It’s Thanksgiving break 2019, and my husband, three teenagers, preschooler, and I took our first family trip to Europe. We flew from Chicago to Paris, boarded the underground train from Paris to London, and flew from London to Seville, Spain. This post will be dedicated to our first leg of the trip: Paris.
We loved Paris. During our three days in the city, we walked and photographed all the major landmarks in the city (Notre Dame, Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Luxembourg Gardens, Seine River), which were all close to our hotel, Grand Hotel St. Michael, in Place St-Michael. I used various walking tours of Paris from Pinterest to walk efficiently to the best spots in the various arrondissements.
My favorite parts of the city were the playgrounds where my four-year old could play and the older kids snacked on decadent pastries and espresso purchased from a nearby cafe. See pictures below!
Once we were done walking through Luxembourg Garden, we toured the Eiffel Tower. Henry and I played in a park near the tower while the older kids and dad tried to find a bathroom. Hint: searching “public bathrooms” on Google Maps saves a lot of time! We watched the night show of the Eiffel Tower before walking back to the hotel for the night. The kids were exhausted and slept so well needless to say!
The next day we enjoyed brunch and more sight-seeing. We missed the Paris Catacombs, however, which were something the older kids really had their heart set on. My regret is that we didn’t buy tickets in advance. That night, the kids were relieved when we took an Uber to the Christmas Market outside of the city. The kids tried (and enjoyed!) escargots before we inhaled a box of beautiful macaroons. We visited Santa and bought a few souvenirs before leaving the festivities to return home before our early morning train ride to London.
All the macaron flavors you could imagine! Lessons learned in Paris:
- Buy a durable, compactable, travel stroller before the trip like your husband suggests (and not in a Paris mall on the second day of the trip because your toddler refused to walk and your arms were burning from carrying a 50-pound child across the city!)
- Eat early in Paris on weekday nights because places suitable for kids closed unexpectedly early (and our teens prime hunger time seems to be after 9 pm)
- Enjoy the afternoon tea time that many hotels observe, where they set out pastries and coffee for their guests
- Purchase Catacomb tickets prior to your trip
- Double check that your oldest son has his luggage in the Paris train station when it’s time to board the 6 am train to London!