pied-à-terre in the very chic neighbourhood of St-Germain-des-Pres.
And the oxymoron of it is that Paris has some truly great parks, museums, spaces for kids. Perhaps this is the idea... My kids were completely besotted with the carousels, begging for ride after ride. They were thoroughly spoiled as we took them to all the major parks and attractions that we could fit into that one week. We covered a lot of ground, literally.
These are the places we took the kids;
Jardin du Luxembourg- one of the popular gardens for young and old. The kids exhausted themselves (and me) on the carousel, playground, pony rides, and steering their wooden boat, this is available for hire, in the pond. Plus there was the puppet show, albeit in French, that kept them entertained.
Jardin des Tuileries- my personal favourite, also equipped with a carousel. They have trampolines, a small playground and if you arrive early in the summer they feature a small amusement park. Alas we arrived a few days too late to enjoy the rides.
The Cité des Enfants- this is an area within the Science museum dedicated for young enquiring minds. There are two areas separated by age and you book tickets for 1.5hours which allows the kids to get involved, experiment and have a bit of fun plus explore the permanent exhibits. This is what we had tickets for although there is more, like science themed films, exhibitions etc. With the varying age gaps between the kids we were limited to what we could see/do as a family. It's advisable to book ahead as it does get busy. There is also Parc de la Villette next to the museum.
Jardin d’Acclimatation- the jewel in the crown as far as the kids were concerned. An amusement park extraordinaire, you could spend an entire day here. We made the mistake of arriving in the afternoon and thus did not see every inch of this vast space. The kids were so impressed with the multitude of rides, and yes there was a grand looking carousel. There's lots of green space to chill or top up your energy levels at the cafes and restaurants. I'm probably missing out on the finer details but we did not circumnavigate the park.
Le Jardin des Plantes- Aside from the botanical gardens there is a carousel, zoo, and the fabulous National Museum of Natural History as therein lies dinosaur skeletons which generated shrieks of excitement. It's worth noting that the Museum is closed on Tuesdays and cheaper to get a day pass if you plan on seeing more than one area, there is also a greenhouse onsite.
A visit to the Eiffel Tower was mandatory, the girls had read so much about the monument. As you would expect it was super busy but it was enough to view it up close and not have to battle the queues going up plus there is a carousel as standby. Another thrill worthy experience for the kids is taking the boat along the Seine.
Although shopping wasn't high on the priority list we did seek out these shops for trinkets and small treasures;
Bonton- a glamourous shop for the kids, aside from the clothes they have a hair salon just for kids, loads of party supplies, a reading nook complete with French favourites, a photo booth with over the top wigs and goofy glasses and cute trinkets, gift ideas for sale. And there is also a kids toilet/change room facility, a welcome feature.
Merci- a very cool and expensive shop featuring a restaurant, cafe and library. I picked up some gorgeous French linen.
G.Detou- a carefully stocked shop filled with mostly baking ingredients. A slice of heaven for me as I exited with a 1/2 kilo bag of vegan chocolate buttons and a bottle of Edmond Fallon mustard.
The great thing about toy shops dotted around the city is that the majority of toys sold are of the wooden variety so we got a few playthings for little Max. And with all the walking purchasing a pair of Bensimon sand shoes will serve you well and set you apart from the tourists, almost!
You must be wondering where a veggie loving family like us ventured to eat under the aforementioned circumstances. A little research prior to setting foot on the plane placed us in good stead for veggie friendly places;