We took the kids to Paris in February of 2014 when they were 11 and 9 respectively. It was a great age for them to explore the amazing city.
Why February? We were nervous about this, but it turned out to be a great call. First of all, airfare and accommodations were about half the price. Secondly, it was not crowded with huge groups of tourists. And lastly, it wasn’t that cold.
We rented an apartment through Paris Perfect. I would highly recommend them as they own all their apartments.
Some other thoughts/ideas:
- We used the Metro to get around. The kids loved it.
- We also walked everywhere…which did not draw as many complaints as I would have expected. just try not to over-do it in any one clip.
- They loved the Musee d’Orsay. We had them each buy 5 postcards at the gift shop as soon as we got there…and went on a treasure hunt. there is also a cool lounging area on the top floor in the rear left corner facing the river
- We downloaded an iPhone app for the Louvre. It was great. We focused on just finding the top 10 works…again another treasure hunt. Mona Lisa, Venus, Coronation, etc. We told them the stories about each piece before we went. Tip: do not use the main entrance if the line is long. You can completely circumvent the line by going into the underground mall on Rue Rivoli.
- Girls love the Cartier exhibit. Reserve a time and book tickets in advance for this.
- Notre Dame is a must. We climbed the tower to the top to get a closer look at the gargoyles. Both kids loved it.
- Eiffel Tower: book ahead for the first slot in the morning. Take the elevator to the mid-level. If you cannot buy tix to the top in advance, they have vending machines at the mid-level.
- Sacre-Coeur: the kids really loved this. It gets a little touristy in the Montrematre area, but it is fun. We had an artist do a portrain of the kids. We also climbed the tower there…amazing view of the city.
- Versailles: if you have a half-day, it is worth it. The kids loved running around the grounds and the walk to Marie Antionette’s house. There is also an Angelina cafe there with unreal hot chocolate and desserts…a must stop for the kids.
- Boat Tour on the Seine: I thought the kids would love it, but they said it was “kinda boring”.
- Arc de Triomphe: We climbed these stairs too (consistent theme here) and we all loved the view from the top
- Stade de France: This is the arena build for the World Cup. Seats 80,000. We saw a rugby match there…it was amazing…see if there is any soccer going on…
- Les Marais: fun neighborhhod to wander around in, shop, enjoy the sites, etc. The Pompidou is there and very fun to see what’s going on around it; there is a neat fountain just to the right (if you are facing it)
- Ferris Wheel at Place de Concorde: fun at night!
- Trampolines: Have the kids take a 5 minute bounce on the outdoor trampolines in the Tuileries Gardens near the Place de Concorde entrance
- If you are on the Left Bank, stop by Un Dimanche a Paris for hot chocolate, macaroons, desserts, or all three; the hot chocolate is INSANE (http://www.un-dimanche-a-paris.com)
- Angelina Tea Room: Near the Louvre and the Hotel Meurice, this is a famous place to get hot chocolate and dip your croissant in it (http://www.angelina-paris.fr/en/)
- The restaurants in our neighborhood that we loved:
- Eric Kayser was our favorite Boulangerie