A trip to Paris with kids is a very different vacay compared to one sans children. However it makes for a wonderful and memorable city break all the same. Recently our family traveled to Paris for a long weekend. This is the 6th time that I have visited the city of love and I think I am finally starting to get the hang of it.
I must say, Paris can be a difficult city if you don’t speak French and don’t know your way around. But there is so much culture, romance and food to indulge in that it is worth the challenge. Because I am such a big believer of travelling with kids, here are my insights, tips and tricks for the perfect city break in Paris with kids.
TRAVEL TO PARIS
Travelling to Paris with kids could not be easier if you are based in the UK. We caught the train from York to London King’s Cross which is approximately 2 hours (depending on the service). From there we caught the Eurostar from St Pancreas to Gare du Nord which is approximately 2.5 hours. Make sure you have the right entertainment and some snacks, and this type of travel is easy and stress-free with a young family.
London’s King’s Cross Station is across the road from St Pancreas so the transition between trains is seamless. There are plenty of shops and eateries at both stations such as Boots and Marks & Spencers to buy supplies for the journey. On both trains you are permitted to take your own food and alcohol and they also have food bars for you to purchase refreshments on the train.
From Gare du Nord we caught the Metro to our hotel in the 1st arrondissement. It is easy enough but we are always guided by our friends whom know Paris well. You may find it tricky if you have a lot of luggage and small children as there are several sets of stairs and a change of train. It’s also easy to travel by Uber or taxi, but might be busy during rush hour.
ACCOMMODATION IN PARIS
This hotel is located in the 1st arrondissement and is a very short stroll to the Lourve and Jadrin des Tuileries. The modern Scandinavian designed lobby was instantly inviting and the staff on reception were very helpful. The rooms are quaint but tastefully decorated and the bathrooms are modern and appear recently renovated. We had a very comfortable stay and the room included a mini fridge and ironing board. Some of these little luxuries are not common in Paris accommodation. They also provided a crib for our daughter free of charge. I really enjoyed this hotel and will be booking here again in the future.
If you are looking for something a little more budget friendly then this hotel is perfectly acceptable. The rooms are very basic, but it is all you really need with the city on your doorstep to explore. They have an elevator (which is not always a given in Paris) and baby cribs available for an extra charge. I have noticed that cribs in Paris accommodation are harder to come by for some reason, so always make sure you email the hotel in advance.
Good to Know:
- Metro Stop – The closest metro stop to both hotels is Pyramides. It is an easy commute from Gare du Nord, however it is accessible only by stairs with no elevators. You can purchase carnet tickets on the Eurostar for use on the Metro.
- Monoprix – There is a Monoprix supermarket between the Metro station and the hotels. This is the best place to stock up on any supplies you might need during your stay in Paris with kids.
FOOD IN PARIS
When it comes to eating and drinking in Paris, we take guidance from our friends whom have been UK living for over a decade, and been to Paris more times than they can recall. They introduced us to all of these eateries that are within walking distance of the hotels. Obviously there is an abundance of coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants and bars in Paris … more than enough to write a book! But these are a good starting point if you stay in the vicinity.
When I think Paris I think bread and pastries (plus cheese … and wine!) So we were very pleased when we were introduced to this little bakery. It has everything you will want to satisfy your cravings, from baguettes to croissants to chocolate eclairs.
This unassuming coffee shop is the epitome of Parisian lifestyle. Standing room only to enjoy your espresso and croissant. My very basic and broken French can order me a coffee and the barista can show me how much I owe on the calculator.
A lovely little ramen bar serving icy cold beer and delicious noodles. The food is relatively inexpensive and its great for a quick and easy meal. I also highly recommend the Gyoza.
We stopped here for burgers one lunchtime after walking a ridiculous amount of steps one morning. They have plenty to offer on the menu but the burgers were excellent, and devoured within minutes by all.
Should you find yourself lucky enough to have a babysitter when in Paris with kids, this restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner for two. The intimate setting will not disappoint with its traditional french cuisine and I love that you can watch the chef cooking away. You must book in advance and I would not recommend it for small children – there is limited space and no high chairs.
THINGS TO DO IN PARIS
You don’t need me to tell you about all of the well known and obvious tourist sights in Paris. There is an endless list of historical landmarks to uncover such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, Champ Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. So here are a few of my fave things to do during your trip to Paris with kids:
Located a short stroll from the Eiffel Tower, the Aquarium is a nautical oasis in the middle of this bustling city. Mackenzie particularly enjoyed the fish tank where the little ones are allowed to pat the giant koi fish. Once you have finished at the Aquarium, why not take your little ones on a carousel ride and indulge in a Nutella Crepe? And to complete the perfect family day out, take a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower.
We have been horse racing enthusiasts for a number of years and the Prix de Diane Longines at Chantilly is the perfect race days for families. Take a picnic and enjoy the races in this super relaxed environment. There is entertainment for the childre and the stunning castle in the backdrop. It is a race meet like no other!
Eiffel tower to the left, Louvre Pyramids to the right, and a picnic on a balmy Parisian summers night. It doesn’t get much better than that. And with a restless toddler in tow, it makes for the perfect relaxed dinner setting in Paris with kids. During the day there is a cafe in the park as well as a playground – an ideal place for some downtime if you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
We visited Disneyland on our first trip to Paris with Mackenzie when she was 6 months old. And believe it or not, it snowed! Now that is pretty magical. Many of the rides were shut and we only stayed for a few hours, however it was worth the journey for the merchandise. I cannot wait to return Disneyland Paris with my toddler and enjoy more of what it has to offer.
PARIS WITH KIDS
Considering a holiday or city break in Paris with kids? I hope my debrief has swayed you into booking those tickets sooner rather than later. If you are looking for more inspiration for Euro Trips, we have travelled with kids to Budapest, Mallorca and Barcelona. Happy travels – Shell x