La Tour Eiffel

March 8, 2011

eiffel tower picnic photos by Paul Ferney

What a week! We are trying to make the most of the kids’ two week school break, so we hopped in the van this morning and drove to Paris.

We are staying with Jordan and Paul in their fantastic new apartment. We arrived a couple hours ago and already had a picnic at the Eiffel Tower — it is literally a block from their home. Can you believe how awesome and crazy that is?

eiffel tower picnic eiffel tower picnic eiffel tower picnic
eiffel tower picnic

The whole family is feeling super lucky that we can be here hanging out with our cousins, but we’re feeling extra lucky that the weather is particularly fantastic. We want to spend every minute we can outside. During the picnic, I asked the kids what they wanted to see and do in Paris and this is the list they made:

1) ride a boat
2) ride a carousel
3) see the Mona Lisa
4) shop on the Champs Élysées

My pick: dinner with Ben Blair to celebrate his birthday.

If you had 2 days in Paris, 5 kids, and a baby, what would you do? Anything we should add to this list?

eiffel tower picnic

P.S. — Maude and I had a wonderful time in London and I can’t wait to report on our trip as soon as I’m back at my desk.

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{ 121 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole March 8, 2011 at 8:21 am

Visit all the places illustrated in Madeline? Most of them are close to where you are staying.

When you go to Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, there is a tour you can do that takes you through the old foundations of the Louvre that is really cool. And the pyramid is fun.

The Musee d’Orsay. Amazing art aside, there is a model of Paris in back that is covered by a glass ceiling that you can walk over to “see” the city.

The children’s playground at the Jardins de Luxembourg. All the playground equipment you can ask for, plus sometimes pony rides and puppet shows.

Don’t allot too much time to the Champs Elysees. There really isn’t any shopping there (although I think the Maison de Chocolat might be near the bottom), but L’Arc de Triomphe is at the top and is fun for children.

Have a wonderful time — I can’t wait to go with my children.

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2 Cindy March 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

Love the idea of visiting the places in Madeline!

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3 Jill March 8, 2011 at 8:23 am

Rent a little sailboat at the fountains at the Tuileries, of course! I’m sure there is an ice cream or crepe stand nearby there as well!

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4 Bert March 8, 2011 at 8:24 am

Disneyland!

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5 Caroline March 8, 2011 at 8:27 am

Visit the birds in the market. I made a super short video several years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIYXzboHEO4

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6 kelly March 8, 2011 at 8:41 am

Look at you guys! No jackets! I’m so jealous. The weather here in Vienna is still down-coat-cold! But- I’d probably skip the Camps Elysees (boring) and go to the Rodin museum or Pere la Chaise cemetary.

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7 David March 8, 2011 at 8:46 am

Try the Paris sewer tour. Seriously. And the Picasso Museum in Paris is super.

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8 Betty March 9, 2011 at 9:01 am

No, don’t do the sewer tour…unless you like the smell of ….I dragged my family a fews years ago and felt very guilty afterwards for doing it!

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9 June March 12, 2011 at 12:38 am

I second David’s motion. We lived in Paris for eight years and I took my kids and occasional visiting friends there many times. Yes, a bit fragrant, but the engineering and history is really interesting. See more here (in French): (it’s also quite close–walking distance–to where you are staying.) Champs Elysees is not terribly exciting, but if you must go, beware of pickpockets and start at the top (Arc de Triomphe) so you can walk downhill–easier on little legs.

Visite des égouts
Pont de l’Alma, rive gauche,
Face au 93 quai d’Orsay.
75007 Paris
Tél. : 01 53 68 27 81
Visite-des-egouts@paris.fr

Métro Ligne 9 – station : Alma-Marceau (traverser le pont)
RER C – station : Pont de l’Alma
Bus Ligne 80 ou 63 – station : Alma-Marceau

Ouverture hebdomadaire :
Du samedi au mercredi de 11h à 16h du 1/10 au 30/04.
Du samedi au mercredi de 11h à 17h du 1/05 au 30/09.
Fermé jeudi et vendredi.
Fermetures annuelles :
Durant deux semaines mi-janvier ainsi que le 25 décembre et le 1er janvier.
Tarifs :
Normal : 4,30 €
Réduit : 3,50 € (groupe à partir de 10 personnes*, cartes « famille nombreuse » ou « Paris-famille », étudiants, enfants de 6 à 16 ans, militaires en tenue, cartes améthyste et émeraude)

