We decided to take a family holiday in Paris, France as my wife wanted a city break and my daughter wanted to go to a Disney Park. It worked for us and based on our experience in no particular order, here are my top 10 tips for making the city break work for all the family:
10 Top Tips
- You don’t have to stay in Disneyland Resort to “do” Disney. Frequent trains run from central Paris to the Disney station at Marne La Vallee. Although Disneyland accommodation maybe more spacious, it is usually inclusive of park tickets so is likely to be more expensive than city centre options, if you plan to spend a significant amount of time in the city.
- The Jardin du Luxembourg is a large green area with a good playground on the Left Bank. It also has pony riding for children on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons in summer.
- Other parks to break up the sightseeing include the Jardin des Tuileries near the Louvre and Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower.
- If flying to Orly Airport with a family, it may well be cheaper to get a taxi to anywhere on the Left Bank than to use public transport. It certainly was for my family when staying in Montparnasse. CDG Airport is the other side of the city and has better public transport links to the city centre.
- There are many artists at Montmartre that can either do portraits or amusing caricatures of the family.
- The Batobus is a great way to see Paris landmarks while cruising along the River Seine. Avoid getting tickets at the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame stops at busy times – the queues can be horrendous. Saint Germain is likely to be much quieter.
- The Montparnasse Tower is a good alternative to the Eiffel Tower for an elevated view of the city. Queues are likely to be much shorter and your vista includes the latter. There is a multilingual educational quiz machine in the bar at the top, which can keep the kids occupied while you admire the views over a drink.
- The Pont St Louis connecting Ile St Louis and Ile de la Cite is a good place to watch street entertainers on a summer weekend. We saw musicians, acrobats and magicians on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.
- Despite being open all day and having menus on tables, we found a number of cafes and restaurants only served food at set times for lunch and dinner. When arriving in the city early afternoon having missed lunch on the journey, it took us 6 or 7 attempts to find a restaurant that would serve us a meal at that time!
- There is a riverside sculpture park which creates an interesting walk along the Left Bank between the Jardin des Plantes (Botanic Gardens) and Notre Dame.