Been a while since I posted. Our trip is only 6 weeks away. We are starting at Disney Paris then on to a RS tour but then have 3 days on our own. We are staying in Paris the whole time. Any suggestions for the last three days? Maybe something off the beaten track or holiday inspired? Thanks.
Both my boys were 14 when they got their visits to Paris( we took them seperately) and my daughter was 11. Both the boys LOVED their visits to the Catacombs, whereas my dd chose to not visit them at all . Al the kids enjoyed visits to the major musuems,, one son prefered the Louvre, the other the Army Museum at Invalides.
They all enjoyed the Eiffel Tower and climbing the Towers of Notre Dame.
Yes, the RS Paris tour doesn't take the group up the Eiffel Tower, so that is something you should definitely do. Your children should love it. Ditto for climbing to the top of Notre Dame. Both sights may have long lines, but they are worth it. Try to do both on days when it's not overcast. I hope they both have cameras.
They might like the Quai Branley museum also.
How about going to the Pompidou Center, up the exterior escalators to the view from the top. There are also a lot of street artists on the esplanade in front of the Pompidou and the National Modern Art Museum inside.. The Arts et Metiers Museum, 60 rue Reamur, has a lot of old machines, instruments, medical instruments. It is a real surprise to most people.
http://www.arts-et-metiers.net/musee.php?P=191&lang=ang At the Porte de la Villette, you'll find the music museum and the science museum geared to children.
If you don't get up to the top of the Eiffel Tower with the tour, then definitely do that. My kids hated waiting in line for climbing up Notre Dame's tower, but still talk about how neat it is up there. And if you don't do a Seine cruise witht he RS tour (can't imagine you wouldn't) I would say that's something you definitely should do with kids. While my kids loved the outside of the Pompidou, they quickly bored of the exhibits on the inside. (But I'm dragging them back there in a couple weeks because we all want to see the Munch exhibit.) My kids do love the Louvre, though. There's a special exhibit of Picasso and the Masters at the Grand Palais if you're interested. Be sure to check out the window displays at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, and depending on how late in November you are there, the Christmas markets may be up and running. There are enough sweets available to satisfy every children's dreams. It's a shame Parc Asterix isn't open that time of year, because your kids are the right ages for that. Don't be surprised if they are under-whelmed by Disneyland Paris. By 10 mine had started to outgrow that park. There just aren't enough thrill ride and other exciting attractions to hold their interest (plus it seems to always have long lines for some rides.) They love(d) WDW much more. I'm having a hard time thinking of something off the beaten track for a family that time of year. If you're there Nov. 24 - 28th, there's an exhibition/tasting for the Independent Wineries (Vigneron Independent) at Port de Versailles. Definitely not something your kids will enjoy, but your admission ticket gets you a glass that you can take around and do tastings with. The number of vendors is overwhelming, but it's something off the beaten path.
Thank you everyone for the great tips. They are most helpful. Does anyone know if we should reserve a time to go up the Eiffel Tower in late Nov? Last time I went without kids 5 years ago we did not and it was Aug. We went very late at night and did not have to wait long. I have read about long lines now, but hate to with weather being such a wild card in Nov. Any thoughts? Thanks.
Regarding lines at the Towers of Notre Dame , the trick is to minimize your wait,, its basically impossible to completely avoid waiting at all. The line moves VERY slowly ,, they only let 20 people up at a time,, so the best thing to do is arrive 1/2 hour before the Towers open and get in line,, trying to be in the first group of 20 that goes up. The line for the Towers is at the side of the church( if facing the front of ND it is on the left hand side). Even is weather is not great for views the towers are a good site,, its the actual climbing up a narrow winding medival stone stair case that makes it special,, imagining all those who over centuries went up same stairs..just look at how worn the steps are! Check the ND website to be sure of opening times( yes they have a good website) and just make it the first site of the day.
For the Eifffel tower,, yes, reserving tickets is best option for avoiding long waits,, but weather is a factor you can't control so I understand your issue. Personally the views from the 2nd level are more then enough for me anyways, the higher you go the more likely views will be hazy( even in summer from haze),, but, we have avoided long line by taking the stairs,, yes, you can probably manage them fine,, I am no fitness queen and I did them at my 14 yrolds insistance, and it was kind of a neat perspective climbing up through the body of the tower,, the stairs are completely enclosed, and wide enough for people to pass you so not so bad at all.
The Parc de la Villette and its futuristic Science Museum could be an interesting visit. I have been in the public areas of the museum but have not gone inside the "paid admission" areas so I don't know how much of it is accessible if you don't speak French. But the museum looks like a "Star Trek" set and there is a submarine outside that you can walk through (sorry, we didn't do that so I don't know if there is a charge). There are various playgrounds scattered through the park....probably your kids are a little old to be too excited by them but the giant bicycle sunk into the ground is sure to be a conversation piece. We were there on a nice enough day in mid-October; I don't know that I would head up there if it was full out raining.
I wouldn't bother with Eiffel Tower reservations that time of year. Unless you specifically want to make sure you're there at a specific time on a specific day. Weather is too much of a factor and you want to go on a decent day.
The National Maritime Museum on the southwest end (Passy Wing) of the Palais de Chaillot is pretty good. Next door is the Museum of Mankind which my kids liked, but I've never been in. Around back is the iconic view of the ET. Kids that age need to get off on their own. Mine where tearing around on the metro with a handful of francs before their teens, but that'd probably put your heart in your boots. Stick them on the batobus for a loop with instructions not to get their butts off while the old people go drink coffee for any hour. (Double-check the time, it might take only fourty-five minutes or so, but there's a couple of okay cafes (Panis is one that has a prominent awning and is right on the corner if you need to tell them where you'll be) across the road from the Left Bank boat landing abeam the cathedral.)
They may like Deyrolle on Rue du Bac (www.Deyrolle.fr). Neat insects & animal taxidermy. Deyrolle lost a chunk of their collection in a fire a few years ago, but they reopened. Depending on their personalities, Catacombs would probably go over big with both unless the 10 yo gets scared easily. By the end of the RS Tour they will probably have reached their limit with art museums, churches and cathedrals so it's good to plan for something different to keep them interested. Are they girls or boys? If girls, Paris has some fashion/costume museums that are worthwhile. Afternoon break for desserts at Lauduree would be a treat boys or girls would like.
Thanks again for all the helpful hints. They are a boy (the oldest) and a girl (the youngest) Your right they will probably be tired of museums after our tour but I am sure I will be dragging them to some. That is why I was thinking something off the beaten track. I did see some cooking classes for families was thinking maybe that but wanted to really play our last three days by ear and not have it all set up. I heard it is a good time to see a Circus. We are not normally Circus types but thought maybe when in Rome. (oops Paris) We are all very excited for our trip.
The Africolor Music Festival is taking place from Nov 13-Dec 17 at various venues. This website describes many museums: http://www.travelsignposts.com/Paris/paris_museumsunusual.php I'd grab a copy of Timeout magazine when you arrive in Paris and see what events are scheduled. Have a wonderful trip!
The little boy in me really enjoyed all the arms and armor of the Army Museum at Invalides. What about the Cite des Enfants? A fun kids science museum. But might be a bit young for your older one.
We took our kids (they were 8 n 12) on a bike tour, which we all loved!! The catacombs were a big hit too.