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10 Jessica March 8, 2011 at 8:54 am

Oh Paris is my favourite city! My recommendations would be:
Pompidou centre – unusual architecture, great modern art, and it has fantastic fountains outside it.
Rodin museum – beautiful sculptures, sweet house and tranquil gardens
Ice cream from Bertillon on Ile Saint Louis (in the middle of the Seine) – unusual and delicious flavours.
Musee de l’Orangerie in the Tuilleries gardens – stunning display of Monet’s waterlilly paintings.
Walk past the booksellers along the Seine.
Climb Montmartre, to see Sacre Coeur (huge cathedral) and get an amazing view over Paris. You can climb the steps or take a funicular railway!

Have fun!
Jess x

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11 Jackie March 8, 2011 at 9:00 am

You absolutely must go to the Luxembourg Garden with your kids. This was by far the highlight of both our trips to Paris with kids (2 & 5 at the time, then again at 5 & 8 years old)… there is a carousel, amazing climbing structures, really a lovely day. :D

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12 Sarah March 8, 2011 at 10:28 am

This would be the absolute first thing on my list if I were to go with kids. Hubby and I spent a whole entire day there watching other people and their kids have an absolutely fabulous time. The playground for bigger kids is awesome and the gardens and fountains are beautiful. There are a couple of cafe stands for ice cream, coffee, snacks, etc. They even have a mini Statue of Liberty on one of the winding paths.

Other than that, the kid’s list rocks! Enjoy!

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13 Rebecca March 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I agree. This is the very first thing I thought of when I saw your question. It is so beautiful. Even though it has been a year and a half since I’ve been home, the Luxembourg Gardens are my HAPPY PLACE!
There are pony rides too :)
Not to mention one of the best places in my opinion for millions of little great photo ops of your family.

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14 Sarah March 9, 2011 at 1:00 am

I agree! The Jardins de Luxembourg are a must-do for a family! We were there with our then 18 month old daughter and she had a brilliant time, but the playground is perfect for much older kids too. And my husband & I adored eating baguettes while watching the Parisian men play pentanque. Ooh, and the French Onion Soup at the wee cafe by the lake is AMAZING.
Enjoy!

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15 Jackie March 8, 2011 at 9:01 am

Oh and I second the Rodin museum!! Another winner with kids– plenty of space for them to run and you to look at the amazing sculpture.

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16 ks March 8, 2011 at 9:02 am

Your children (and you) would love Luxembourg Garden! They have so much to offer families. The BEST is the old school marionette puppet show!

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17 dunski March 8, 2011 at 9:06 am

I’d go to place des vosges and jardin du luxembourg.. and yes, kids would like the crazy toruists and the cool fountain by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle in front of centre pompidou ( a ward meets right behind it). I would not go to champs élisées..as there aren’t really cool stores for kids (disney store is crazy and makes kids go nuts over all they could/would suddenly want to have-but is worse at weekends). Climb montmartre, see the city from sacre coeur. have wonderful crêpes in montmartre and delicious pain au chocolat at paul’s f.e. and have them try macarons and other worlds finest chocolates.. ;)
a must: get chocolate lollipops at JPHEVIN. he’s just around the corner at place vendome in rue st.honoré 231. opposite a famous shoe store. Very very lovely chocolate there! He’s the best chocolate maker ever… ;) for yourself get a box of chocoalte perls for the moments, when a mom needs a moment.

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18 Kristin March 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm

YES to Montmartre. The view from Sacre Coeur is amazing and the little market up by the church will entertain you too!

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19 the emily March 8, 2011 at 9:21 am

I’ve never been, but my picks would be shopping and the Eiffel Tower. I cannot believe how lucky you are. What a fantastic place to live.

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20 Cristina March 8, 2011 at 9:23 am

we went last summer
bateau mouches at the sunset is great http://www.bateaux-mouches.fr
marchè aux puces de st ouen is fun if you like market
Cristina

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21 peggy March 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

yes there is a place you have to add: Jardin du Luxembourg
such a beautiful parc, a great playground, pony riding and you are in Paris 6eme… any direction you take from there…you will be fine.
And you have one of the best shopping streets FOR KIDS just off the park, check for rue Vavin.
enjoy Paris!

