EXPLORING PARIS WITH KIDS: A MAGICAL ADVENTURE IN THE CITY OF LIGHTS

Bonjour! My name is Devon Konikow, and I am a mother of two children, ages 8 and 6. We live in Seattle, Washington. My husband, Noah, and I have visited Paris several times over the years. It is such a special city, and we decided our children were finally old enough to share in the magic. We wanted to balance the trip to be a rich mixture of cultural experiences, learning, food, and fun. As this was their first big trip out of the country, we wanted to make sure they fell in love with traveling the way my husband and I have.

Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

Charlotte sy Dimby is a must stop for us on every trip to Paris. After stumbling upon the boutique, L’Île aux Fées, several years ago, we’ve made sure to always bring back dresses for our daughter and have ordered special occasion dresses for birthdays and other events when we couldn’t be there to pick one up in person. This trip to Paris we made sure our daughter, Ashton, had a full complement of Charlotte sy Dimby dresses packed for each day of the trip.

Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

Prior to Paris, we spent a week in London. I am happy to share that itinerary with anyone if they would like help planning their own trip. Please send an email to info@charlottesydimby.com to receive the London trip advice.

Day One : Arriving in Paris via Eurostar

Our Parisian adventure began with a ride on the Eurostar from London. After freshening up, as both our children were motion sick on the train, our first stop was the winding walk from the apartment we rented in Saint-Germain-des-Prés to the magnificent Sacré-Coeur Basilica of Montmartre. The children were in awe of the amazing Paris view and proud of themselves for making it up the stairs, which I aided with ice-cream along the way. Located on a hile, the climb up to the dome is made of roughly 250 steps.

Montmartre Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

We next made our way to a quaint crêperie tucked away in the cobblestone streets of Montmartre. Both children opted for the classic Nutella-filled crepes to keep their bellies full as we explored the streets of Montmartre. Ashton and Beckett particularly enjoyed seeing the windmills and watching the street performers.

Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see crepes

We ended our day with a sumptuous dinner at The Relais de l’Entrecôte in Saint-Germain. A warning for families, Relais does not take reservations and the queue can be in excess of a two hour wait. However, the wait is completely worth it! This legendary restaurant is renowned for its mouthwatering steak frites and delectable sauce. Your only choice is how big of a bottle of wine you want (as you definitely want to order the house red) and how well you want your steak cooked. As an added perk, they are famous for bringing a second round of steak and frites, which Beckett devoured.

Day Two : A Day of Iconic Landmarks 

Our first stop of the day was to the Sainte Chapelle, nestled on the Île de la Cité. I have always found it the most incredible of the European churches. The stained glass windows are incredibly beautiful. I would recommend purchasing tickets in advance of your visit. The queue can be quite long for visitors without a reserved time slot. When we arrived in the morning the queue was already around the block and the ticket desk was not open to accept walk-ins.

Sainte Chapelle Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

No visit to Paris is complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower. I believe that the best views of the city are from Sacré-Coeur and the Arc de Triomphe, so we skipped climbing up the top of the Eiffel Tower. The children didn’t mind at all and were quite happy just to see it from afar!

Arc de triomphe Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

We approached the Arc De Triomphe via Avenue D’Iena so Ashton and Beckett could appreciate the architecture without the crowds on the Champs-Élysées. Another benefit from visiting from the back side is there was no queue for tickets to the top. The line can be quite a long wait when entering via the Champs-Élysées entrance. Unfortunately we were hit with a strong bout of April showers, so our view and time at the top was a bit limited.

Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

To get out of the rain, we then walked and did some shopping on Avenue Montaigne. I much prefer shopping on the quaint and quiet street of Avenue Montaigne to the lines that spill out of the shops on the Champs-Élysées. Ashton, in particular, loved this beautiful Parisian street.

Shopping Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

Finally we made our way back across the Seine to the charming L’Île aux Fées children's dress boutique. This was one of the few train rides we took in Paris, preferring to walk everywhere, but the rain was really coming down quite hard again. A special sign on the door was awaiting Princess Ashton and it was wonderful to see my dear friend, Sybille, again. She not only runs a beautiful store, but is so wonderfully helpful and always willing to go out of her way to recommend places to make our trip memorable.

