Paris, the city of love? Probably not first on your list of family vacay destinations. But I’m here to tell you how you can cross this iconic city off your bucket list while still having fun with your kids. I had the unforgettable opportunity to experience the city of light with my husband and my stepkids (and my parents and my brother!) and it was the best time. Here are our tips to make sure your trip is an enormous success!
S T R E E T E N T E R T A I N M E N T
There’s a carousel right at the base of the Eiffel Tower that will keep kids—and adults—entertained. People are so busy rushing to the Eiffel Tower that they don’t even notice what’s around it. Everyone loves a good street performance; it’s totally ok to break up the day and make time for impromptu fun along the way. You’ll find street vendors, performers, musicians, and the like at every turn. You’ll only be bored if you want to be. Some of our most laugh-infused moments were completely unplanned and en route to somewhere else. Go with the flow!
G A M E S
A ball and a deck of cards will keep our family entertained for hours, so we always travel with both. An impromptu game of spoons or catch in the park could end up saving the day! Make sure to bring a few portable entertainment options that you know your family can enjoy in a pinch. It will make the sightseeing walk (usually torturous and interminable with kids) not only bearable, but fun!
L E A R N I N G
Yes, we did carve out some time to immerse ourselves in art and culture, but we tried to be creative in order to keep the whole family engaged. We told stories to make the hours walking through the Louvre less painful and did a boat tour on the Seine of Parisian architecture at night (sneaky learning, it just felt like a nighttime cruise). Everyone had a blast! It was affordable and fun, and I highly recommend doing the boat tour if you have time. We all learned a lot, without even meaning to or realizing it.
D A T E N I G H T
Trust me, you’ll need a break. If your kids are old enough, sneak out with your significant other to get breakfast to go for the fam and stop for a quick coffee date on the way. If you’re traveling with other family members or have older kids, leave the little ones in the hotel with them for a couple hours. As long as you’re in a safe area and aren’t gone too long, there’s nothing to feel guilty about. If anything, you’ll recharge your batteries to keep making the trip fun for everyone. Burnout never ends well!
E I F F E L T O W E R
Don’t just see the Eiffel Tower, climb it. Make sure to carve out plenty of time as it tends to be a popular attraction, but is totally worth it—the views from the top are unmatched (the picture above was taken from the top of the tower)! It can be a little scary if anyone is afraid of heights, but could end up being an unforgettable experience for your family. I’ve done it twice now and can promise you the excitement never wanes.
S H O P P I N G
Depending on how little your kids are, you could bribe them with a new toy if you’re nearing your wit’s end. For older kids, it’s always cool for them to buy something from a place they’ve visited—even if it’s a little something cute from the H&M on Avenue des Champs-Élysées! Paris is known for fashion after all.
D I S N E Y L A N D P A R I S
Finally, add a little incentive for stress-free touring. We did carve out one day to take the kids to Disneyland Paris (I know, I know). It made putting up with some of the more educational parts of the trip a bit more bearable for the kids (and, honestly, for us adults too). Everyone is a kid at heart and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy Disneyland Paris just as much. Also, It’s a Small World was in French so we’ll count that as educational!
E N J O Y
On vacation and at home, remembering not to take things too seriously will save you a lot of angst. I for one tend to have perfectionist and idealistic expectations of every vacation (and of life in general), and have learned that some of the best moments have arisen out of the times where everything went the exact opposite of according to plan—and we just went with it. So take a deeeeep breath, smile, and take a cue from the French—laissez-faire!
Thanks for reading and keep on flying!
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