This is a recap of our trip to Paris with kids.
As we prepare to embark on our next trip, it’s well past time to talk about the first one, right? Our first official Spring Break Family trip was a week split between Paris, France and London, England. For the sake of our sensitive reading eyes, we split this into two posts. Continue reading for more insight on visiting Paris with kids!
Disclaimer: I love agendas. I love knowing what to do and when to do it for every moment of my life. My girls do not. Somehow, in all their glory, their naps and hungry bellies always seem to put my best laid plans to rest. Solution? Realize the destination is the agenda, create a loose framework, and go with the flow.
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DAY ONE: SETTLING IN AND CHECKING INTO OUR HOTEL
We landed in Paris in the late afternoon. I never plan anything for our “landing day” unless we arrive early morning. It’s too much movement for the kids — and let’s be honest — it’s too much movement for my old weary body too. We leave this day free to roam around, get acclimated, and hopefully find something good to eat.
Airport transportation: EasyGo shuttle
Overall Rating: 5/5
I found this company through a Google search but their TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews were very good so I felt comfortable booking them. They were wonderful! The driver met us at the gate, helped us with our bags, provided both a toddler car seat and a booster seat, then dropped us where we needed to go. After a long flight, it was much appreciated! The total for our one way transfer was 70 Euros.
Where To Stay In Paris with Kids: Citadines Las Halles Paris, 1st Arrondissement
Overall Rating: 3/5 — convenient location but would not stay again
We stayed in a 1 bedroom apartment in this aparthotel (think of a bunch of studio & 1 bedroom apartments in a building with a full lobby). Phil and I stayed in the bedroom while the girls got the sofa bed and a cot. The Les Halles area was under a ton of construction when we arrived and according to the web will be under construction in a while. It was super convenient to transportation but loud and busy. I compare it to Times Square in NYC. I prefer to stay near Times Square but not smack dab in it. If that’s your thing, then you will love this hotel when visiting Paris with kids. If not, I would recommend a different area.
The apartment itself was also not my favorite. The folks in the lobby were WONDERFUL and helped make the stay okay. But our room was dirty, it was VERY small [my bad for not doing the metric conversion], and the fridge was horribly smelly. There is no housekeeping in this aparthotel so we just dealt with it for three nights.
DAY TWO: Flytographer, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and Laduree
Flytographer in Paris
We started the morning with our highly anticipated photographer shoot with Flytographer in Paris. Overview? It was awesome!
Looking for our Flytographer Review? Click here!
Our photos were taken by Olga at the Trocadero Metro Station. It’s a pretty popular spot for photos since you get amazing views of the Eiffel Tower without being too close. From there, we walked across the Jardins de Trocadero to get crepes from a vendor located at the base near the carousel.
May I be dramatic for a moment? The crepes? I DIED. They were so good. Warm thin pastry filled with all the sweet goodness you can imagine is like heaven on Earth. I got white chocolate [which I had fully intended on sharing with the family but somehow devoured it alone], Phil got Nutella and banana, and the girls got something fruit flavored. It was very affordable at just a few Euros each. Highly recommend.
Speaking of the carousel, it is not as amazing in person as it looks in pictures but it is still nice. We did not ride — at the girls’ requests — but they did enjoy seeing it.
From there, we took a few minutes to walk along the Seine River and take a few pictures.
Next, we walked across the river to the main attraction: the Eiffel Tower! There are a ton of people there, even during the off-season, so keep the kiddos close! There is a lot of security so be prepared to stand in line to go through the security checkpoint. If the lines seem lengthy, don’t be afraid! They go quickly.
Please note that the agents might not speak English. If they need to ask you a question, like say “What is that funky thing in your backpack?”, they won’t care if you don’t understand the question in French. You won’t get in until you answer. Point, make gestures, smile a lot, whatever you need to get through. Or leave the funky thing in your backpack at your hotel. [In my defense, it was a folded stroller for our littlest one so we kinda sorta needed it:)]
There are tickets available for purchase that will provide you with access to the interior of the Eiffel Tower and do cool things like go up to the viewer’s deck. There are also a ton of restaurants with a variety of dining options. One of our girls [and possibly one of the parents but I won’t name names] is terrified of heights so this wasn’t a good option for us. However, if you decide to pursue this option, my one tip is to book online ahead of time! You can find more information on the Eiffel Tower website: Tour Eiffel
We spent our time at the Eiffel Tower, walking around the base, taking silly pictures and briefly resting in the adjoining garden.
Notre Dame, the Louvre, and Laduree
After this the girls were pooped, so we headed back to our hotel for a long midday nap. This was definitely a detour in our plans but it turned out to be the best idea ever. Why? Because Paris at night is unbelievable! We decided to burn a little foot energy and walk to explore.
Everything was well lit so we did not feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time. We ended up at the Notre Dame, the Louvre, and Arc De Triomphe. In between, we saw the Eiffel Tower lit up at night [magical!] and stopped at Laduree — the home of macaroons and sugary delights.
Want to see a quick video summary of our second day in Paris? Check out our YouTube video!
DAY THREE: DISNEYLAND PARIS
Visiting Disneyland Paris
Did you know there’s a Disneyland a short train ride away from Paris? Well, there is! We debated on this part of our trip for quite some time since it took a full day away from exploring the city. BUT we ultimately decided visiting Disneyland Paris was worth the effort and we are SO glad we did.
This is where the location of our hotel came in handy. Disneyland Paris is actually in a small town called Marne-la-Vallée. It’s less than an hour trip and you are dropped off right at the entrance to the park. To catch the train from Les Halles to Disneyland you would simply get a ticket on the RER A (Red). Les Halles is actually a major transportation hub so we didn’t have very far to go. Tickets are dispensed via machines but there are also tellers there to help you if needed. It was around 8 euros for each of the adults and around 4 euros for each of the kids.
[We primarily rode taxis and walked around the city but we found this website very helpful when we wanted to travel by train: Paris by Train]
Disneyland Paris Tips
We are huge fans of the KISS method [Keep it Simple, Spring Break Family]. Therefore, we didn’t go for extravagances like character meals when visiting Disneyland Paris and we didn’t stay at the park. It didn’t detract from our visit one bit! This was the first time any of us had been to any Disney park and it was magical! There’s no better word to describe it!
There are some key Disneyland Paris tips that can help make your experience as enjoyable as ours.
As with most attractions these days, ticket prices were cheaper when purchased online in advance. In general, we find it cheaper to find the local version of the website of wherever you’re going and pay in their local currency. Our tickets were 36 Euros for the adults and 30 Euros for each of the kids. Steal, right?? That’s less than our local waterparks!
There are two parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios. We only visited Disneyland Park. Before you arrive, download the app so you know where things are. It will also list the wait time for any rides that have a queue. When you arrive, grab a schedule. There are tons of shows and parades there and you don’t want to miss them. Arrive at the parades early otherwise you won’t get a good viewing spot!
The big show is the finale firework display! If you can tough it out until the park closes, do it! We were certain the girls would tire out and we would leave early. They pitched a fit when we even suggested leaving before the finale show. Stay. It’s worth it!
If you’re on the fence about going, I’m here to push you over. GO!
Video Summary of Our Trip [YouTube]
Want to see a quick video summary of our Disneyland Paris trip? Check out our YouTube video!
The following day, we departed Paris for London! Read about it [here]!
Have you been to Paris with kids? Do you have anything to share? Feel free to leave a comment below!