Travel in Paris with Young Children / Part 1
Today I’m really delighted to introduce Jane, who is going to be a guest writer of this space. She is currently based in the South of France as her husband is posted there on a work stint. She has hung up her corporate suit for now and is currently a full time chauffeur, among other things, to her two young children (a toddler and a pre-schooler).
Let’s read what she has to share about her travel in Paris with young children!
This is my fourth visit to Paris and it couldn’t have been more different as we now have two very young kids in tow. The main highlight for them is Disneyland! Oh well, I have to confess that I was very much looking forward to Disneyland as well and to introduce Mickey and the classic Disney characters to my children. More on that in the next post.
Where Did We Stay?
The city of Paris is divided into twenty arrondissements municipaux (administrative districts), which is simply referred to as arrondissements. We rented a Parisian apartment in the second arrondissement through the website Kid and Coe.
This website is a great place to discover kid friendly homes away from home. It’s something like Airbnb, but specifically more family-
The location of the rented apartment was perfect for us. It is a walking distance to the Louvre and Galleries Lafayette. And only a few steps away from three different metro stops.
Moreover, just a few streets away, there is a mini Japan town with lots of authentic Japanese restaurants, bookshop and supermarket. Having lived in the French Riviera for almost a year, we were just craving for authentic Japanese food that was not sushi. The hubs and I were beyond happy and decided that we were just going to have ramen and bento sets for the next few days.
The kids loved their ‘hotel’ in the city as they had the space to run around. There were also plenty of toys left by the owner for them to play with. That kept the two of them occupied in the early mornings when we just wanted to snooze a little more. There were also a crib and a high chair for our toddler which made breakfast time in the apartment easier for us.
You can check out this wonderful space at: [URL of the rented apartment]
What’s our itinerary going to be like?
For this trip, we decided to take it easy for the little people with short legs who can’t walk very far. Hence, we had a very light itinerary for Paris this time round and I wasn’t planning on being ambitious at all. Moreover, we only had three nights in Paris. Thank goodness, I had done most of the touristy things previously and I wasn’t stressed about covering too much sightseeing this time round.
There were however a few places I wanted to check out during this trip. We planned a few parks which Paris is so famous for. I am embarrassed to admit that I have never visited any in my previous trips. There is simply too much to see and do in Paris. One can never get bored in this city of lights!
Where did we go in Paris?
First up was the UNESCO world heritage site, Tuileries Garden, located in the first arrondissement. I cannot believe I have not stepped into the Tuileries Gardens during my previous trips.
We headed there immediately on the first day after we checked in. Filled with fountains, ponds and sculptures, there are many seating area scattered in the garden which is perfect for resting those tired legs and to simply relax and take in the sights.
It was Sunday the next day and most shops are closed. Hence, we decided to take a train to Versailles to visit the renowned palace–Chateau de Versailles. The train ride was pleasant and not too long for the kids. The novelty of taking a train kept them excited and well behaved on-board.
We arrived in Versailles and was surprised to see a long queue of people waiting to enter the palace grounds. It was equally crowded once we reached inside. I can’t even imagine what it would be like during the peak summer months!
We managed to push through the crowds and head to the King and Queen’s chamber and the famous Hall of Mirrors before calling it quits. It was not easy to navigate through the crowds carrying a toddler (no pram on palace grounds) and dragging along a pre-schooler who could only see other people’s bums.
The choo choo train at the palace would have been a highlight for the kids but unfortunately there was a line of people waiting and my son desperately needed a nap. We ended up having crepes and coffee at one of the bistro and rested our poor tired feet while the son napped.
Although a short visit, it was nonetheless impressive and I was glad we got to admire the famous gardens of Versailles which was so beautiful. And it was funny how my pre-schooler was actually very interested to see how the king and queen’s room looked like.
The next day, we had an appointment at the embassy and we passed through a beautiful park called Parc Monceu. The kids had some time to run around while we sat on the benches and basked in the glorious sunlight and people watch. We simply love the parks in Paris.
So many to visit and we didn’t even make it to the one on my to-visit list: the Luxembourg Garden, located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Oh well, save it for the next trip. I am sure we will be back!
We then took a train to the Montmartre area of Paris, another area I wanted to visit.
There, we had tea in the Café des 2 Moulins (French for “Two Windmills”), one of the filming location for the show ‘Amelie’. I loved that show and I read that the café served decent food. So we ended up at the Café for our afternoon tea.
Halfway through sipping my café crème, I suddenly remembered why I wanted to visit Montmartre. This happened only because I left my notes, of places to visit in Paris, at home.
Somewhere in my notes, I had wanted to visit the Le mur des Je’taime — a wall with ‘I love you’ written in 250 languages. And it was in Montmartre! I urgently told the hubs we had to leave and get there before it turned dark.
We searched online for the directions to the wall. Then I hurried everyone towards the exit and up the hilly streets in search of the wall. Along the way, the hubs was attracted by some shoes but I told him he could see them another time. We needed to stay focused and find the wall. After walking for a bit, we saw a group of people leaving from a gated park of sorts and the hubs said that it has to be the one.
We walked towards it expectantly and to my great disappointment, the park keeper was shutting the gate! I asked if I could take a picture from the entrance and he was kind enough to allow me in just to take one shot of the wall. I ran in with the son and took a couple of shots. We were thankful that it was not a wasted trip and I was so glad I denied the hubs the chance to check out those shoes. Those can wait for another day!
Other than those above-mentioned, there were a few other places we went to. We managed to pop in to Galleries Lafayette and stood admiring the giant Christmas tree and beautiful decorations. We also had a long walk along River Seine and ended up in Laduree along Champs-Elysees for lunch.
I love the architecture of the buildings in Paris. I love it that young and funky brands are housed in classical buildings. Just look at the front entrance of Abercrombie & Fitch!
Till next time,
keep walking in love & never stop exploring!
Travelled in 2015
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