Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Paris in a Day, with Kids

We recently spent a week at Villages Nature, a Centre Parcs resort on the outskirts of Paris and decided to do a day trip into the city.  I have been to France countless times but have never made it to the centre of Paris so I was excited to see all the famous sites and nervous of how child friendly the centre would be with our five children aged 10 and under.

            Paris with kids, paris in a day

Villages Nature is a 35 minute drive to the centre of Paris, but we decided to use public transport which meant a bus ride to Disneyland (10 minutes) and then the train in from there to Chatelet Les Halles (44 minutes).  It was the children's first double decker train which they all loved.   We had already planned our first stop and so we walked slowly towards the River Seine and over the bridge to embark on a boat tour.  You can buy tickets there but we had pre-booked them online (with flexible timing) and thought it would be a great way to orientate ourselves with the city before exploring further on foot.

The river cruise was on an open top boat and we sat at the front of the top deck ready to take it all in.  The live commentary was in both English and French.  In hindsight I would have done this slightly later in the day when the children were getting tired and needed to sit down, but I loved getting to know some of the history of Paris and getting a feel for how spread out the city is. It started and ended at Pont Neuf and once we had finished we went off in search of food.

I grabbed a burger meal from Naked Vegan Burger which was delicious. I was nervous about being vegan in France but I could always eat something. After lunch I was keen to find the Louvre because I wanted to see the pyramid up close.  I hadn't taken in quite how huge this famous art museum is and with all the children in tow we decided to keep the inside for another trip.  We marvelled at the beautiful buildings and the modern pyramid in the centre of the courtyard and then found the row of souvenir shops selling model versions of the Eiffel Tower and postcards of the iconic views.

Paris with kids, paris in a day

Paris with kids, paris in a day

We were keen to give the children some space to run around by this point so we headed into the Jardin les Tuileries, watched children sailing miniature boats with little sticks and then found the playground.  It wasn't huge but there was plenty of seating for parents and it gave the children some time to free play in the middle of a busy day.

             Paris with kids, paris in a day

From the park we walked up to Place de la Concorde which I was fascinated to see after the boat tour commentary.  By this point the sun was strong and we were tiring so we walked up the Rue Royale and found a restaurant with shady outdoor seating for some much needed crepes (and sorbet for me) and to play some card games.  Cora (aged 5) had a nap in the buggy as her little legs were tired, and the baby had a rest in the sling, making me very glad I had packed both!  Everywhere we visited was stroller friendly and if you have a child who still fits in a stroller then I would recommend bringing one to let you explore for longer.

Paris with kids, paris in a day

Paris with kids, paris in a day

When we were rested and ready to return, we walked back to Concorde Place as we had spotted the TukTuks there.  Being a family of 7, we needed two taxis, but we could fit in one TukTuk (which was roughly the price of two taxis) so we had an open air ride over to the Eiffel Tower.  We decided not to go up it on this occasion as most of us were more interested in seeing it rather than the views from the top, and there were big grass areas in front perfect for a picnic or just to sit and enjoy the views.  There were also plenty of street stalls selling keyrings of the Eiffel Tower in all colours at 5 for 1 Euro and we left with pockets full of them! If you want to go up you can choose to pre-book or queue on the day and you can go either to the 2nd floor or the top.

Paris with kids, paris in a day

By the time we were finished admiring the view, everyone was tired and hungry so we decided to get a taxi over to the Arc De Triomphe as we could get the train home from here.  We walked down the Champs Elysees to find food, but the prices in restaurants were just too much for us (30-50 Euros minimum for a main course) so we ended up in McDonalds (which was still 12 Euros for a Cheeseburger meal) and I bought a vegan meal from a shop. 

We caught the train back from here and arrived home close to midnight and utterly exhausted! Paris is beautiful, dusty, expensive and definitely worth a visit.  I would love to go back and take it in slower but we managed to catch many iconic sights on our one day trip! If we didn't have the children with us then I would have walked the two taxi rides (or used the Metro) but with children this gave us a rest and a chance to see more in our one day.

Paris with kids, paris in a day, family travel in Paris

1 comment:

  1. Loved reading about the day. The double decker trains sounds amazing


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