Navigating a large city with little ones in tow can be a challenge – but also a hugely rewarding experience. Skip the tourist traps and get the best of family-friendly Paris. We got together with Kathy Stewart from Butterfield & Robinson to help you get it right when you go to Paris with the family.
Ways to discover the delights of Paris can sometimes require a bit more advance planning when you’re travelling with family, but, as I discovered, it can be easier than you think!
Bike like a local around the city
One of my favourite ways to discover any city is by two wheels, especially since my kids are older. I used the city’s Vélib bikeshare program, which is easily accessible and convenient. To be honest, I was a bit nervous since Paris is a big city, but I found that French drivers are generally respectful and know how to share the road. With many bike stations all over the city, it was easy to stop and check out anything that caught our eye along the way.
An extravagant lunch with a view atop the Eiffel Tower
The one touristy indulgence of my trip (it is Paris, after all!) it’s hard to avoid the Eiffel Tower; but with lines up to two hours long to get up, a way to get around it is to make a reservation at the Michelin-starred Restaurant le Jules Verne, atop the Eiffel Tower for the best view in the city.
Classic Paris: gardens and museums
Some of my favourite things to do in Paris with my family are the simplest: wandering the Tuileries gardens to people-watch and jump on carnival rides in the summer. Museums that are fun to visit with kids include the Musée du quai Branly, with its collection of indigenous art (including an Easter Island stone head), and the Musée national du Moyenage, filled with medieval armour, incredible tapestries and more.
Feel like royalty without the rush at Versailles
Especially in the summer months, the famous palace of Versailles can get overcrowded, with unpleasantly long lines. An excellent way to skip the lines and bask in the palatial atmosphere without the fuss is heading to master chef Alain Ducasse’s new restaurant, ore. There’s even a ‘royal’ menu for little ‘princes and princesses’ to make them feel at home.
Written by Kathy Stewart, Butterfield & Robinson Director of Planning, Western Europe
Kathy comes by her love of travel honestly—with parents in the foreign service, border-hopping was practically a rite of passage. Since joining B&R in 1994 Kathy has designed and guided more than 100 trips spanning all corners of the globe. As B&R’s Director of Planning for Western Europe, she now channels her abundant energy and expertise into designing private trips that immerse travellers into some of our favourite countries. When she stayed with onefinestay, Kathy loved the complimentary iPhone and the meet and greet was great for getting her settled into her new home.