A Family of Six go to Paris- 1st Time

Feb 22nd, 2016, 03:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2016
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A Family of Six go to Paris- 1st Time

My husband and I are taking our four kids (18,16,13, &8) to Paris this summer. This is our first trip out of the U.S. and it is a little daunting and very exciting. There is some concern about traveling in the wake of the tragedies that have occurred recently. I have been keeping up to date on news and it seems things are returning to normal. We are planning to rent an apartment and use the metro to get around. We will be there nine days. I would greatly appreciate any tips or suggestions that anyone may have. Also, the two oldest are boys and like to skateboard. How is that received by locals?
mcjqphillips is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 03:30 AM
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French teens skateboard all over the place.

Before deciding to rent an apartment, you should read up on the latest news about short-term rentals. You are better off renting an aparthotel than a short-term private or agency-offered apartment.

Give the boys a few guidebook on Paris and a good map and let them have at it. And you should be reading everything you can find, too. We really can't give you tips or suggestions without knowing why you want to go to Paris (other than skateboarding) and what would interest you while there.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 04:06 AM
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Welcome to Fodors and welcome soon to Paris.

I work in Paris and commute every week.
The only modifications since the attacks are
- some added controls in trainstations and maybe at airports.
- the rest - if any - you will not notice.

True about apartments, a lot of them are illegally rented, so take extra care when looking for those : on top of checking the references, ask if they are legal (they'll say yes of course, but maybe they'll stop discussing) and ask for an invoice. Illegal rentals have their source in tax evasion, asking for an invoice will prompt some discussion - and avoid cashpayment...
No invoice + Cash = fraud (or very old owner).

Big chaines like Citadines or Adagio are totally clean and are also in line with safety equipments etc.

Try to tell your boys to avoid skating over old Parisiennes, they don't like it ;-)

Totally off-topic : I congratulate you on your family : it was our dream to have 4 kids with about the same difference of age !

Enjoy Paris, don't hesitate to ask for more, and don't pay attention to snarky remarks, we have all our bad days, but this site is great to get help.
Whathello is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 04:08 AM
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Agree that getting the kids involved in the planning - as well as picking up at least the basic greetings and polite phrases in French - is key to everyone enjoying this trip.

The first trip we took with our DDs, then 11 and 14, they selected many sights and activities and even some restaurants - and were so proud they could use their french to chat with other kids and order in restaurant (their school taught french from 4th grade).

You kids should have a look at the Let's Go Student Guide and the Thorn Tree section of the Lonely Planet web site to see what other students reco and find out where they hang out (student pubs and clubs)
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 04:14 AM
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Well, here's a site that is all about skateboarding in Paris.


La Defense, La Vague du Parc (west of Sacre Coeur, Palais de Tokyo/Le Dome, are sites mentioned.

I know zip about skateboarding, so that's all I can contribute.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 04:31 AM
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Thanks to all of you for the information you have shared. My youngest is a girl and her favorite artist is Claude Monet. So visiting his gardens would be a highlight. We would like to visit the museums, gardens, historical sights, as well as, some vintage shops and the Saturday market. I appreciate the websites provided to help get my kids involved. What a great idea to have them pick restaurants and destinations!
mcjqphillips is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 04:36 AM
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Things kids might like :

My favourites :
- le jardin des plantes (zoo)
- le musée de l'armée (I was addict when 8-13)
- les invalides
- I was too late to go at 'Zoo de vincennes' but it looks nice - do the castle then the zoo
- petit (or grand ?) palais - funny experiences can be done there

Easy to reach
- le Bourget : airpsace musueum - amazing pre WW1 collection of planes, very nice WW1 planes, less impressed by the rest, but kids will love Concorde and I think you can visit a C47 (old DC3 used during WW2) and a helicopter ?
- some like 'la cité des sciences' I just went and disliked it - I think the areas for kids (under 6-7) seemed nice, but for grown-ups it was imho boring

More from others I'm sure - I kept museums out, but my kids have always loved Le Louvre.
Whathello is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 04:44 AM
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If your daughter is a big Monet fan, be sure to include the Orangerie and the Musée Marmottan, and of course the Musée d'Orsay.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 05:56 AM
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The Fat Tire bike tours look like fun for an active family.
A flight attendant friend of mine does this when she travels.

Finecheapboxofwine is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 11:39 AM
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I have done the FT bike tours.. and the one to Monets Gardens was my favorite.. driving along a little pedestrian bike lane along a river in the countryside.. a picnic .. its a great day out.

