Take them To Chateau Versailles for a full day and evening of excitement.
26.06.2007 - 10.07.2008
My kids were 16 and 8 when we went to Paris with them for the first time. They love traveling to new places. We always try to keep in mind that what is interesting to adults may not be to them. My husband and I have seen all of the many museums in Paris on several past trips. We know that our kids are not that fond of going to them. So we managed to show them art and culture without stepping into a single museum! We only had 4 days in Paris and we wanted to show them the best of Paris. On our first full day in Paris we took the local train RER to Versailles instead of going with a tour. It was a great experience for all of us! We took the inexpensive metro train from Ecole Militaire which was a few blocks from our hotel. There is a special train that takes you into Versailles and then you get off and walk approx three quarters of a mile. Just follow the crowds. It is best to purchase your tickets for Versailles at the train station. This will save you so much time. The lines are incredibly long to purchase tickets. Our kids loved the palace and the Hall of Mirrors made for a great family photo! We spent hours wondering the rooms going to the gardens and the PetitTrianon the small cozy palace that Marie Antoinette stayed at. The grounds are so enormous that there is a cute little train that you can ride that takes to you to other parts of the property. You can rent small boats or just run around carefree. There are plenty of snacks to be bought from crepes to sandwiches.
If you come in the summer, there is a light show that is similar to the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, mega style. There are probably fifteen fountains that are light up to music and lights. You do have to pay extra for this show if you are coming in the later part of the day.
We spent the entire day visiting and it was worth it. My kids loved paintings and the grounds. Even they appreciated the art.
Back to Paris for more fun!
After our long day at the Palace, we went back to Paris and went to the Eiffel Tower and walked around the the park and bought annoying light up replicas of the tower. It was packed with kids tourists and locals. There is a great carousel across the street and it is a great place for kids to run around before you stand in line to go up the tower. There usually is a long line to go up but if you have never done it, your kids will love it!
Our kids love to shop as do most American kids these days. So we took them to see one of the most famous streets in Paris, the Champs de Elysees. It has changed over the years since our last visit to Paris. The side walk cafes are still there, but the tables no longer face the street to watch all of the people passing by.They have every major store that they have in large cities in America. Nike Town was a big hit for my kids. They loved buying the Nike shirts from Paris and many of the shoes are different than at home. The prices were just about the same comparing the dollar to the euro. Mono Prix is a great budget store similar to K-Mart or Target. They carry discount clothes, cosmetics and great hair care products that cost a lot more back in the States. They have a market down stairs and the staff is friendly and helpful. Another great store is Petit Bataux. They sell quality cotton basic clothes like t shirts and sweaters for women and kids. They items last forever and are a great buy. If you are a fan or not, you have to stop in the Mac Donalds on the Champs de Elysees! We went upstairs and bought a coke just to rest our feet and people watch. It is funny to order the items you normally see at home. My kids would not eat there but having a coke and using the bathrooms are worth the stop. It is a pretty posh location as far as Mac Donald's go. They have two floors and if you sit upstairs, you can see the action down below.
We walked with the kids up the boulevard to the Arc de Triomphe. This famous arc has four main arteries of traffic flowing through it. You can cross the street and pay to take an elevator to the top. Just standing across the street from it at the end of Avenue Champs de Elysees and watching all of the cars navigating through it is amazing. At the opposite end of the fashionable Avenue is Jardins deTuileries. This long strip of park has a great calming effect on cranky kids. There are many shade trees and they have plenty of places to sit and relax and have a snack. It is a great place to bring a Nerf ball and find some kids to hang with.
One great area to take kids in Paris is Boulevard St. Michele. If you live in a college town, you will feel right at home. There are movie theatres, pizza and fast food places for a budget lunch on the go. It is fun here at night too. Sorbonne University is near by. There are the famous crepe stands where you order a fresh made crepe with Nutula or melted cheese or Grand Marnier (6euros) and powdered sugar. My kids fought over these daily. Every neighborhood has great boulangeries to purchase a baguette of bread or a pastry. You are better off buying water and soda if your kids really need them from the local markets or tiny stores. Buying them in the parks and snack shops will add up to $5 a soda! You can actually buy a bottle of wine for less than a coke in a restaurant. We went to the little market down the street from our hotel everyday. We bought healthy snacks and water and brought a fold up insulated tote bag with us and filled it when we went on long day trips away from our hotel. It will save you tons of money. When you are walking every where and running around with kids, they get thirsty and hungry often.