Paris with kids – why would you do that?! Plenty of people that think the city is for couples’ breaks, romantic walks or enjoying the culture and not for a family holiday. Yet Paris has so much to offer, and is so accessible from the UK, there is no reason not to enjoy it with children of any age.
Last year we took a trip to Paris as a special treat before J started school. He had seen the Eiffel Tower on the BBC programme Go Jetters and had been asking if we could go and see it so we thought – why not!
Where to stay
The first thing to consider when planning a trip is where to stay in Paris with kids. The city is organised into 20 neighbourhoods, or arrondissements, circling out from the centre and which all have their own personalities. Paris Left Bank, including St Germain and the Latin Quarter are family friendly areas with easy access to attractions. Ile St Louis is also a pretty and central area.
Another consideration will be budget though. There are lots of hotels across the city or apartments and luxury homes in Paris that will give you a more authentic experience. However, if you want to make your money stretch further you may consider choosing accommodation further from the centre or even staying outside the city and travelling in. Last summer, we took a camping trip and stayed about an hour outside Paris and enjoyed both the countryside and city experience.
How to get there
The obvious choice to travel to Paris with kids from the UK is to jump on the Eurostar, especially if you live in the south. It’s quick, direct and fun to take a trip under the sea. This is a good option and if you book in advance you can get it at a decent price. One major thing to consider though are the logistics. This will depend on the age of you children but remember you will also have to manouvere any luggage and pushchairs through the crowds.
Flying to Paris is the other main choice and might be better if you live further from the Eurostar terminals. It is a quick flight but once you have added in the time at the airport and the transfers, it becomes a bit more time consuming.
Another option is to drive and take the ferry. Although this might feel like a lot of hassle it can work out cheaper than flying or taking the Eurostar, especially if you are a large family. It also gives your the flexibility of being able to carry more luggage and the ability to easily take trips once you are there. A ferry trip also adds another fun element to the adventure. This will obviously affect where you stay, as you will need to factor parking into your decision.
What to do in Paris with kids
Eiffel Tower – This iconic landmark has to be on everyone’s to-do list and it is very recognisable, even for children. If you can, book a slot ahead of time if you are planning to go up it, as the queues can get very long. There is a lift, which costs a little more but is well worth it with children. If you want to save money or don’t fancy the crowds, the Eiffel Tower can still be seen from across the city and you can enjoy a picnic in the Champs-de-Mars park nearby.
Jardin du Luxembourg – The Luxembourg garden is a great place to take the kids. It has a large playground, a carousel, puppet shows and boats to hire. It is a lovely place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and soak up some daily Parisian life.
Notre Dame Cathedral – Notre Dame is a really impressive building and the kids will enjoy spotting gargoyles. Get them to watch Disney’s Hunchbank Of Notre Dame to get them excited about visiting and convince them to climb the top for Quasimodo’s view. There is also a pretty playground behind the cathedral.
Cafe de Chats – It’s quirky and cute and the kids will love it – yes, it is a cafe with cats! Enjoy a coffee and pastry while sharing your seat with a cuddly companian.
Catacombs – For older children who won’t get nightmares from the idea, the catacombs are an intriguing place to visit. There are 6 million skulls and skeletons lining the winding tunnels and it is a great way to learn about the history of the city.
A trip to Paris should be on everyone’s bucket list and with the city being so close and accessible, it’s great to get it ticked off your children’s lists early. There may be a lot of luxury in the city but you can easily visit on a budget and adapt your trip to your family’s needs. J has taken his model Eiffel Tower into school and is already talking about all the other sites he wants to see around the world. I love inspiring J & A to explore the world and I hope Paris will be just the beginning of our city break adventures.
*This is sponsored post in collaboration with Luxury Retreats.