I’ve gone back and forth between wanting to share a complete travel guide to each and every city we’re visiting, but there are countless ones out there that I’ve leaned on and looked to when it comes to finding restaurants, seeing the sights and ideas on where to stay. So rather than repeating those, my goal here is to get more into the how we are doing what we’re doing with a toddler and how you can do it too. Posts like how to sell all of your belongings in less than 3 weeks, how it’s more affordable to travel the world than to live in NYC and how to create a beautiful, easy meal with Paris essentials are all prime examples of what I’m going for.
Obviously, as a nomadic family, we are bringing Owen with us to each and every city and often times (okay, maybe 90% of the time), we’re catering to him and what will make him happy which in return makes us the most happy. It’s a win, win when we do this, even if it feels a little forced initially. This post is intended to give you some ideas with your little ones while traveling in Paris. The way I structured this list is based on one day, but you by all means don’t need to do everything here in one day. Cherry pick which activities sound the best for you and feel free to spread them out over your vacation. Don’t worry, I placed a few parental breaks in here because this is absolutely your vacation too. We really believe our days don’t have to be 100% dictated by Owen, maybe just 90%. 😉 Here’s a typical day off for us in Paris!
Leave your hotel, Airbnb or home stocked with what you need for the day. For us that means diapers, wipes, a bottle/cup full of milk, snacks, toys, sunscreen, pacifiers, water bottles and for those emergency situations, the iPad loaded with games/shows you won’t need internet to access.
Do a little research and find a bakery within walking distance of where you’re staying. Our favorite has been Pain Pain – they have a huge variety of pastries and even serve coffee (which is rare for most of the bakeries we’ve visited). The grab and go culture of Paris is fantastic for kiddos, or at least for Owen, because this kid is all about being on the go.
Hand your child a croissant, enjoy a walk through Paris with your coffee and head to the closest playground. We’ve been visiting Square d’Anvers because it’s a close walk from Pain Pain, is rather large and has plenty of seating for parents so we can eat our pastries while Owen plays. Let your little one(s) get out as much energy as possible!
Still feeling sleepy from all that wine the night before? Stop in a cafe for another espresso. Grab a spot outside (this is super helpful if you’re traveling with a stroller), plus you’re in Paris. Stay outside as much as possible! If your little one isn’t interested in sitting still while you take 5 minutes to order and consume your beverage, it’s bottle time. Once everyone is done with their beverages use this as an opportunity to use the bathroom, change any diapers and rinse out that bottle so it doesn’t get too stinky and is ready for dinner time if you’re still out.
We’re big walkers so a 30, 45 minute walk is nothing for us. We actually like it, and Owen is likely to take a nap if he’s comfortable in the stroller and the time is right. From here this is where you’ll have to decide how you want to spend nap time (we are all about utilizing this time to the max while we’re out and about during our travels). Ideally, we like to plan ahead and have a walking based activity Owen wouldn’t likely enjoy, a restaurant/market in mind for lunch, and a back up walking distance destination in case nap time fell through the cracks. My suggestion is visit a museum you’ve been dying to go to, in this case we walked to Musée d’Orsay.
After you leave the museum, you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to rock the boat and take them out to eat. For us, since Owen had skipped his nap, we decided it was a bread, cheese and wine sort of picnic day. We picked up a bottle of wine at a whole in the wall market (the store owner knew where our heads were at and opened the bottle for us and gave us cups), we grabbed a baguette at Boulangerie Madame and cheese at Laurent Dubois. After we picked up the essentials we headed to Luxembourg Gardens.
When your child skips their nap it can really rock your day, but we just decided to embrace it and go with the flow. Luxembourg Gardens, if you’ve never been, is gorgeous. There’s an enormous playground, but to be totally honest Owen would rather roam the park. You’re not technically supposed to be in the grass, but we rolled with it since we could easily watch him from our chairs. We were all in heaven!
Gelato! If you haven’t realized yet – we never stop eating over here. Amorino has locations all over the city, but there’s one across the street from Luxembourg Gardens so we had to do it.
Based on where you’re at decide whether it’s worth it or not to walk back to where you’re staying or if you’d prefer to take the Metro. We were maniacs this particular day and decided to walk back, but there’s no shame in taking the Metro. It’s incredibly fast and clean here in comparison to NYC! We took our time as we walked back and stopped at Jardin des Tuileries so that Owen could get out even more energy (I sweat this kid never stops).
Milk + alcohol pit stop! Owen was ready for another bottle and a snack and we were ready for something to drink as well (it was 95 degrees this day). We ended up stopping at a hotel restaurant/bar. Nothing to write home about and severely overpriced but they had air conditioning, milk and alcohol under one roof. We were set!
Walk home, pick up groceries at your local market and cook a nice and easy meal in, or if you’re feeling particularly exhausted – pick up take out. Chances are your little one will sleep well considering all the time outdoors playing! There are so many incredible markets and shops around Paris, but our absolute favorites (where we’re staying) are all listed here.
Cook dinner, begin to relax for the night and go through your kiddo’s bed time routine!
Bedtime! Hopefully you have some outdoor space wherever you’re staying because Paris at night is too beautiful to miss entirely (even if you have kids with you). Share some wine, chat with your partner, take the city in by night!
Any tips you have for traveling with your kiddos? Are there certain trips you try to take without them, certain trips with them?