Traveling to Paris with kids

Old Nov 14th, 2000, 09:41 PM
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Traveling to Paris with kids

I am planning to take my family to Paris in a couple of years. My kids will be 14, 13, 12 and 6 by then. While it may seem like it's a little early, I need to know how much damage ($$$) this trip is going to cause, and also, what the best times of year are to travel there (weather, hotel prices, airfares, etc.) Any info will be appreciated!
Old Nov 15th, 2000, 03:03 AM
Randall Smith
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Hello, <BR> <BR>I generally don't recommend taking your kids to France if you want to enjoy yourself. All my friends who have done it had less than a wonderful vacation. We took our 18 year old daughter to France for her highschool graduation and she was miserable the whole time. She had awful jet lag, slept all the time, couldn't find any food she would eat (although that was 1989 and they definitely have more McDonalds now), and oh yes she really missed her highschool sweatheart. We also have many friends who have done it. Our neighbors did it last year and their comment was it ruined their trip and next year they will be leaving the kids home. <BR> <BR>I guess if your kids are perfect and travel very, very well, and you just have to do it, I would say go ahead and try it. <BR> <BR>That also will be quite expensive to have what may be a less than enjoyable time. Air fare during the summer when most kids can go is very high. Plan on about $800 - $900 per ticket, and it will be difficult to find a room large enough for 6, therefore you will need to have two hotel rooms or rent a larger apartment. <BR> <BR>I hope this helps. If you decide to go ahead and do it I wish you will. I would like to hear from others who may have a different view on the subject. We own a two Bedroom, two bath apartment in the Latin Quarter which would accomodate a family such as yours. Therefore I am interested in what experience others have had so I can make recommendations to our guests. <BR> <BR>Good luck what ever you decide, <BR> <BR>Sincerely, <BR> <BR>Randall Smith
Old Nov 15th, 2000, 03:57 AM
jo ann
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Good morning Giselle. I see you are like me: a planner! I also start thinking about each vacation several years ahead; gets me thru my business trips and day to day life. (I'm on business travel now). <BR>I offer advice from 2 perspectives: We took our 10 yr old only-child daughter in 1999 when she was 10. It was spectacular; she loved seeing real castles (I wanted her to do that while she still remembered loving various fairy tales!), she was always able to find food she loved (and we never once resorted to Mickey D's or anything like that, altho we did frequently order "pommes frites" when available), she knew at a year ahead that the Louvre had 3 things she wanted to see (the Mona Lisa and that lady with no arms and the Egyptian stuff) so we had a lovely 5 hrs or so there and focused on those areas. <BR>Quantifiers: at home, we rarely stop at McD's anyway; her school is really big on field trips & appropriate behavior; the child loves to shop, so when boredom did hit, I could just give her 45 mins or so to hit a "boutique"; she did love the castles, the dogs and cats of Paris (luckily, brought none home), and just the various street scenes. You do need to be sensible: we were usually among the earlier diners in our restaurants/cafes of choice, and we didn't stay out too late (even I get grumpy w/too little sleep; magnify that for kids) Also, she was at the age where we were still fun ~ we're doing 2 more weeks in France next summer, including a "family oriented" bike trip; at this age, kids are more important to her, but I still think we can get along just fine. <BR>Flip side: I am the oldest of 6 children. I remember, frankly, that we squabbled a good bit of the time. So, you will have know how well the kids get along! <BR>You don't mention gender mix: I still think girls are great fun, and there is that shopping thing going for them. <BR>My advice: start watching this site, copying *everything* (hotels, inexpensive restaurants, sites etc) and keep track of it. For costs, I think you have to structure it as you can. I agree with the first poster, in that summer is the most expensive. I hope that you are considering your spring break for this trip? If you want longer than a week, can you pull out/stay out an extra day or so each side to stretch the time? Air fares would be less. If you don't already have a credit card that gives frequent flyer points, get one; we are once again using 3 business class tickets next summer. I've had great luck because: I call a year ahead and find the absolute first day that I can book the tickets, I call very early that first day, and I normally don't try for Saty to Saty (we're going next July on a Tuesday, returning Thursday 16days later). Even if you need 5 or 6 (coach?) tickets, you have a good shot of getting at least several of them if you start planning now! (we charge literally everything we can, and pay it off every month). <BR>Final tip: before we went, I got my daughter excited. Start *now* telling your kids how much fun it will be! We watched movies (EverAfter w/Drew Barrymore is fun and mood-setting), ate food (my husband made her try an escargot; she got it down but declined the experience in France. But: she got into the breads, fruits, salads, roasted chicken, etc etc). Pass on ideas from this post to your kids starting now, ideas like the roller-blading on Friday nights, going to the American movies for sugared popcorn! (These are both ideas that I picked up on this forum, and my daughter heard about them immediately.) Go for it!!! (And, if money is a problem, then they'll just be a year older when you pull it off!) After all, if their mom wants to do this, they are probably going to love it too ~ the magic of Paris is truly multi-generational!
