How did we get here?
To say I love the Eurostar is an understatement. I have many fond memories of great (and easy) mini-breaks to the continent pre-children and of business trips travelling first class, supping on bubbles and reading glossy mags (and that’s what they are now – just memories…!!).
Keep up Mummy!
We booked our apartment via Holiday Velvet; the service was impeccable and I would certainly use the company again. It has a whole host of apartments of different sizes in different arrondissements with clear descriptions of the location and facilities on its web site. Reading between the lines (which I don’t advocate since squinting causes wrinkles) the same apartment is also available via Perfectly Paris.
Worth waking up for
The apartment suited our needs well – it has two bedrooms, plus a well-equipped kitchen and bathroom with both a shower and a bath (daughter one is a ‘showerphobe’) and a dining room and living room. This meant that there was plenty of space for the kids to play (and make a mess). It was also architecturally beautiful with gorgeously tall windows, high ceilings and intricate cornices. But while we had narrowed our search down by arrondissement we hadn’t given any thought to things such as – is it near a Metro? (luckily, our apartment was very near two stations, which was just as well when you have spent all day walking about Paris in a heat wave and your five-year-old has really had more than enough of walking thank you very much!) or what sort of sights were nearby (Montmartre since you ask…). Those sorts of things really make a difference to a holiday – we were lucky this time but next time I will double check (what I really mean is, I will delegate this job)!!!
I feel bad saying this, but I think the Metro could be better than the London Underground. It just seems so much less crowded and there is quite a lot of (multi-lingual) staff around to help out. We survived by buying a 'carnet' of tickets rather than individual tickets which saves about 30 per cent. The carnet gives you 10 tickets that can be used by the whole family (as well as the same person just taking 10 trips!). Maps are up on the walls, but you can ask for one at the ticket office to help you work out your route. We got about ten, since my girls do like to collect things - and I'd rather it was maps than old sweet wrappers or yoghurt pots (no, seriously, this is my serious face).
If you and your family are physically capable of knocking off a lot of top sights in a small space of time – and that is how you like to spend holidays – then the Paris Pass might be an option for you. We looked into it, and downloaded the free on-site guide to the city, but decided our kids couldn’t keep up the pace needed to make it worth the price (yeah, that’s right the kids couldn’t keep up, not that we wanted to laze around supping wine in the shade every lunchtime). However, once I had visited the site and downloaded the guide, I did go on to receive an offer of 10 per cent off a pass (so if it is for you, do try and hold out and see if you get the same offer…).
As chilled as the wine...
And finally a word of thanks to the people at Holiday Velvet, within our apartment was a fantastic street map, which helped us no end. It was a Michelin Paris Par Arrondissement and it is well worth buying if you are heading off to the city.
This is just the first write-up of our family trip to Paris; I still have the major sights, Disneyland, Paris for kids and shopping bits to file. Not sure which to do next though – so let me know which you would prefer in the comment box below…
My Disneyland Paris review can be found here.