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22 Heather {WhipperBerry} March 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

Oh my dear, you bring back such sweet memories!! I loved watching the guys selling the Eiffel Tower key chains and such continually try to evade the police. It’s really rather comical.

kisses
heather

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23 Jenn March 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

Wow! It all sounds good to me! How absolutely amazing.

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24 Cindy March 8, 2011 at 9:35 am

Since the weather is so beautiful you definitely need to find a park and play outside. Although I have never visited either, The Cité des enfants and Cité des Sciences et de l’Industries sound like wonderful museums to take your children.

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25 Cindy March 8, 2011 at 9:36 am

Oh, and the picture of your son eating the strawberry is adorable! :)

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26 Janel March 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

I love the pictures! Somday I would love to see the Eiffel Tower with my own eyes!

P.S. I think the best family pictures would be in front of the Eiffel Tower.

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27 deborah@applesinwonderland March 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

yes, awesome and crazy does cover it. i am enjoying living vicariously through you:)

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28 Betsy March 8, 2011 at 9:53 am

Love the pics of your family sitting in front of the eiffel tower!!! Looks amazing! No tips (never been) but just have fun and soak in everything!

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29 Kate Reymann March 8, 2011 at 10:06 am

I have no suggestions except to have a great time. The pictures made me weep for spring. We got almost a foot of snow last night in Salt Lake. I am dreaming of daffodils.

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30 Sarah March 8, 2011 at 10:09 am

Go to the Parc au Buttes Chaumont. That place just feels like Narnia to me. :) No one was ever there when I visited, but it’s my favorite park in Paris.

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31 elz March 8, 2011 at 10:11 am

Luxembourg Gardens for the kids. there are TONS of things for them to do. My favorite museums in Paris are the Musee d’ Orsay and the Rodin museum. I’d add a trip on a river barge and eating crepes at the park. I also LOVE attending Mass at Sacre Couer and Notre Dame, but I’m Catholic so it might not be such a big draw for the kids. The steps up Notre Dame are pretty amazing. Don’t know if the younger ones would make it all the way up.

Do you have time to go to Versailles? The gardens are lovely and the kids can run around. The inside-eh, not really worth the lines for the tour.

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32 Em March 8, 2011 at 10:27 am

The Catacombs! And Laduree!

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33 Kathryn March 8, 2011 at 10:28 am

Just one yummy word for you…macarons! Mouth watering as I type!

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34 Mary-- The Yellow Door Paperie March 8, 2011 at 10:29 am

This is so amazing, have fun!

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35 Robyn March 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

There is a sweet little toy store called Au Nain Bleu my sister and I happened upon it over 20 years ago when we were on a family trip there. It is just a charming, darling toy shop. I think you would love it. I googled it and it still exists.
Au Nain Bleu
5 Boulevard Malesherbes
75008 Paris, France
01 42 65 20 00
Subway: Madeleine

Your kids might also enjoy watching a Guignol puppet play. Guignol is a traditional French puppet character. They have a theatre at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. You can get more info at the website here: http://www.guignol-paris.com/

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36 kirsten March 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

My suggestions would probably center around eating. They have these lovely shops in Paris devoted to one item…such as cheese or mustard or honey. I’ve always wanted to go to a shop that was only about mustard.

And I am so thrilled for your adventure in France, dear Gabrielle! I hope you are having a wonderful time! xo

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37 Anne March 8, 2011 at 10:32 am

The Rodin Museum is great for kids – sculpture is such approachable art. Also, sometime get to Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle. My little ones loved seeing the Bible stories they knew in the stained glass…so different from our unadorned churches.

And, LOVE Musee de l’Orangerie, and toy shops, and playgrounds, and the Cluny Museum to see the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.

The best part is that with your crew, you’re forced to pace yourself, people watch, and enjoy a park and a crepe.

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38 Molly March 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

I loved Paris as a teenager! While Versailles may be a bit much, the grounds are beautiful. I sent this to your sister via Twitter, but check out http://www.pinkslipgourmet.com. It is written by a friend of a friend, with all kinds of insider tips about food. My best memories of Paris are related to EATING! Enjoy!

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39 Kelly L March 8, 2011 at 10:36 am
40 Susan March 8, 2011 at 10:39 am

Your list is wonderful…have a great time visiting with your family!

