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Momof4boys Jan 3rd, 2009 08:07 AM

Family Trip to Paris
We're considering taking our family to Paris this summer. We had a very successful trip to Germany last October. I am wondering if we can do Paris (family of 6) without renting a car. Specifically, what is a centrally located, reasonable hotel that is recommended? Taxi there and back from airport?

janisj Jan 3rd, 2009 08:17 AM

No one ever needs a car in Paris --

What is your hotel budget?

janisj Jan 3rd, 2009 08:18 AM

Meant to add - usually for a family, renting an apartment works out better than staying in hotels.

dlejhunt Jan 3rd, 2009 08:20 AM

You do not need a car in Paris. The Metro (subway) and the RER (train system) will take you just about anywhere you will want to go. I would also suggest that you look at renting an apartment vs. a hotel - you'll get a lot more room for your $$$. Check out VRBO. We have taken our family (2 kids) to Paris twice and the kids love it. We always stay in the 7th around the Eiffel Tower but friends who stayed there at the same time last summer - also a family of 6 - had a great apartment very close to the market street rue Montorgueil (sp?). As far as going back and forth from the airport, I always reserve a car with Blue Van. Bon voyage!

StCirq Jan 3rd, 2009 09:01 AM

You absolutely do not want a car in Paris.

The city has literally thousands of hotels. I suggest you and the family hunker down over some guidebooks and a good map and get a feel for the geography of the city and where the major areas of attraction are, then decide on a couple of areas that interest you, depending on what kinds of things you enjoy doing and seeing. For most first times, the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th arrondissements seem to hold the most appeal.

I also recommend for a group that large you look into apartments.

Whether you end up taking a taxi or not will depend on your budget and willingness to navigate a new public transport system after a long flight. I always take a taxi. Others prefer to take the RER/métro or a shuttle service.

When you've got some ideas mapped out folks here will be glad to help you refine your plans, but you need to give us a lot more to work with.

tuscanlifeedit Jan 3rd, 2009 10:59 AM

There is a Paris Apartment Thread on this board. You should be able to get a good list of reliable rental agencies from that thread.

tuscanlifeedit Jan 3rd, 2009 11:01 AM

But you posted things you love about Paris on another thread. I am surprised that you asked about a car...

kerouac Jan 3rd, 2009 11:12 AM

A car is useless in Paris, even if you want to go to Versailles or Fontainebleau.

Michel_Paris Jan 3rd, 2009 11:16 AM

Ditto about not getting a car. The RER, Metro, Bus and walking are the only required means to get around the city.

From the airport you have multiple choices: RER, taxi, shuttle, Air fracen byus, and Roissybus are a few. Cheapest and fastest is RER but if you do a search here you will find multiple discussions on the pros and cons of the different choices.

You won't get many recommendations here about accomodations without stating a budget. Are you 'fresh flowers in the room everyday' people or 'roof over my head'? Want to walk out of the door and 'be there' or want to be in a more 'local' environment?

Consider an appartment. There are also multiple threads here on recommended agencies and speciic appartments. ou will also find that this may be a cheaper option than renting 2/3 hotel rooms. Summer being busy, I'd lock this down fairly soon.

Michel_Paris Jan 3rd, 2009 11:18 AM

That would be "Air France" bus :( It and the Roissybus take you from the airport to pre-determined drop-off points. From there you could require transfering to Metro, walking,bus, taxi to get to final destination. The RER choice may also require transfer in order to get to final destination.

A search here will give you the names of some recommended shuttles.

Seamus Jan 3rd, 2009 11:47 AM

Paris for the family - YES
Rental car in Paris - absolutely NO
Where to stay - apartment with two bathrooms or two apartments in same building. Anywhere central and near a Metro stop is fine, bonus points for nearby grocery store. Check out the Paris apartment thread here.
Airport transfer - with that size group, arrange a pre-booked car transfer. I have used and have been happy with Airport Connection.

MomDDTravel Jan 3rd, 2009 09:13 PM

Just returned from 10 nights in Paris with 4 children. (11,15,18 and 18) - we rented a 3 bedroom apartment in the 5th. I would not not 4 boys to Paris and stay in a hotel.

We used a van service to pick us up and take us to the airport. - it was 85 Euros for the 6 of us. Unless you have carry on only I would not try to take the RER with that many people and bags. JMO.

Do not rent a car - period.

fourfortravel Jan 4th, 2009 02:51 AM


Go to Paris with the children--you'll have a wonderful time! We're taking our children (7, 12) for their second trip in February for a week (our first trip was during a summer.) On the summer trip we punctuated the sightseeing with ice cream and breaks in the nearest park--of course we didn't see everything, but that wasn't our goal.

I can't speak to the hotel question, but would suggest you consider renting an apartment. Having the space to unwind at the end of the day is nice, as is not having dining options dictated by restaurant reservations or room service menus (and prices.)

I agree with everyone else about not needing a car, too! Riding the Metro in Paris is an experience in itself.

rosiecaro Jan 4th, 2009 05:51 AM

I think the another important thing to talk about here is that ( we took 2 adolescents) we watched our kids gain confidence on the metro, we talked a lot about how to get back to the apt if they got lost, we choose this as a place to be if we got separated and made sure that they had an extra ticket. in order to get back to the apt. That all said we also let them plan our trip each time we got on, offered suggestions and it was great to watch them become confident. I have seen that experience bleed over into other things also here in the states. Travel is a VERY god thing for a kid. They would not have same experience in a car, not ti mention that I cuss when I am near the airport in Paris in a car which is not a good experience for them either! LOL

Momof4boys Jan 4th, 2009 02:22 PM

Sounds like an apartment is absolutely the way to go. I'll check out the thread right away. I was in Paris in 1990 and stayed in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower with my dear brother-in-law and his family, who are now in Germany.

We mostly took the Metro but had use of the car on several occassions as we ventured out to Chantilly and some other places. I wasn't sure how far public transportation could take us, but I guess the answer is "nearly anywhere". Thanks.

girlonthego Jan 4th, 2009 04:34 PM

I also recommend renting an apartment and just using the metro to get around. We have a family of four and we were cramped in our hotel room. Many won't allow even four in one room. So, I would go with the apartment idea.
Also, our family's favorite thing to do was the Fat Bike Tour. They give you a tour around the city center on bikes. Everyone from little kids to old people can do it. They also offer a tour in Versailles, but we didn't have time for that. My teens would have liked that.
If we ever get back, I think we will rent bikes to get around to many places. It was fun.

nytraveler Jan 4th, 2009 06:03 PM

A car in Paris is worse than useless. You'll be walking most places or taking the Metro. If your feet give out grab a couple of cabs - still WAY cheaper then renting car.

suze Jan 4th, 2009 06:19 PM

Definitely no car in Paris(!) I'd look at the 4th, 5th, or 6th, even 7th arrondisement for a centrally located hotel or apartment.

docdan Jan 4th, 2009 07:26 PM

Just saw a French movie where even the French make jokes about how difficult it can be to find parking in Paris. That is just one of many reasons why a car is strongly NOT recommneded. It's not just that you don't need one, you'll be a fool to try. In addition to metro and taxi, the surface bus system is quite easy to navigate, and most of the time was surprizingly fast, although occasionally snarled by traffic.

if your kids are teenagers, strongly recommned the catacombs. Tres cool.

MomDDTravel Jan 5th, 2009 05:24 AM

I second the recommendation of the catacombs - it was our 15 year old favorite part. Our younger dd was sick so she and I did not get to go - but 15 year old LOVED it.

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