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Mother and daughter trip (with a little bit of Dad) to Paris and London

Mother and daughter trip (with a little bit of Dad) to Paris and London

Apr 29th, 2013, 06:38 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,216
We climbed it - of course, mine are older - ages 9, 11 and 12. It really isn't that big of a deal.
- The stairs are wide, so there is room to pass people climbing down.
- The treads are also wide - not like the claustrophobic ones in Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur.
- They turn every 11-13 steps, so there are landings to "breathe" on and take a break if needed.
- You climb halfway to Level 1 and then can take a break - sit down, get a snack before you continue.
- You are outside (good if spring and cold, I guess bad if hot) so there is a fresh breeze.
- The only line was waiting to pay (about 10 minutes). LInes for the elevators were much longer.
- Can use stairs going back down after going up. Last trip, even though we took elevator up, we still used stairs to go down because it was faster than being stuck in a line waiting for elevator.

- not sure I'd do if really hot day (although squished elevators don't sound fun either).
- Once started... you are committed (although could probably buy a ticket at Level 1 ?

We did not go to top level - and did not regret it or feel bad about it at all. We are also fans of "controlling our own destiny" - not terribly patient line people (surfdad probably gets antsier than kids). There were lots of kids climbing - of all ages, but probably more 8 - 14 year olds than anything. We actually wondered if they were field trips from somewhere, because they would come in groups and there would be a large gap before anyone else (maybe a few out of shape stragglers).

If I had to do it again tomorrow, I'd climb again. Grab a water before you go - it is nice to have on the way up. (And for a point of reference, I had a broken foot in January - only got the boot off about 3 weeks before I climbed Notre Dame towers and Eiffel Tower in one day. The foot did great - the cardio was a little lacking due to the lack of exercise in the 3 months prior to the trip).
surfmom is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 03:36 AM
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i like the idea of "tension", did Dad have a hissy fit?
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 06:42 AM
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Dad didn't have a hissy fit I have a very hard time blocking out our daughter when she starts to complain about things. My husband on the other hand is very capable at ignoring her and not letting it interfere with his enjoyment of a situation. It would probably be better if I were more like him.
eastave is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 06:45 AM
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Day 4: After a light breakfast, we headed to Notre Dame to get in line to climb the towers. Here, the museum pass does not let you skip the line. We got in line around 10:30 and spent about 30 minutes waiting. You begin by climbing to the first level. You then wait a bit to climb to the top of one of the towers. The wait is because there is one set of stairs that can handle one way of traffic. Once you get to the very top, you are then stuck waiting while the group before you walks down and the group after you climbs up, before you get to go down. We enjoyed climbing the towers, but it took longer than we thought it would. Once down, we went back to Flore en l’Ile for a repeat of the omelet special. Even though it was cold, daughter convinced Dad to buy her an ice cream from Berthillon.

We then walked over to Luxembourg Gardens. There is a great playground here. It costs a couple Euros to get in. Parents can pay and enter, or sit on benches surrounding the play area. Daughter could have stayed here for hours. They have a really cool zip line. Here is a video of daughter on it:


From here we walked over to the Delacroix museum. I wouldn’t have paid to visit, but we had the museum pass, so spent 30 minutes here. The gardens were lovely, and seeing his studio was interesting. From here we went to Ile de la Cite to catch the one hour boat tour along the Seine. After several visits to Paris, this was my first boat ride. It was a lovely afternoon, and a very nice way to see the sights from a different vantage point.

We went home and packed up. We had dinner at Brasserie Balzar. I had the beet salad, which was great, and the chicken, which was ok. Dad had the onion soup and chateaubriand, and really enjoyed both. They have a kid’s menu, which, at least for our visit, was chicken and frites. We ended with the chocolate cake.
eastave is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 08:24 AM
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I know that zip line! Last trip (3 years ago), the kids loved it - ages 6, 8, and 10 ... we spent a long time there (we sat outside - too cheap to pay to go in when all three kids stick together and we could see). I remember a fries stand right outside that playground (apparently, for us, kids travel revolves around fries and ice cream).
surfmom is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 08:36 AM
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Our travel style slowed down when we became parents, and we spend lots of time in parks and at playgrounds. On this trip, it was quite pleasant to sit on a bench in the Tuileries soaking up some sun.

Day 5: Our train to London was shortly after 11. We left the apartment a little after 9 and found we had plenty of time. In fact, we could have made the 10:15 train. We ate on the train – not so good. In London, we took a cab to our hotel.