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41 alyson boehr March 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

So crazy cool that you can just “hop in the car” and go to Paris! Thanks for the pics..someday I’ll get there :) PS how is the baby road tripping? Ours doesn’t do so well… :(

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42 Christy March 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

If the weather is nice, definitely the Rodin museum and Luxembourg Gardens – if you stay late enough (can’t remember the time, dusk??) you’ll hear the french police blowing at closing time. Oh, so jealous…I also love the Jardin des Tuileries. You can start at the Louvre, walk through what looks like a mini arc de triomphe, and there is a fountain where the kids can launch small boats.

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43 Neva March 8, 2011 at 10:49 am

As with all Paris posts, I am scrounging the photos for details on what the weather is like. I was pleased to see you guys sans-coats. Looks beautiful. I will be going in two weeks and am trying to decide on my heavy/warm coat or my light coat…I HATE being cold but I HATE carrying a coat too.
You guys looked comfy and adorable! Thanks for all the wonderful updates from your adventures in France!

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44 Michelle March 8, 2011 at 10:50 am

Sounds like you’re hitting all the must sees. Except one. My favorite crepe place is across the street from the Notre Dame. If you’re facing the front door. It’s across the street to the left. We tried lots of places and kept going back there. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Nutella and banana….yum!

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45 Sarah March 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Was it on the corner? Because the best meal I had in Paris, hands down, was a crepe complet from Esmerelda, which is on the corner where Pont Saint-Louis meets the back side of Notre Dame. Hubby and I still talk about it 4 years later.

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46 Anne March 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

With out a doubt, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It is beautiful, and has a wonderful little artist street market behind it once you reach the top. For added fun, make a little mush with cornmeal and water to feed the birds on the way up. They will eat right out of your hands! Really fun for the kids. The birds will actually land all over you… just stand very still while holding out a little much. Watch out for the flying rats (pigeons)!

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47 Adventures In Babywearing March 8, 2011 at 10:58 am

I left a comment on FB but yes to Champs Elysees and also if you can take a drive or transport to Versailles… LOVE LOVE LOVE Versailles! Oh, and of course the Louvre (I can’t wait to hear what you think of the Mona Lisa!) & Notre Dame.

Steph

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48 Katherine in Paris March 8, 2011 at 11:00 am

The Jardin de Luxembourg is really great for a day out with kids, especially with this weather. There is a whole closed in jungle jim thing that costs a couple euros to get in, but the kids LOVE it! It’s age 3 and up, but you can go in with the young ones. (There are restrooms, drinking fountains, a snack bar a and benches for the parents.) Elsewhere in the park are the famous Guignols, renting vintage sailboats in the bassin, a carrousel, sand boxes for the wee-one and crêpes for tout le monde. Note: no one is allowed on the grass! Bonpoint, rue Tournon is just a couple blocks from the park and there is a cafe in the lower level. The Musée Rodin is also beautiful and kid friendly with the garden. And try the bateaubus. The boats are all pricey, but at least here your ticket is good for the day and you get on and off as you please. Just be careful where you get off with a stroller – you may have to go up LOTS of stairs. I also love the Palais Royal near the Louvre. Lots of cafés on a closed square where you have room for a stroller and really great window shopping (Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Vilac, vintage stores and more). The kids have space to run and will love playing on the Buren columns. Have fun. (PS, don’t go to the Aquarium, it’s awful.)

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49 Katie March 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

Snack on banana-nutella crepes! Perhaps purchase them from a few different vendors and decide which are your favorites? I would return to Paris for those alone!! YUM!!

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50 Tare March 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

Oh, what lovely pictures! You make travelling with children look so, so easy, Gabrielle; you guys inspire me. I’m going to second a few suggestions–Luxembourg Gardens, Sainte-Chapelle (the stained glass is just awe-inspiring), Notre Dame, and Sacre-Coeur. The kids can run and play and have fun in the gardens, study the beautiful windows at SC, be awed by Notre Dame (and they can have a touchpoint for the famous story!), and I adore Sacre-Coeur on the hill and the neighborhood around it. Surely if you don’t get to all of the great suggestions in the comments this time, you can save up for the next visit. Enjoy!!

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51 Stephanie March 8, 2011 at 11:04 am

What fabulous photos! I must get to Paris soon – we’ve only been here nearly 5 years and not made the trip yet!

