Family By Lisa Kahan

Family-Friendly Days in Paris

Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world, that we all know. But amid all the love-struck couples, Paris also happens to be an idyllic destination for families. Filled with lush green parks and kid-friendly museums, glittering palaces and a seemingly endless supply of pastries, Paris offers families a fairytale-like magic all their own.

We recently sat down with Tzell SELECT travelers Jen and Mike, who, along with their three young children, just returned from a whirlwind trip to the City of Lights. Tacking a few extra days onto a conference for work, the family was able to discover for themselves just what makes Paris the perfect family adventure, and they were kind enough to share with us the favorite parts of their itinerary.

DAY ONE

“Before we left for Paris, our kids had heard French children eat chocolate for breakfast,” said Jen. “And, of course, that idea totally captured their imaginations.” So the family decided to start their first day in Paris with a visit to the iconic Café de Flore, where they reveled in chocolate croissants and bowl-like cups of steaming chocolat chaud.

Afterward, they walked to Luxembourg Gardens and spent the morning sailing wooden sailboats in the famous Grand Bassin, taking in a marionette show and riding on the city’s oldest carousel. “Luxembourg Gardens has been a favorite destination for Parisian children for generations, and it’s easy to see why,” says Jen. “We could have happily spent the entire day there.”

Croissants
Luxembourg Gardens

But with only three days, the family decided to hop in a cab for a short ride to the banks of the Seine where they boarded one of the glass-domed boats that depart every 30 minutes. “We like to plan little breaks in the day,” says Mike. “Especially in the afternoon when the kids need a rest. The boat ride was a great way to relax while seeing some of the city’s most iconic sights.”

The family’s next stop: the Eiffel Tower. “Of course it’s a must-see, but the lines for the Eiffel Tower can be long,” said Jen. “So we chose to go in the early evening, when the wait is shorter.”  The family decided to walk up, which is a less expensive ticket, and reward the kids with ice cream on the first level. “It’s the perfect spot to rest for a few minutes before taking on the next set of stairs to the second, and highest, level you can climb.”

The Eiffel Tower

DAY TWO

For the second day of their trip, they embarked on two private tours. The first was a tour of the city in a classic Citroen. “The Citroen tour was fantastic,” says Mike “The kids loved the bright yellow car, and along the way, Robert, our driver and guide, entertained us with stories about the city.” The 90-minute Paris Highlights itinerary took them down the city’s best-known avenues and past many of the most famous sights.

Next, they were off to the Louvre for a private tour designed especially for families. “Because it’s the largest art museum in the world, you could spend days walking through the Louvre and still not see everything,” said Jen. “But with young kids, spending hours wandering through galleries just isn’t an option.” The tour, organized through their travel advisor, catered to the kids’ short attention span and allowed the family to skip the museum’s long admission linea win-win for everyone.

Paris de Louvre
Statue in Paris

Romantic night out

That evening, Jen and Mike left the kids with a babysitter they found through Babysitting Services, a company their travel advisor recommended, and headed out for a night by themselves. “A French date night, filled with adult conversation, food and cocktails, is as enchanting as it sounds,” reminisced Jen. With only one night to themselves, the couple chose Le Récamier, a chic Left Bank bistro well-known for their sweet and savory soufflés served in a elegant dining room.

DAY THREE

On their last day in Paris, the family began their morning with a walk along the Champs Elysees. Starting at the Arc de Triomphe, where they rode the elevator to the top to take in the panoramic views, they headed toward the famous patisserie Ladurée for pastel-colored macarons. “Ladurée was a true Parisian experience,” said Jen. “The shop is gorgeous, and the kids were completely blown away by the over-the-top cake decorations.”

Colorful macarons


The family then jumped on the Metro and headed to the picturesque Montmartre neighborhood. They had lunch in the garden at Le Moulin de la Galette, a restaurant housed in one of the last remaining windmills in the neighborhood, before heading to Sacré-Coeur. “The 300 steps to the top of Sacré-Coeur will ensure everyone sleeps well, but you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views over the city, including of the Eiffel Tower,” said Mike.

Afterward, they stopped by Trocadéro Square, where the kids enjoyed watching the street acrobats and skateboarders who take over the monumental plaza. Returning to their hotel to pack for their flight home the next day, Jen and Mike realized they too had fallen in love with Paris and vowed to come back soonon trips both with, and without, the kids.

Where to Stay

Well located and with a wealth of family-friendly amenities, these exceptional properties will help make your trip to Paris a vacation to remember. Plus, you'll enjoy the bonus amenities available through Tzell SELECT Hotels & Resorts: