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Paris with kids and an elderly parent

My husband and I are traveling in March with a 15 y/o, 9y/o and an 81y/o. Seems an apartment might be better than a hotel. The Rue Cler area seems good. My mother in law has a low to medium tolerance for walking. What might be the best location for her (eg near Eiffel v. Louvre)? A place near a park might be good in case she is too tired to tour with us. That's a lot to ask but any suggestions are enormously appreciated!! Many thanks!


Posted by
2349 posts

I have experience with this, having taken a 69 y/o, and 15 y/o abd 12 y/o. The first thing to understand is that all that walking is cumulative. Maybe she can walk 1/4 mile without stopping. But can she do that over and over again? So reduce any walking she doesn't need to do so she can do what she has to. Get a people mover at the airport. Sit her down on a bench and go down the street to get a taxi. Buses will be fine, but I would avoid the Metro. There's a LOT of walking underground, and not all stations have escalators. You may have to split up and take 2 taxis.

In March the weather can be iffy. That's when we went. Make sure there are cafes nearby-that will probably be nicer for her than a park.

Remember that their 1st floor is our second, so add a flight to theirs when looking for an apartment. A second floor apt means 2 flights of stairs, not just one.

I had a talk with my kids about compromise, emphasizing that they'll have more trips to take but she may not. Worked well and we all got along. You should understand that your trip will be navigator and safety monitor, and it will not be easy. An apt would be good so you can leave the young and old and go out just yourselves a bit.

Posted by
3580 posts

The Eiffel Tower and Invalides (rue Cler area in the 7th) both are on huge parks. If your mother-in-law is to be there alone, clue her in to the ring scam and begger situation. It seems that every time I sit down in a park someone comes along to try a scam. There is no physical danger involved, but it can be annoying. For the five of you, I agree that an apartment could be the best deal. I like There are other websites mentioned on this Helpline and in the ETBD books. You will want an apartment with an elevator. The museums have places to sit in the rooms with art.

Posted by
360 posts

I agree with everything above, but want to add that the rue Cler area has several cafes where your mother in law could just sit & people watch while others do something else - assuming she wants to. The cafes are heated in cold weather & very comfortable. My sister, who isn't into much walking, found that to be the best part of her Paris trip.

Posted by
9436 posts

I'd recommend staying very close to the Luxembourg Gardens. Much nicer than the park at the ET, imo, and there are no beggars at all. It's a beautiful park with 2 cafes, and lots going on. They often have live music at the bandstand by one of the cafes. There's a great playground there which would be perfect for your 9 yr old. They have donkey rides, puppet shows, and a carousel. It's fun to sit and watch petanque (bocce ball), they have tennis courts and basketball courts as well. There are also lots of cafes all around the park and it's a very fun neighborhood/area of Paris.

Posted by
693 posts

Another vote for the rue Cler area/Eiffel Tower area: bus number 69 is easily reached from there (other bus lines, too, but that's the one I used the most.) It's great for sightseeing, goes right past the Louvre and passes very near Notre Dame on it's way to Pere LaChaise cemetery. It does not run on Sundays...I'm also no spring chicken and have a lot of trouble walking, so I prefer the bus to the metro for the reasons the other poster mentioned. It's also great for people watching. March may be too chilly to sit in the park but right behind Notre Dame is a pretty little fenced in area with benches and a small building with clean toilets. Actually, all the central arrondisements would be good if you're close to transportation, especially a useful bus route.

Posted by
11507 posts

Someone may have touched on this,, but just to repeat, because it is so important,, hotel or apartment,, make sure it SAYS there is an elevator. Many apartments do not have them, and the stairs can be steep and or , winding.

Personally ,, I am not a Rue Cler fan,, other then Rue Cler itself the area is boring, and you are only going visit ET once,, not like every day right?

I like the 5th and 6th,, and when looking at apartments always check out how far from metro they are,, plus, I like to stay near river too.

A River cruise will be nice for your MIL too. There are some steps to get down to loading level.