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52 Julie March 8, 2011 at 11:11 am

I posted this to Facebook:
Have fun! I haven’t been to Paris post child, and in fact it has been years since I’ve been there at all, however, couple thoughts: carousels (Champ de Mars? BB?) and sailboats (Tuileries) in the parks, and the Muse de Centre Pompidou. Looking for the former I found this list: http://www.francetravelplanner.com/go/paris/kids/index.html. During my college years I liked getting a cheap bottle of wine and drinking it with a friend on the ques. Maybe Orangina could be substituted…

I have to second mentions of the Rodin Museum and Muse D’Orsey; loved both of those.

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53 Ana March 8, 2011 at 11:20 am

Gabrielle, I LOVE your posts about your French adventure and live vicariously through you. I admire you for having embarked on this. This is something your kids will always remember! Great to see how you guys are making the most of your time abroad.

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54 Julie Lips March 8, 2011 at 11:28 am

The Rodin museum is great! Small so it’s not overwhelming and i has outdoor gardens to give the kids a run-around break. You can eat at the outdoor cafe too.

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55 Cathi March 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

I am absolutely in love with your adventures!!

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56 Lisl Sukachevin March 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

We went when my kids were 4, 6, and 8. They loved the carousel ride and Jardin de Luxembourg, also check out the gargoyles at Notre Dame cathedral. Eat lots and lots of chocolate crepes! We second the recommendation for the Rodin museum and a boat ride on the Seine. The boys loved it. We got the boys sketch books and they spent quite a bit of time in the museums drawing and sketching what they–those books are now a precious reminder of them at that age.

Have fun!

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57 Jessica Baer March 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

A fun outing with the kids might include a trip to Angelinas to warm up whilst browsing the city — a cafe near Notre Dame I believe (I could be wrong — it’s been over ten years since I’ve visited!) They serve an absolutely fabulous hot chocolate. Warning: it’s more like warm liquid chocolate served with a pile of whipped cream to mix into it. A little pricey, but each pitcher makes 2 cups, and your kids will be full after a few sips. Promise. I have great memories of this place. The other reco’s are also fabulous – soak it all in!

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58 katy March 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

What to add when you already have 50 suggestions :) Even though it is already listed, I must second The Rodin Museum. The inside is small enough to manage with kids and the outside garden is PERFECT for kids. My girls really got into The Thinker last time we were there. I find my kids do so much better site seeing when we are outside. I don’t stress so much about raised voices and over exuberance. Have a wonderful time. The weather looks perfect.

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59 Cricou March 8, 2011 at 11:53 am

All these ideas are great (luxembourg, sacré coeur, musée Rodin near your sister’s appartment, Tuileries…) but I’d add the Jardin d’acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne which is great for kids (from 1 to …..) http://www.jardindacclimatation.fr/
My girls love it! Just put some rules before like two, three, rides each….
And if you go there in the week-end it’s better to go in the morning or before 16h after there is more people….
Hope you will enjoy your time in Paris!

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60 annabelvita March 8, 2011 at 11:57 am

Sit on the steps outside Sacre Coeur and watch buskers with the city in the background. That’s my favourite.

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61 Sarah March 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm

All of the ususal places – Notre Dame, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower at night is lovely. Visit the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement, a beautiful place – you wouldn’t think you were in the city. Also Saint Chappelle, a gothic chapel right in the heart of Paris. The stained glass windows have to be seen to be believed!

Enjoy!

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62 Caren with a "C" March 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Wow, what a lucky lady you are to be roaming the world with your whole family. When we lived in Germany, when I was a child, my parents left us with a babysitter when they went to Paris and stayed at the mission home as my mom knew the Mission President at the time. Your children will cherish these memories as I fondly remember so much of our travels in Germany.

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63 Kristen Duke Photography March 8, 2011 at 12:29 pm

so fun!!! I love the little area near the Eiffel tower, how quaint and fun to have your sister living there. A picnic with the kids sounds fun…great shots to document the day!

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64 Ale March 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm

As Kelly and Jackie and Anne and Christy and Katherine and Julie and Lisl and Katy already suggested: Rodin museum (is my favourite place in Paris!)
And, as others say before: don’t forget to try the crepes!!!

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65 angela March 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

ack! my 9-year old daughter is sooo jealous (as she would say!). her room is plastered with the la tour eiffel! she recently planned a trip to paris for a school project. enjoy!