Old Nov 15th, 2000, 04:31 AM
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The last poster's hints are great. We took our only child (daughter) and her good friend (almost like family - a girl we knew very well), in January at ages 10 and 11 1/2. We rented an apartment and had a ball. The kitchen gave us a chance to bring in pastry for breakfast, have some fresh fruit, stop back for tea in the afternoon and even pick up "take out" (but what takeout!) from wonderful shops nearby. We were near Place St Michel, so could walk/metro/bus almost anywhere. The girls were really not read for lengthy restaurant meals, so cafes and bistros served us well. They also loved the crepes and sandwiches we could buy on street corners. We tried to do something for everyone - Luxembourg Gardens, Louvre, Picasso museum, kitchenware shop, looking for Beanie Babies. Overall, a great time. Not sure how it would be with teenagers; you know your own children best.
Old Nov 15th, 2000, 06:34 AM
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The suggestions above are great! Prepare your kids for Paris - my 8 year old had something in each museum she wanted see! Use their interests to get them prepared: history, art, music, even sports. Read "Take Your Kids to Europe" by Cynthia W. Harriman. It will give you budget ideas, as well as what works with older kids. Although traveling with children can be difficult, keep in mind that you can learn much about and enjoy French culture and daily life from a child's point of view. Frankly, I would prefer biking or hiking through the French countryside, with lunch at a small cafe, to a full day of tour guides and dinner at a stuffy, fancy restaurant. But if you want a nice meal, and if your older kids will watch the little one, feed them early, and then go out by yourselves.
Old Nov 15th, 2000, 09:01 AM
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I'm taking my 2 and 8 year olds to Paris next week. I took the older one to provence for two weeks when she was 5. No problems at all. just make sure to do something the kids will enjoy. For example, instead of gambling in Monte Carlo, we went to see the doll museum and enjoyed it a lot. Have fun relax and don't try to see everything. (you won't anyway).
Old Nov 15th, 2000, 05:04 PM
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My husband and I went with my 13 and 16 year old to France and Germany in April this year, our first time abroad. Yes the 16 yr had jetlag and missed her boy friend, but we had a wonderful time. The key I think is in alot of planning and allowing down time. We went at Easter since it was less pricey. We stayed in a small apartment in Paris off the main drag but in a student section. Each person got to pick something they really wanted to do, and we all agreed not to whine if we were less than thrilled with the choice. And it did work out. As with any issue in child-rearing, children often rise to meet expectations when they know what to expect and have a say in what is going on. And I got to see the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, take a boat ride on the Bateaux Mouches, check out French video games, eat gizards among many other things. Go have fun. It is a trip you will never forget. You can E-mail me if you want some specifics.
Old Nov 15th, 2000, 05:07 PM
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We had a great trip to Italy and France last summer with our girls ages 11, and 15years. Take your kids. Different from the above poster, it will be a trip you will never forget. They will get along the same way there, as they do at home. Of course, my kids don't have perfect behavior. In general, they behave appropriately in public, and show their nasty side in private. We prefer to stay in low cost hotels rather than B&B type places because the soundproofing is much better, and we don't constantly have to "shush" them like you might in a guesthouse. Since your trip is in a couple of years, it's hard to say what the cost will be because you won't know the exchange rate. To give you a ball park figure, we spent about $6,500 for four for three weeks- That includes airfare, car rental, hotels, food, sightseeing cost (everything except souvenirs)We had two free airfare tickets on frequent flyers, You need to make those reservations one year ahead of time to get all your seats together. And we got quite a few decent hotel discounts using those flyer coupons and Entertainemtn Book. We had several nights at Holiday Inn Express for less than $50 a night for all four with breakfast!(outside of Paris) Paris hotels were more expensive than elsewhere. But there are some nice budget places. have a great time planning-it's part of the fun

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