For Christmas, we decided to take the kids to Paris! I’m a big fan of making memories rather than buying things they don’t really need that just becomes clutter. Why Paris? Freckled Face number 4 has had a little obsession with the Eiffel Tower since she was about 18 months old and Paris was on all of their travel bucket lists. Take a look at the video on our Facebook page of us surprising them on Christmas morning!
We did a 3 day trip (including travel) on a budget. We managed to find good flight prices and a good price on a nice apartment in the centre of Paris, in the 8TH ARR. We found it on Airbnb and felt it was a great deal! It wasn’t the biggest place, but it was all we needed to rest our heads and sleep. The hosts were really good at responding, and it was in a great location, and within a 10 minute walk to 2 metro stations. We got off at Concorde metro stop because we loved the view and the walk from there.
We thought we would share some of our experiences with you. We had one full day and a few hours in Paris on the travel days. Unfortunately, our flight to Paris was delayed, so that meant we had less time than we planned, so plans had to change a little. We still got to see lots though! At the bottom of this post, we will share some TOP TIPS with you!
We flew with Ryanair into Paris, Beauvais airport, then hopped on a transfer bus to the city centre – Porte Maillot. From there, we walked up to the Arc de Triomphe to stretch our legs! First bit of entertainment was watching the madness at Arc de Triomphe! How do people survive that area?? We saw someone miss their exit – so instead of going around again, they slammed their breaks on, turned around and drove the opposite way to get to the exit!? It’s scary, yet entertaining. We also made it our last stop before heading home!
We used the Metro to get around – it is SO easy to use. Freckled Face 1 took to it quickly and enjoyed working it out. We originally wanted to to do the river boat, but it doesn’t run in January. The Metro was good though, we got Paris Visite tickets for zone 1- 3, for the kids day tickets were 6.75 euros and adults were 13.55 euros (under 4’s are free and child is up to the age of 11). To get your monies worth – kids need to do 4 trips and adults 7. We did about 10 trips, so we definitely got our monies worth. We did also do around 25,000 steps that day too!
We decided, before we left, that we wouldn’t buy tickets for anything – it was literally just a sightseeing trip. With the kids – they wanted to see as much as possible, if we had to queue to get into places that would cut down on our time to get around. We did wonder whether it would still be busy in January – the answer is yes! Paris is still busy in January. Paris is busy at anytime! It is so worth visiting at any time though.
Here are the places we decided to visit:
Place de la Concorde – We were lucky enough to be staying less than 10 minutes walk from this place. We loved it! Such a beautiful area. Well worth a visit and look/walk around.
Le Louvre – Pure awesome! We wanted to see this in the day and night too, and as it was fairly close to where we were staying, we decided to start and end our day with it. It was far less busy in the evening, but stunning in both the day and night. In the warmer months they have the fountains on. It’s worthwhile walking around the whole area as there are many great spots for lovely photos.
Notre Dame – We didn’t spend very long here, it was just a quick visit to tick it off the list to be honest! We ate nearby and shopped in the tourist shops for the kids to spend some of their money and get their souvenirs. It’s an easy and short walk from the metro stop (Saint-Michel)
Parc des Princes – This was high on Freckled Face 1’s list! I think he was kinda hoping he would get lucky and see one or two of the players walking around, but alas – no such luck! It was right on the edge of zone 3 for the metro (Porte d’Auteuil stop), then about a 10 – 15 minute walk from there.
Eiffel Tower – You can see this beauty from most places! We visited later in the afternoon so that we could see it in the daylight and then stayed and ate some snacks into the dark too, when it was all lit up. Just wow!! As I mentioned before, Freckled Face 4 is obsessed with the Eiffel Tower and has been for many years – to see her excitement and hear her squeal was awesome! It was a big hit with all of them. They couldn’t believe how big it was! We would definitely recommend seeing it in the day and night. Stick around and grab some crepes, churros, or any of the other food around. There are plenty of street sellers or little stools around to get some souvenirs.
The Basilica Sacre Coeur – This was a lot busier than we expected, and there were street sellers there who were extremely pushy and grabbed wrists to try and sell you bracelets. So be aware of this! It’s definitely worth a visit though – what a beautiful building! Just a short walk from the Anvers metro stop….though it is a fairly steep walk up to the top, but not too bad.
1 – Get the metro Paris Visite day ticket – well worth it!
2 – Take a look at a map and metro map before going, to help plan out your visit.
3 – Allow a lot of money for food and drink – eating in Paris is expensive! Consider where you’re going to eat. We did a little grocery shop for breakfasts, drinks and snacks. FYI – you can get pizza with mash potato on it – so be careful what you order! If you don’t know much French, Google Translate can be your friend!
4 – If you do want to go and see in le Louvre or up the Eiffel Tower, etc, then book tickets online before you go.
5 – Take the chance to go to the toilet when you stop to eat – you have to pay to use the toilets!
6 – Don’t attempt to drive in Paris! Especially around the Arc de Triomphe!
7 – Download City Mapper app – it tells you different options for getting to a place and how long it will take.
We made some amazing memories and tried to condense it all into a 4 minute YouTube video. Head to our channel to check it out.