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66 Isabelle Bouthillier March 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Great pictures, wow! For absolutely beautiful places in Paris, Place des Vosges & Jardin du Luxembourg! :-)

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67 Anneliese March 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Go to Angelina’s and have one of their famous Mont Blanc pastries! To die for! If it weren’t a warm spring day I would also highly recommend their hot chocolate–if you’re real chocolate fan you may want to just go ahead and have some anyway. They are about a block from the Lourve if my memory serves me right! Enjoy! How much fun!!!

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68 Jennifer March 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm

We are going to Paris for spring break too. My children want to see Van Gogh’s instead of the Mona Lisa so we are going to the D’Orsay (my personal favorite) and of course the beautiful water lilies by Monet at Musee de l’Orangerie.

We recently watched the Hunchback of Notre Dame (the Disney version) so they are eager to see the gargoyles there. I found a darling toy store with old fashioned wooden toys that is on the corner of rue saint jacques called Jouets Bass that we will try to make it to also (near Luxembourg!). So many other great ideas for us now too!

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69 redmenace March 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I’m having so much fun reading about your adventure. A picnic under the Eiffel Tower. Lovely!

PS. We’re taking Maeve to Paris in November and I am beyond excited!!!!

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70 Erin March 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Two suggestions out of the myriad you have already received.
1.For dinner with Ben Blair make a booking at Cafe de L’Homme at the Musee de L’Homme. Beautiful food and beautiful views! (Trocadero Metro Stop)
http://www.restaurant-cafedelhomme.com/fr/
2. Berthillon Ice Cream 31 Rue St Louis en l’ile (Pont Marie Metro Stop)
http://www.berthillon.fr/

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71 Sherri March 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Musee d’Orsay in the old train station (I believe). Montmartre – take the Metro since it is a hike from la Tour Eiffel (we took our sixth month old on in his stroller and people were very helpful) – walk the quaint streets – eat in kid-friendly restaurants sur la place or sample the equally kid-friendly Nutella crepes and Croque Monsieurs from street vendors. Les jardins du Luxembourg are good for running about, picnicking, sitting and having a coffee (while the little ones run about). And… I had never done this the whole time we lived there, but….. when I went back with my little ones, we did a night time boat ride down the Seine. The kids loved it. Oh – and the Picasso Museum is great and in a nice neighborhood …. Notre Dame is, of course, a must. Far more gothic and huge than you can imagine. It surprises people – some who think they know what to expect. Did you go to the top of the Eiffel Tower? Even if you’re afraid of heights, it is worth the shaky lift ride to the top :-).

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72 Elizabeth March 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Napoleons’s tomb and the ajoining war musuem was a big hit with the boys. The Parc in the Tulieries or Luxenburg Gardens are great for the kids to work out some of their energy. Call the Louvre before going to check and see if the mummies are on display (they move them in and out of exhibition) and finish the afternoon with a nutella crepe at a cafe.

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73 Jan March 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm

We went to the Cite des Enfants, the science centre, in December and the kids loved it – truly a world-class facility. Our 2 and 5 year old had a great time running around the area dedicated to 2-7 year olds – they have areas that cater to all the ages in your family although you’d have to divide them in such a way to ensure adult supervision for everyone! Likely won’t work for this visit as it is ‘advised’ to buy tickets in advance and it’s likely busy during the holidays. You’re given a specific time slot and ushered in and out at the allotted time.
As has already been said the playground at Jardin du Luxembourg is great, a bit odd to pay to use a play structure but worth it.
Centre Pompidou was fun but I wouldn’t put it on my must-see list if I only had a couple of days. The gallery area would likely be a bit tricky with all the little ones wanting to climb on the exhibits. There is a neat Galerie des Enfants on the main floor but not worth a visit on it’s own.
Will have to check out the Rodin Museum next time we’re there given all the rave reviews!

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74 Christine March 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm

So many great suggestions already! Thank goodness quite a few of them are repeats, though if anything this shows that they really are “must do’s”.

My recommendation is to walk along a few of the streets outside the Louvre since you’re heading there anyways. Along Rue de Rivoli are a few nice souvenir shops. I bought amazing scarves for 4 euros there, for example. Go across the Seine (on Pont du Carrousel) to Quai Malaquais and you’ll see a lot of artists sitting out with their easels painting. There are also a lot of little street vendors with fun little things and used books. But really, it’s the artists you want to see.

