PARENTING

Tuesday Tips: Traveling in Paris with kids

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Summer here and I thought it was high time to write down some random tips of what to do in my lovely city with kids. Paris is such a great place to visit and so easy to get around that it is a great destination with children, even young ones. But there are a couple of things that might be good to know:

  • Hilariously my very first tip actually has very little to do with kids and has everything to do with coffee and bars! Basically if you want to save a cent or two always order and drink a coffee at the bar in a Parisian café, not on the terrace. The price on a terrace can be more that double than the one if you sit by the bar. The same goes for most drinks. (By the way: a café is an espresso, a noisette is a macchiato and a crème is a cappuccino roughly speaking).
  • All neighbourhoods in Paris have little squares with play equipment (like place des Vosges on the photo above). They are simple, easy going and a nice way to get away from the crowds. If you are looking for a real park, go a bit further afield and head over to the Buttes de Chaumont, which is super French and has grassy areas, so a good place to go and kick a ball around.
  • My favourite Parisian street food is good old-fashioned crepes, and you can still find a lot of little hole-in-the-wall crepes stands that will throw together a “jambon-fromage-champions” (my personal favourite). My kids absolutely love them.
  • In restaurants do ask for a kids menu, even if it is not advertised. Especially less touristy places will often happily make a smaller plate for kids.
  • If you have the time to teach your kids just a few words in French, it is totally worth it. I have seen the sternest French waiter melt when he had been addressed in French by a little foreign tourist. Even “Bonjour”, “Merci” and “S’il vous plait” is enough.
  • When you ask for anything, be it a baguette in a boulangerie or directions on the street, start with “Bonjour” not “Excuse me”. It just the way we start a conversation over here. If not you might finish with your questions just to have a pointed “Bonjour” thrown back at you.
  • For me the best way to get around Paris, if you have a bit of time, is by bus. They use the same tickets as the metro, but are so much more pleasant and such a great way to see the city. The free public transport app is unfortunately only in French at the moment, but it is so easy to use that I think you could use it with even the smallest knowledge of French.
  • If you have even more time then the very, very best way of getting around Paris is to walk! Paris is much smaller than London and New York so it is actually easy to walk from one attraction to the next. On the left bank of the Seine a lot of the quays are closed to cars and are a lovely way to discover Paris. On Sundays the right bank of the Seine is also closed to cars.
  • As we now all know, French Kids don’t throw food 😉 which is actually only partly correct of course. But it is true that people expect children to behave in restaurants and will ask the waiter to ask you to be a bit quieter. Do not take it personally as it happens to French parents as much as it does to foreigners. I try to smile and apologise and that normally does the trick.

As I mentioned, this is a bit of a random list, but these are some of my top tips to visiting Paris. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them!

– Emilie


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Comments (18)

June 23, 2015

Hi Emilie,

Great timing – I’m taking my eldest (son) to Paris on Friday for the day. Even though we only live in Normandy, it’s the first time we’ll be having such an adventure on our own without the siblings. I’ve booked the “grands singes” exhibition at the Museum of Natural History and plan to do the main permanent exhibition after. After I plan to take him to the kid’s part of the Jardin du Luxembourg and maybe to Shakespeare & co (he loves reading). If you have any other suggestions around the 5th/6th arr. I’d love to have them. Do you really suggest the bus rather than the metro? Is it really that simple? Thanks!


Kendel
June 23, 2015

Perfectly timed Emilie, we are coming from Australia next week. Woohoo!
Elizabeth, fabulous itinerary I think I will copy you.


June 23, 2015

Hey Elizabeth, I do like the buses and it is quite simple especially as you get a better feel for the layout of the city and how it all fits together. Notre Dame is in that area and the Berges de Seine, also the musée d’Orsay.


June 23, 2015

Bonjour! We live in Australia and we have been to Paris a few times but never with our kids. I am extremely nervous about travelling with them but I also want them to experience a lot before we get into the groove of school. Thanks for your tips. I’ll be sure revisit them when the time comes.


June 23, 2015

I love this post – Paris is such a beautiful city and I can’t wait to take my boys and daughter to have a look at the things you suggest 🙂 H x


Vanessa
June 23, 2015

I love your tips Emilie! Now I just need an excuse to come to Paris! xx


June 23, 2015

Great tips!


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gilly porter
June 23, 2015

Bonjour Emilie! Thank you for your tips – they are all really useful. I have never tried the buses – only the metro – but recently used the batobus which stops at 8 major tourist destinations on the banks of the Seine. I have been to Paris 9 times now – it is absolutely my favourite European city (I feel so guilty saying that when London is just 45 minutes away!). I came just a few weeks ago with my husband for his birthday and we were talking about the fact that mostly we tend to view visiting a city as a “short break” rather than a longer holiday which is crazy really because there is so much to see and do in a city you can never do it all in 3 or 4 days!. We made a decision that next Easter holidays I am going to spend 2 weeks “living” in Paris with my 10 year old son with his daddy joining us for the Easter weekend. Do you have any recommendations about reasonably priced apartments (rather than a hotel!) so that we can pretend we really are living there?! I love the Marais area but will consider anything central. Thank you. Gilly x


Adriana Hurtado t
June 24, 2015

Hey Gilly, we have stayed at a lovely, kid friendly apartment in Le Marais and will stay again in august. The owners are very nice people too! This is the airbnb link https://www.airbnb.com.co/rooms/183059


June 24, 2015

Hi Gilly, unfortunately I don’t! Do check out Kid and Coe through as they have a ton of family friendly apartments.


Adriana Hurtado t
June 24, 2015

Hey Gilly, we have stayed at a lovely, kid friendly apartment in Le Marais and will stay again in august. The owners are very nice people too! This is the airbnb link https://www.airbnb.com.co/rooms/183059


Gilly Porter
June 24, 2015

Thank you so much Adriana – I’ll take a look! Gilly x


Anna
June 24, 2015

Bonjour Emilie,

Thank you for your tips! After a long time, I will fly with my two year old daughter for the first time to Paris on Saturday, where we will stay a few days in the appartment of friends near Jardin du Luxembourg. We plan to take the stroller on board of the plane and to take the RER to get to the city centre (6ème) – does this make sense? Do you have a good idea where to park a car? My husband will drive there so that we can travel to Bretagne afterwards. Do you have any nice ideas for toddlers in Paris?

Thanks a lot, Anna


June 24, 2015

That totally makes sense Anna, the RER stops in the 6th arrondissement at the Luxembourg. For car parks check out https://en.neoparking.com/paris/ I often use this for guests. Toddlers in Paris have a great time at the Jardin de Luxembourg, the Jardin d’Acclimatiaton, the Natural History Museum and the play area in la Villette, I reckon. Have a lovely trip!


Kylie b
June 24, 2015

I would so love to go to Paris with my kids! One day. Thanks for tips


June 25, 2015

Bonjour Emilie!
These are great tips!
We have just released a storybook app for Children about France. Maybe some of your readers might like 🙂
Queen Bee in Paris on iTunes
Best,
Donna


Emilie in Paris
June 29, 2015

Cool! I will go have a look!


Nuzhat
July 16, 2015

Thanks Emilie. These are very useful. I will be in Paris for 3 weeks with my 5 year old daughter and her 2 cousins ( 4 and 5 years old). I am foreseeing a lot of picnics. Can you recommend parks and areas where we can spread a blanket and eat. We are staying in the 7th. Merci Beaucoup. Nuzhat


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