Explore the Possibilities with Your Kids

Paris Travel Tips, Tales & More

Paris Travel Tips, Tales & More

Paris Travel Tips, Tales & More
Yao Yao’s Paris Travel Tips
  • Bring a small backpack or cross-body bag so you always have your important things with you. But don’t bring too much or you’ll be sorry. It gets really tiring walking all over Paris carrying too much stuff. I bring sanitizer, Kleenex, a card from the hotel, my phone for emergencies, gum (well not now, because I have braces), and things like that. If we’re going to parks and cafés, I bring a book or my Nook (a kind of e-reader).
  • Wear shoes you really like to walk in. Even my most comfortable shoes hurt my feet at the end of the day. I wore fancy sandals, sneakers, and Crocs. I don’t like loafers but my mom made me bring a pair and I only wore them one night.
  • Bring something to put on if it rains or take off if it gets hot.
  • My mom only lets me have one (sometimes two) treats per day like chocolate, ice cream, etc. So I don’t “waste my treats” on stuff I can get at home. Paris has really good treats that are hard to find in the U.S., like some of the chocolates or the crêpes.
  • Don’t expect American breakfasts in the morning. I really wanted scrambled eggs one morning so my mom took me to Breakfast in America, a restaurant that serves American food. The eggs and potatoes weren’t that good. My mom does a much better job! (www.breakfast-in-america.com/) Just get used to hot cocoa and pastry treats and fruit or yogurt. It’s actually pretty good. But stay away from croissants. All the adults like them but I don’t think they are very good.
  • Try new foods because some of the things I don’t like at home I liked here. Some of the cheeses smell really bad but are good. The French breads are s-o-o-o-o-o good here.
  • I have braces and didn’t think I had enough rubber bands. Pharmacies didn’t have them. (Or maybe we just didn’t know what to call them!) So if you have braces or any medications that require refills, make sure you have enough with you.
  • Bring enough books to read – there aren’t a lot of places to buy good English books.
  • If you say please (s’il vous plait) and thank you (merci), people are much nicer to you.
  • Go on a bike ride. It was really fun and I liked doing it with my mom. I would rather just go by ourselves and have the guide tell us the interesting things about each place. I didn’t like having to wait or stop for all the other people.
  • If you’re going to ride a bike in Paris, get the helmet issue resolved before you get to the bike tour. I was embarrassed to be the only person in the entire group wearing a helmet.
  • Definitely go to the Catacombs. My mom was kind of scared, but I thought it was really cool.
  • Do not go to the Musée Carnavalet – my dad really liked it and my mom kept telling me how interesting it was, but it wasn’t. Sorry.
  • The gardens in Paris are neat because you can go on rides, see really interesting things, and get good snacks. They are really pretty, too. You’ll see a lot of really cute dogs.
  • Go see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. It’s really cool, even though the lines are long. You have to go early or really late because there are so many people wanting to see it.
  • Make sure you go out at night because they really light up the city and it looks so beautiful. There are so many nice places to eat outside. I wish we had more outside eateries at home.
Samantha’s Paris Travel Tips
  • Map out what you think you want to see and then pick your hotel. By doing this you will spend less time trying to navigate the city and more time enjoying it. Plan your itinerary first.
  • Buy the Métro pass – it’s really worth it if you are going to do a lot of running around. You not only save money, but there’s also no waiting in line while trying to keep track of your kids. There were times we wanted to walk to a destination but take the Métro to get back to the hotel. Do not lose your tickets. It’s like losing money.Metro Pass
  • Book ahead for the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and other iconic sights, unless you want to spend hours in line. (I tried booking the Eiffel Tower seven days ahead and there was no availability for reservations.) Many sights allow give you a time slot so you don’t have to wait in line. If you’re a museum lover, you may want to look into the Paris Museum pass. Paris Museum Pass
  • If you have a young child or a child with medical issues, locate a hospital and pharmacy near your hotel. Don’t wait until you’re in crisis mode.
  • If you have any medical issues and don’t speak French, get someone to write it out for you. Though there is an American hospital, in an emergency you don’t know where you will end up. Not all medical insurance covers international medical care, so do your research before you go! (www.american-hospital.org/)
  • Plan on your feet hurting. You’re walking on hard surfaces, so save the heels for the evening. Maybe your feet are better mine, but spending all day in heels with kids in tow sounds like a form of torture to me! I have found the trip to be better with multiple shoes, because if you live in one pair, eventually your feet will hurt.
  • Not all restaurants have highchairs or even room for strollers. If this is a deal killer for you, make sure you research this before heading to dinner with three small kids in tow! Some eateries are located downstairs or upstairs with no elevator.
  • Whenever possible, look at the menu online before booking. Not all restaurants will cater to kids and some are downright offended by being asked to veer from the menu. If you have a picky eater or someone with significant allergies, check out the menu first before sitting down.
  • Reservations for trendy or high-end eateries are a good idea, especially in summer or on holidays.
  • If you’re looking for inexpensive food, there are plenty of options. Don’t opt for American fast food. You’re in Paris!
  • Don’t assume everyone speaks English. Several of the restaurants we went to only had French menus. (I should have studied harder in high school!) Invest in a good phrasebook.

I haven’t provided my “must sees” or  favorite cafes, eateries, or museums, because there are so many incredible resources out there.  But, if you have any questions, or want more information, let me know and I’ll be happy to give you more names, places and so on….

Resources.

Books

There are some wonderful books out there for experiencing Paris with children.

  • Must See Paris, Michelin
  • Family Guide Paris, Eyewitness
  • Not For Parents Paris: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know, Lonely Planet
  • The Little Bookroom Guide to Paris with Children: Play, Eat, Shop, Stay, Kim Horton Levesque.
  • Around Paris with Kids, Fodors
  • Markets of Paris, Dixon Long and Marjorie R. Williams (I am a market freak so I loved this little book. Get the second edition.)
  • French or Foe? Polly Platt (Great insights into the cultural differences, which will help you navigate more confidently. She’s quite funny.)
  • Paris to the Moon, Adam Gopnik (A wonderful book by a longtime New Yorker staff writer — you’ll thank me when you read this!)
  • Down and Out in London and Paris, George Orwell (This is a must read for anyone, anytime, anywhere!)

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