Monday, January 24, 2011

All Things French Week! - Kids in Paris - Allons-Y!

Kids Travel Pick- Paris

Please note: I did not provide any directions or metro information, so please ensure that you ask for travel information at your hotel. The Paris Metro is very easy to use and navigate.

Paris is one of the best places to travel with growing kids. It is the perfect place for them to embrace another culture and immerse in another language.
Our picks would cover a 10 to 14 day period.

Fast Facts

Central Paris is divided into the Right Bank to the north of the Seine and the Left Bank to the South. In the middle are two islands Lle de la Cite and Lle St-Louis.
The city has 20 arrondissements which start at number 1 in the middle around the Louvre and then spiral out clockwise.
Children under 4 years travel free and then 4 to 9 year old children travel at half price.
Children under 18 get in free at all national museums.
Most children in Paris do not have school on Wednesday so activities will be plentiful on Wednesdays.

Notre Dame
The famous Gothic Cathedral. Make sure that the kids visit the Crypte Archeologique  which has underground excavations of Roman ruins.
If you do not have toddlers, tackle the 255 steps up to the North Tower.
Be sure to watch the rollerblades at Pont du Double.

Ile St Louis
Quaint shops run the length of one of the entire island.
Arch de Noel has wooden toys, plush animals and Babar plates.
Pylones has fish shaped pens and other gadgets.
Ice Cream Maker Berthillon is the main attraction. Try the Blackcurrant sorbet!
There is also the la Charlotte de L’lsle tea room which serves the most exquisite cakes.

This museum will require time and patience in spades, I suggest 2 days to ensure that everyone is happy.
To keep them enthralled, head to the Ancient Egypt exhibit. The collection is amazing and there are many things that the kids would love. Visit the Louvre Bookshop for Children where they carry titles in English. Universal Recto has food from all over the world.
Everyone wants to see the Mona Lisa so add that to the list for the adults at any rate. Ms Lisa and other works of art would be in the Apollo Gallery.
Also see: Grand Gallery of French painting.

Jardin Des Tuileries- After all what is this place called Paris without a garden or park!
See the Arc du Carrousel and head into the garden. . There are paths, pools and sculptures. The little ones may have pony rides, rent sailboats or float in the pool. There is a playground, a carousel and a bouncy trampoline park for ages 2 to 14.
The Musee de L’Orangerie has two rooms with Monet’s painting of water lilies at Giverny.

Centre Pompidou
Kids will love the great spaceship building which houses video art and installations.
This building also houses paintings from Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and Miro.
Visit the Galleries des Enfants which has great temporary exhibits for children and has children’s movies.

Musee National Picasso- Marais
Always a favorite of kids,  this Picasso museum also allows for parents and children to enjoy the streets of the Marais.

Musee de la Maggie- a child oriented museum with tricks, optical illusions, funny mirrors. There is usually a magic show.
Take Metro 1 to St Paul or The Bastille.

Stops for the sweet tooth in all of us! But oh what a treat for the kids! 
Left Bank
Pierre Hermes Pierre- 72 Rue Bonaparte
Patrick Roger Chocolatier- 108 Boulevard Saint German
Le Petit Verdot- Rue du Cherche Midi
la Patisserie des Reves

Right Bank
Carett- 25 Place des Voges
404-Rue des Gravillers
La Chocolaterie de Jacques Genin- 133 Rue de Turenne
Boulangerie Malineau- 18 Rue Vielle du Temple
Chez Jean- 1 Rue Saint Lazare
Le Restaurant Gastronomique- Hotel Le Bristol

The Champs -Elysees
Most Famous Ave in the world. The wide sidewalks and shops make this a dizzying stop on your trip.
Shops and restaurants line the entire route. Of Course you must walk over to the Arc de Triomphe built by Napoleon.
At its foot is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier which honors those killed in the 1st World War.

Eiffel Tower
 This visit is the ultimate high for children. The tower was built to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution for the 1889 World’s Fair. Go early to get your ticket and take the elevators to the first and second levels, and then all the way to the top. There is a great restaurant in the tower on the first level.
You will get wonderful views of Paris from every angle. Amazing, invigorating and wonderful.
Also visit the Champs de Mars gardens and the carousel.

The Sewers
Great learning experience for everyone.
The Egouts De Paris museum. Dredging machines show how the tunnels (labyrinths) are cleaned and technical explanation panels reveal that the system also serves to bring drinking water to Parisians and to regulate water levels to prevent floods. 1300 miles of sewers in a network of tunnels unique in the world are laid out like a
Paris street
map. Wow.
Alma Marceau via metro

Basilique St
Denis –
Visit this magnificent church and see the Royal Necropolis where there are more than 70 sculptural royal tombs including that of the smart and tough Queen Anne of Brittany.

Stade de France-
For the soccer lovers.
Visit the site where the France hosted the World Cup in 1998. There are fantastic guided tours including trips to changing rooms and the tunnel to the stadium.

The Home of Louis X1V the Sun King.
 For children, the State Apartments with the 240 foot long Hall of Mirrors,  is as magnificent today as it was the 18th century.
A must visit is the Petit Trianon the mini palace retreat of Queen Marie Antoinette and the Hameau which has a dairy and water mill. An unforgettable visit for the entire family.


Monet’s House in Normandy
The Fondation Claude Monet is where Impressionist painter Monet lived from 1883 to 1926. The pink and green house is furnished the same as it was at the time. The Museum of American Art is not far away with works from the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Other picks

Luxembourg Gardens
Pont de Alexander Bridge
La Villette
Centre Pompidou
Musee Rodin
Some children may be disturbed by the sight, so please take that into consideration, then take a visit to The Catacombs- Six million dead Parisians reside in this underground grave. The skulls and skeletons were exhumed from overcrowded cemeteries in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Au Revoir!

Images courtesy istockphotos

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