Hi! We are a family of 4 (kids are 9 & 7) traveling to London and flying home from Paris. We get to London around 7pm on April 17 and fly home from Paris on April 26th. That gives us 9 total nights and 8 full days (one of which is Easter). How would you suggest we break up the time? 4 days in each city? Would you suggest any day trips or overnight trips? We are planning to take the Eurostar from London to Paris. My husband and I have been to both cities, but the kids have not. We are looking for kid friendly ideas, and we won't be able to do too much in the way of museums. We have been to Versaille and Giverny, so are not interested in doing those this time. Thanks so much!
In Paris the children will enjoy a boat trip on the Seine, and if one is a girl there is a doll museum (Musee de la Poupee) in Montmarte which is fun. Another place for kids is the Science Park in La Villette, which you can reach by metro or by boat on the Canal St. Martin. Lots of interactive stuff to enthrall them and lots to interest the whole family. If you want to see a small chateau just on the outskirts of Paris, Empress Josephine's Chateau Malmaison can be reached by bus in 15 minutes from La Defense. See the website for all details.
Kiki - I would suggest a 4/4 split between London & Paris. I think you kids might enjoy the Tower of London, London Eye and Greenwich. I've only been to Pris a few times, so I really can't suggest things for your kids. Also to get the cheapest Eurostar tickets I would suggest purchasing your tickets well in advance.
In Paris you will run out of time but consider the Eiffel Tower with the lights on, the Pompidou and the Opera house from the outside, and if one is a girl, the Galeries de Lefayette including the free view from the top.
Of your 8 days.. I'd spend 3 days in London, the 4th day going from London to Paris, and the remaining 4 days in Paris. There is so much to see and do in each city you don't really have time for day trips, let alone overnight trips. But if your kids might like castles, I highly recommend Vaux-le-Vicomte as a day trip from Paris. It's the castle they used in the movie "Man in the Iron Mask" w/Leonardo diCaprio and it's wonderful. Don't miss the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, and the amazing playground there. They also have donkey rides, a carousel, marionette shows, sailing boats in the pond and two cafes.
Much of one day will be spent in transit. I would spend 4 days in London, one in transit and three+ in Paris. Paris is very nice, but London is unsurpassed.
"Paris is very nice, but London is unsurpassed." We're all entitled to our opinion, but London doesn't come close to Paris imo. For sheer scenic beauty, architecture, outdoor cafes, music, shopping, food, culture and charm.. Paris wins hands down.
I agree with splitting it four days and four days. Your first full day in London, you are probably going to be out of it since you are arriving in the evening the day before. And you will use up the better part of day getting settled in Paris. So that makes three quality days in each city. I think Tower of London is a definite winner for kids, and they make an effort to make it family friendly. We have not done it, but you can also tour the Cutty Sark in nearby Greenwich. London Eye would cost a small fortune for a family, but could be a hit with the kids. British Museum has some potential for kids (mummies), though I can understand why you would not want to spend a lot of time at art museums. I think the cities are similar in overall appeal and would avoid shortchanging either. If anything London might have more for kids, because a larger part of the appeal of Paris is the museums.
Paris is very kid-friendly without ever going to a museum.. Eiffel Tower, Climbing stairs to top of Notre Dame, stairs to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysee, Luxembourg Gardens with amazing playground, donkey rides, carousel, marionette shows, Street entertainers in front of Notre Dame in the evening, Street entertainers on pedestrian bridge behind Notre Dame day and night, the catacombs, the sewers tour, the archeological museum under Notre Dame, Fat Tire bike tours, Seine river boat cruises, Jardin d'Acclimatation (small old fashioned, well done amusement park in the Bois de Boulogne), riding the little tourist train at Montmartre, Hop-On Hop-Off open top bus tour around Paris, the Conciergerie.. I could go on and on.
Let's not forget Disneyland Paris. We visited when we found ourselves in Paris again only a year after our first visit. I would not necessarily do it again, but it was a fun visit.