My boys were 13 when they had their visits to Paris ( we each took them on one on one visits.. we didn't want to try doing a group of five trip.. Paris is so built for smaller families it seems).. anyways.. both my boys though the Catacombs were a highlight.. my then 11 yr old daughter did not want to go to them at all.. but finally did last summer at 19.

All my kids had to pick out three sites for us to visit.. they all found different ideas ... its a great idea to get kids actively involved in planning as it heads off whining.. you visit church or museum with me.. I visit Catacombs or War museum with you ( ps.. the Invalids Army museum ended up being a hit with all of us much to my surprise )
justineparis is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 11:57 AM
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http://www.vacationinparis.com/search-results are from New Jersey, call them, have liked working with them as well as several friends. My apartment was very legal and they will answer any questions you might have. We paid them via credit card before we left. I would not use airb&b.
flpab is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 01:50 PM
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Regarding Monet---I once was given some advice (that I want very much to take but need to go between March and November)....visit Giverny to see Monet's gardens and then make L'Orangerie your first stop the next day as soon as it opens. You will get to see those huge waterlily canvases right after seeing them live.

Now, I need to stop going to Paris at Christmas so I can do this! I really do want to go to Giverny.

The kids might also enjoy the Catacombs.

Have a great time.
denisea is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 02:21 PM
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L'Orangerie is a must and has a little bit of everything same as Musse Marmottan which we enjoyed. Seeing Napoleon's tomb was very interesting and the displays of armor were great.

Get to the Catacombs early. We stayed in the 14th last trip and there were long lines after 10 am.
flpab is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 02:26 PM
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Can't your boys leave their skateboards home for a week. I may be a grouch about it, but honest, is there a life beyond the little wheels, whether or not French kids skate board.
OTOH, of course, before someone chastises me, it is an entree to the culture of the young people. Do what you want.
When we took our children (only 3) on a similar trip (3 weeks, several countries) we told them we would do things we (parents) wanted to do and things that they (kids) wanted to do. There was shopping and there were cathedrals. Worked pretty well.
I strongly recommend hiring Michael Osman for AT LEAST one day of touring in Paris. He will totally engage your children--as well as you. It will maximize your trip as nothing else can, particularly since you have not been before. He showed us things I had not seen in 10 previous trips.
Gretchen is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:10 PM
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Totally agree about getting Michael as a tour guide; the first time we had him, we were a party of seven, including our adult children, and he was fabulous. We’ve met with him every time since and always have something new to discover.

I’d make your apartment or hotel reservations pronto. The good ones go quickly. We (and our friends) have had very good experiences with www.parisvacationapartments.com.

Have a wonderful time! We hope to take our children and grandchildren in a few years. Paris is magical.
Iwan2go is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2016, 09:22 PM
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Monets gardens are closed off season, not sure if they reopen in march or april, but, sorry, notmopen at christmas.
justineparis is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2016, 01:03 AM
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Since you're travelling in Summer, you will need air-conditioning.

It is rare to find an apartment with "real" a/c - some will provide portable units in one bedroom or the living room, but these won't give you the same comfort you're probably used to. You might ask the manager to provide fans, or buy them yourself - floor models run around 30 EU. In any case, even if you have plenty of windows to provide a breeze, street noise will be a problem.

I think it will be very difficult to find a moderately-priced apartment sleeping 6 in decent beds which includes adequate a/c. You will also need more than one bathroom, which isn't the norm in most apartments here.

If you aren't planning to cook the majority of your meals every day, you might look for moderately-priced hotels with family rooms (or 2 adjoining rooms) and air-conditioning. Most will have mini-fridges, some offer coffee set-ups, and you can keep food in your room as long as you're neat about it. Some hotels include breakfast, but it's often less expensive - and more fun - to walk a few feet to the nearest cafe and people-watch.

Ibis is an excellent hotel chain that caters to families. Adagio and Citadines are legal apart'hotels with kitchenettes and laundry facilities. Check to verify which have a/c.
fuzzbucket is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2016, 02:26 AM
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A/C is not likely to be necessary in an old building with heavy stone walls. We had an apartment in the 10th last June when it was mid-90's. Keep the windows and curtains closed during the day to keep the heat out. Open it up at night. A fan or two is good. The heat usually only lasts a few days. Or you can play it safe.

I think skateboarding is a great entree for your boys. Have they watched parkour on YouTube? It is extremely cool, and they may want to seek out places where people do it. For my son, the sport was rock climbing on the Calanques and Alpilles in Provence.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2016, 03:55 AM
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Ibis Hotels have triples that could work for your family. The rooms are VERY VERY small, squeaky clean and cheap. Helpful desk staff.
Gretchen is offline  

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