Visiting Paris is a memorable experience, right?
Having done it with just my husband (when there was just us two) and having previously lived in Paris for seven years in my student years, doing it with a toddler in tow and pregnant was a (totally crazy) different experience.
Only joking, it was still wonderful, and not more stressful because, hold tight, we didn’t cram in too much during our 3 days there.
Packing too many things during the stay can make it stressful, so we wanted to have a relatively free and spontaneous programme, while also having a list of things to do/see. Having one key attraction per day was the perfect amount we found.
So on to what worked well for us?
Stay close to the departure/arrival station
Well, first staying somewhere close to ‘the point of entry’ i.e. for us the Eurostar arrival station, Gare du Nord. We booked an AirBnb apartment about 10 minutes walk from Gare du Nord and that was brilliant. It meant that we could ‘check-in’ first and drop our bags and have a quick refreshment/put my feet up. Also for our toddler it was exciting to discover a new place and enjoy some quiet time before we set off for an outing again.
Beautiful Canal St Martin area
The second good thing about the location of our apartment was that we were quite close to the beautiful canal St Martin, with its many coffee shops, bars and brasseries. So after a quick rest we headed out again and stopped for a late lunch in one of the canal facing, brasseries. Along the canal there is a playground, an additional attraction for our toddler who still had some remaining energies after all.
Being in a different country is interesting when you observe your own child trying to interact with other local children. And before you ask, no I wasn’t providing any kind of translation, to questions, such as “can i have a go at the swing”, that doesn’t need any translating, does it?
Balloon adventure at Parc Andre Citroen
The definite highlight of our trip was the “balloon” adventure. During my years of studying in Paris and working intermittently as an ‘au pair’ I had gained a good ‘children related’ knowledge of playgrounds and adventure parks.
The park has a number of gardens and a great fountain court with water jets that can be such great fun, in hot weather. You can sit on the grass and enjoy a picnic while you look at the balloon, which is not a “hot air” but a “tethered” balloon that goes up to 150 metres. The views of the Seine and the Tour Eiffel are splendid and it is not as crowded as the Tour Eiffel or Sacre Coeur Cathedral.
‘Toujours dans mon coeur’ Quartier Latin
Another favourite area I always love to visit when in Paris, is the Quartier Latin or 5th arrondissement, perhaps because I love to go back to the ‘student streets’ of la Sorbonne where I spent many splendid youthful years.
Jardin du Luxembourg cannot be sidelined and hidden in there, is another great adventure playground for kids, “Les Poussins Verts”. This one was way too busy than the quiet and relaxing Parc Andre Citroen but it is centrally located and you also have to pay a small fee.
One thing we had not noticed on our previous trips, was the lack of escalators or lifts in the “Metro”. If you can manage not to have a buggy or can take with you a collapsible one, underground journeys will be less tiring.
By the end of the third day in Paris, while also quite pregnant, 7th months precisely, I was starting to feel the heat of the streets and the underground and it was soon time to leave.
Eurostar here we come!
Heading towards Gare du Nord and the exciting Eurostar journey, was extremely pleasant and another adventure for our toddler, the train and the tunnel under the sea!
Some photos from the trip, unseen before, enjoy!
I would love to hear if you have been to any of these places in Paris or have any others to share.