Old Jan 8th, 2016, 11:40 PM
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This is my first time on Fodors and I would love some help. I will be in Paris from the 16-20th of March. We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children. Girls are 8 and 10. We have 2 full days to explore Paris and want to be very central to the best tourist things. Most people have told us to stay in the 5th or 6th arrondissement. I am looking on airbnb. Any recommendations.
Also we want to do private tours of Paris. What are the best things to do with the kids?
lissy12 is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2016, 12:51 AM
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I with those persons.. I however think renting an apartment for three nights is not worth the effort you NEED to make to be sure to get a decent apartment with good rental conditions.

I rent apartments in Paris.. and stay in hotel.. it depends.. for only 2-3 nights.. not worth it at all.

Sorry I have never bothered with private tours. I have taken my children.. my son alone with me when he was 13, and my daughter , alone with me when she was 11. I tailored what we saw and did to their younger sensibilities.

Your children are young.. so you must keep sightseeing light and fun..

Most children that age want to see the Eiffel Tower.

Also.. if you have them watch the Hunchback of Notre Dame they might be interested in climbing the Towers of Notre Dame..

A river cruise is nice if weather is ok.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 01:01 AM
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Welcome to the world of Fodorites!

Forget the 5th or 6th arrondissement recommendation. The main attractions are scattered all aver Paris. Within Paris, you travel by Metro and usually, the next Metro station is not far.

So, when you have found something on airbnb (or elsewhere), look carefully at the exaction location and how far the way to the next Metro station is.

Make yourself familiar with the map of Paris and the Metro map:

Usually tourists should stay in Paris (within the motorway ring which is called "Peripherique") and not in a suburb. However, in the suburbs, accomodation may be cheaper and some have quite good RER connections into central Paris. Still, you will lose time compared to an inner city location.

And some of the suburbs, especially those with large high-rise housing estates, are dangerous.
traveller1959 is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2016, 01:23 AM
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Our kids at that age loved the Louvre - especially the section with the mummies. They also loved seeing the Napoleon III Apartments with all their glamour.

But also all the magnificent buildings in Paris may be fascinating for kids - tell them stories and let them admire what the historical masons did. Make little games with them. Who is the first one to see a devil on Notre-Dame's facade? etc.

We never did a tour of Paris and would not recommend one, especially with kids.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 02:11 AM
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5-6 are full of tourists, I don't like that much sleeping there.

However I was there last week - hotel Saint-Andre des Arts right in the middle. Small (very) but quite nice. I paid next to nothing for Paris (75 €) they have family rooms.

I wouldn't bother with apts for such a small stay.
Avoid suburbs, not worth it, and you have already limited time. In any case don't go to northern suburbs (Aubervilliers).

Kids will love 'le jardin des plantes' but it can 'cost' you half a day.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 03:12 AM
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I prefer especially on a first trip to usea guide. Michael Osman is excellent and he is reasonable for a group as he charges a set price and not by the person. He is an Americsn artist who has lived in Paris for 20 years and very personable. His website is Paris Find.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 03:42 AM
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As said above, get a family hotel room. Your time is VERY short--you will have the concierge/desk to help you make reservations, give advice.
I was also going to suggest Michael and he is WONDERful--and excellent with children. You will maximize your time and trip immensely.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 03:59 AM
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That is hardly any time at all to spend in the world's most popular city. And it's not a good idea to rent an apartment for less than a week - you will lose precious hours waiting to get into it, figuring out how to deal with the building codes, figuring out how to deal with the appliances, figuring out the rubbish and recycling codes and practices, and generally not having any support for your travels unless you speak French, which the vast majority of American visitors don't. Get a hotel.

The 5th and 6th are expensive and overrun with tourists. If that makes you feel comfortable, go for it, but also be aware that overrun with tourists means overrun with pickpockets and other scammers and you must be vigilant, plus it means expensive.There is no place in Paris that is central to all the sights. The city was built up over many centuries, and hardly anyone in the past thousand years or so was concerned with making it a consolidated theme park for tourists. You're going to have to learn to navigate the city. Get a map and study it and reap what you can from and

There are guidebooks and websites devoted to the best things to do with kids in Paris. Get them and read them. Michael Osman, if you can get hold of him, is a valuable guide resource, but there are no end of things you can research on your own, and with the kids.

It's a real shame you have only 2 days for all of Paris. Is there any way you can extend this?
StCirq is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2016, 06:04 AM
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I wouldn't even consider AirBnb for someone who has never been in a place before and is only there a few days. I don't see anything wrong with staying in the 5th or 6th for someone who has never been there before and is, in fact, a tourist (declaiming that they are full of tourists as a reason you shouldn't). There are many other places you could stay, of course, but there is nothing wrong with those. I thin you should just stay somewhere convenient near the center, those places are, but so would be any arrondisement in the center core. And the main attractions for first-timers are mainly in the center of Paris, of course, they aren't in one spot.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 06:12 AM
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Our first trip to London and Paris with DDs (then11 and 14) they especially liked the Cluny museum of the middle ages (unicorn tapestries) which is small and manageable, attending the ballet and the Seine river cruise. They also loved exploring the isles in the river including Notre Dame and Ste Chapelle.

Eiffel tower is of course iconic, but ascending can take a lot of time - and if the weather is cloudy you don't really see that much.

There are some sections of the Louvre they might like - royal jewels, egyptian department - but you will know their museum interests from taking them at home.

I would stay in the center to avoid wasting time trekking to and fro - but be sure you are near a Metro station.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 06:26 AM
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I never stayed in an apartment in Paris, but numerous times in vacation rentals in other parts of France. From these experiences, I can confirm that it can be quite complicated. It starts that you have to get the key when you arrive. Often, you have to get to an office in a different part of town in order to get the key. Then, the office might be closed and you have to wait for an hour or two. Communication might be difficult if they speak French only.

And yes, operating a French apartment can be challenging. We never stayed in a vacation rental without at least one power failure during our stay, sometimes three or four. And then the play starts, where to find the fuse box in the dark? And then the second play: the gas has run out. Communicate with the landlord to get the gas container replaced. It certainly requires quite a bit or organizing and can ruin half a day of your stay. Or the third play: the sewage system has an overflow (I give no details here). And then leaving the apartment. You make a date for the final inspection. The inspector will come and check if you have cleaned everything and did not damage and there might be discussions... (this is not fiction, we have had all this already).

I just made a hotel search for a dummy date. It revealed 974 hotels in Paris. Simply by sorting them by price and checking the stars and ratings, you can find quite a few good deals.

Then you look on the map and if there is a Metro station nearby put it on the shortlist. Then open Google Earth, enter the address and look at the photos of the surrounding area. You see the nearby attractions, restaurants, shops and, with Street View, how the area looks. This is the way, I find my hotels.

Or use Hotwire. They often have great deals. With you can often even identify the hotel they offer.

I usually prefer small family-run boutique hotels, especially in Paris. But with two kids, it might make sense to find a hotel room with a kitchenette, so check the chains, too.
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