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5 days in Paris with kids

Eeek! Our fall break plans suddenly changed and we are headed to Paris in 4 days. 2 girls (8 YO and 11 YO) and a travel loving mom. Since this is last minute, I'm feeling very unprepared. I have been but it has been ~20 years.
We are staying in Le Marais. We arrive Sunday and I was able to book Eiffel Tower tickets for 5pm, just to the second floor.
We have the next 5 days to fill. We will do a day trip to Disneyland one day. I'd like to do that toward the end of the week but I really want to be smart about crowds. Versailles is closed Monday and the Louve is closed Tuesday. RS's book says both places are really crowded on the day the other is closed.
I want to have a day between Disney and Versailles since they will both be full day trips.
I really want to do a bike tour of Versailles; Boutique Bike Tours get great reviews, any other kid friendly bike tours? What about a walking or biking tour in Paris?
I'm penciling in DL for Tuesday and Versailles for Thursday since I'm under the impression that Versailles is very crowded on Tuesday. That leaves Monday, Wed, and Friday for exploring Paris. Though even as I type this out, maybe we do Disney Wednesday and Versailles Friday? We fly home Saturday and will have an early start to our day.
I have one daughter that is excited to try escargot and one that loves mussels- any restaurant recs for our first night either near the ET or in Le Marais?
Getting from CDG to our hotel? I am usually a fan of public transit but the citymapper app doesn't show it to be a straight shot; thinking uber might be our best bet and then we'll work out the metro? Speaking of metro- what type of transit card will we need?
I welcome your thoughts, tips, and suggestions! Thank you!!

Posted by
347 posts

An official taxi from the official taxi rank is your easiest option from CDG. The price is fixed (50€) and no tip is necessary. Don’t accept any offers for taxis as you walk out of the airport. For your return to the airport, the price is fixed but if you arrange in advance there is a 7€ fee.

Check out the Navigo Decouverte metro pass. It’s valid Monday -Sunday and covers Disneyland, Versailles and CDG (if you decide to take a train back to CDG).

Make sure you arrive at CDG 3 hrs before your flight home. Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
2465 posts

Agree with the advice given. You will need photos for each of the Navigo passes. This website gives the details: https://parisbytrain.com/paris-train-metro-week-pass-navigo-decouverte/

You can buy the passes at any metro or RER station that has a ticket window (much easier than trying to do it yourself with the ticket machines). Use the RATP journey planner to help navigate the Metro, RER, and buses. https://www.ratp.fr/en/

As soon as you decide which day you'll go to Versailles, DLP, and the Louvre, you'll want to buy advance tickets (timed entry for Versailles and the Louvre).

Posted by
596 posts

Lala
After you get logistics of how to get around Paris and have made your timed entry reservations for those must see iconic Paris attractions, might I suggest going to Galleries Lafayette for a fashion show. My granddaughter just loved seeing a real Paris fashion show. For more about traveling with kids to Paris, here is a link to my trip report. Some of it may interest you and your daughters and some may not. Have a wonderful trip to the beautiful city of Paris.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/paris-for-one-week-with-granddaughter-loved-it

Linda

Posted by
36 posts

Other important points about the navigo devouverte weekly pass:

Make sure to sign each pass.
Do not think you can take even one trip without the photo attached or the pass unsigned. There are photomatons (photobooths) all over paris or you can just save yourself the money and bring a picture of your face in the appropriate sizes to affix it to the pass and avoid the hassle of finding photomaton.
Since you will likely buy the pass somewhere other than the airport since you want to take a taxi, make sure you buy zones 1-5 so you can go to disneyland, versailles, and back to the airport.

Posted by
5703 posts

petty but accurate: you do not SIGN the ND you instead print your name on the line for name -- this becomes important if like mine, your signature is illegible. Best travel bargain in Europe.

And cab definitely the way to go to the hotel -- make sure 50 is on the meter when you pull out; give you driver your address printed including zip code. no tip.

Posted by
1655 posts

Even with two girls, I can't imagine burning a day, 20% of your time, going to an amusement park after traveling from the US to the City of Lights.

Paris offers plenty to keep an 8 year old and an 11 year old fascinated and entertained. Just Google "Paris for kids". You'll see there are many wonderful, authentic experiences they can have in the city itself.

