Starting Our European Trip – Day 1 In Paris, Italy with My Wife and Three Kids
This “Paris – Day 1” video is the first of many more videos highlighting our European trip. Stay tuned for more to come here and in our YouTube Channel! We took this trip with our two young boys and baby daughter – we have never let our kids stop us from traveling. I will offer as much advice as possible for this series. Don’t hesitate to reach out or ask questions! Leave a comment here or under our YouTube Video.
Our First Night in Paris
The start of our journey to Paris was eventful, to say the least. We had a flight delay of four or five hours, followed by drama in the plane as an uncooperative passenger was de-boarded (which is a polite way of saying they dragged his ass out of the plane), which added even more hours of delay. Nevertheless, we finally arrived in Paris and immediately started our European vacation with a dinner and tour of the city on a double decker bus. The top of the bus was entirely made of glass, giving us a great view of the mean streets of Paris as the bus cruised through the city. Some people might think it would be difficult to dine on a moving bus (with little kids no less), but it was actually very smooth and enjoyable. Erika, myself and the kids all has a blast and went back to our hotel.
Paris Travel Tip – Flying With Little Kids
Flying with little kids can be a daunting task, but with proper preparation and planning it doesn’t have to be. Here are five tips to help you have a smooth trip:
- Pack essentials like diapers, wipes, snacks, and drinks.
- Bring a stroller or carrier for your child.
- Book a seat for your child next to you.
- Bring some familiar toys or activities to keep your child entertained.
- Let your child burn off energy before the flight.
- Be patient and understanding.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower
A word on our hotel, the Residhome Appart Hotel Paris Opera. It’s more of a residential vacation rental than a traditional hotel room, and a great option for families with little kids. It also has a great central location in downtown Paris, close to all the sites of interest. By now we all had 10 hours of sleep and were refreshed and ready to take on Paris! Our plan for our second day in Paris was to visit the Eiffel Tower, explore the city and (hopefully) have a picnic in a park. We stopped by an outdoor café for some delicious chocolate croissants and made our way to the iconic Eiffel Tower, conveniently located near our hotel. I took a moment to appreciate the stunning architecture of the old church we pass by. France, particularly Paris, is known for its plethora of historic churches, and it’s a sight to behold. Unfortunately, when you’re vacationing with two hyperactive boys a moment is all you’ll get to appreciate Parisian architecture.
It’s a good thing we booked advanced tickets to visit the Eiffel Tower, otherwise we would have been out of luck if we had attempted to buy tickets on the day itself.
Paris Travel Tip – Buy Sightseeing/Museum Tickets In Advance
Buying sightseeing or museum tickets in advance is essential when vacationing in Europe during the summer. Popular attractions can have long lines, and tickets can sell out quickly. By buying your tickets in advance, you can avoid the hassle of waiting in line and guarantee your entry. You can also save money by buying tickets online, as many attractions offer discounts for advance purchase. Here are our recommendations:
- Check the website of the attraction to see if they offer online tickets.
- Book your tickets as early as possible, especially if you are traveling during peak season.
- Be aware of any blackout dates or other restrictions.
- Print out your tickets or have them ready on your phone.
We reached the tower at around 2:45pm. It’s a magnificent sight to see up close, even from ground level – it’s much bigger in real life than it appears in photos and videos. One thing that you might not expect is the amount of security at the tower. Plexiglas surrounds the perimeter, and access points require full body and bag scans, similar to airport screening procedures. This isn’t our first time up there—Eric and I have been before – but it’s a whole new experience for the kids.
Needless to say, we had a great time at the top of the tower. Our Eiffel Tower tour-guide was great, she gave the kids a great history lesson. The views of Paris from the top of the tower, even in the overcast conditions when we were there, were amazing. We took our time snapping photos and videos atop this iconic landmark, and then descended down to Earth to continue our Paris journey. Now would be a good time to point out: when travelling Europe with babies, bring a stroller! If you have multiple kids use multiple strollers. Double wide strollers won’t work – invest in a couple of smaller strollers. You can always sell them on when you get back from your vacation.
Paris Travel Tip – Bring a Stroller for Your Baby
When visiting Paris with a baby, bringing a stroller is essential. The streets of Paris can be narrow and crowded, so a compact stroller is best. A lightweight stroller with good suspension will also help to smooth out the bumps on the cobblestone streets of Paris.
Our original plan was to have a picnic in the park after our visit to the Eiffel Tower. However, plans sometimes take unexpected turns. We adapt and make the most of every situation. With a bottle of wine in hand, we decide to enjoy a picnic right there on the street. The best moments happen when we embrace spontaneity. We did meet Erika’s family (who were vacationing with us) later on at a park and did have our Parisian picnic at the park – next to the Eiffel Tower no less!
Exploring the Latin District in Paris
We ended our day by exploring the Paris Latin District with Erika’s family. When we vacation with the kids, we give our boys one thing they can do per day. It could be a destination, a snack or a small souvenir. They learn quickly to choose wisely and not waste their pick for that day! This day our sons picked to go to McDonald’s in Paris, so we stopped there for a little late-night snack, after which we finished the night with a meal and drinks with Erika’s family at an outdoor patio restaurant. Outdoor patios are always a good option when out and about with kids late at night. As long as it’s not a club, most places that serve alcohol will accommodate your group even if you have kids. It gives you a good opportunity to experience the night life.
That wraps up Day 1, stay tuned for Day 2 in Paris!
To summarize, here are some tips when travelling Europe with kids:
- Combine eating and sightseeing by going to outdoor cafes or outdoor patio restaurants.
- Buy all your sightseeing/museum tickets in advance, especially if you’re going during peak tourist season.
- Bring a stroller for babies. If you have more than one baby, bring a second stroller. Parisian streets are not suitable for double-wide strollers. You can always sell them on after your vacation.
- Give the kids something to look forward to every day – a treat, a souvenir or something they get to choose to do.
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