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75 Amanda H March 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I would second all of the suggestions for the Rodin museum, Sacre-coure, Sainte Chapelle and eating plenty of crepes (with bananas and nutella). I would also recommend the Marmottan-Monet Museum… it’s a little bit of a journey… but in my art-loving opinion, it’s well worth it – amazing pieces that were donated by Monet’s son’s inheritance.
2, rue Louis-Boilly, 75016
Métro: La Muette (9)

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76 Rieke March 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm

- Go to Cafe Angelina near the Tuileries for their speciality (African) hot chocolate and mont blanc desert (chestnut puree with whipped cream and meringue);
- Buy cute childrens’ clothes at the Petit Bateau store on the Champs Elysees and at Du Pareil Au Meme (by the way, you can buy their stuff online, and they ship to the US quickly);
- Go to LaDuree (the classic store at the Champs Elysees) and try out a bunch of their great macaroon flavors (cassis, green tea, smoked spice or rose petal…);

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77 Veronique Vaillancourt March 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm
78 Veronique Vaillancourt March 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/paris/0062020226.html

Actually here is a better link for the parks.

Have fun. It is a great city.

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79 Yvonne March 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm
80 Lissa March 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm

St Chappelle is wonderful and doesn’t take too long. I loved, loved, loved the Rodin sculptures too–

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81 Claire March 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Wow, looks like you all had a wonderful time! :) I loved Paris. In fact your first photo reminds me of the picnic my sisters and I had under the Eiffel Tower when we were there in 06. Unfortunately we were there for three days only, so I don’t have any recommendations for kid activities :) We did a day of walking to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumphe etc, a day spent at the Louvre, at Versailles (I recommend that actually) and eating lots and lots of amazing food!

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82 Lee March 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I would find an outdoor market and enjoy it all (though you probably get some great ones in the country). We took my daughter when she was 5 and she said she wanted to find Madeleine. The d’Orsay was a good pick for a little one.

Myself, I’d do the Paris sewer tour. We didn’t have time when we were there.

We usually try as many different kinds of transportation as possible wherever we travel. You could spend some time acquainting the kids with the Paris subway.

I like the idea above of the crepe-tasting contest around the city.

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83 Abby March 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Rent sailboats to play with in the fountains at the Luxembourg Gardin, and treat each member of the family to one macaron at Laduree or Pierre Hermes! Enjoy Paris!!

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84 Jill (mrschaos) March 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I love this. I’ve never been to Paris, though…no ideas from me! :)

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85 heather m March 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

What memories this post brings back! We went to Paris 12 years ago with our then 2 year old, in the springtime. We spent tons of time outside, hitting every carousel we ran across, playing in every park we bumped into. Most other posts have mentioned the best places for outdoors, including Jardins du Luxembourg, Tuileries (and you can do the exterior of the louvre this way… she loved that), Rodin museum is fabulous outdoors! Taking the funiculare at Montmartre is fun too. Oh so much to see and do. It may also be worth the Arc de triomphe, just for the views alone. Some of my favorite photos are there, of our girl with Paris as a backdrop. Walking the Seine, checking out markets, oh you could go on outside for weeks in Paris. Enjoy!!!

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86 Katie March 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Skip the Champs Elysee.
Go to the Rodin Museum and the Luxembourg Gardens – there is a carousel there. When we were in Paris, we tried to nap in a different garden everyday. It was by far our favourite activity and both Rodin and Luxembourg gave ample opportunity for that.

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87 Lyss March 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Sainte-Chapelle is absolutely breathtaking, but you must go on a sunny say or you won’t do justice to the stained glass.

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88 Shelley March 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Having spent 2 years in Paris, I would skip Champs Elysee, which is increasingly big-name designer shops (are you really going to buy something at Coach or Cartier?) and spend that time instead exporing the boutiques, galleries and food in the Marais. Thé Marriage Freres is a great stopping point, if everyone likes tea and cake. If you do Champs Elysee, though, stop at Angelina’s for hot cocoa (chocolat africain). To. Die. For.

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie is an amazing science museum for all ages surrounded by Parc de la Villette.

At Jussieu there’s the Jardin des Plantes which has a natural history museum (with a Noah’s ark style promenade of animals), a zoo, a botanic garden, a mineral collection and a museum of different kinds of skeletons. Pretty neat all around.

Have fun on this and all future Paris trips!

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89 Sherri March 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Your kids might like the Catacombs de Paris. They’ll meander through twisting tunnels and see millions of real bones. It’s crazy!

