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Long layovers in Amsterdam and Paris

I’m traveling with my 8 year old son to Morocco in March and we have a 9 hour layover in Amsterdam on the way there and 17 hours in Paris on the way back. Both layovers start around noon on a weekday. For Paris, I’ll rent us a room for a night. Looking for any suggestions on what to see/do during the layovers. We went to Paris on RS Family tour last year and learned he doesn’t like museums so I don’t plan to take him to any during the layovers. We both enjoy walking, sightseeing, and anything active. All suggestions welcome!

Posted by
3081 posts

On your Paris layover, Disney Pari$ is nearby…

Posted by
2675 posts

The only thing that’s unique about Disney in Paris is you can order wine. Why pay for an expensive ticket that’s on the Euro.
I would download Rick Steves app and take his Historic Paris self-guided walk. This way you'll see Paris's birthplace and the major sights on Ile St. Louis that takes you into the Latin Quarter that kids like.
There are several self-guided walks in Amsterdam to choose from on Rick's app too.

Posted by
1011 posts

I know you wrote your son doesn’t like museums, but Amsterdam has a museum that’s absolutely great for kids; NEMO science museum. It’s a museum where kids can learn all about science, not just by looking at the exhibit but also by doing and trying out all kinds of science stuff.
NEMO is located close to the central train station which is where the canal cruises start from. I don’t believe in must-sees because everyone has different interests, but in Amsterdam a canal cruise comes pretty close to being a must-do. It’s a wonderful way to see the city, especially if you’ve got limited time.

Posted by
16563 posts

With Paris, 17 hours is a lot so I get the idea of getting out of the airport.

You arrive at noon, so you will be checked in at your Paris hotel by 3 pm to start your adventure; but your return flight 17 hours later is about 5am which means heading to the airport at 2am so I would guess bed by 8pm?

3pm to 8pm is a 5 hour adventure; close, but I would consider it (if all I had was carryon) -- come to think of it, what are you going to do with your luggage?

If you choose Disneyland then get your hotel there or another option might be to get your hotel in the airport, get off your flight, check in, dump your bags then leave and after your adventure return to the airport and that morning hassle is solved.

Other than Disneyland or Paris proper think about a guide to a place like Louvres (with the airport hotel)

With Amsterdam you are at the tail end of a transatlantic flight, already pooped out and your continuing flight is at 9pm so I would check into the YotelAir (airside inside security) eat a good meal and take a nap so you arrive in Morocco fresh and ready.

Posted by
346 posts

Disneyland Paris has plenty of unique to it (wine can be purchased at all Disney resorts in USA… not sure why another commenter thought that unique) with rides and variations you won’t see at other parks- BUT for 5-7 hours of adventure it’s a very expensive outing.

I would personally wait to see what your mood is. When we did a similar (16h) paris layover we were exhausted after weeks of travel and all just wanted to sit in airport hotel relaxing and not doing a thing. Especially the kids.

Posted by
2675 posts

Disneyland Paris has plenty of unique to it (wine can be purchased at all Disney resorts in USA… not sure why another commenter thought that unique)

Because ten years ago you couldn't.

Posted by
7178 posts

Forget Disney, you can do that in the USA.

You are in France, do something French. Like go to Versailles. Take the RER.

Still, you probably had a long flight and will have another, so rest is a good thing, so if you leave the airport, watch for pickpockets and don't stay more than 4-5 hours.

As for your layover in Amsterdam, you could take the train into the city and take a canal cruise and visit some sights downtown, but be sure to go back to the Airport 3 hours prior to departure.