11.27.2017

Paris with kids.





Next Stop on the tour was Paris! It was a gamble to take two children to Paris in August but decided it would be worth it as we were passing anyway and the boys would love to see all the sites; which they did. We only had 2 nights to spare though so crammed in as much stuff as possible.


I choose a hotel on the outskirts of the main road we took driving into Paris, so it was easy to nip in and out not getting stuck in the horrific traffic. We still got stuck a little bit but it wasn't too bad at all, so worth doing if you have a car. Our hotel wasn't a good choice though, going through renovations, dirty, expensive and the parking was £40. I wouldn't recommend it but I would recommend the area of Bercy; lots of nice eateries and on the metro line directly to the Eiffle tower.

Day 1.

We arrived from Ypres at 4pm literally dumped our bags and jumped straight on the metro to the Montmartre area. It was nice to get out after sitting in the car most the day and the Metro is really easy to use; 1 change and it only cost £7.20 for a family ticket. Its been about 5yrs since I visited this area and boy has it changed! 'Sex sells' ...nearly every shop from the Moulin Rouge to the Sacre Coure has every sex toy imaginable on display, including Eiffel Tower shaped ones. It made for interesting conversation from the boys along the way. We got off the metro and walked straight up the HUGE hill to the Sacre Coure, it was boiling and stopping for ice creams a must. The last time I visited this church it was so peaceful and beautiful, I said a pray and lit a candle for my Dad....It is a circus nowadays. Huge ques, body scanned as you go in and hundreds of tat sellers. I couldn't wait to get away from the place, so we tootled back down the hill and we all got some Croque Monsieur's for supper....rude not to.

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Room picnics and wine in paper cups are a thing when kids are asleep!


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Day 2. 

We got up early and hit the Metro straight away to the Eiffel Tower getting off one station early so we could stop for some brekkie and walk up to the Eiffle tower; which was really good as the boys loved seeing it just appear. We stopped tonnes of times while in France for a 'Cafe' and didn't find a bad one, the french take great pride in their cakes and patisserie. I'm still dreaming of the croissants now so stop anywhere for an amazing treat. 
The only downside I would say to walking around Paris although the buildings are incredible and exactly what anyone could think Paris would look like, it is very dirty and there are a lot of homeless people. All the immense things we saw while here the only thing the boys could talk about was "They saw a man pooping just on the street" as they walked past him...It was true. really.true. 

The Eiffle Tower is so special and I always wonder if Parisiens pass it daily like nothing or still think its amazing... There had been some trouble around the time we were there so you weren't allowed to go up the tower however, I'd heard the Arc du Triomphe is better so we decided to do that and weren't disapointted. You could technically walk the whole way round Paris which is what we basically did but on a 29C day with two boys in toe it was hard going at times. There are lots of open air bus tours and of course the metro which might be good to jump on and off. 

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We walked from the Eiffle Tower across the Seine to the Arc de Triomphe. The boys really wanted to see the "lock bridge" but the famous 'love bridge' of locks that lovers left is no more. The council removed it a few months ago and it was coined that "Love had died" but it apparently weighed 45 tonnes and was about to crumble the bridge from the weight! There are still lots of locks all over the city though which they enjoyed finding. The walk is a good mile and the boys were about to chew off their arm's, it was truly boiling too so we stopped at a restaurant just before the Champs Elysee with a view of the Arc De Triomphe. There are a lot to choose from because its on a huge circle roundabout. We got Mocktail's and Posh Burgers which were lovely but the kids didn't get why I was calling it a "Royale with Cheese" (eye roll).

You access the Arc via a long underground tunnel or subway which is pretty cool. The que to walk to the top wasn't bad at all unlike a lot of things that day. Adults are £15 and Children go free which was also a bargain. The stairs are not for the faint hearted, obviously the kids were like flipping mountain goats but I was glad I had been doing a couple spinning classes before I came away. Fair few waxy grey people sweating profusely and threatening to vom at the top but the views as you can see are so worth it. In fact hands down the fave thing we did in Paris. 

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From here we walked all the way down the Champs Elysee which was heaving and a crazy mix of tourists with bum bags eating crepes, taking tonnes of pics and ...presumably Arab princes pulling up in their Lamborginis on double yellow lines and nipping into Cartier or Louis Vuitton... We just went straight to Hagen Daaz. Sums up my life. Have I mentioned it was boiling though?! On we toddled another mile past the Grand Palais to the Louvre. 

It was a toss up whether to take two little boys into one of the top art museums in the world....literally BILLIONS of pounds just casually hanging on the walls. However, I felt we couldn't come all that way and not go in especially as Archie had been learning about famous artists at school. Again adults were £15 and children went free so not too bad, it was worth all the air conditioning alone. We didn't follow a strict route and apart from the Mona Lisa we didn't want to specifically see anything so just  followed the crowd there. The boys actually loved it, I have to say there was some emphasis on the fact the statues were all "Nakey" but at least they took an interest. We couldn't believe the crowds around the Mona Lisa, my personal favourite was the "Winged victory" though totally mesmerised by it...the boys said the gift shop was theirs; have to say it was pretty cool.

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We were all absolutely knackered by this point... we had walked over 10 miles and it was nearly 6pm now however we had to see the last thing on our list, The Notre Dame. So we walked back over the Seine and had a much needed pit stop at a lovely bar over looking the Ilse Louis. I almost forced the boys to have a Cola, usually not allowed but a sugar hit was well in order. The grown ups had Aperol Spritzs and we all shared a big Plat de jour which was meats, cheeses, olives etc; perfect. A bit rested and a lot less hangry we walked the final bit to The Notre Dame, we didn't go inside though as it was getting dark now. 

We walked a bit more along the edge of the Seine to the nearest metro station which was actually only 3 stops away from the hotel as we had walked that far back. It was great surprise to come across a live salsa party going on though, people had just brought picnics, wine and were busting some serious moves; everyone was welcome so me and Oscar busted a few moves. I think all of our legs were threatening to stop working at this point, so we hopped on the Metro and went to a restaurant around the corner from our hotel. We just sat outside as it was still so warm, eating, drinking and watching the world go by; perfect end to such a lovely day...



As Audrey Hepburn famously said "Paris is always a good idea" and it really was even in the middle of summer with two small children, it was a lot of fun. 

Here are my tips.

  • Wear comfy shoes. Even if you bus it about, use the metro or taxis you will walk a lot! Comfy shoes are a must. I wore flip flops and was fine but I did have a cracking blister on one foot and my calves were on fire the next day. 
  • Budget a lot of money. It's a major tourist city, not more expensive than London etc but yeah its pricey and if you want to do any museums or tours it adds up quick. An Aperol Spritz is £10, just saying...
  • WALK. We did at least 13 miles according to map my walk and despite being wrecked it was really fun and everything is so pretty to look at. 
  • I have been to Paris several times and while we didn't visit any shows this time because of the boys. On my travels I have seen both the Le Lido and the Moulin Rouge....personally the Le Lido was miles better. While the Moulin Rouge is more traditional it really felt cheap, the food wasn't great and the show wasn't nearly as good. Just thought I would pop that in.
  • Although I've complained about the Sacre Coeur in front are these huge beautiful white stairs which we were walking down just at dusk. It would make a pretty nice evening to sit with some beers or a glass of wine, watch the sun set and the Eiffle tower then light up from afar.
  • Take a bag of supplies, its not the type of city to have lots of corner shops or newsagents to pop into, more extortionate stalls selling 5E bottles of water. Lots of snacks and water were a god send and saved time too.

Here is our route. The green is the Metro and the blue is what we walked.


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