48 Hours in Paris
In February Half Term, I had the privilege of taking my 8 year old daughter to Paris for our first mummy daughter adventure overseas. We’d been talking about going to Paris for the previous two years, planning what we would do in our heads. My daughter had been inspired to go there ever since her grandparents bought her a book all about Paris.
And so, our magical 48 hour trip to Paris began. Here I’ll tell you the places we visited and the tips we discovered when travelling together. Honestly it was one of the best things I’ve done with my children for years. Here’s my 12 step guide to a great 48 hour trip to Paris with kids.
1. Eurostar: We took one of the earliest trains of the day. Despite the early start, it worked out brilliantly for two reasons. Firstly, the prices were great for the early trains out and secondly, it meant we got to Paris before lunchtime and could experience almost a full day after we arrived. We only took backpacks for the 48 hour trip, so that meant we didn’t have to stop off at our hotel first and could get straight into sightseeing when we arrived.
2. Galeries Lafayette viewing terrace: We spent the first day exploring the north of the Seine, starting with Opera and Galeries Lafayette. There is an amazing viewing terrace in Galeries Lafayette that gave us both such an amazing sense of the Paris skyline, and set our adventures off nicely.
3. Local lunch spot: Inspired by the views, we headed to a very Parisian lunch at a fabulous french bistro called Le Royal Bourse Opera. Full of local French people, it’s ideal if you want somewhere to eat that’s authentic. But be sure to have a book with some local phrases if you don’t speak French or get used to pointing to things that other people are eating, as their English isn’t great. This was my daughter’s first introduction to Profiteroles. To say she enjoyed them is an understatement…! Honestly, the food was incredible. We left two happy people with very full tummies.
4. The next stop was the Arc De Triomphe. It’s one of those must-see attractions in Paris. If you have the energy be sure to climb the 200+ steps that take you to the top of the Arc De Triomphe. There are some beautiful views from the top. A little trick for the kids – at each of the tourist sites in Paris there are souvenir coin dispensers. My daughter absolutely loved collecting a shiny coin from each of the sites she visited and keeps them proudly in her room ever since.
5. One medal later, and having spotted the Sacré-Cœur in the distance, we headed up north to visit the famous church. The Sacré-Cœur itself is definitely worth a visit. In addition, around the corner from the church is a lovely square, full of portrait artists. We couldn’t resist getting my daughter’s portrait done. She quoted this afterwards as one of the highlights of the trip. Don’t miss out on the creperies by the portrait square, much needed fuel as you start your descent down the hill!
6. After a wonderful and long day sightseeing, we had dinner at Les Flottes, a place I used to frequent many years ago when I worked in Paris. Super friendly staff, especially with kids and the food was delicious as always. Exhausted and happy we headed home to our hotel – Hotel Eiffel Blomet – for a good night’s sleep, the hotel that tripAbrood's digital assistant had matched us to. What a great match it was!
Day two was all about the south of the Seine. After a relaxing morning sampling the breakfast and a trip to the hotel spa later, we headed out to begin the second day’s adventures.
7. A trip to Paris is not complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower. The queues were long, but we eventually got onto the cable car and up we went to the second floor. I have pretty bad vertigo so it was role reversal time as my daughter guided me slowly around the viewing deck. We had lunch on the second floor - nothing special but convenient grab and go food. It wasn’t long before I was ready to go down. I think she enjoyed it far more than me, but it was pretty amazing experience suspended up in the air.
8. Next stop was Musée d'Orsay. The audio guides are fantastic for kids. We spent a good hour walking through the exhibition, looking at some of the most famous paintings in the world. I highly recommend the museum for anyone wanting a few less visitors and more space to roam around than some of the other museums in Paris.
9. The Musée d'Orsay is by the Seine so an ideal activity after your visit is a leisurely stroll down the River Seine. In 20 minutes you can walk from the museum to Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. My daughter had learnt all about the very unfortunate fire from her school lessons. The front of the church is still as imposing as ever and worth the walk down to see. There are lots of cafes around Notre Dame where you can grab a coffee, a juice or a cheeky glass of wine for the adults (as I did).
10. Next to Notre Dame is the Latin Quarter. Worth a visit with the kids for a very good reason: The Abbey Bookshop. This is the most magical little bookshop, full of children’s books piled on top of each other through windy corridors and cubby holes. Highly recommended.
11. On our way back to the Eurostar, we had dinner at Les Arlots, near Gare du Nord, a very quaint French bistro. Do call to book in advance as it gets busy. They were great with kids and the service was speedy.
12. Eurostar: We then took the late evening Eurostar back home. I thought we’d nap on the train but we were buzzing too much after our amazing two day adventure.
What a wonderful 48 hours we had together, memories that will last a lifetime.