yk + family 1 week in Paris Nov 2022

Old Nov 12th, 2022, 01:52 AM
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yk + family 1 week in Paris Nov 2022

Hello, our family of 3 (me, husband, and our 10-year-old son) spent the first week of November 2022 in Paris. Originally my son and I had booked a trip for April 2020, but of course if had to be cancelled. November isn’t a school vacation time for us, but he has 2 days off from school this week, and his birthday also falls on the same week, so we decided to take the week off, taking advantage of cheaper airfare (as compared to school vacation week).

Both my husband and I have been to Paris multiple times, but this is the first time for our son.

Advanced bookings
I am the queen of procrastination, so even though i booked our flights back in June 2022, i didn’t start my search for accommodations until end of August. By then, almost all of the apartments agencies recommended here were full. But as luck would have it, Guest Apartment Services still had 2 available, both for week-long rental. We opted for the smaller, cheaper one on Ile Saint-Louis, partly because of cost, but mostly because it looks into an inner courtyard which means a more quiet space.

I didn’t seem to learn from my procrastination, as i dragged my feet on checking Eiffel tower tickets (online booking opens 2 months ahead). I know i would like us to visit the tower on my son’s birthday, but by the time I checked (~3 weeks earlier), the summit elevator tickets were all sold out. My only choice would be to try for walk-up tickets on the day of, for the “stairs to 2nd level + elevator to summit”. These tickets are not available online. Once again, as luck would have it, I checked their website 1 week prior to our trip and they released more summit via elevator tickets, so i booked us the few open time slots (4pm entry).

The only other tickets i booked in advance before we left were for the opera de Paris and Orchestre de Paris (for myself). Catacombs require advance booking but it’s cheaper to buy day-of online, I checked their websites daily to make sure they still had plenty left.

Conciergerie, Sainte-Chapelle, Louvre all require advance booking for a time slot entry, but for these i waited until we arrived; i had no trouble securing slots just the day before.

DAY 0-1
We flew red-eye on Aer Lingus via Dublin, as it was one of the cheaper options (besides the new budget airline Play, which i didn’t want to try). Our 3 tickets, including a checked bag, came out to just under $2000. I thought Dublin airport, being fairly small, would be an easy transit, but it wasn’t. Not sure if i would do this again. It was a long walk to the main terminal, then we had to board a bus to a satellite terminal, before walking out on to the tarmac and climbed up stairs to our connecting flight. Both flights were full and neither husband nor myself got any sleep on the first flight. Our son started throwing up towards the end of the first flight, needing to change his clothes at the dublin airport. He threw up again on the second flight. You can imagine how happy I was that I had booked a car service (via Guest Service Apartments) to pick us up at CDG. i have always been a frugal traveler all my life, esp when younger, but at this point, knowing we would be exhausted, jet-lagged, with a child and a checked luggage, a car service was worth it. Our son threw up again in the car (we stocked up on air sickness bags).

By the time we checked into our apartment it was 2:30 pm. Our son promptly crawled into bed and slept. I ventured out to the St. Paul area to get cash from the ATM, and then grocery shopping at Franprix for provisions. Back at the apartment I took a nap, showered, then made a simple dinner. I had a cup of coffee and then i headed to Paris Opera for the final performance of the Salome run. That evening, we all had trouble sleeping. Our son fell asleep initially but then woke up at 12:30am and couldn’t fall back asleep. eventually we all took some melatonin and finally fell asleep around 2am.
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 02:16 AM
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Dear yk....I am in Paris now and following your every word......more soon I hope....
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 02:31 AM
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Oh dear, yk - what a start. Whatever follows must be better! Thank goodness you booked the car service.

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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 07:42 AM
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Day 2

I forgot to mention 2 things above:
1. Another ticket i had pre purchased was guided tour for Musee des arts forains. They are only open a few days a week and by guided tours only.

2. My son has never, ever throw up in his life until this trip, so he actually no idea of what was happening until after the fact, hence the need to change clothes, If he had known, we would have gotten the airsickness bag ready ahead of time.


