Paris: 5 More Family Favorites
Every time I visit Paris, I am amazed about how untouched it seems. The glorious – and grandiose - architecture allows one to imagine Paris during the revolution or at the time of the Musketeers. I was interested to see what my young children would make of it. How would I manage to indulge myself in Paris culture, yet cater to my children’s needs? Here’s 5 favorites that worked for us.
1. Tour Eiffel
I don’t care how long it takes to line up (usually 30 minutes) to catch the elevator to the 2nd level, a trip up the Eiffel Tower is the one thing that your children will remember. It’s completely worth the wait. Kids are impressed by size and height. The Eiffel Tower is a wondrous structure from the ground but from the second level (115 meters) your kids will feel like kings of the world. From here, you can catch another elevator to the very top (another 45 minute wait). Avoid the lines by getting there early in the morning.
2. Ile de la Cité and Ile St-Louis
There is something magical about these two islands, joined by a bridge to each other and by several other bridges to the left and right banks of the Seine. The site of the first Paris settlers in 300 BC, both islands have cobbled, narrow streets surrounded by tall buildings. Ile de la Cité houses beautiful Notre-Dame and is the more touristy. The smaller Ile St-Louis has a village-like feel. It’s main street is lined with shops, galleries and restaurants. In the evening, many performers line the bridges. Relax, buy the kids a crepes and watch Paris walk by.
The Batobus (translated as Boat-Bus) is a fantastic, cheap way to travel to many major sights in Paris and has the additional excitement for kids of catching a boat. We rode the Batobus every day we were there. Buy a ticket for the day and get on and off at any of the eight stops, which include Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame and the Louvre. From the glass-topped boat, you can observe a huge amount of Paris architecture, plus gaze at the many interesting bridges as you pass under them. It takes about an hour to travel in a full circle.
4. Jardin des Tuileries
We chose not to take our kids into the Louvre on this visit but we soaked up the museum’s atmosphere in the Jardin des Tuileries. Surrounded by gorgeous buildings, with the Louvre at one end and the Place de la Concorde at the other, this huge park has many interesting walkways, fountains, sculptures and cafes. In the summer, the park includes a carnival, La Fête Foraine, with a huge Ferris wheel, an ancient carousel and many rides for children. The gardens also has a modern playground suitable for ages 2 and up. If you’re feeling ambitious, walk past the Place de la Concorde up to the Arc de Triomphe.
5. Jardin du Luxembourg
When you think of Paris, you may picture children sailing toy boats on an octagonal pool. This is THAT park. And you can still rent those toy boats. Something about the large expanse of green in this park made my children run free, even after a long day of walking and sight-seeing. There is a children’s playground, a puppet theatre, a band-stand and an open-air cafe.