Children's boutique Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

Ashton loved trying on beautiful dresses and came away with another special, one of a kind, handmade treasure. The quality and craftsmanship of Charlotte sy Dimby dresses is unmatched and I love that the classic styles keep my little girl looking like a  little girl.

Day Three : A Journey Through Art and History at the Louvre

Louvre Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

Today, our destination was none other than the world-renowned Louvre Museum. This was a must hit on our itinerary as our children love Ancient Egypt, and the Louvre has an amazing collection of artifacts. We also made visiting the British Museum in London a priority, as their collection of mummies is unmatched. Between the two museums, Ashton and Beckett were completely thrilled with seeing Egyptian history come to life.

Louvre Egypt Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

They loved the children’s space, The Studio, in the Louvre where they could run around, be loud, and play. There were special exhibits and activities set up for the upcoming Olympics, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Louvre for kids Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

Our day ended with dinner at the delicious restaurant, Le Fumoir, which was near our sunset walk past Hôtel de Ville. This was one of our fancier dinners where my husband and I ate from the four course menu and the children enjoyed the fish course and sampling from our plates.

Le fumoir restaurant Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

Day Four : A Royal Retreat to Versailles

Versailles Palace Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

On the fourth day, we embarked on an excursion to the Palace of Versailles. We opted to take a private tour which provides the benefit of taking a bus to the Palace, which is half the travel time of taking the train, and entering the Palace through an expedited tour entrance. On one of our previous trips the queue to enter through the main gates was close to 4 hours long and we wanted to skip the line with the children. 

Versailles Palace Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

While my husband and I loved the Palace, this was not one of the children’s favorite places to visit. Once we made it outside though, it was all smiles again. Everyone loved the sprawling gardens of Versailles. The children enjoyed running free through the maze of garden rows and we took out one of the rowboats on the Grand Canal.

Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see Versailles rowing boats

We spent hours wandering through the gardens and visiting the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon and enjoyed a picnic of sandwiches near one of the musical fountains.

We stayed much longer than our tour group and took the train back to Paris on our own, late in the afternoon.

Day Five : A Day of Classic and Modern Art

Our day began with a visit to the Musée de l'Orangerie located in the heart of Jardin des Tuileries. It’s a great museum to visit with children as Claude Monet's famous water lily paintings are large format making it a very immersive experience.

Musee de l'orangerie monet Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

 

In the afternoon we visited the Paradox Museum to give the children a completely new experience. As an added benefit if you visit as a family between 12:15 pm and 1:30 pm the price is lowered to €75 instead of €88. 

Paradox museum Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

Ashton and Beckett had a great time interacting with the exhibits. Everything in the museum is based on mirrors and perspective.

Some of the optical illusions were harder for the children to understand and they weren’t always patient when asked to hold still in a precise way, however, they loved looking through the photos after.

Paradox museum Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

We ended our evening with a visit to our favorite cafe in Saint-Germain, Le Comptoir Des Saints-Pères, a typical and authentic French bistrot. Becoming quite adventurous eaters by this point, both Ashton and Beckett devoured escargot and foie gras. 

Eating snails Family trip to Paris kid friendly places to visit tips and advice for visiting with children where to shop what to see

To conclude

The children’s favorite souvenir from the trip was the collection of maps, tickets, and brochures I collected for them from each place we visited, along with printed photos I assembled into matching photo albums to remember their trip. I would personally prefer unlimited croissants as my souvenir.

This trip exceeded our every expectation. Ashton and Beckett were amazing travelers, kept pace with the 8 to 10 miles of walking a day, enjoyed all the wonderful food, and participated fully in every activity. Most importantly, it was wonderful to disconnect for 2 weeks with uninterrupted family time. We can’t wait for our next adventure.

Creperie

Follow Devon on Instagram : @dkonikow

To receive personalised tips for your Paris trip or have a special map/illustrations made, please contact the Charlotte & Burlington family club by email at info@charlottesydimby.com or on Instagram @charlotteandburlington. You can join the club by clicking here too.

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