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90 Beth-Anne from 4mothers1blog March 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I am so happy to have stumbled across your post. My husband and I are headed to Paris in two days. I am hopeful the gorgeous weather holds out. Your readers have left some great suggestions that I am going to have to check out.

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91 mary March 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm

my daughter enjoyed the Luxembourg Gardens; there’s a lovely pond to sail boats on that you can rent there, and a fabulous playground where they can play and you can enjoy a coffee. Best of both worlds!

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92 sarah March 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm

wow! good luck:) your kids are super lucky. i know they will cherish this experience for a lifetime. i hope to take my future children abroad as much as possible. thx for the inspiration:)

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93 Michelle March 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Go on the ferris wheel in the Tuileries Gardens. Walk through the gardens, enjoy the scenery, and see the city from the view of the wheel.

What a fun adventure!!

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94 Kathleen March 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I don’t think you can go wrong in Paris. Enjoy!

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95 diana March 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm

You must visit Les jardins de Luxembourg!! I used to live right across from there and it is a magnificent garden that the kids will love, you used to be able to rent little paddle boats in the center.
I am hoping to come back to France this summer for a few weeks in Paris and the west so maybe see you out and about!
Do you want more ideas or do you have too many???

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96 charmaine March 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm

yup, i think the luxembourg gardens and the rodin museum were my favourite spots in paris as well! and i love the idea of visiting the places in madeline, it’ll be so special to sit there and read madeline while in the location! and parisian flea markets – an absolute must go.

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97 leslie March 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm

The best falafel ever in the greatest part of town, the Marais.
Amazing Jewish bakeries and delish food!

La’ Du Falafel
34 rue des Rosiers

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98 dunski March 10, 2011 at 4:07 am

I love the Marais and all that can be explored there. young designers, funky clothing etc. And the delicious food! Sigh. time to go back soon. ;)

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99 Alecia @ Hoobing Family Adventures March 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I would eat at every wonderful cafe I could find except I am pretty sure the kids would get bored pretty fast…

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100 jodi March 8, 2011 at 8:26 pm

That is amazing!! I love the photos and oh my gosh what a great way to spend your time in Paris! Enjoy and I have to tell you, I’m living vicariously through you, what fun!

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101 Nikki March 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Those pictures are so dreamy. I’ve never been to Paris, but I would definitely find some good pastries to eat.

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102 Hannah S March 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I agree with many comments. But the louvre for sure, and since you’re there, head across the street to the Tuileries and have the kids push a boat around the fountain w/a stick. So classic. Feed the sparrows while you watch.
I agree about champs elysses, we went there about 2x the whole time we lived there….too expensive. BUT if you must, go to lauduree, of course, to try the many flavors of macaroons.
I agree about Pere Lachasie cemetery..a lot of cool people buried there. so beautiful, and a yummy indian restaurant close-ish to it.

Bonne Chance!

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103 Alisa: Modern Palm Boutique March 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Are you for reals!? What a fantastic day! I’m so glad that y’all are taking the opportunity to experience so much in life! What a perfect adventure for your kids. Cheers!

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104 Emily March 9, 2011 at 7:19 am

I saw the Mona Lisa when I was 12, and I was so turned off by the crowds of tourists taking flash pictures that I haven’t been back to the Louvre since. I love the Musee de Cluny (http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/) — the tapestries of the Lady and the unicorn and roman baths. The Jacquemart-Andre Museum is also wonderful and would be great for children — art displayed in a 19th C mansion, not a museum, with a wonderful audio guide. http://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en/jacquemart/.

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105 CBee March 9, 2011 at 7:22 am

Take the Paris tour a’la Babar!!!

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106 Bettijo @ Paging Supermom March 9, 2011 at 10:16 am

That is pretty much the coolest picnic spot EVER!

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107 Bettijo @ Paging Supermom March 9, 2011 at 10:17 am

P.S. That last photo of you holding June with the kids all around you and the Eiffel in the background is a real keeper!

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108 Anne March 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

Make sure you plan ahead of time for Versailles. Once a week they turn on the fountains and it is like MAGIC! It is worth going other times to explore, but the fountains are so much better when running!

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109 Jen S March 9, 2011 at 11:16 am

Be sure to check out Musée en herbe if you’re around next week. It’s closed until the 16th when it reopens with a new exhibition on Keith Haring. The museum is a children’s art museum and you can find more info here http://www.musee-en-herbe.com/

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