As you might know, the CosmopoliClan regularly splits up and takes one of the girls on a city break for some one-on-one quality time. We love Paris. Who doesn’t, right? Last year in July Alegra & I traveled to this amazing city for an unforgettable mother-daughter trip. For me, planning our travels is part of the actual trip. I even tend to over-plan, hardly leaving any room for surprise. Luckily I am very familiar with the streets of Paris so I could take it easy for two days. I looked forward to being her guide so she can fall in love with this amazing city too.
Arrival & Montmartre
We travel on a Saturday by high-speed Thalys train from Brussels to Paris. Arriving in Paris around 4pm, we take the subway to first pick up our Louvre tickets (again, some planning involved after all) near Les Halles and then continue to our hotel, located near La Madeleine, to check in. Before hopping back on the subway, we enjoy a refreshing ice cream at Fauchon.
We then head to the Sacré Coeur & Montmartre where we spend the rest of this beautiful summer evening. Alegra loves to draw and therefore observed every artist’s technique very carefully at the Place du Tertre. No rush, so we stay there as long as she wants. It did prove to be quite challenging to find a not-too-touristic restaurant nearby. After dinner it does get quite late for her but still she feels like walking back to the hotel and we enjoy the 1 hour walk back, watching Paris fall asleep.
Louvre & Tuileries garden
Saying Alegra is an early bird would be an understatement, really. So, on Sunday early morning we enjoy breakfast and walk to the Louvre. The time slot on our tickets is 10h30 so we take it easy and enjoy the early morning walk through the Jardin des Tuileries.
Thanks to our planning there’s no waiting time at the Louvre and we can just walk through. Alegra is intrigued by ancient Egypt so this is the collection we will focus on during this visit. The sarcophagus do look a lot scarier in real than she’d anticipated though! After about an hour or two we make our way through the Roman and Greek antiquities to head to the masterpieces of other collections. We have to conquer the ocean of Azian tourists to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa and end our visit about half an hour later.
Before our visit we noticed the fair in the Jardin des Tuileries. So, after ordering some pastry at the Paul truck, Alegra can blow off some steam at some the attractions.
Pont des Arts, Arc de Triomphe, Opera Garnier & Beaubourg
We stroll towards the Pont des Arts to read the names of lovers on the locks. I should have been better prepared though and bring our own lock… luckily that can’t spoil the fun. We then take the hop on/off bus (no subway today) to visit some of the other sites in Paris. Our first stop is the Arc de Triomphe. Although I didn’t count on going to the top, Alegra insists, not minding the waiting line. We hop on the elevator (!) and enjoy the view for a while before going down and enjoying a drink on the Champs Elysées.
Afterwards, we take the bus to the Opera Garnier and realize that we arrive just before closing time. Since we are there with a bunch of other tourists, the security officer refuses to let us in. But, as the other tourists walk away, the same guard calls us back and grants us access anyway. Squee! Alegra is in awe, wanting to see every corner of the building. This will be end up to be her favorite Parisian landmark too, I can feel it. I am starting to regret not having booked tickets for the ballet performance later that evening because I’d thought she’d be just too young to sit it out. On the other hand, this leaves something to look forward to for in the future. After the visit we spend quite a long time in the shop too, appreciating what’s on offer, before taking the open bus again.
Our final destination for that day is the Beaubourg area but we leave the bus at the Pont des Arts to enjoy a little walk.
On our last morning in Paris we head early to the Eiffel tower, not my favorite building but inevitable for a first-time visit. Alegra has been looking forward to actually go on the tower and I couldn’t get her to change her mind. Unfortunately a few weeks in advance all pre-order tickets had been sold out. So we stand in line and waited, waited, waited… until, after about an hour and a half, we realize that we were in the wrong queue: we don’t plan on taking the stairs! It’s chaos under the tower and not clear at all which line leads to which entrance. And not a steward in sight to give us some more explanation.
Okay, so now it’s time to be brave and ask someone in the front part of the right line if they are willing to let us go first.
Worst case scenario, I’ll end up paying for their ticket. But things turn out great when, after explaining our mistake, a kind young couple just lets us go through without any further demand.
We still have about an hour to go until we reach the ticket counter but this really is our best option. And Alegra’s so determined to go on that tower that she doesn’t mind at all. Then finally, when we take the elevator, she’s as happy as can be.
Notre Dame cathedral
No more time to visit La Marais, my preferred Parisian quarter, but hey, my girl is the princess this week-end. So instead we take a pedicab to the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Yes, it would have been great to admire this building from within. Alas, we are not prepared to spend another few hours in line to do so. Therefore we enjoy it from the square in front. We then dive into the surrounding streets to enjoy a well-deserved lunch before heading back to the hotel to collect our bags and make our way to the train station.
Our advice for visiting Paris during the busy summer-season
Our Paris visit took place in the month of July, which is by far the busiest time of the year in this city. As you could read in this post, we strongly recommend to purchase tickets to the main landmarks in advance. It will save you so much time at the Louvre, the Notre Dame and, if you insist, the Eiffel tower. Also, take into account that tickets sell out weeks before your visit so make sure to start planning well in time.
Kids love Paris
Have you been to Paris with the kids? If so, then we’d love to hear all about it! And if not, then you should plan to do so. It’s such an overwhelmingly charming city! And yes, it’s quite vast and cultural but if you play your cards right, your kid will absolutely love Paris. And why not make it a bonding trip, like we did? It’s a great way to spend some quality time with one of the kids! For more one-on-one inspiration, check out this post about a father-daughter trip to Lisbon.
We look forward to hearing all about your adventures!