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Trip Report Paris with kids - a whirlwind even with 9 days!

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So our 8 year old finally got her wish - something she wanted to do ALL her life - visit the Eiffel! And our teen got to pay homage to the Abercrombie store housed in a mini-palace at Champs de Elysees!

We spent 8+ days in Paris, staying at a comfortable apartment (booked through Paris Perfect) near Rue de Commerce with views of the top of the Eiffel, proximity to a metro (Line 8), a Monoprix and eateries close by. To get in to the city, we had the highly recommended Shuttle-Inter which was a smooth comfortable ride in and cost us probably the same as a taxi to CDE would have (Euro 55/-).

Paris is a city best seen walking, and we really walked everywhere and also used a guide book called Paris Walks to explore certain areas, stopping at cafés for hot chocolate, coffee and a bite!

Do consider getting a museum pass - its totally worth it. Kids under 16 are free anyway. We are museum buffs so we got a 4-day pass and covered the Louvre, Musee D' Orsay, L' Orangerie, Rodin, d' Armee (Napolean's tomb), Versailles, Notre Dame, the Sewers (did not enjoy that though), Marmottan. It was great to have speedy access to all these places with the pass. The Louvre was a crazy crush of people (totally relate to the NYT article on summer crowds in museums) with people actually touching statues to pose for pictures (much to my horror) and jostling to get selfies with the Mona Lisa! The Orsay was lovely as usual but my new fave is the Orangerie. We had spent 3 days in Giverny and parts of Normandy prior to that so Monet's gardens were even more real and dear to heart when we visited the Orangerie! Ticked off the Arc Du Triomphe and the Eiffel (both at dusk till the lights came on) and I honestly enjoyed both thoroughly! I had forgotten how wonderful the views actually are, and sharing it with the children made for special memories! We managed to squeeze in a trip to flea markets at Clignancourt and a walk to the Bastille past Victor Hugo's home!

As river cruises go, we opted for Vedettes at Pont Neuf - pre-bought tickets online - at a small discount. I think the cruises are more or less the same and it doesn't really matter which one you go with. The English commentary was delivered in a lovely but heavy French accent and after a while, we kind of weren't listening!

Our trip to the catacombs was the only "boo-boo" as we waited in line to buy the tickets for almost 3 hours and then when we were one family away, it was 4pm and they closed!
So, if you are going, please go early - the staff told us that serpentine lines are an every day occurrence and one should just go early! Our kids were very disappointed and even the yummy crème brulee and lava cakes at the Café Rendezvous across did not help!

We also used the metro and managed very well on the 10-ticket carnets (a separate one for children) which was a cost efficient option for us. Depends on how much metro travel you expect to do - remember that the Paris metro is not very elderly or stroller friendly and we must have climbed 100s of steps every day, not to mention the 105 odd steps we did at Abbesses! The metro tickets also work for the funicular at Montmartre, and we almost got ourselves sketched by the artists there!

Kids menus if offered at all really didn't have great choice so we mostly ordered off the main menu even for our 8 year old. Faves were the croquet monsieurs on rustic breads, saucisson and pate platters and oh! the crème brulees without fail were excellent everywhere. Café du Commerce, Café Le Commerce, Café Primerose (near Motte Picquet), Café Rendezvous near the catacombs, Angelina, Laduree for heavenly hot chocolate and cakes/macaroons, George V at CDE, Bistro St. Regis and Berthillon for ice creams (at Ile St Louis) are some of the top of the mind recall.

Pickpockets we didn't encounter any and seem to have "just missed" them based on what we heard from other tourists, especially near the Eiffel and Arc Du Triomphe. On taxis, we found it a bit strange that there is a surcharge for the 4th passenger! Shopping for kids was at DPAM, IKKS, Jacadi - on sale and decidedly "French"! For trinket souvenirs, we found the best pricing near the Louvre.

We just finished watching Midnight in Paris a few days ago and the children had a great time identifying and reliving the spots we had visited. And what's more, are raring to go again!

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