Ahhhh, Paris. Where you spend hours in cafés, sipping wine while reflecting on the meaning of la vie … except, of course, if you have children in tow. Not that this need be a negative, mind you, because travelling with family forces you to explore a different side of a city, and do things you might otherwise not even consider. Such as …
The Quest for Quasimodo
If your kids have oohed and ahhed over The Hunchback of Notre Dame, go in search of the movie star during a tower climb at the fabled cathedral. If Quasimodo is MIA that day, there will still be some wonderfully ghoulish gargoyles to admire.
An Eyeful of the Eiffel
It goes without saying that your kids will love to whizz up the Eiffel Tower — and that almost every other visiting family will have the same idea … To make the situation as stress-free as possible, aim to pre-purchase your tickets, turn up well in advance of your timeslot so you can clear security, and give yourself a few hours there, as exiting the tower can take time. For frazzled parents, good to know: there’s a champagne bar at the top!
Cruising the Seine
A river cruise is always a great way to rest tired, over-walked feet, without sacrificing seeing the sights. Also, consider the Batobus as an alternative to walking and the metro; a hop-on-hop-off service that makes crossing the inner city a breeze.
Say Bonjour to Bert
Paris is a literal treat for kids, what with all the chocolate and macaron shops. But one don’t-miss ice-cream experience for the whole family is Berthillon, on the gorgeous Île Saint-Louis. Buy yourself some flavour-saturated cones, and enjoy them down by the river, as the boats and swans glide by.
The Happiest Place on Earth
Paris might be your happy place, but your little princes and princesses might prefer Earth’s Happiest Place. So if you have a day to spare, take the train out to Disneyland Paris, well prepared to brave the queues and pleas for sparkly dresses and tiaras.
A Vroom Around Versailles
For a family-friendly change of scenery, take a day trip to the Versailles. If it’s peak tourist season, you might not want to weather the crowds within the palace, so make the most of the expansive gardens, where you can run wild among all sorts of delightful groves, walk your lunch and treats off along the glorious canal, and rent a buggy to trek out to Marie Antoinette’s hamlet.