Paris has always had a extremely special place in my heart. We went there for our first stop on our one year anniversary and it brought us Sofia; so the fact that we could bring her with us to see it for herself made me so happy.
We arrived by train from Brussels on a Saturday to the hustle and bustle of the city. To make it easier I booked a car service online to meet us and it was perfect because the moment we got off the train and went to the end of the line he was waiting with for us with our names on a board.
It took us about 20 minutes to get to the hotel from the train station mainly due to the travel and certain road closures, but I could have roamed around the city for even longer than that.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Brighton– Located across the street from the Tuileries, Lourve and close to the Eiffel Tower, Museu D’ Orsay lots of shopping it was a great spot for us to enjoy the city while being extremely close to everything and in a safe part of town.
We were lucky to get upgraded to the Executive Suite where it had 2 balconies, a large king bed and they made the pull out bed for Sofia available..even though she didn’t use it all. 🙂 Right outside the doors you get the most amazing view and at night it is particularly beautiful because one the clock ticked at 11pm the Eiffel Tower starts to sparkle. A site that I absolutely loved the last time we where there.
The staff is good and the breakfast is your typical european style with bread, cheese/meats, fruit and yogurts.
WHAT TO SEE/ DO
Carnival at the Tuilleries– For kids this is so fun and lets the have some fun before seeing all the main sites that will probably not interest them at their age. Sofia played tons of games, rode rides and we even ate there and had ice cream the day we came in from Brussels.
Louvre– Pass by and see it while walking through the garden. I haven’t actually done the museum inside of it, especially since the Mona Lisa is in there, but to be completely honestly it is not something I want too. With kids too it can be difficult to do those type of museums mainly due to the amount of people, craziness and hustle and bustle. I remember when we got there the workers actually have a strike because it was just getting to crazy and they needed assistance to make it stop.
Arc De Triumph- One of the most famous monuments in Paris. When we were here 4 years ago we stayed right next to it and it is stunning. You can a direct view of the Champs De Elysses, but if you can go up to the very top and see a very pretty view of the city.
Champs De Elysses- An avenue known for theaters, cafes, and luxury shops. If you want to shop this is one of the most famous streets in all of Europe and probably the world; hence the reason I grabbed my Gucci bag here this time around.
Palais Royal- A very popular antique monument that we used for playing and taking some fun family photos. It is completely black and white and each pillar is a different height. If you look back at my stories you can see how Diego was able to get up it. lol
Notre Dame- A medieval cathedral in Paris that sadly had a devastating fire this year. Even with it’s construction the beauty has never been lost.
Latin Quarter- Home to many higher education establishments and restuarants this is the second time we can to this area to walk around, enjoy and grab a bite to eat.
Atelier Des Lumières- Holds monumental art exhibits and currently showing a Vincent Van Gogh exhibit until December 2019. Since we visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and wanted to get away from the center of Paris our hotel concierge suggested this and we are so glad that he did. It was beautiful just to sit, listen to the music and the work of many amazing people.
Parisian Parks- Paris is home to over 400 parks, so as a parent I highly suggest you make as many small stops with your kids as you can so they can be more relaxed during the trip. Two blocks from the Atelier there is a park for the kids and we had Sofia play here for about 10-15 minutes and she was in heaven…it really makes traveling with a toddler that much easier.
Le Belloy Restuarant- This restaurant was absolutely yummy and I highly suggest going. Plus they sell ice cream and that made Sofia really happy.
Eiffel Tower- The global cultural icon of France. We decided this time to go and visit it again close up but it was actually closed for renovations and honestly won’t be doing that again anytime soon. With the amount of tourists and people selling trinkets it really diminishes the power and history of it all. Diego and I wanted to get away so fast and that made me really sad to say. If you want to see it I suggest being across the river and getting a more quite and full view of it.
We decided to do this on our last day in Paris since it was super kid friendly and only an hour train ride from our hotel. We booked it on a Monday and if you plan it right Disneyland has certain days where they give the adult tickets at a kid price and we did just that. For $87 per person we had access to two parks for the whole day…winning on our part since its’ normally twice that amount for adults.
*Buy fast passes beforehand because they sell out. Trust us when we say spend the extra money because the lines can be a minute of 50 minutes going up to 90 minutes and that time frame with kids is not fun AT ALL.
*Make sure to book any restaurants or events prior too because most restaurants close at 5pm and if you aren’t wanting to eat hot dogs and burgers then this is your best chance. We had no idea and they never post anything about it their app or online. We had to go to their offices and when I asked to take a picture of the schedule they would’t let me. I have no idea why they wouldn’t share that with people coming to the parks.
*Download the Disneyland Paris app specifically. This will share anything you might want to know such as where the characters are, restaurants and more. You can also add things to your wish list if there is items you want to make sure you don’t forget to visit.
*Bring a mister/fan to cool down the kids. If you are going in the summer it can be hot in Paris and when we went it was considered a heat wave, even though for these Houstonians it was a normal summer day. HERE is the one I am referring too.
THINGS WE DIDN’T LIKE/THINGS TO KNOW
- At all the touristy spots you will see an immense amount of people selling trinkets, t-shirts, toys and games…you name it. For me personally it ruins the whole magic for the city and makes it a money show versus enjoying the beauty as it is.
- There are SO many people. We try to go around from the crowds and find locations where you can still the monuments and etc without being right in front because you will fight people for a picture. Unless you go at 6am right when the sun comes up and the city is just getting up.
- Take Trains/Subway- Everything is farther that it seems, so take them as much as you can. It is the fastest way to get around and also the cheapest. Plus we found the Paris subway to be the easiest to navigate.
- Smoking/Cigarettes- I know this is very common in Europe, but for a family that doesn’t smoke and get headaches from the smells it can be a little hard. We always trying to find spots with the least amount of people smoking as possible and it normally worked.