View Full Version : PARIS FOR A DAY?

02-27-2013, 01:54 AM
I'm going to be in Paris for a couple days, but only one where I'll be able to see the sights. Anyone been? What would you recommend given the following:

Will be traveling with a 20-month-old toddler, and a stroller. Must begin the journey back to Hotel by around 7:00pm.

Looking forward to recommendations.

I'm thinking the Lovre, Eiffel tower . . . and stuff within walking distance of those sights.

02-27-2013, 03:39 AM
Hi Profen, I took my sons when they were 5/7. We took the train from Brussels for only a 7 hour day in Paris. The Louvre was closed the day we went (Tuesdays?) but my kids would have been less enthused going there. Instead we chose the on/off boat that cruises the river. Started at Notre Dame, worked our way up and back, getting off at the highlights. Had Croque Monsieurs at the park behind ND, ice cream in the Tuilleries, looked at the Eiffel Tower (line was too long to go up but we got excellent, odd perspective pics), saw the touristy spots in the best, kid-friendly way we could. We still remember it as a great day, 15 years later.

02-27-2013, 04:23 AM
If I had the chance... I'd want to see the Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe... but that's just moi. =)

02-27-2013, 05:37 AM
We went to Paris for a big-deal anniversary--no kids, of course.

One of the best days was taking the train out to Versailles (http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage), because there was lots and lots to see plus the grounds were awesome and vast, meaning lots of potential down-time and happy-nap periods for a toddler. If we'd known, we'd have arrived earlier with a bag lunch.

If train travel is too much, consider one of the great art museums, either the Louvre or Musee D'Orsay, or maybe the smaller Rodin museum, which has a walled sculpture garden where your little one can get out and play.

Warning for travelers as unseasoned as I was. Despite what everyone tells you, there are plenty of people who do not speak English. There are also plenty of tourists with English and some French, most happy to assist you if you ask. You need shoes you can walk in all day--it's not just asphalt and concrete but bricks heaved by frost, cobblestone, rock set in concrete, gravel... This may impact how difficult it is to wheel a stroller around. There is no place to pee when you need one, and even restaurants where you're a patron often have pay toilets. Bring Euro money! Have a great day!

Maryn, who went when it was way, way too hot

02-27-2013, 08:38 AM
The lineup for the Eiffel tower is too long to waste your one day in, and the Louvre is FREAKIN' MASSIVE--one day in there isn't enough time. (It's a gorgeous building, though, both inside and out.)

Here are my suggestions if you're up for a full day of walking/pushing the stroller. None of what I'm about to suggest costs any money (except the public toilets) because it's all just walking around and ogling stuff. Many of the sights you can pay to enter, also.

Start at the Eiffel tower and enjoy the sight of it, then walk to the end of the grassy garden area that lies to the south-east of the tower (1km from tower base). Now head toward that beautiful gold dome you see toward the north-east. That's the Hotel des Invalides and you can wander around parts of it for free (0.75km from Eiffel gardens).

After that, head north-east toward the river (the Hotel des Invalides faces south-west, so you're walking past its grounds.) Cross over the river on that bridge with the pretty gold bits on it: Pont Alexandre III. (1.1km from the dome)

(By the way, this is the area where Adele's video for the song Someone Like You was shot. Also, the bridge to the left/west is the Pont d'Alma. The tunnel under it is where Lady Diana died. There's a golden flame sculpture at the north end of the bridge as a memorial to her.)

After you cross the bridge, have a good look at the two gorgeous buildings on the other side of the river. These are the Nef du Grand Palais and the Petit Palais.

Keep walking up that road until you hit the Champs-Elysees. (0.5km from bridge)

If you turn left and walk for quite a way (1.5km), you'll get to the Arc de Triomphe. I'm not sure it's worth the walk, but that's because we never did figure out how to get over to the arch without dying a messy death in the traffic circle. There were people on top of the arch, so there must be a way over, but we didn't find it.

Instead, I recommend you turn right on Champs-Elysees and walk down to the Louvre instead. This is also quite a hike (2km from the turn-off on Champs-Elysees to the far end of the Louvre), although the Louvre itself is 0.7km and the gardens start well in advance of that, so you'll have LOTS to look at on the way. You can stop and give the kid and your feet a break in the gardens.

After that, head back to the shore of the river and follow it along until you see Notre Dame. Cross over to the island and have a good look-see. (1.3km from Louvre)

At this point, you'll probably be exhausted, so I'll only mention these for interest: if you cross right over to the south side of the river again, you'll be very close to the Sorbonne (0.8km from Notre Dame) and the Musee de Luxembourg (1.4km from Notre Dame), which has some really gorgeous gardens. (And pay toilets.)

