Paris is one of my favourite cities and, having studied the language up to my second year in Swansea University (I majored in English Literature), my love of all things Francais is still going strong. Once we are allowed to travel freely once more, a trip to the City of Light is at the top of our agenda, particularly since Ieuan will be studying French in his first year in secondary school.
There’s an art to planning a trip with children though, isn’t there? You have to get the right balance between family activities and things for you to enjoy as a couple so that everyone has a good time. Kids tend to have a low boredom threshold these days so planning an itinerary in advance is a sensible thing to do.
Paris offers a wide array of places to learn and places simply to have fun. Here are just a few examples:
Perhaps your children would enjoy a donkey ride or an ice cream on the right bank at the Jardin de Tuileries, or on the other side you can enjoy the large green open space of the Champ de Mars
Here you may be able to enjoy one of Paris’s famous colourful puppet shows featuring adventures in gothic castles and oriental palaces.
The entertainment you choose will, of course, depend on the age of your children so why not think about purchasing Disneyland Paris tickets so the whole family can visit Mickey Mouse and his friends?
If your children enjoy learning, why not visit one of Paris’ many museums. Quite apart from the most popular of these, the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou, why not visit Le Musée de la Magie (Museum of Magic) where kids can learn about illusionists and their craft from the 18th century to the present day. Or how about Le Musée d’Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Natural History) where the kids can see the skeletons of dinosaurs, including a giant crocodile and other huge creatures of the past.
If you have older children who have an interest in history, you may want to visit Les Catacombes de Paris, which is an underground tunnel comprising nearly 3,000 feet of dank walkways. Throughout the tunnels, you will learn about the macabre arrangement of over 6 million skulls and skeletons. During the Second World War, the tunnels were used by the French Resistance.
Once back in the daylight, you’ll find plenty of shopping malls and beautiful department stores including the famous Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. There’s plenty of choice for family-friendly shopping, including children’s bookshop Chantelivre or how about Maison DoDuDinDon, a bright new emporium for kids and adults full of toys, teddies, clothes and other items just waiting to be browsed through.
After shopping, choose a hot spot to enjoy a meal together. If you are on the run, check out Paris’s fabulous Tea Diners. The Tea Restaurants serve hardy sandwiches, salads and a variety of tea blends. When you sit and relax with your children, enjoying a meal and a cool drink, it brings the family together.
If you’re not ready to return to your hotel, there are plenty of cinemas to watch a family movie or perhaps you’ll fancy a swim in the hotel pool before rising early for your trip to Disneyland.
I don’t know about you but I can’t wait!