Day 2, Sunday - taking it easy on foot

We left home (Boston) Friday night and now it is already Sunday in Paris. With our jet lag, we slept until 10am. Since we are planning to get the Navigo decouverte for the following week,i thought we would keep our sightseeing today limited to places we can reach on foot. It was a rainy day but luckily we packed 2 umbrellas and the apartment has one. Our first stop was Conciergerie, right over on Ile de la Cite. Before reaching there, we stopped at Notre Dame for a look. It is basically a construction site but they have put up panels around with photos and explanation of the rebuilding project. At Conciergerie, Given that it is the first Sunday of the month, admission is free and no reservation needed. It wasn’t crowded but we also found out their “histopad” isn’t available on free days. “Histopad” is a new addition, i think you get a device and at certain spots you can scan a code and it shows you an augmented reality of what the place looked like in the past. Our son was disappointed but oh well. We used the English leaflet to guide us.

After Conciergerie, i decided we will save Sainte-Chapelle for a different day as we were hungry. We returned to Ile St-Louis. Ther is a bakery just behind our apartment building, across the street from Berthillon. We got a couple of sandwiches and quiche, and lemon tarts, and ate them back in our apartment.

After a bit of a rest, we set off again, first to a metro station to buy our Navigo Decouverte cards, then off to Musee de la Magie in the St. Paul area, again a short walk from our apartment. Attached is the museum it automatons, admission included. It is a bit pricey for us since most/all of the displays are in French only so we couldn’t get too much out of it. They do have a short live magic show (mostly French commentary), after that one of the staff gave a French-only guide/background talk of the museum. The talk probably went on for 20 minutes or more but of course we didnt understand a word. Anyway, it was a low-key event for our first official sightseeing day, and it was rainy, so it was fine.

Rain stopped by early evening and we ventured out on the main street on Ile St Louis for dinner. After checking all the menus, we directed on Souza, a restaurant with Italian flair. Both spouse and me had escargot to start. They were early delicious and our son agreed to try one, and he liked it enough to eat a second piece. he had spaghetti with tomato sauce, while i had mushroom risotto and husband had salmon risotto. We went there early enough for the formula special pricing that came with desserts. I had crème brûlée but i forgot what my spouse got. We walked 4.5 miles that day

Still suffering from jet lag, our son couldn’t fall asleep until almost midnight that night. ☹️
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 08:02 AM
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<<2. My son has never, ever throw up in his life until this trip, so he actually no idea of what was happening until after the fact, hence the need to change clothes, If he had known, we would have gotten the airsickness bag ready ahead of time.>>

From when he was a baby, yk, DS was a past master at being sick, usually all over me. So I was used to making sure that i had changes of clothes for both of us, wherever we went. Much harder if it suddenly starts at age 10 especially at the start of a holiday.

<< At Conciergerie, Given that it is the first Sunday of the month, admission is free and no reservation needed. It wasn’t crowded but we also found out their “histopad” isn’t available on free days. “Histopad” is a new addition, i think you get a device and at certain spots you can scan a code and it shows you an augmented reality of what the place looked like in the past. Our son was disappointed but oh well. We used the English leaflet to guide us.>>

It was the "histopad" that I was referring to, on the WFD thread yk. It's a shame that m_yk didn't get to use one as I would have been interested to learn if he had more success with them than I did. I'm pretty sure he would have done! It's shame that the Musee de la Magie didn't have more translation.
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 08:02 AM
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Keep it coming, yk! So sorry your son "ralphed" and hope it was a one-time situation. Eating before riding almost always ensured I'd get sick when I was little.

Last edited by TDudette; Nov 12th, 2022 at 08:07 AM.
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 09:32 AM
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Sorry to hear about m-yk being sick to his stomach. I'm hoping that things stabilized and that you all got your energy back for the rest of the vacation.

I'm looking forward to hearing about the Musée des arts forains.
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 09:56 AM
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chundering child... oh dear
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 05:47 PM
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Poor m-yk! Ten is old to never have thrown up. What a shame it happened on your trip. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Paris!
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 06:04 PM
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Day 3

Apologies for typos; I was typing on my ipad at the Dublin airport while waiting for our connecting flight home.

Day 3 - Monday
We slept until 8:30am. It’s overcast but the rain had stopped. We took the bus to Jardín des plantes. It’s a huge garden with multiple museums, including a small zoo. We visited the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution. It’s pretty interesting, and the building is beautiful. i don’t know when it opened or renovated, but the display inside was really nice. The whole inside has lighting that imitates a day; and we even experienced a thunderstorm while there. The biggest attraction is the big hoard of African animals on the 1st floor of the gallery. The subterranean level has marine animals. Some displays have English as well as English interactive screens.

