France with Kids

Dec 21st, 2006, 07:40 PM
Original Poster
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France with Kids

Where in France would my 10 and 7 year olds like to visit ? We have 8 days in August.
spinesrgn is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 07:54 PM
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What do your kids enjoy doing?
Underhill is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 03:27 AM
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Paris is always a good start. There is something there for even the pickiest kid. We were just in France with our three young kids and they loved just about everything. We did spend alot of time showing them things they would see in France before we left. They got a big kick out of seeing the actual things when wee arrived. We also opted to visit more kid friendly museums like the L'Orangere as opposed to the Louvre. The kids were more familiar with some of the impressionist paintings and artists and it was fun for them to recognize some of the works. Also, we found most of the tours in the museums were in french, so prepping at home really helped. My kids also loved a boat ride up the river. It was a great way to view some of the great sites of Paris.

We then headed down to the Dordogne region which was spectacular. I don't know if you'll have enought time to make that trip, but it was interesting for the kids. Ther are lots of castles a well preserved villages.

Have a great trip.
prhirsch is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 03:49 AM
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If you do paris try the cite de science. Like all the good ones lots of buttons.

Generally the French like children so plan to involve them in what you do
bilboburgler is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 05:00 AM
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France is a big country filled with lots of variety. In August, all seaside destinations will be jampacked, and the mountains will be too. Were it me, I might consider southwest France and its many caves, with easy access (with a car) to both mountains and beach.

Paris is empty in August, which I personally like, but make sure everything on your wish list is open (and that you have accommodations with air conditioning). Your kids might enjoy sunbathing on the "beaches" of the Seine with the Parisians and day trips to Versailles if the weather is not too hot. There's a carousel up by Sacre Couer as well as near the Tour Eiffel.

Many fast trains leave Paris for other parts of France, so starting in Paris might be the simplest thing to do.
nessundorma is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 05:17 AM
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We have spent some time in the Dordogne area and thought that it would be a great place for kids. Canoeing down the Dordogne, balloon rides, visiting chateaux, hiking trails, horseback riding, visiting prehistoric caves, dinosaur theme parks are all things that our children would have enjoyed at that age. There are plenty of casual restaurants, countryside, markets, small towns that can be visited quickly and left. Walnut factories, castles would keep a kid's attention.
Rent a house and a car and you will be set. I would save Paris for an older age (maybe one day on the way through).
One thing that we also saw in the Dordogne area was gym parks. These had climbing structures, rope swings, tree houses, etc. that looked fabulous.
robjame is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 05:17 AM
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My kids love France now ages 11, 10 and 9. They can't wait to go back and always talk about it. Besides the things I will list below the French kids themselves are fascinated and interested to hear English and love trying out their school English. Your kids will make friends everywhere they go. I have girls and I think they really like the openess of the cute little French boys who seem to flirt so innocently. It's very sweet and very innocent and shows your kids another culture.

The French do love and welcome kids most places. In Paris and most large cities there are carousels, bumper cars and little parks with playing equipment most everywhere you can walk to and sometimes where you least expect them. You will always run into one or the other of these. There are also ice cream vendors or shops on almost every block.

The kids will obviously like the Eiffel Tower, The Seine Boat rides and also the hop on hop off double decker busses where they will want to sit outside up top. The kids will also love to see all the pets all over.
They will love taking the TGV train somewhere and if you fly into CDG there is a Concorde plane outside which is something kids or your age probably don't remember will but can see in person.

Then you have the South of France which is a Paradise for families with children. When you leave your children will remember this for a long time. The beautiful blue sky shining on the sparkling blue water, the promeneades along the coast from Italy to Spain with CArousels, music, vendors, parks, So much animation it is like one big park but beautiful and tons of culture for the adults and kids to absorb without even trying. All along the shops selling beach toys hanging outside is like a fantasy for kids. It really is. So while you are doing sightseeing in Provence, Paris or Dordogne you kids will enjoy being there with you no matter what.

It goes without saying that August is super busy and congested in the South of france but so well worth it and busy for a reason.
lemidi is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 05:48 AM
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I forgot to mention the caves in the Dordogne region. They were a real win!
prhirsch is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 05:48 AM
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They would love Paris. My kids loved anything that could be climbed to the top of and looked out of - top of Notre Dame, top of the Arch de Triomphe, etc. No complaining about the climb; they enjoyed it.

