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7 days in France in November

Hi everyone! I re-thought our travel plans after everyone’s comments on it. We are planning to go to France for 7 full days in November. We are coming from NJ/NY so we are very much used to the cold weather. I will be with my husband and 18 month old son. Any itineraries that is relaxed but culture-focused? Of course, most days would be in Paris but what else can you recommend? I saw Versailles is also beautiful and a day trip is doable? Tips in restaurants/pastry shops in Paris? Uber or train for seeing the city with a toddler? Thanks so much!

Add: I’m the only one who needs a Schengen visa, so I’ll be applying for that soon. My question is, if we choose a flight that has a stopover for 5-8hrs and think of going around in that city for a little bit, do I need a visa for that? For example, Oslo or Copenhagen?

Posted by
267 posts

I can't help with Visa questions, but we were in Paris this past fall with my kiddo (who just turned 5), and also did a trip to England when he was 17 months old, so I remember the toddler travel days well!

For restaurants, I would recommend trying to arrive right when they open. We found most restaurants opened at 12 - when we arrived shortly thereafter, we were the only ones there, but by 12:30 or 1 the place was packed and was turning people down. Because of our early bedtime, we tended to eat lunches out and dinners in our Airbnb. A few times, we did eat dinner out, but given the French tendency to have hours-long meals, it occasionally meant we were still at the dinner table at 9pm!

This past trip, we used the Paris metro some, but primarily used the buses. Google maps on your phone has a bus feature that makes them so easy. And it's much more fun to be above ground watching the world go by than in a dark tunnel crammed in a metro car. If you're bringing a stroller, be aware that not all metro stations will have elevators. We did Uber occasionally, but tried to avoid it because we didn't have a car seat.

Our kiddo loved the Ludo Jardin playground in Luxembourg Gardens, seeing the Eiffel Tower, and looking at all the Christmas displays in the big department stores. Depending on when in November you go, you might be able to see them too. We had planned to do a day trip to Versailles, but ended up not going because we just needed a day to chill. I know my son would have loved the gardens and Petite Trianon though! With a kid, that would probably be my focus over the main palace, which gets very packed.

Sorry, I can't help with the visa questions. Have fun!

Posted by
24061 posts

You'll probably get more useful recommendations on restaurants and patisseries if you tell us where you're staying.

Posted by
9431 posts

Very few restaurants are geared towards toddlers in France. The few children's menus start at age 5, or I have seen sleeping babies at a family celebration. I'm trying to remember what we did when we lived in France and our kids were toddlers last century. I know we walked out of a restaurant minutes after being seated when munchkin tried to pull the tablecloth off the table.

But chain restaurants would work best. A few years ago we took a visiting toddler to the Hippopotamus chain during off hours, and they had highchairs. The Leon de Bruxelles chain might have highchairs, too. Crêpes and galette's are the perfect toddler food, but crêperies are typically shoulder to shoulder. I'd see about off-hours in one. I just took my granddaughter for galettes three times in a week. And try large brasseries during early hours.

You can find a restaurant or two in the Tuileries Gardens where one can eat while the other chases after the little one. Weather isn't as cold as NY.

At 18-months we vowed off restaurants with our kids until we moved to the US and those kid-centric places were popular.

we spent 4 days in Paris and I think it was too much. I would rather have spent a extra day in Brussels or another part of France. I found Paris very dirty and overrated. Just my opinion. We also stayed in the Latin quarter, not much going on there. Try to make sure your hotel is close to the metro.

Posted by
24061 posts

Brussels rather than Paris? That's an unusual--maybe even a unique--point of view.

Posted by
5897 posts

I may not really understand your question about the Schengen visa, but Norway and Denmark, like France, are in the Schengen area, so I wouldn't think you'd need a separate visa to enter either of them. Whether you want to go through the airport and transportation logistics of leaving during a 5-8 hour layover is another question -- I wouldn't.