While recently planning for our Crocus Break, my husband mentioned a business trip to Paris during the same time, and asked if we wanted to tag along. Yes, please!!
We had been to Paris before, but of course not with a small child. We have been doing more walking and sightseeing in general since we moved to Europe 2 months ago, and we are starting to figure out her ‘tells’ and quirks. Mostly, keep her fed. Lots and lots of snacks, and then add more snacks on top of that. The other most parents figure out, break it up into kid centered activities and have a plan, especially a flexible one. We figured that out, and we are seat of our pants, lets see where we end up travelers, so there is hope for everyone.
I hit Google running, looking for ideas on traveling with small(ish) children in Paris. Since we only had a limited time frame, focusing on 72 hour or less trips helped. Also the fact that we had already seen many of the typical places you want to see, and that we will probably be back several times removed some of the pressure.
We stayed near the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, mainly because it was a work hotel for a work trip. That meant as we were driving to the hotel, hello Arc de Triomphe! It also made that our focal point to get anywhere or know we were heading home. Not too shabby.
We dropped off our bags, and then started walking. First, around the Arc de Triomphe. Not inside, yet, as we’ve been and we knew LB would not be a fan. Then, we walked in the general direction of the Seine, just to look, and we come out right at the dock for Bateaux Mouches on the left, and the Eiffel Tower on the right across the Seine. Since we had tickets to to the cruise that night, we wandered over to the Eiffel Tower. Again, we had been there, but if you go plan to buy your tickets ahead online. Saves you lots of time. We wandered around, ate crêpes, rode the carousel, and then LB’s favorite part.
We found the playground. Seriously, if you have small children traveling with you, this was the BEST advice I found, and can give. She appreciated playing, and we appreciated slowing down and seeing something we wouldn’t usually think twice about. We also watched her interact with other children regardless of the language barriers.
We then headed over to the dock to load up for the Bateaux Mouches. We chose the non-dinner cruise just on a whim. It was busy. If you have little ones, hold them, because loading onto the boat became a free-for-all shove, it was horrible. It seems most people were pushing to get the prime seats on top, but folks, it was cold and drizzly, so we were happy to go underneath the covered awning seats. We were the only ones there! Great for LB who wanted to run around. We didn’t grab a tour guide so surely we missed some things, but it was just nice to see Paris at night along the Seine, with a contained space for LB to be a kid.
We stopped to eat at Bistro Romain, which had been recommended by several travel blogs and was on the walk back to the hotel. It was decent, got the job done, prices weren’t horrible for an eatery on the Champs-Élysées, and there were many options. I can see why it is recommended for families, and my opinion is the more people you have to please, the better this place is. There are several seating levels and the tables aren’t cramped, and there is a kids’ menu.
So there is day one, which totaled about 6 hours after we checked into the hotel.