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1st time to Paris

Going to Paris for first time with wife and 13-yr old daughter and 11-yr old son. Would love and sincerely appreciate any insights, suggestions, recommendations, and can’t-misses for us. We have flights and hotel and will be there for 1/2 our spring break in March. Thank you!

Posted by
6358 posts

If you have a nearby bookstore, library or look
on this website buy the RS PARIS Guide.

Lots of practical intel about Paris for first timers visitors…..

And “ no, “ I don’t work for Rick Steve’s.

Posted by
8293 posts

Claudia is right, a RS Paris guidebook is invaluable. In regards to where to stay in Paris, especially for a 1st visit, here is part of a post I wrote on another thread:

I prefer Ile St Louis in the 4th arrondissement (it’s the little island next to the bigger island where Notre Dame is). Notre Dame is the center of Paris, so Ile St Louis is the most central you can get. It’s super charming with views of the Seine river all around you. I also love the Marais (also in the 4th). I like parts of the Latin Quarter in the 5th, and St Germain des Prés in the 6th. But Ile St Louis is best, imo.

There are 4 hotels on Ile St Louis:
Hotel de Lutèce, Hotel des Deux Iles, Hotel St Louis en l’Isle and Hotel Jeu de Paume. I recommend all of them. Sometimes one or more of them is on (the best way to find a hotel imo).

Posted by
8628 posts

will be there for 1/2 our spring break in March.

How long is that?

Posted by
5262 posts

See also our host's recommendations on this website. I think your kids are just the right age for a first visit to Paris. It will be cool and at times wet in March, bring layers. It would help to know more about your interests -- art, architecture, history, food, fashion, shopping, etc.

Posted by
1781 posts

yeah yeah mitchell
you have flights and hotels booked? what time flight arrives, where is hotel and whats dates for march spring break, for how many's days

Posted by
845 posts

What are your interests? My kids’ spring break is a week, so I’m guessing you have 3-4 days, not including travel days. These would be on my list: Eiffel Tower, St. Chapelle (even my 15 yo son said “ Woooooowwwww!”), evening boat cruise with Vedettes du Pont Neuf (not a dinner cruise), Louvre (quick tour in the evening unless you’re really into art), breakfast at local bakeries in search of the best croissants, lunch or dinner at a sidewalk cafe (creme brûlée!). Stroll around the left bank - Rick has a walk that covers some great areas.

Check out A French Frye in Paris, an American in Paris who has videos of walking tours of tons of places. You’ll be inspired. He does private tours, too.

Posted by
104 posts

One place that comes to mind would be Angelina’s, particularly for their hot chocolate! There’s a few of them around the city.

The catacombs are really neat as well….will be taking my children there on our family vacation.
I agree with the other recommendations previously mentioned, as well as the RS books. He even has one with practical French needed throughout your travels!

Posted by
1819 posts

Also have a look for the DK Guidebooks.
They have many lovely photos of Paris, and the books divide it up into areas to visit, with walking routes too.
All these books are available in libraries.
Where is your hotel located?
That'll help us give you suggestions about how to get about, and what to see nearby.
It's a good idea to get your kids to plan what they would like to see too, and do some research on their own.
Learning a few words of French is an asset too; the kids will love it if they can say a few words to waitstaff, shopkeepers, etc!

Posted by
13 posts

It would definitely help to know your hotel location, total time in Paris, general interests, KEY requirements, fitness levels, and money limits.
Paris is packed with stuff to do - from food and culture to parks and walks. Kids at those ages should have energy to do plenty of stuff, but I generally suggest the "one Major (all day) or two Minor (AM and PM)" sort of planning where you settle on the key things that interest you - like the Louvre or Eiffel Tower or any iconic Paris sites - and plot those out. Then, fill in the befores and afters with all sorts of little extras - from meals, to neighborhood wanders, to beers/sodas on the riverside, to hitting a few shops to browse.
I found that we ALWAYS have a reason to return, so the "can't misses" become more "the reasons to return to Paris" items.

There are countless ways to have a great time in Paris (or Rome or NYC or...), but folks here will have some great ideas, and even better ones if there is a little more info they can go on.