Family Friendly Paris
Indagare member F. G. recently traveled to Paris with her husband and three daughters, ages seven, eight and ten. Here are her impressions of the trip.
We surprised our three daughters with a trip to Paris over Columbus Day weekend and it was a fantastic trip. We took an Air France overnight flight arriving in Paris where we checked into the Hotel St. Vincent. The hotel is in a perfect location on the border of the 6th & 7th arrondissements. We had two small adjoining rooms but found the hotel perfect and well-priced.
Our first stop was brunch two blocks away at Ladurée in a pretty sunlit room with tons of treats to choose from—a must stop for the kids. After brunch we took a walk across the Seine, past the Louvre, through the Palais Royal, back across the river and into the Tuileries. There are these amazing trampolines in the northwest corner of the Tuileries that the girls loved. We went almost everyday! We then walked to the Musée D’Orsay for a quick visit. The kids were losing steam by 5pm so we grabbed an early dinner at Lipp (151 Bld. Saint-Germain; 33 (0)1 4548-5391) which was so-so; not many restaurants are open that early. We were all asleep by 8:30 and everyone slept until 11am the next day. From then on we really didn’t try and change their time; we all stayed out until midnight and slept until 11ish everyday and it worked really well.
Each morning we ordered hot chocolate and croissants up to the room which was very snug but perfect. In an effort to teach the kids about the arrondissement system, we promised the girls that we could stop and buy a chocolate at one chocolate shop in each arrondissement—they loved this and it was easily accomplished and fun.
Saturday we visited the Luxembourg Gardens which has a great playground in the southwest corner. We then headed up to the Centre Pompidou and while we didn’t go in, we took the escalator upstairs to the roof which has a beautiful view. We also walked through Place Vendôme and peeked into the Ritz. On our way back to the hotel we stopped in at Deyrolle to pick up some souvenirs.
On Sunday we went to The Bird Market behind Nôtre Dame and the pet stores on the other side of the Seine which the girls loved. Then we walked around the Marais and Eiffel Tower. We should have made lunch reservations in the Marais as it is the open neighborhood on Sunday and thus very crowded. The Place Des Vosges was so pretty.
On Monday we had a tour with the Indagare recommended guide, who was perfection. She took us to see the windows at Sainte Chapelle, the Conciergerie (Marie Antoinette’s prison cell) and then a very fast tour of the Louvre. The tour was 3 hours in all and she kept the girls’ interests the entire time. We will definitely call her again on our next trip to Paris. We ended the day with a walk around the Île St. Louis and ice cream at Berthillon.
Some other restaurants we visited: Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte in St. Germain was one of our all time favorites and great for kids. All they have is steak and frites. They take no reservations but the line moves quickly. L’Ardoise, a small place near Place Vendôme has fabulous food and does take reservations. Le Timbre (3 Rue Sainte-Beuve; 33 (0)1 45 49 10 40) is a tiny spot near Luxembourg Gardens which had great food but was not kid-friendly. We wanted to take the girls to Breizh Café for crepes for lunch but found we couldn’t get in without a reservation! Thiou (49 Quai Orsay; 33 (0)1 40 62 96 50) had great Thai food on the Seine near Musée D’Orsay. Stella (133 Avenue Victor Hugo; 33 (0)1 56 90 56 00) is not in the most convenient of locations but worth the trip for the plat du Mer.
Overall our trip was fabulous. The only thing we would do differently is consider getting a car and driver for one or two afternoons. For the most part everywhere we went was walking distance but it takes twice as long with kids. While they were troopers we could have seen that much more with a car readily available. Taxis in Paris are a pain and only some will allow five people.
If you are planning a trip to Paris, contact our Bookings Team for help with your itinerary.