There are street entertainers at lots of places.

There are fantastic playgrounds. Our favorite was at the Tuilleries - fun climby toys, trampolines, carousel. The Luxemborg Gardens also has a nice playground.

The kids loved eating crepes and chwarmas off the streets.

This may be blasphemy for some, but my kids brought their game boys in their pockets. I just can't pass up a church, cathedral or chapel, so when we'd dash into a church, the kids would look around for a couple of minutes, then sit down and play game boy; that would give me more time to look at the church more thoroughly. I'm not saying that they played game boy in Notre Dame or Ste. Chappelle, but it helped me fit in a few more "minor" churches without kid complaints.

The kids also loved the Picasso Museum. It's not huge. It was fun to look at the painting, guess what it was, then read the description. The Pompidue/Beauburg also has some great modern art, a cool building and a great view.
missypie is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 06:07 AM
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Missypie, great idea about the gameboy. I'll try that one next trip.
lemidi is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 06:15 AM
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Any of the smaller museums on the Museum Pass might hold some interest, like the air and space, mint, military history, and the like. Don't overlook Parc Asterix.
Robespierre is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 06:19 AM
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Our daughter is now 13 and has traveled in France since she was just 14 months old. We've spent a week or more in Paris (several times), Alsace, Dordogne and Correze, Burgundy, Normandy, and our much-loved/much-visited Provence. We spent 7-1/2 months in France just after her 11th birthday and lived in Provence for most of that time. (She attended a small village school.) She has loved it all-- big cities and towns, small villages, outdoor activities, history, museums markets, beaches and mountains. You will find quite a variety in France, and I think much of it is appealing to young people. I'd recommend looking at lots of photos, perhaps a great guidebook with photos like the Eyewitness Guide for France and see what appeals to you most. With eight days, I'd also recommend no more than two destinations... perhaps Paris and someplace in the countryside.

August can be quite hot, especially in certain parts of the country. And it's also the peak vacation time for Europeans. You should factor that into your plans.

You might enjoy this piece I wrote on activities for children and families in Provence: We were in Provence this past July/August for a month, and I'd now add canoeing to this list... especially refreshing on a hot day!

Dec 22nd, 2006, 07:00 AM
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For anyone old enough to know what happened in Normandy and what it means to world history, a day or two there is a must. In any event, take them to the American Cemetery and maybe, if they're lucky, they'll get some sense of the price of their freedom.
Robespierre is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 07:02 AM
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Normandy, great beaches and many old gun emplacements to play in.
And learn about too !
War museums, cemeteries
Then in other regions There is futurescope and puydufou themeparks.
Mucky is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 08:52 AM
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Is the OP going to tell us what her/his kids enjoy doing???
Underhill is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 09:38 AM
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Wow, thanks for the quick and varied responses. We were thinking about the Loire. Any comments ?
spinesrgn is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 09:49 AM
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You know your own children but Loire your emphasis will be chateaux and... well chateaux.
... and war mseums, cemeteries and a sense of their freedom. These children are seven years old and 10 years old. The freedom these kids want a better sense of, is their summer holidays.
Come on you fellow teachers... help me out.
robjame is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2006, 10:01 AM
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We took our then-10-year-old son to the Loire Valley, as part of a trip that also included Paris and London. He enjoyed the Loire, and it was nice he could experience something of the European countryside.

We stayed for 3 nights/2 1/2 days. That was a good amount of time, though we would also have enjoyed one additional day. We visited a variety of chateaux from different time periods. Chenenceau, Cheverny, Chaumont, Chambord and Fougeres. We did the audio guide at Chambord, which we all enjoyed. My son's favorites were probably Chambord and Fougeres.

We also spent a lot of time at Clos Luce, which is where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last several years. In the park below the chateau, there are life-sized models of some of da Vinci's inventions. My son LOVED those.

Oh, and he also enjoyed seeing the houses built into the tufa cliffsides; some are in Amboise itself, and some are on the roads between the chateaux. We had lunch in a restaurant built into a cliff; that was fun for all.

I don't know about 8 days in the Loire Valley; to me, that would be a lot. But there are plenty of other activities in the area.
Lexma90 is offline  

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