Four Pieces of Advice to Make Traveling to Paris with Kids BETTER
There are many travel books loaded with tips on things to do with kids in Paris. As a mom to a now 17-year-old Francophile (yes, we instilled a deep love a Paris in her at an early age) here are four pieces of advice that made traveling to Paris with my young girl better, easier, more fun, more educational and most magical!
- This tip is for any travel not just to Paris. I always buy travel insurance when booking trips with my daughter. Kids get sick. While no one ever wants to cancel an entire trip, when your kid comes down with a terrible flu the night before you leave, it is sometimes easier to just cancel it with the peace of mind that you will get your money back. Rebooking a trip at a later date is better than spending most of your trip sitting with a coughing kid who wants to do nothing but lay down.
- When traveling with my girl, I always found that spreading out in an apartment in Paris was so much easier then crowding together in a hotel room. An apartment provided me and my husband some privacy once she went to sleep to enjoy some romantic time in our own room and sometimes enough space to bring along a babysitter so we could go out and enjoy Paris. We were able to cook breakfast each morning and an occasional dinner in the kitchen. Not only was this more cost efficient but my daughter LOVED cooking from the Parisian markets (see next tip).
- I always used our trips to Paris to find new foods that my daughter would like. Most of the time, experimenting with new foods came from a trip to the local grocery store (Champion) and fresh food markets like the one on Rue Cler in the 7th arrondissement close to our favorite apartment. In Champion, she would roam the aisles and pull down things that looked interesting to her. Her love of yogurt, pate (yes, duck liver) and sausage all came from the grocery store. Her love of rotisserie chicken, fish, fingerling potatoes, too many vegetables to name and clementines all came from the Rue Cler market. We loved coming back to the apartment and cooking all of her new finds the French way, simple and fresh.
- France (particularly Paris) is very protective of children. Family time is sacred time. Children in France seem to be more age appropriate vs. the overly mature 13 year olds in the United States. It is highly frowned upon to market to children in Paris. We found that traveling to Paris was the best time to “unplug” from all that bombarded our daughter at home. The iPods were gone and the television was off. We spent the evenings scouring the travel guides and letting her choose many of the next day’s activities. She helped plot our walks on maps which kept her eyes open for landmarks she had seen on them. We made her an active participant in the vacation instead of just dragging her from monument to monument. We took advantage of the many family activities Paris had to offer. Pushing boats in the Jardin du Luxembourg pond, watching puppet shows in parks and letting her sit on the floor of the Louvre sketching are all fond memories of things that weren’t driven by pop stars and princesses.
Le sigh.....we had such magical times in Paris. Even though I live in beautiful Newport Beach, CA, I often got depressed having to leave France and bring her back to the craziness of being raised in the States. Paris is a magical place for families. I hope you find my tips useful and I hope you go to Paris and love it like my family and I do.
Cassie Piasecki is the Community Manager for CobbleStay.com and she loves to inspire people to travel to Paris. She is addicted to fitness, crazy about shoes and obsessed with gadgets. You can follow her on Twitter @CobbleStay and on Facebook at facebook.com/cobblestay.