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0ne month in Europe with my 8 year old


My self and my 8 year old son are travelling to Europe this fall. Flying out of Vancouver Canada to Paris Sept 11 and back Oct 11 from Amsterdam. Below is my itinerary hotels & B&Bs are booked. I'm looking for any suggestions for good sights for my son. I know what I want to see, though I'm open to any suggestions. I have chosen to stay in locations for several days and do day trips as I feel it will be easier for my son. we are travelling by train and renting a car in the Loire valley.

Sept 12-21 Paris

- 2 days in disneyland
- Chantilly
- Versailles Chartres
- Giverny (son's request)
- maybe Reims
- Louvre, Eiffel Tower and other standards

Sept 21-24th

Loire Valley to see Chateaux

Sept 24 - 26


Sept 26-28

Spa for mum Luge for son

Bacharach 28-30

staying in youth hostel castle
rhine cruise

Sept 30- Oct 4 Bruge via Koln to see cathedral possibly
bike to ostende relax in general

Oct 4-11 Amsterdam
lots of day trips

appreciate anyone's input


Posted by
10344 posts

Good for you for going for a month and taking such a young child! My personal preference is, like yours, to spend multiple days in one location--more relaxing for me, avoids the time pressure that can turn a blitz type itinerary into something that comes alive and drags you through it. Some people would run out of things to do with 7 days in Amsterdam but I'm guessing you'll find your days there filled with good things.

Posted by
11503 posts

I think you have a very nice trip planned, although I tend to agree that 7 days in Amsterdam is pushing it a bit, but when I was young ( 13) my granny took me there and we did lots of cheesy touristy things I really enjoyed( seeing windmills, going to wooden shoe factories, and cheese makers, etc) so it is possible to find something to do , especially if you research some daytrips.
You only have 9 days in Paris, but two of them are in Disneyland, leaving only 7 days in Paris, so I think I would cut out Chartes( I saw it at 10 and though " oh no another church with stained glass" since I had already seen Notre Dame and serveral others, and most kids can only take so many cathderals). Notre Dame was fun because the Towers were fun to climb.
Remember your first day in Paris will be a bit of a write off too, I have flown YVR to Paris many times, and the flights tend to be red eyes, which means unless you and son sleep well on flight you start off exhausted on arrival in the morning.

Posted by
10344 posts

Pat has good comments and she said something that made me realize what it was about your itinerary that I thought was a little different (nothing wrong with being different): it's that you have 7 days allocated to Amsterdam and 7 days to Paris. the seven nights in Paris is great and you won't run out of things to do there. The matching number of nights in Amsterdam is something we don't often see, but maybe you have that all figured out. I agree with Pat's observation that the 2 days in Disneyland really means you only have 7 days in Paris. Plus if you are taking something like a redeye into Paris then you and your son are going to be really tired on that first day and so it's almost like you really only have 6 good days in Paris and yet 7 in Amsterdam. Just a thought: you could do 4 nights in Amsterdam and 3 nights someplace else. Since the first Paris morning will be your first jet-lagged day off the plane and into the Promised Land of Paris--don't expect too much from that first day because your bodies may just let you down and feel the shock of so many time zone changes, especially your sons. If there are things you can do to cushion the shock for him, I'm sure you'll think of them. That way he won't be having a bad day on day 1 and not understanding why it's bad when he's been so excited about it.

Posted by
40 posts

We are planning many daytrips from Amsterdam. 2 days in amsterdam; possible day trips to den hague; delft; Arnhem and the out door park that Beatrix mentioned. Also, my great uncle is buried in a Canadian WW2 Cemetary between Amsterdam and Bremen and we thought we might try to get there. Also, there is a steam train not too fair from Amsterdam that would be fun, so we won't be in Amsterdam for 7 days. Thanks for you tips

Posted by
2297 posts

7 days IN Amsterdam might get a bit boring for an 8 year old. But if you do a variety of day trips that shouldn't be an issue. Some thoughts:

  • the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam has an audio guide specifically for children. It looks at different pictures than the adult version but since it is not a huge museum you wouldn't loose him out of your sight if you follow the different audio tour. My daughters (8 and 10 then) just LOVED it.

  • day trip to Arnheim and De Hoge Veluwe National Park. You can borrow bikes there for free to get around. .

The Kröller-Müller Museum is located in the park. There are more van Gogh and contemporary art to see inside. It's quite child friendly. We were there with a 2 year old who set off an alarm ... not a huge issue. It also has the largest European sculpture collection outside in the park. Great for kids as they are allowed to touch them, climb on them ...

Posted by
13 posts

Hi. When I was in Amsterdam, I day tripped out to Zandvoort. The night I was there, we were one of only three hotel rooms filled-- in a very large best western hotel. We very much enjoyed the walk along the beach. It's at the end of the same train line that you would take to Harlaam. I hope those city names are spelled correctly.

Posted by
135 posts

Hi, Kelly, have you heard of the miniature town of Madurodam in Holland? This might be fun for you and especially your son. Google has lots of info and pictures.

Posted by
331 posts

Hi Kelly, I'm going to Europe with 2 pre-teens for 5 weeks,and have found the book Take Your Kids to Europe a Great source of "stuff to do and places to go". Regarding spending 7 days in Amsterdam, it does sound like a long time. Have you considered staying somewhere else in Holland for a day of two? We've booked 2 nights in a hostel in Heemskerk (short train ride from Amsterdam) it was a Castle until a few years ago, complete with Turret, Moat and a bridge. My girls are pretty excited about staying there. Sounds like something an 8 year old might like too.

Posted by
53 posts

Invalides in Paris has a courtyard full of cannons hauled back from various wars. I am not into war things whatsoever but found these artifacts beautiful and fascinating. Some are incredibly ornate. There are placards telling about them. And it is free!