Hi friends! I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve connected. April has been a whirlwind. If you follow along on Instagram then you know that I was away for a couple of weeks in France and Germany. My daughter participated in a 5th grade student exchange program in Aachen, Germany that’s sponsored by the Arlington Sister Cities organization. This is my second time doing the 5th grade exchange and it was equally amazing the second time around. I can’t say enough great things about cultural exchange programs. For both of my children who have gone through the program they have developed deep friendships with their German counterparts and an appreciation for the European culture. All fodder for a future blog post. Stay tuned.
Today we’re gonna talk about the city of lights. Before the exchange program began, my daughter and I (along with our dear mother/daughter friends) spent three days in Paris. Paris is incredibly kid friendly and a great idea for a mother/daughter trip. We loved our time there. We had so much fun exploring the city, soaking in the beauty that is all around (seriously, Paris is the most beautiful city ever), and taking in all the historical sights. Since I always love advice on what to do in a foreign city with kids here’s my list of top things to do with kids in Paris.
Rent Bikes And Tour The City
By far my favorite thing we did in Paris was go on a bike tour of the city. We used Fat Tire Tours as our guide. Our bike ride was a three hour tour and we covered a lot of ground. A lot more than we would have ever been able to do on foot with kids. You could also just rent bikes on your own to explore the city if you are so inclined (my only word of warning is that Paris drivers are crazy and at times we were riding with traffic so I felt a lot more comfortable having a guide steer us through the city streets). In many ways, the bike tour was a magical experience. The weather was absolutely perfect and we got some amazing shots of our group with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Visit The Churches
So this one makes me sad but so grateful that we were able to visit Notre Dame Cathedral the week before the fire. And while it is closed now, Sainte Chappelle is closeby and so worthwhile to visit. The stained glass windows in Sainte Chappelle is absolutely breathtaking. We didn’t see Sacre-Coeur on this trip but I hear that it has an amazing view of the city. It’s on the list for my next visit.
Explore the Palace of Versailles
Versailles is a 25 minute train ride away from the city and it takes a full day to explore. We loved our bike tour of Paris so much that we did another Fat Tire Bike tour of Versailles. If you want to rent bikes on your own I would do it here. The grounds of Versailles are huge. It would be impossible to explore Versailles fully without wheels. Our tour guide took us by a market just outside of Versailles where we were able to purchase a picnic lunch. Then we rode around the far parts of the grounds, stopped for a picnic, and finished up the tour at the Queen’s Hamlet which is essentially a little farm village with animals. From there we visited the palace grounds which are simply breathtaking. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Climb The Arc De Triomphe
On this trip we climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and we did the Eiffel Tower summit. If you have your heart set on the Eiffel Tower, do it, it’s iconic and there’s nothing else like it. We (the girls included) had a champagne toast at the top. We rode the elevator up and walked part of it down. It was so memorable and exciting. But if you only have time for one “view of the city” excursion, I’d choose to climb the Arc de Triomphe. First of all, you get a fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower. But second, the lines are not nearly as long. The Arc itself is impressive and it has an amazing view of the city.
Explore The Park Around The Eiffel Tower
If you decide to skip the Eiffel Tower summit, spend some time at the park at the base of the tower. Bring a picnic lunch. Take some pictures. It’s so picturesque and beautiful and a lot more relaxing than standing in line to get to the top.
Have Lunch or Dinner At A Cafe, It Doesn’t Matter Where
There are cafes on every corner in Paris — take your pick. Try escargot for the first time. We did and it was delicious! Even my 11 year old picky eater approved and proceeded to order it at every restaurant thereafter. Sample a plate of fromage. Relax and enjoy. The only downside to the cafe life is all the people smoking so your kids will have to get used to that.
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Meiry Flanerie Photography
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