We spent just under 2 hours there, and found a nearby takeout shop for a cheap take-out lunch which we ate in the garden. The garden was setting up for a “mini-monsters” illumination exhibition beginning this weekend; so we got to see quite a lot of them already, at least in broad daylight (some are still being set up). I asked my son if he wanted to see the Paleontology Museum but he said no. We walked around the entire garden, including the labyrinth, before taking a bus to take us to Louvre.

to be continued…
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 06:06 PM
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Jardín des plantes

inside Grande galerie de l’evolution
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Old Nov 12th, 2022, 11:59 PM
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Neat, yk.
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 12:12 AM
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Following along. I hope myk is feeling better. Love the pictures. My niece is heading to Paris in a few weeks so I sent her the info for Jardin les plantes.
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 01:43 AM
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I too started my sightseeing in Paris with the Jardin des Plantes, yk, as I was staying nearby and in multiple visits to Paris I'd never been. Unfortunately as it was a nice day the rest of Paris had had the same idea so after a short stroll round the gardens, especially the roses I decamped and missed the exhibits. Next time I hope. Nice to see that m`-yk looks so well in that photo - hoping for no more sickness as I'm sure were you.
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 06:05 AM
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Following along and appreciate all the details.

We have stayed in apartments on Ile St. Louis many times. Guest Apartment has lovely properties, which one are you in?
Years ago we stayed in Hibiscus and loved the location.

I think you had dinner at Sorza, not Souza, one of our favorites.
Another one of our favorites is L’lot Vache on the corner of Rue des Deux Ponts and Rue St. Louis en Isle. Check it out.

It’s interesting hearing about your 10 yr. old and his take on Paris.

One of the favorites with our 13 yr. olds was Amorino and the gelato in the shape of a flower on Ile St. Louis.
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 09:13 AM
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Thank you everyone for your replies and comments so far. Again, apologies for typos as it was difficult to check for accuracy while on an iPad. My son recovered from his motion sickness by the next morning and he was fine for the rest of the trip... until the flight home yesterday!

TPAYT, we stayed at Tulip, which is probably one of their cheapest accommodations but suited us just fine. We love the location.

Finally, I should have said this as a disclaimer at the beginning — this is more of a TR from a kid-centric standpoint. If you are looking for gourmet dining or art museum appreciation in Paris, you can definitely skip the rest of the TR. 😅
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 09:41 AM
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As I lifelong motion sickness sufferer whose every childhood car ride included a stop for the upchuck, I sympathize with your kid. I eventually found a preventive/cure: Crystalized ginger, not to be confused with ginger flavored candy. I always carry a small ziplock bag of the stuff for flights.
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 09:47 AM
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Day 3 - Monday continued

I wasn't sure if we would even bother going to Louvre on this trip, as my son is disinterested in art. But I know the original fortifications would interest him, so I booked 4pm entry tickets for us. it also happens that i booked a 6:15pm evening cruise with Vedettes du Pont Neuf which is more or less across the way from Louvre (which closes at 6pm).

[Side note: I ordered 2 4-day Paris Museum Pass for me and DH. I chose the online option which allows you to download the tickets onto your phone, which I find is really convenient. The pass isn't activated until you use it for the first time.]

We arrived at the Pyramid entrance a bit early; the sun was out and it was a beautiful afternoon, so we spent some time taking pictures before heading in at 4pm. At 4pm on a Monday in November, the Louvre wasn't crowded. We didn't have to wait in line at all. We went to the original fortifications, then to ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt sections. Afterwards I wanted to go see the Vermeers (only Lacemaker is on view) and the crown jewels, then my son said he wants to go see Mona Lisa (which I was surprised by). We got to the Mona Lisa room around 5:30pm and expected a huge crowd. Surprisingly, there were only a dozen or so people in line ahead of us, and you can actually take your time looking at it without being pushed out!

By then it was time to find our way out and make it over to Vedettes du Pont Neuf. If you purchase tickets online in advance (there are 2 options), it is slightly cheaper. The 6:15pm cruise was fairly busy but we had no trouble finding seats on the open upper deck. It was a beautiful evening with an almost-full moon. The commentary, as always, is live and he was very animated. Even though I"ve done evening cruise before, this remains one of my favorite activities to do in Paris.

It was fairly late when we got home by bus; I made a simple dinner of pasta with veggies and ham.

We walked 6.8 miles today.
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 09:49 AM
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Eiffel Tower + (almost) full moon
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Old Nov 13th, 2022, 10:37 AM
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It's pretty cool that a 10yo expressed interest in Mona, yk! Did he have a comment about her that you care to share?!
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