Ah Paris! Our dream adventure came true. If you have gotten to the research part of planning your trip, then you have landed yourself here. You are probably asking yourself, can I have an affordable Paris adventure? Yes. Can you do Paris with kids? Yes. This is our summarized How-To-Paris with Kids. If you are looking for more information check out our other posts.
Whenever you are planning a trip that is longer than a couple of nights book ahead as much as you can. If you are traveling by plane try to book your tickets at least 4-6 months in advance for best pricing. Paris should be a full 3 day minimum trip if you would like to see as much of the sights as possible. However, I would recommend staying at least one week in Paris. Buy your travel items in advance, it will more wallet friendly as possible. Our trip planning began 8-9 months prior to our trip dates.
How do I travel to Paris? Depending on where you are located, the quickest way to get to Paris is by plane or train. Your choice of traveling depends on you. You will usually find the best rates by booking directly through the airlines website. Also, be flexible with your dates. Flying out and returning during weekdays are easier on your wallet than weekend dates. We were able to fly a family of four, round trip, for less than $1100.00 with British Airways. The flight attendants were very friendly with the kids and even remembered their names.When traveling through Eurostar , you will find the best rates through their website especially, if booking in advance.
Where do I want to stay in Paris? As you have probably already seen, Paris is divided into arrondissements (neighborhoods). The more touristic a location is, the higher the price is. If you are staying near the Eiffel tower, The Arc de Triumph, Champs Elysees, and the Louvre, you will be paying more. While location is important for your stay in Paris there are other factors that are as important. With kids, you will need to have certain amenities at your hotel. You will notice while you are filtering through your search results for hotel choices your results are getting slimmer. I started with; full kitchen, AC, pool, and free parking all within my price range. I had two results and both were near the airport. If you are not aware, the airport is at least 35 minutes away from the city center by car and that’s with no traffic. Not the best option with kids. Every family is different , so it’s up to you to decide what you really need. You probably do need something with a mini fridge for you kids’ beverages and food and not a full kitchen. You don’t really need a pool. It is Paris, you will be spending most of your time discovering it. Make sure your hotel has AC because not all of them do. Unless you will be driving into Paris with your own car do not worry about parking. You have to pay for parking everywhere. Don’t bother renting a car, I will discuss this further down. I would recommend for families the Saint-Germain area and La Defense/ Courbevoie area.
Saint-Germain is a touristic area. There are many hidden roads that belong to pedestrians. With many restaurants and shops you will find something for everyone. I also notice that the food prices are not too expensive in the area. La Defense/ Courbevoie area is further out from the city center. This area is easily connected to the city by the yellow line on the Metro. This will connect you to all the major areas of the city. There is also grocery stores, restaurants, and stores within the malls near La Defense Arc. Which is walk-able from the majority of the hotels in the area. You can read more about those areas in this post. If you have spent weeks trying to find a place and can not decide or do not want to make a wrong decision. You can always go over to Hotwire and get a Hot Rate Deal. Hope for the best and be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Be happy with the fact that you paid less than $1500.00 for a family of four to spend three weeks in Paris at a four star hotel!
How do I commute in Paris? Originally we had planned to rent a car at the airport and drive to our hotel. We realized that most hotels require paid parking which will run you about $25.00 and up daily. Traveling into the city street, parking is limited so you will most likely need to find a parking garage that is available and pay for parking again. We had also researched that driving in Paris can be a nightmare due to traffic. Our new plan was
to take a car service to the hotel. Having younger kids we were worried about trying the Metro knowing how they can be in larger cities in the States. We decided if it didn’t work out we would then rent a car. The Metro is the best way to commute in Paris. The lines are surprisingly clean. You will be able to access most attractions and access to other lines on the yellow line. The kids enjoyed riding the Metro it was part of their Parisian experience. You can buy a carnet of tickets which have the best prices per ticket for families. A carnet of 10 tickets will cost your about 15 euros. Each person over the age of 4 needs a ticket. Each ticket is good for 2 hours after being used. There are videos of how to use the metro in Paris which is a great help.
Paris is seen best on foot. So once you exit the Metro station take in the beauty of the city. I would not recommend driving in Paris unless you have driven in Paris before. Driving in LA, New York, or Boston does not prepare you for driving in Paris it can be a nightmare.Worried about taking the Metro in Paris? Fear not. If you have taken any subway, bus, or other public transportation in a large city you can do this. Use a car service to get to and from your hotel. We used Inter Service Prestige .They were professional and had great prices. You are even picked up from the airport with your name on a little board.
What to do in Paris?
Well of course you must see the sights ! Read our full article for more information on what to do in Paris with kids. I recommend seeing all the sights first. When visiting with kids, doing it on foot is difficult. I would recommend one of the many tours they have. Use a bus tour to capitalize on what you can see. While the Seine tours are very nice, the Open bus tours are better. The kids will enjoy sitting on top of the buses and viewing the city. Most tours come with audio tours and other goodies. Shop or just window shop. There are many stores to see in Paris. Enjoy the parks. Most of the parks are free and have playground equipment that the kids will love. Museums. There are so many museums. Do some research and pick your favorites to check out. View local events happening during your stay. Don’t forget to watch the light show that the Eiffel tower puts on at night every few minutes before the hour.