We immediately took the tube to the Tower. We got in just in time to catch the start of a Beefeater tour. Daughter glued herself to the guide. We visited the white tower, the crown jewels (totally up Daughter’s alley, but not so interesting to her parents), the bloody tower, and the torture exhibit. We got caught up in a reenactment, where daughter ended up being in the group of spies. We took the tube home and ate dinner at a Thai restaurant near our hotel on Store Street (Busaba Eathai). It was quite good for being a chain.
eastave is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 08:51 AM
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Love your report. What a great way to see the city through a child's eyes.

Since we usually rent an apt. on Ile St. Louis, you took me back to many a time sitting by the open windows of Le Fleur en Ile watching the world go by---ahhhh!

I love the look of the apt. you rented. Yes, it's a busy area but oh so convenient. I hope to take my granddaughter to Paris. I do like the idea of a camera. It gives them a chance to chronicle what they liked. My friend's grandson took 1,200 photos of Rome---needless to say the delete function was much needed.

Thanks for taking us along. More please!
TPAYT is online now  
Apr 30th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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After reading about the things that your child enjoyed, I'm convinced that my late husband and I have more in common with her than with most adults!

Fun report!
TDudette is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 10:48 AM
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Glad you all are enjoying it. We had a great time.

Day 6: We went to the British Museum. Daughter really wanted to see the Elgin Marbles. We were in Greece last summer and after visiting the Parthenon museum, she became an avid supporter of returning the pieces to Greece. Things are much more black and white to 6-year olds. We got a kid’s packet that gave her things to look for in various exhibits. We found that London was fantastic for keeping kids occupied in museums and churches with special activities and audio guides.

We walked to Soho for lunch and ate at an Italian restaurant, Forty Dean Street (on Dean Street). It was very good. We walked over the Thames to see how long the line was for the London Eye. We were told the wait was around 30 minutes. Daughter was interested in going on the Eye, but was easily convinced to ride the neighboring carousel instead, saving lots of money and time! Daughter then wanted to watch a street show, and ended up being in it, getting to learn some hip hop type moves. She was very excited. We next went to Westminster Abbey. Dad was surprised at how expensive it was, 18 Euros for adults, but it included the audio guide. It is an impressive place to visit.

For dinner we went to a pizza place (Saporitalia, 22 Portobello Rd) Dad thought he had gone to on a previous visit. It turned out not to be the same place, but it was really, really good, and definitely worth the extra effort to get there.
eastave is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Day 7: Today Dad was working. Daughter and I went over to St. Paul’s Cathedral. They have a fantastic audio guide for kids. We didn’t have nearly enough time here. We did half the audio guide and climbed to the whispering gallery and the next level, but not the top.

We had to get to the Ritz by 11:30 for tea. When daughter was four, we went to Claridge’s for tea. I tried to reserve there again, but they were booked. This was what daughter was most excited about doing. I was a little worried about this since they are very clear on their formal dress code, but I am never quite sure what this means for women. I wore black dress pants, a black blouse and a purple cardigan, and had no trouble. We were seated immediately in the Palm Court. It was a fantastic experience. It certainly lived up to daughter’s expectations. Happily, they charge a reduced rate for children.

After tea, we walked through Green Park to have a look at Buckingham Palace. It was quite warm, and we were a little over dressed, so we headed back to the hotel. Daughter played in the tub for 30 minutes. I gave her a variety of options: Try to get tickets to the Mama Mia matinee, go back to the London Eye, or go to a playground. She opted for the latter, so we walked over to Coram’s Fields. We got there before school had let out, so the playground for bigger kids wasn’t very crowded. This playground also had a zip line. Coram’s Fields has cages of bunnies and some birds. We were here over an hour. It was fun watching the groups of kids tearing in after school in their various school uniforms.

We had tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower. We decided to take the tube down to Westminster Pier and take the boat to the Tower from there. It was a gorgeous evening for a boat ride and there was hardly anyone along for the ride. Shortly after getting off the boat, the tower bridge opened up. This was pretty exciting to see.

We then walked over to St. Katherine’s Docks to find a place to eat. We ended up in an Indian Restaurant (Mala). They were nice enough to make a version of butter chicken with no heat at all, and daughter enjoyed that along with naan and mango juice. We had a couple of hours to kill, so we ate slowly and I let her watch a video on my itouch.

