What can you do for just a weekend in Paris?
Quite a lot.
We took a very early ICE train from Kaiserslautern to Paris. We left our luggage at our hotel (Hotel Cactus) and took off for sightseeing. Not a moment to waste!
We were up early to catch the train and we knew we’d not be able to stay out late.
Day 1: As many of the famous sites before we drop.
Le Tour Eiffel.
Liz was thrilled to round a corner and see this:
We took an early birthday trip to Paris. How many teens get to do that?!
We had ice cream at the Trocadero and watched people.
We walked everywhere. A lot. Of walking. My Fitbit loved me. Liz and I adored seeing all these familiar street names and locations from books and movies and history.
l’Arc de Triomphe.
Quite a lovely view from the top. I highly recommend paying to go up. And having your kids speak French to the ticket agents is a great way to get smiles and occasionally discounts. Always check for family tickets to save money and some attractions have deals for multiple sites.
We had a late lunch at Chez Clément on L’Avenue des Champs-Élysées. I do not recommend this restaurant – or perhaps just this location. The restaurant chain was raved about in the guidebooks and online as a great affordable, family-friendly place. The food was just ok. We had other, much better dining experiences. It was fine for a first time munch for nervous and hungry travelers. (Did you know the name of that famous street is French for Elysian Fields?)
We were running short on time so we took a fun motorcycle taxi to Notre Dame. The kids absolutely LOVED it. It was about €30, but it worth these smiles and that it fit all six of us. The driver gave us all Gummis and played awesome French radio.
River Walk Tour with Paris Discover Walks. Lots of tours to choose from – all for the price of a nice tip. Great trivia and fun – all in English.
While we were waiting for our tour guide by Notre Dame, we fed the pigeons.
The college student who ran our walking tour was awesome and full of trivia, like an anaconda was found in the River Seine. Really, y’all.
Great restaurant recommendations and fun stories by a Paris local – all in English. Check out these tips for Paris shopping.
Look around! History and literature is EVERYWHERE. This was on the corner by our hotel. Rue Plumet.
We stayed at Hôtel Cactus. A great find online with free croissants and hot drinks in the morning.
Day 2: Churches and a Museum with a Grand Finale Evening
We checked out Le Cité this morning.
I love the Arte Nouveau look of the Metro.
This flower market was renamed in honor of Queen Elizabeth.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
We got there early and viewed the inside in awe. We waited in a rather long line to climb to the top. They kinda corral you at various points in the tour – the gift shop, the gargoyles, the top level, before releasing you to descend.
The bells are outside in the courtyard. There’s a lovely garden and park too!
A fun café across the street from Notre Dame.
Check out this time machine rickshaw. Love it!
Gorgeous stained glass!
Everything was just stunning. The walls, the doors, the floor, the ceiling. A favorite.
Dinner at La Salle à Manger. This is our absolute favorite restaurant in Paris. Such fun and delectable food. The waiter was darling and took the kids on a tour of the restaurant to pick out their ice flavor after they ate.
Apparently, to the right of this sandy park, Johnny Depp used to live there.
Pictures aren’t allowed inside, but we saw all this great Impressionist art! Statues for each continent are outside in the courtyard.
La Tour Montparnasse.
This was great fun for our whole family! We feasted on ice cream, macarons, peanuts, and Champagne while the sun set and the lights of Paris delighted us.
We skipped going up the Eiffel for seeing it all a-twinkle and the whole city of Paris from the top of Montparnasse. Well worth the money!
We loved seeing Le Tour Eiffel all sparkly. Magical.
Day 3: A lazy Sunday in Paris.
Le Jardin Luxembourg.
Of course, we had to play with the sailboats! This was a lifelong dream for me.
Liz, being a Whovian, chose the UK boat.
I lived vicariously through my kids, giving them pony rides through the garden. They loved it!
We admired the statues and fountains.
At the entrance, we saw this delightful organ man!
We walked to Ladurée for macarons and had dinner at l’Odeon. This was probably our least favorite food, but it was really fun and a great location! The wait staff were darling and impressed with our attempts at French.
Finally, a crêpe! This is all she wanted the whole weekend and I’m glad I kept putting her off, not wanting to get her a mediocre one from a street vendor, and found this darling little shop Amorino near La Cimetière Montparnasse with all-natural gelato.
Square Saint-Lambert. We really loved this park and garden. Free wi-fi, a playground, fountain, walking trail.
We spent the evening at this lovely Paris playground, relaxing on our last evening in Paris. Europe has the best playgrounds.
The kids loved speaking to other kids in French and English.
We purposely did not go to The Louvre. I just felt it would be a bit much for me and the kids on such a short trip.
This was a just a taste of Paris for our family. We’ve never really traveled anywhere outside The States so we weren’t sure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised and delighted. Having a larger family, it’s sometimes awkward and expensive.
We had a delightful experience, no issues with tourist traps or rudeness at all. Because we all tried very hard to be polite and respectful.
We plan to return to Paris next year and see lots more!