Have a great time! By the way, there's a little rounded metal circle set into the pavement in front of Notre Dame. They say if you step on it, then someday, you will return to Paris. :)

02-27-2013, 07:42 PM
I'm going to 2nd the idea of wandering the streets around the Sorbonne (Saint-Michel's neighborhood?). It's not a large area but it's got winding cobblestone lanes and reeks of hundreds of years of scholars. One bookstore after another, some of them like walking into a Diagon Alley shop. If you like history at all (or if you have to find a restroom, as JJ mentions) it's worth a short stroll.

02-28-2013, 10:50 PM
Will be traveling with a 20-month-old toddler, and a stroller. Must begin the journey back to Hotel by around 7:00pm.
I have been twice under these same circumstances (and 4 other times without kids.)

The Palace at Versailles is great for kids, particularly if the weather is fine. My son LOVED it at 18 and 28 months. Boats, gardens, ice cream... but, you're under time constraints and Versailles would take up your whole day. The Luxembourg Gardens offer many of the same draws (for a kid friendly day) but are right in the heart of the city and close to the Louvre. If it were me, I would have a short list of things I had to see at the Louvre. Renaissance, Sculpture, Historic, the big two (Venus de Milo & Mona Lisa) whatever is important for YOU to be able to see. For me, it was standing in the corridor between the first and second floor just starring at her (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Winged_Victory_of_Samothrace.jpg) for 30 minutes while my husband showed Marley's Horses to my toddler and they enjoyed a snack. After the Louvre, you can feed the ducks in Tuileries Garden, walk to Luxembourg Gardens and check out all of the amazing fountains and sculptures and let the toddler RUN FREE for a while :)

Then, talk a walk to Notre Dame, but do NOT feed the pigeons. Holy hell, don't feed them! Check out Shakespeare & Co, just across the street from ND. It's a book lovers paradise and one of my favorite places in all the world. Plus, there's a great place to get ice cream just two or three shops down. I would, then walk down to the Tour Eiffel by way of the Left Bank and Les Invalides and just take in the experience of the little shops and neighborhoods along the way. I agree that the line at the Tour is ungodly and my child melted down about 2/3 of the way up and we had to go back down, which was fine with me (I'd been there enough times.) But you have to at least go for a walk and SEE the thing. It's amazing! And there are some great green patches and fountains around it that work out really well for some kid time.

Conversely, you could take the train up to Mont Martre. There's a little park at the base of the steps for Sacre Coeur with a carousel and jungle gym stuff. Plus the steps to the top are fun for kids and there's the little artist community just through a few winding streets after you make your way up the steps.

Please eat a crepe on the street. And I've heard that this place (http://www.restaurantalbion.com/) is amazing, but it's new and I haven't been yet.

Okay, I'm rambling. Let me know if you have any questions or need specifics. I love Paris deep down in my soul.

02-28-2013, 10:55 PM
If you turn left and walk for quite a way (1.5km), you'll get to the Arc de Triomphe. I'm not sure it's worth the walk, but that's because we never did figure out how to get over to the arch without dying a messy death in the traffic circle. There were people on top of the arch, so there must be a way over, but we didn't find it.If you're looking at the Arc and Le Petit Palais/Place dela Concorde etc is behind you, there's a tunnel on the right side, just off the Champs Elysees. Just so you can do it next time :) Really cool views from the top of L'Arc.

Honestly, the best way to see Paris is by wandering. But if you only have ONE (sacrilegious) day to see Paris, plan a little.

03-01-2013, 01:37 AM
Hopefully I haven't forgot to thank anyone in the reps, but wanted to say thank you again! I'm really getting excited about the trip. Trying hard to squeeze an extra day (so I'd have 2 rather than 1) in Paris, but probably won't know if that happens till I get there.

Not leaving for a few weeks yet, so by all means, keep the suggestions coming!

05-19-2013, 07:32 PM
Well, I'm back and I have to say that the France portion of my trip was a serious highlight. Paris, however, didn't go quite as planned. I made the serious lapse in judgment and went up the Eiffel Tower... all the way to the top. That was a huge waste of 4 hours. Oh man, what a mistake. It was so packed at the top that I couldn't move a single foot in either direction.

But Nice, France, was just pure awesome. Loved it more than I thought I would, and I thought I was going to really enjoy it. The French people were just some of the nicest people I've met anywhere. I will go back one day to do Paris again one day, but I wanted to thank you all for the great tips!

France was a blast!

05-19-2013, 11:53 PM
Yay! Glad you had a fantastic time. (I totally want to go back also. :))