The Leaning Tower of Pisa with kids has been the topic of discussion for a few weeks now, ever since we made the active choice to visit Italy in the spring.…
Paris For My Birthday
With my 30th birthday closely approaching, my hubby decided to surprise me with a trip to Paris to celebrate… I say surprise. He suggested it about 2 weeks before, then asked me to do all the research, book the tickets and he would help me find a hotel. I even had to pick up my own birthday cake. Oh well, I was going to Paris, I didn’t really care what I had to do to get there. Preparing for Paris With Kids is another matter.
Points of Interest | Eiffel Tower / Bakery / Paris Kids
Since baby girl still can’t stand being rear facing and is much too young to switch around, we decided to take the train. Arriving at noon gave us plenty of time to look around before it got too dark – it is mid-December after all. Our hotel, Best Western Eiffel Cambronne, was stupid close to the Eiffel tower so we took a walk and found ourselves watching a demonstration in the gardens in front of the tower, surrounded by armed guards and police. I suppose that’s what happens when you visit a few days after the climate summit. The stroller was allowed through security and we didn’t need to fold it for the first elevator, which is great since baby girl was sleeping. We needed to fold the stroller to go up two sets of stairs before entering the second elevator to the summit; munchkin and the hubby went while I stayed behind and admired the view. Around the corner, we found free skating and I took him for a few laps of the ice.
Also see; top things to do in Paris
There was a carousel on the river bank so of course munchkin wanted to ride it. We found street food as well; good thing the little man likes bratwurst and brochen. I, of course, shared a crepe with the little miss – Nutella and strawberries, mmm.
Ferris Wheel / Louvre/ Market
The next day we tried to sleep in a little but the kids wanted nothing to do with that, not even sure why we bothered. We took local transit to Place de la Concorde. Munchkin spied the ferris wheel and made us promise to come back when the fog lifted. We walked towards the Louvre and had a nice conversation with the monster about how to behave in a museum. Turns out, I should have been talking to the princess; she wanted out of the stroller as soon as we walked in the door. Good thing I brought the carrier. Never leave home without it. One thing to mention, the Louvre offers strollers for rent, but they not allow you to park your stroller if isn’t needed. Also, there is a locker room to store jackets and bags, but nothing large like a jogging stroller. They only place that was suitable is the cloak room near the bathrooms, but those were reserved for large parties. This means, we were forced to bring an empty throughout, and navigate the maze of up and down the elevator. We only stayed for 2 hours, the kids were done at this point and the crowds were starting to come in.
We went back towards the ferris wheel, gave the munchkin a ride while princess napped and mommy shopped. The christmas markets lined both sides of the Champs Elysees so decided to skip the bus and walk our way towards the Arc de Triomphe. It was packed with people and the little lady was not pleased. We made it as far as the Disney store when we jumped on a bus and rode the last few minutes to the arch.I was looking for a specific ornament but couldn’t find it, but I had another crepe and the hubby found gluhwein in a souvenir mug so at least it wasn’t a total waste.
Also see; Tips for Christmas Markets
After an hour of upset babies, no balloons to be had and a stressed out mommy that just want to get their, we arrived at the arch. The elevator wasn’t working and we weren’t allowed to leave the stroller with security or the ticket master so one of us had to stay down with it. I strapped the baby to my chest (because she wasn’t interested in sitting or being with daddy at this point), took the munchkin with me and we went up. Fair warning, it is a spiral staircase, open in the centre and I am terrified of heights ( and haven’t done PT in…10 years?). We managed to be at the front of the line as we started the climb and after a few minutes, I asked one of the kind gentlemen behind me to walk with the munchkin. He didn’t need it but I felt better knowing someone would be able to catch him if he tripped. Once at the top and after looking around, I waited near the exit until someone was heading down and asked them to walk in front of him; I’m horrible, I know, I’m OK with it. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted. Turns out, when we finally arrived at our hotel, it was roughly 9 pm. LONG DAY!!
HOHO Bus / Notre Dame Cathedral / Shopping
Day 3 was our last chance to see it all before going home. It was muggy, and cold and the fog just wouldn’t lift, so we jumped on the HOHO (hop on hop off) bus. The kids snacked, hubby and I listed and took pictures. We thought of using the bus to actually hop on and off but they were so quiet and I was so comfy… so we stayed put and just rode the bus from start to finish. Since Paris has two lines, we did the new one up through the Moulin Rouge area first, then took the second line to Notre Dame. We spent an hour in line, while both babies slept, and took a look around. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful; Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, toy store for the heck of it, and stopped at a pharmacy for more diapers.
Day 4 was supposed to be another touring day before jumping on the train at 1pm, but it was pouring rain, cold and this also meant we wouldn’t step into the house until closer to 9pm (hubby had to work the next day). The Thalys allowed us to change our ticket to an earlier time for an extra 100 euro. Arriving home in time to make a quick dinner before sending the kids to bed was well worth it.
We should have bitten the bullet and gotten off the bus at The Moulin Rouge Cabaret or Sacré–Cœur Basilica (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris). Next summer we are heading back to check out the gardens, Versailles and Disneyland.
We decided to purchase the ParisPass; we didn’t have enough time to get them shipped to the house and they do not recommend having them sent to hotels (things often get stolen that way), so we were forced to pick them up. I do not suggest this. All three pieces of the pass can be purchased at the train station, this company gives a discount for buying all three together and the middle of nowhere is the only place to pick them up. Taxi’s refuse to pick up from here as well because it is surrounded by brothels. Terrific. I am taking my small children down an alley full of brothels. In hindsight, I would have bought them as soon as I made the choice to have them, or paid a little more to get them at the station, this was way too much work.
For ideas on things to do while in Paris – check out Melissa at The Family Voyage and her experience in cooking class
An excellent resource for planning all of Germany can we found with the Lonely Planet Paris Guide
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