This blog about our one-week stay in Paris is a little overdue. Since things as a mama have been a little crazy lately – so instead of writing a dreary travel diary, I’ve compiled a shortlist of DOs and DON’Ts while in Paris with Kids based on our recent family travel experience.
DO try and take the Eurostar train from London to Paris.
With only a little over 2-hour train ride, you might as well go see London while you’re ‘in the area’. The cost of a one-way train ride can be as low as GBP 65 (per adult), GBP 45 (kids age 4-11) and kids under 4 is free.
Eurostar departs from London’s St Pancras International (right smack in the city) and arrives at Paris Gare du Nord Terminal (also in the middle of Paris), no need to travel from the airport which could take around a 45-minute to 1-hour drive from outside of Paris.
DO NOT take the 5.30am Eurostar train to Paris.
At least try to avoid the earliest timetable. Unless you need to arrive in Paris before noon (like our case), it is not worth getting into St Pancras at 4am when all the coffee shops are still closed, you’re half asleep carrying small children and pulling numerous luggages.
Frankly, it was quite a traumatic experience for us, don’t let me start with my baby who cried the entire time we were at the waiting room… Ugh… Lesson learned.
Our first night was spent in Crowne Plaza Republique – using Qantas Points and we only paid USD 25 to cover the taxes
DO your homework
Depending on how long your stay is and who you are traveling with, for shorter stays of less than 3 nights, I always prefer staying in a hotel since you can rack up some hotel points, credit card rewards or airline miles.
However, when it’s a longer stay involving family members and small children, finding a good Airbnb / HomeAway accommodation can save you a lot of money and would get you the extra space (i.e. living room & kitchen) – the kids will appreciate this. (FYI, you can still earn some miles from paying using your credit card).
Our Airbnb 1-Bedroom Apartment in St Georges (9th Arr)
DON’T forget to look for ‘elevator’ access if staying on high floors and AC if visiting in the summer.
Most buildings in Paris are pretty ancient and it is quite common for hotels and apartment buildings not to have elevator access, however there are also buildings that do have elevators and if you’re staying on level 3 and above, this might become mandatory.
It has been known that summer in Paris can get very very hot, so choose your accommodation wisely and ensure the place has air conditioning, otherwise your trip will be remembered as Sleepless in Paris.
WHERE TO STAY
The great thing about staying in Paris is you could easily find a local Boulangerie (Bakery) or a mini-market at every other block – finding local amenities will be no issue.
Now it is just a matter of preference whether you want to stay in a tourist-dense area or in a local neighborhood. I personally prefer the latter but not too far from where all the actions are.
The city of Paris is divided into twenty arrondissements where most of the tourist attractions such as The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe are located around the Seine River near 8th & 7th Arrondissements that stretches in the middle of the city.
DO stay in an area that is convenient for you and your family, even if it cost a little extra – you need to be able to save energy and time to commute between places.
Rue de la Tour D’Auvergne – local neighborhood in St Georges 9th Arrwalking distance to Opera, Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur
I’d recommend staying around 8th, 9th, 2nd or 3rd Arrondissements, these are vibrant areas close to major tourist attractions, easy access to Metro/Subway stations.
Restaurants and shops are just a stone throw away.
View from Sacre-Coeur
Montmartre (9th Arr) and Le Marais (3rd Arr) are also great areas to stay
DO NOT stay in the Red-District Area
Even though Moulin Rouge on Boulevard de Clichy is within the 9th Arr, please avoid staying near this street (near Pigalle station) as it could be either a traumatic experience for your little ones or it’s going to end up as a non-stop trivia from your kids asking what the sex-shops and adult theatres are for.
DO Utilize the Public Transportation or Uber
If you’re traveling solo or with a group of adults it will be so much easier to get around using the Metro (subway) and it won’t cost you much.
In our case, we have to admit that we only took the Metro once, and it was not the most convenient way to get around Paris with kids and a stroller. We ended up walking from place to place (most times) and calling an Uber (lots of times).
DON’T be too ambitious when traveling with kids
During our entire one-week stay in Paris, both kids were completely jetlagged and we didn’t get out of the apartment before 1pm which of course limits our daily itinerary.
So if you think you could go and visit 4 places in one day, don’t get your hopes up too high.
WHERE TO GO
DO some research or ask your local friends for suggestions
Other than the obvious tourist attractions, it is always helpful to do some research or get insights from the locals on where to go and where to eat.
The YELP app can be useful at times to find the popular restaurants in your area and a new Food Delivery App Deliveryroo can come in handy if you decide to stay in for the night.
Deliveryroo originated from the UK and it’s now available in France.
We were lucky to have family and friends who are living in Paris to experience dining in some great restaurants in the ‘non-touristy’ areas.
DON’T Visit the Tourist Attractions at Peak Days or Hours
If you have very limited time in Paris, there’s really not much choice. However sometimes in some of these attractions there are alternative entrances that tourists are not aware of – which means shorter lines!!
For example, to enter the Louvre Museum is much better from Carrousel de Louvre (the mall next to the Museum on Rue de Rivoli) instead of entering from the main entrance. Well, now you know….
The Louvre Museum’s Pyramid – Next to Main Entrance
Until next time, Pareeeee! Do you have any other dos and dont’s while in Paris?