern and rather luxurious hotel, close to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, which offers beautiful big rooms (30m2) for families, from 210€. Click here to make a reservation

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Eating with kids in Paris

For lunch: The picnic solution is really nice with kids, in a large park (Luxembourg gardens, Versailles…) or in one of the many small public gardens of the district you are staying in. If the sun is not shining, you will find a lot of « cafés » where you can nibble: croque-monsieur, french fries, etc.
  
Also, in the Marais area: The Swedish Cultural Center, holds a lovely cafe in the paved courtyard of a superb XVIIth century mansion, particularly well adapted to kids: high chairs for the small ones, books and, more, a court where you can run! Really a very pleasant place, which offers delicious homemade pastries, fresh sandwiches, seasonable vegetable gratins and hot brioches with cinnamon.
Le Café Suédois, 11, rue Payenne, 75003 Paris (closed on Monday, from Tuesday to Sunday 12 :00 -06 :00 pm)

To eat at night:

Kids love Chinese restaurants ! They eat (or try to !) with chopsticks, the environment is very relaxed, and there are always large aquariums where they have fun looking at fish. In the north of Paris, in the Belleville district, we like New Nioullaville, a huge canteen with trolleys full of “dim sum”, and in the south part of Paris, in « Chinatown »,  go to Tricotin. And for Asian kitchen lovers, don’t miss Tang Frères, the huge Asian supermarket where unearthly sauces and spices can be found: not to miss! (48 avenue d’Ivry, 750013 – closed on Monday)
New Nioullaville: 32 – 34, rue de l’Orillon 75011 Paris 01 40 21 98 38
Tricotin: 15 avenue de Choisy 75013 Paris 0145855152 (closed on Tuesday)
  
Less exotic, but very nice with the family: Coffee Parisien.

Good hamburgers, clubs sandwiches and salads at reasonable prices can be eaten there. A relaxed and animated environment as well, in a pretty fifties style decor, with red benches and posters on the walls.
In the district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés: Coffee Parisien, 4, rue Princesse – 75006 – 0143541960
  
Not far from the Eiffel Tower, therefore ideal after a visit: the
Tokyo Eat, restaurant of the Palais de Tokyo, inside the museum of contemporary art. If the weather allows it, the terrace is very beautiful, if not, your children will appreciate the trendy déco of the huge room with rough concrete walls, flashy neons and lights that resemble flying-saucers! A hype place, but pleasant with a family, with plenty of space for the small ones who want to move around…
Tokyo Eat: 13, av. du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris, 01 47 20 00 20, subway : Iéna, open every day except Monday, from 12:00 to 1:00 am.
  
For a gastronomical dinner (or lunch):
Drouant. If you want to treat yourself with a rather exceptional meal with your family, this famous Parisian restaurant offers menus starting at 15 euros enabling young food gastonomes to discover the great French cuisine. More: the dishes are proportional to the size of the little ones!
Drouant: 16-18 rue Gaillon

What we liked less 

Rather regrets:

not to have had time to go to the City of Sciences at La Villette, in particular the workshops of the Cité des Enfants (2 to 7 years and 5 to 12 years), devoted to discovered sciences and technology (reservation are advised on the website: www.cite-sciences.fr

Not to be have gone inside Notre-Dame, discouraged by the line!


  
Tips

To travel in Paris, the subway network is very convenient, but the buses allow sightseeing as well : our favorite means of transportation!
  
Spring and summer are very pleasant to visit Paris because you are able to sit at the numerous cafes’ terraces, enjoy the parks and outdoor plays … In August, much of the Parisians leave the city, you’ll discover another aspect of Paris, which is not without charm.
  
Like in all the big capitals, pickpockets love crowds: be attentive to your bags and cameras in tourist areas and in the subway.
  
If you need to consult a pediatrician for an emergency, two excellent services of pediatric emergencies in Paris, open 24 hours a day:
 Necker Hospital – emergencies: 01 44 49 42 90 – 149 rue de Sèvres, 75015
 Hospital Trousseau – emergencies: 01 44 73 74 75 – 26, avenue du Docteur Arnold-Netter 75.012
  

Don’t forget to bring
  
  – an electrical adaptor for those who come from the USA
  – comfortable shoes !

Enjoy your stay in Paris with the kids!

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Also in english version: Venice with kids (Italy)
   

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