I’ve always had a soft spot for Paris. I lived there for eight months when I was eighteen, as part of my language requirement for my degree. When I lived there I had less than no money, my job came with accommodation and pocket money pay. I made my tiny salary work and got to learn hacks to live in Paris on the cheap. I’ve been back many times over the years but we’d never brought the kids, so February 2022 we showed them around.
How we got there
This is what lead us there in the first place- Vueling airlines now fly from Dublin to Paris- Orly and they had a really cheap introductory offer.
From the airport we hired an uber to bring us to our hotel near the Luxembourg Gardens, we just used the app when we arrived at the airport, and it cost €45.
Where we stayed
We stayed at Hotel Excelsior Latin (currently closed due to renovation). We chose it based on two things, firstly, the location, I always like to stay between the Luxembourg Gardens and St Michel and secondly they had a family suite that could accommodate our family of five, rare as hen’s teeth. We booked on hotels.com and paid €780 for three nights in a two bed family suite. We didn’t book breakfast but instead got it locally in different cafes – many had great deals for a pastry and hot chocolate or coffee (although we always ordered extra pastries to stave off the sightseeing starvation!)
What we did
We asked the kids what their priorities were and they really wanted to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and to go to the Paris St Germain football stadium, we then added some that we wanted to do, the Louvre and a bateau mouche trip on the Seine.
The Eiffel Tower
We booked Eiffel Tower tickets online six weeks before we travelled using their own website.
Many choose to go at sunset but we had other plans and went up at 11.30am.
We took RER C to the Eiffel Tower stop and arrived early to look around, there is a security station under the tower before you queue. We had bought tickets to the summit which I’d recommend.
What you should know:
- The queue for the lift starts about 20 minutes before your allotted ticket time
- You queue for the first lift up to 2nd floor, it’s huge, the size of a roo
- When you arrive at floor 2 if you have a summit ticket you queue again for a more conventional (smaller) lift.
- From ticket time to summit was 50 minutes which could be challenging for younger kids.
- The Tower is currently being repainted so there is scaffolding on some part
Walking around the city
From the Eiffel Tower we crossed the bridge to the Trocadero, it was very run down compared to what I remembered, possibly due to renovation being done. We bought many miniature eiffel tower keyrings on the bridge, they are much cheaper from the street vendors there than anywhere else.
We walked up Avenue Kleber to the Champs Elysees, took some photos at the Arc de Triomphe, walked down the Champs Elysees (and into the PSG store) and on to Jardin du Tuileries.
We sat looking at the boats, then crossed the Louvre courtyard to go back to our hotel.
That day recorded about 20,000 steps each before we got back to the hotel before dinner and was a brilliant way to see the city.
We have a rule when we go to museums on holidays with the kids. We choose a couple of things that everyone wants to see and prioritise them. At the Louvre we chose the Mona Lisa, the Egyptian mummies and the Venus di Milo. Then, we happened on other interesting things as we walked around.
- We booked online, you get an arrival time and you queue up outside. The queue moves quickly,
- The toilets in the main foyer are very busy, go through the ticket checks and the ones there have shorter queues.
- There’s a snack bar on the balcony.
- Cloakroom available at the entrance
- We do 90 minutes max in a museum with kids. When you get out there’s a playground about 5 minutes away in Jardin du Tuileries.
- Book online, we booked the day before, tickers are €17 for adults, children under 18 are free. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays and opens every other day at 9am til 6pm, with late opening until 9.45pm on Fridays.
Boat trip on the Seine
This, for me, was a highlight, I’ve always loved it, it’s a great way to see the sights.
This is one of my favourite things to do in Paris a trip on one of the bateaux notches that travel the river, the kids loved it too. There are several companies that provide a 1 hour tour, we chose Vedettes du Pont Neuf as they were closest to our hotel. Another great option is Batobus_paris but they weren’t running at night when we were visiting as it was low season
The tours bring you from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower and you get to see all the sights including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Hôtel de Ville and so many more
- We chose a 6.45pm tour as it’s really special in the dark
- The cruise lasts just over an hour
- You’ll need to wrap up warmly at this time of year, or bring a jacket for the breeze in summer
- Seats are allocated on a first come first served basis so if you’re very clear that you want a particular seat then arrive early
- No toilet on board, they’re available at the ticket office
- We booked our tickets online earlier in the day, we paid €48 for 3 adults (over 12s are adult price) and 2 children – under 4s are free
Where we ate
Breakfast was in cafes, lunch a crepe or a baguette sandwich.
Every night we went to the Latin Quarter and let the kids choose a restaurant that they liked the look of. These were typical tourist restaurants, which was exactly what we needed. They tried all kinds of french food, including snails, fondue and frogs’ legs and the cuisine was a real highlight of our trip.
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