Paris: Things to Do with Kids

“When good Americans die they go to Paris.”

Oscar Wilde

Since we are Canadians - we are good by definition, hence, we don't need to wait till we die to go to Paris! 

By the Louvre
Traveling without kids tends to leave a touch of hazy sentimental after-taste to any place you visit. I had a certain image of Paris based on my previous trips, not overly romantic, but very pleasant nevertheless. I wondered if this picture of Paris would be completely ruined by the time we get back.  

The trip turned out to be fantastic - quite different from all the other visits, but in a good way: we got to visit places we'd otherwise skip, walked around more rather than stand in line to get into 'hard-to-get-into' places and exhibits, went to restaurants that are laid-back rather than formal. 

Here's are some highlights of the trip:

1. The Louvre  
The line up was very modest and we were inside in less than 10 minutes! We were lucky to have had an hour in the galleries after showing the Little Nomads the famous Mona Lisa, as they were losing their minds amidst thousands of paintings! 
The Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Etruscan, the Napoleon III apartments, the Medieval Louvre exhibits were a big hit! 

2. Playgrounds and Parks
We took long and nice breaks from walking and sight-seeing in Paris' many parks, amusement squares, and playgrounds. The Luxembourg Gardens has an amazing closed-off playground for C2,50 per child! A wonderful fountain with toy boats, puppet theatre performances gave our little guys a chance to recharge their batteries. Other parks we visited: Tulieri, Champ-es-Elysee, St Eustace.

By St Eustace

3. Churches
St Eustace
The solemnity of churches became a welcome change from the museums so much so that by the end of the 1st day, the Little Nomads were screaming "Let's go visit the church!" It's hard not too, as Paris has one too many! A few we visited: 
-Notre Dame Cathedral
-St. Eustace
-St. Germain-des-Pres
Because of the European Heritage weekends all buildings normally closed to public were open. We even caught an organ demonstration and a fringe theatre acrobatics rehearsal at St. Sulpice.

4. The archaeological Crypt of the Parvis de Notre-Dame
A splendidly recreated settlement of the Parisii, the Celtic tribe that first settled on the site of Paris 2000 years ago, from which the city takes its name. The Little Nomads had fun running around the gloomy crypt with dark paths, pressing buttons that illuminate certain parts of the excavation (I'm not sure the staff were equally excited though!)

5. Centre Pompidou and the neigborhood
The colorful centre, the Stravinsky fountain, and the square filled with street performers was a great entertainment to the kids.

Chasing giant bubbles at Centre Pompidou

6. The Eiffel Tower
The shadow of the Eiffel tower
The tickets purchased online saved us what looked like hours of waiting in line. We got through the reserved line and were at the top in less than 15 minutes!

7. Hop on - hop off boat tour 
Not only does a boat tour give you a different perspective of the city, but it also lets you avoid the hordes of tourists on Paris streets. The number of times you can get on the bus is not limited so essentially, we used it to get from one place to another and also, gave the Little Nomads a break from walking. 

8. Fountains and Monuments

9. Dining

Having started to look around for a place to eat on Sunday evening, we realized that the only restaurants open were Asian. This did not entice us too much and we kept walking till we hit to a little pocket on Montmarte with a row of restaurants, which housed a French crowd. We found one that looked more democratic and settled for what turned out to be a very nice dinner at Le Tambour, which specializes in no-nonsense "urban rustic" cuisine.
The Impression of the Day. Who said the Parisians were rude?
A very lovely friendly bunch! Hope not in the National Lampoon's way:

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