In August 2015 we ventured to the other side of the world with our two kids, Bailee 5 and Jasper 2. We travelled for six weeks, mostly around Europe and then a week in the US at the end. I want to share with you where we went and the places we stayed that were amazing and we highly recommend! I’ll start from the beginning and over a series of posts we’ll get through the six weeks.
Here we go…. Paris
We flew from Sydney with Etihad Airways to London via Abu Dhabi. Our flight departed Sydney on a Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm which meant the kids could enjoy their entertainment and food for a while before bed time. We had a three hour lay over in Abu Dhabi where the kids had a chance to stretch their legs and get ready for the next part of the flight. We arrived in London early on Sunday morning. The kids were such troopers, they slept well on the plane so they had energy to get through the day in London before we caught the Eurostar to Paris that afternoon.
Once we arrived in London and got through the arrival process, we quickly headed to a family bathroom where I used the face washes packed in my carry on to give the kids a quick wash down and freshen up before the day began. This made us all feel alive again! We caught the tube into central London and met with friends for breakfast, then found a playground for the kids to burn some energy. Click here to see the playground we visited.
After a fun day in London we headed to London St Pancras International train station to catch the Eurostar to the city of love – Paris!
If your reading this and working out that it is now Sunday afternoon (London time) which means it is the very early hours of Monday morning in Sydney and we haven’t stopped yet – don’t panic, we did survive and there is a method to my madness, you’ll see…
Our train was at 4:00pm so we grabbed some food from the station M&S store, which would be our dinner, showed our tickets/passports, went through a security scanner and then boarded the train. How easy was that! Once settled on the train we ate and then we slept. It was 7:20pm when we arrived in Paris and I had purposely booked a hotel within walking distance to Gare du Nord station. 15mins later we were checked into our cosy hotel room and the kids were in bed fast asleep and that is where they stayed until 6am the next morning – win!
Our hotel, Hotel de Paris Maubeuge, was your typical cosy Parisian hotel but it did have a family room and a small lift to get most of the way up to it! The lift was so small that we had to take turns with one child each to go up and down and then there was 2 small flights of stairs after that. It was fun and who cares, it was only for two nights. The main thing was that it was located close to the station which made our arrival as easy as possible.
Paris was a quick stop for us on this trip, literally less than 48 hours! I had made a promise to Bailee when I was in Paris 18 months prior that I would take her to the Eiffel Tower and she could see it in real life and not just on FaceTime in the preschool carpark when Mummy went without her! So the next morning we had a five year old on a mission. We packed the backpack and stroller for a day we like to call ‘the walking tour of Paris’ and set off in search of croissants and coffee.
Coffee is something both Matt and I really like which means I’ll often post about the coffee shops we went to just to save you the hassle of having bad coffee when you travel! We discovered Loustic Café as we wandered towards Notre-Dame and the coffee was a winner!
We walked past Hotel de Ville and onto Notre-Dame. We didn’t go inside Notre-Dame on this trip as we decided that the kids probably wouldn’t appreciate it, especially after a big weekend of travelling. We took photos
and continued to walk along the river Seine in search of the ‘love locks’ that Bailee was so excited to see. I think my girl is a romantic at heart because when I explained the story of the love locks earlier in the year she fell in love with the idea and just had to see them.
Next stop was the Lourve and instead of walking through the museum (which both Matt and I have done before) we decided to enjoy the gardens and surrounds instead, which the kids loved. When the kids are a bit older
we’ll come back and do Paris very differently which will include going inside all of the museums and attractions.
We had lunch at one of the cafes in the gardens then continued exploring, heading towards the Eiffel Tower. Once we got back to the river Seine we walked down on the path that was level with the river. Here we discovered so many playgrounds and free, clean public toilets! Anyone who has
travelled Europe knows that a free and clean toilet is always a win. We spent a lot of time hanging out at the playgrounds until Bailee finally caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower! Hooray! A few photos later, we wandered across the road and sat in the gardens of Trocadero and enjoyed the shade of the trees while the kids played.
After a good rest we continued on our epic walk to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées via a fresh fruit market we found along the way. A quick stop in the Disney Store and then we caught the metro back to our hotel. Dinner consisted of cheese, cured meats and wine that I bought from the small grocery store right next to our hotel. I was also able to stock up on snacks and drinks for the drive south that we were taking the next day and a French pre-paid SIM card for my phone. Feeling very organised and completely exhausted, it was bed time.
The next day we went for a quick walk and found some pastries for breakfast (when in France!) and then, while the kids and I packed up our bags, Matt walked back up to Gare du Nord station to pick up our pre-booked hire car. The kids were so pumped to have wheels so we called today the ‘driving tour of Paris’! Matt was so keen to drive around the Arc de Triomphe so we headed there for a crazy ride. We survived and the kids thought it was great fun, me on the other hand… A quick drive past the Eiffel Tower one last time for Bailee and then we continued on.
I really wanted to take Matt to the amazing food hall in the Le Bon Marché and an amazing patisserie called La Patisserie des Reves which was just down the road from there, so that was the next stop. The food was amazing and so was my special pastry treat for the car trip! After having great food we then needed great coffee before we left Paris and that was Café Craft where the latte was amazing!
Paris was short but so much fun. We packed in heaps yet didn’t feel like we pushed the kids too hard. I hope I shared a few ideas that you can keep in mind if you find yourself in Paris with your kids. Of course there is so much more to see and we barely scratched the surface, but we know that we will take the kids back again when they are older and they will fall in love with this amazing city all over again.
Next stop – Noyers-Sur-Serein, France and a stunning B&B with geese and a donkey!
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*This is not a sponsored post, just places we enjoyed and want to share.