After dinner, we walked out on the tower bridge and had a nice view of lit up London. This was a late night for us; we hadn’t yet stayed out past sunset! The Ceremony of the Keys was worth doing. I found it fairly humorous in some places. And the poor guy who played the horn at the end was so bad, it sounded like a 5th grader. He hit several wrong notes. We also had the misfortune of having our group include a baby that screamed through most of it. If you have a small child, this is probably not something you should do. I am sure they expected he/she would be sleeping at that time, but things don’t always work out as planned. Since it was close to 10:30 when we got out of there, I opted to take a cab back to the hotel. Daughter fell asleep on the ride home.
eastave is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 06:37 AM
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Day 8: This was the end of the warm weather for us. It was considerably cooler and it drizzled off and on in the morning. Dad was still working, so we decided to go to Hyde Park. We walked through a bit of it and ended up at Princess Di’s playground. We came here when daughter was 4, and it was really crowded. I remember constantly losing sight of her. This time it was almost empty, and she is old enough I don’t feel like I need to have her constantly in my sight. She had fun here and made a friend. I couldn’t figure out why this other girl, who was a couple years older, kept going over to her parents. It turned out that she was Italian, and was asking how to say things in English. I read some literature on the bulletin board here about the structure of the play area and it pointed out that an important part of playing is learning to take risks. This is why there is some possibility of getting hurt on the equipment. I think this attitude is what makes the playgrounds in Paris and in London more fun than their equivalents in the U.S. and Canada. We went back to our hotel and had lunch with Dad and a friend at the Italian place on Store Street (Olivelli).

After lunch, Dad and daughter decided to take a nap. Daughter was tired from the late night before. I was skeptical that this would work, but was happy to let them try I went to the National Gallery and enjoyed two hours on my own. They joined me and we got daughter an audio guide and I did one of the kid’s tours with her. She claims that this was her favorite museum of the trip, and it was all because of the kid’s audio guide. I really wish more places did this. It was fun for me too, since I had heard the adult commentary on a number of the same paintings already. We walked back home through Soho and ate at Prix Fixe (next door to Forty Dean Street, on Dean Street). It wasn’t anything amazing, but was fine.
eastave is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 12:19 PM
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Departure day: Our flight wasn’t until 3. Since it was so close to our hotel, we went back to the British Museum, where daughter and I got the kid’s audio guide. We did the Egyptian tour and the Early Britain tour. Daughter liked the audio guide, but I found it a bit annoying. The idea is two British kids are abducted by an alien who makes them take him on a tour around the museum. I would have preferred general commentary aimed at a kid’s level. But, as I said, she enjoyed it.

We took a cab to the airport (Dad could get reimbursed for it). We got there with plenty of time. Our flight left a little late. I had the misfortune of having an older woman behind me who tried to sleep on her tray table or just by leaning up against my seat. This meant that my seat was constantly being jostled as she shifted her weight. At one point she sat back in her seat, but then decided to put her bare foot on my armrest! I put my pillow between her foot and my arm, and she eventually dropped her foot. In the end, I switched spots with Dad. He is heavier and wasn’t bounced around as much as I was. On the plus side, it wasn’t like I was trying to sleep. I would have been more annoyed if this had happened on our flight over there. We had a long layover and our connecting flight was delayed over an hour. Daughter crashed shortly after eating dinner in the Toronto airport, but was very good about propelling herself on and off the plane.
eastave is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 05:33 PM
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Thanks for a great tale! I am thinking about your comment on audio tours for kids as I am a volunteer at a small local museum and wonder if we could do that for our guests. Anyway, glad that you are home safe and sound and that you had such a good trip. Your daughter sounds like a treasure!
irishface is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 07:42 PM
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Irishface, even printed material geared towards kids is great. The British Museum had a packet that had a scavenger type hunt in various rooms, I.e. find the women carrying wine jugs, horseman with helmet, etc... And, the National Gallery had a packet that was similar, but asked questions about various pictures and left some spaces where the kid can draw the painting.

It doesn't take much, at least for my kid, to make a museum more exciting. I really appreciated the efforts these museums made.

Yes, it was a great trip!
eastave is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 09:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Great report! Good read! We are going with our 3 children in 27 days! Hope we have as much fun!
caroline65 is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 10:05 PM
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irishface, you might find some tips at
PatrickLondon is offline  
May 3rd, 2013, 03:55 AM
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Patrick, that link is cool. Thanks for posting it.

Caroline65 have fun!
eastave is offline  
May 3rd, 2013, 11:05 AM
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I enjoyed your posts. I can't wait to take my six-year old daughter to Paris and London. Hopefully soon! The museums, parks, carousels, food--what exciting experiences for a kid (and adult).
ktcat is offline  

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