In addition, Disney Paris is small and unkempt compared to Disneyland and Disney World. I know they may have their heart set on Disney, but I think it's never too early to teach kids to engage in active instead of passive pursuits.

Posted by
2465 posts

DougMac, I will have to disagree with your assessment of DLP. It is by no means unkempt. Perhaps it has been quite a while since you were last there, but there have been significant improvements to the parks since they were taken over a few years ago. And new additions are continuing.

I would also never tell someone not to go there if they have a particular interest in it. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean that others don't find it worthwhile. If the OP and her children enjoyed the American Disney parks, all the more reason for them to check out the diffrences at one of the international ones. We quite like it, and have spent a day (or 2) there on several of our Paris trips.

Posted by
1655 posts

CJean, I never said “don’t go”. I suggested she reconsider her priorities given the limited time she had. I know I called your baby ugly, but that’s no reason to misrepresent what I said.

The OP is free to do whatever she and her daughters want to do. I was encouraging her to investigate her options, especially since a trip to Disney Paris would be expensive both monetarily and in time. She can assess the chances of her daughters going to stateside Disney parks against ever being able to return to Paris.

Posted by
42 posts

In the Marais, try La Mangerie on Rue de Jarente for dinner. My family had a great meal and the ambiance was great. Although my daughters were college-aged at the time.
Outside of the big sites you mentioned, here are a few ideas for you and Paris is the city of endless ideas:
Visit the Paris Opera - the building itself can be toured and is stunning. Right across the street is Galeries Lafayette. You can visit to shop of course or just ogle at the stunning architecture of essentially a shopping mall but whisk yourself up the escalators to the rooftop and get a free view of Paris without waiting on any lines.

If it becomes hot chocolate weather, head to Angelina's (there are a few locations in the city) .Your daughters will become instant converts to this place.

Take a cooking or pastry class, my wife and daughter did a cooking class and they talk about it to this day. I am sure there are classes that would be suited to daughters' ages.

In a city with endless great streets, I've enjoyed hanging out on Rue Montorgueil to people watch and have a drink. I am also magnetically drawn to Luxembourg Gardens, along with every other vistors to Paris.

Have the family watch 'Alice in Paris' series on Prime. It will definitely get everybody in the mood for the adventure they are about to enjoy!

Posted by
3 posts

I really appreciate the responses thus far. I think a 50E taxi will be our best bet to hotel.
I think the Navigo pass will be perfect for us.
I told my daughter about the fashion show and she asked if she could be in it!! haha
Regarding Disney- we're not really Disney people and I really don't have much of a desire to ever spend a week at DW in FL. I have read such nice things about Disneyland Paris and I think my kids should go once. I'm okay giving them a day and am actually excited about it :) I see what you're saying but my girls are lucky and will hopefully come back to Paris; we have airline privileges which makes is feasible for us to travel often.
Paul- I appreciate your recs, Merci!

Posted by
1655 posts

but my girls are lucky and will hopefully come back to Paris; we have airline privileges which makes is feasible for us to travel often

Then Disney Paris it is!

We have some friends with airline privileges and you and your daughters are indeed lucky! One of our friends would take her family snow skiing every Christmas break in the French Alps.

Have a great time!

Posted by
860 posts

You've gotten some good advice; I would just add re: the Paris bike tours, I've heard on this forum that they can be a bit hairy; not sure I'd take kids of that age on them, esp. when dealing with jetlag, "Oh look there's the Eiffel tower" distractions, etc.

Posted by
3 posts

They did Mike's Bike Tour last summer in Munich (which is probably more bike friendly?) at ages 6 & 9 but Paris might be more hectic?
However, I really want to do a bike tour of Versailles. I think it could be one of the better ways to see all the gardens etc.
Would love a good rec! I have Fat Tire as an option. I really love Boutique Bike Tour's website but they won't email me back :(

Any other bike tour recs for Versailles that would be good with kids?

Posted by
875 posts

When my daughter was 13 and we spent a week in Paris together, she LOVED Leon de Bruxelles (restaurant) for mussels. There are several locations around Paris. I loved it too.