a Mini-Guide to Discovering Paris with Kids

• 15 August 2008

You may wonder why I take the time to blog from Paris. I am on vacation after all! Well, the truth is that it's more enjoyable for me to document our time here...from here :) If I'm truly being honest with myself, I know that once I'm out of the moment, or just plain out of this country, that I'll lose some of the magic I feel when I write about things we are doing and seeing here in France. And I really don't want that to happen. Plus, I'm going to create a book on Blurb about our trip and just "copy and paste" my posts--making it simple for me to whip up a meaningful souvenir. We have never done anything like this in the past and likely won't for many years so here's to creating memories!

And now a petite guide to enjoying Paris with kids...

Luxembourg Gardens: Paris' version of Central Park in many ways. Think miniature boats, pony rides, a carousel, marionette puppet shows, a fantastic playground, and little race cars all at your disposal. Allow a few hours here and plan on spending a few Euros at this stunning park. It is truly out of a fairy tale.

Centre Pompidou: All the outrageous colors, shapes, and sounds make for an intense (in a good way) overall experience. Since it is a busy place and not your typical quiet museum, you'll find it more relaxing to take your children here than say the Rodin Museum (although a lovely place if you are alone). My children spent most of their time in the Galerie des Enfants (the Children's Gallery) enjoying the hands-on activities and beautiful art geared to a person of their age and size. I was super impressed. Also, this particular museum offers an iPhone app for children.  See it here.

They also enjoyed the funky sculptures outside and desperately wanted the fountains to turn on...but they didn't...so we tried to make the most of it and had them do this pose instead:

Brocante Vide-Greniers: Check out this local French site for information regarding locations, dates, and hours for these large outdoor sales that are fun for the entire family. Give your child a couple of Euros to spend and you'll be surprised at the loot they accrue in just a few hours. Everything is vintage and much of it is what you and I would consider a great deal. It's similar to a flea market but less expensive given that its typically locals attending these markets and not tourists. Again, these markets are a guaranteed great time for parents and children alike. Strollers move easily (b/c they are usually in parking lots) and you can always find a few food vendors too making it convenient to be there for a couple of hours.

Eiffel Tower & Carousel: Our kids thought going to the top of this tower was the coolest thing ever. Their words in fact. All week they kept asking us when we were going up the "Tour Eiffel". It was truly the highlight of their week in Paris. Arriving early is the only way to go (pre 9 a.m.) because you avoid the non-kid-friendly long lines. Pay for the elevator and head straight to the top...and then walk down :) If you're not too burned out after it all, head to the nearby carousel for a ride or two OR head towards the military school, make a left onto Champ des Mars and look for the Boulangerie/Patisserie with the yellow storefront. This was one of the best boulangerie/patisseries we've visited ever in Paris. Locals were lining up as well--always a good sign.


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