So, it’s taken me FOREVER to get this post together! I’m so sorry for anyone that has emailed or DM’d me for Paris travel recommendations over the past month! We went to Paris in the middle of November and with the holidays and my baby’s first birthday time has just really gotten away from me. We have a few more trips coming up so I wanted to be sure to put together a travel guide for anyone that is planning a trip to Europe with little ones before I get sidetracked again.
This was my husband and I’s 4th time back to Paris but the first time bringing our little girl with us. People always seem surprised when we tell them we took our 1 year old with us on such a far trip but it really was so much fun experiencing another side of this beautiful city! And we love showing our daughter the world! I’m also working on a post all about traveling with a toddler internationally. I did a post HERE all about traveling with a baby, but traveling so far with a busy toddler is a game changer haha!
PLANNING YOUR TRIP:
We have never used a travel agent on any trip we’ve ever been on. I really don’t see the need to do that. We love figuring everything out ourselves and being on our own schedule. We always stay with Marriott wherever we travel since they are all over the world. I feel like once you get status with them they really take care of you and we always get upgraded rooms, early check in, late check out, free breakfast, etc. I always recommend everyone to take full advantage of hotel and airline reward programs. Always try to stick with the same airlines and hotel chains whenever you can. You’d be surprised how quickly the points add up.
We always check out multiple websites to find the best airline deal if we don’t have enough points accumulated for a free flight. It’s always good to check out multiple airports too if you live close to a larger airport. This trip we flew out of LA which is about 2 hours from San Diego but we saved several hundred dollars per ticket flying this way. We always stay with Marriott and in the past we have stayed near the Eiffel Tower since that’s a pretty central location. But this time we wanted to experience a different side of the city so we stayed near the Louvre. Getting from one side of the city to another is always super easy with the metro. You can also do Uber but traveling with a 1 year old we didn’t want to take Uber and have to carry around a car seat all day so usually the metro was our best option for getting across the city.
WHAT TO DO:
So I could go on and on about things to do in this gorgeous city! I feel like every time we go we return to our favorite spots but we always try to add in new things too. Here is a list of our favorite things to do while in the city….
Eiffel Tower- this is a MUST DO if you are going for the first time. The views are stunning both during the day and at night. During peak season and holidays the lines can be super long so I recommend buying your tickets ahead of time
Pictures at the Tracadero- this is the best spot for pictures! It’s best to go first thing in the morning to beat the crowds but it really is beautiful any time of day including sunset. If you have it in your budget I strongly recommend getting a professional photographer to capture images you will treasure forever! There are so many good photographers on Instagram and you can contact them for rates and availability. I did a post HERE all about our photographer and our family pictures.
Sunset cruise on the Seine- So beautiful seeing the city from this viewpoint. They have dinner cruises as well but I love just taking in all the beautiful sights and taking tons of pictures.
The Louvre- This museum is unbelievable! It is full of history and so big you really need to set aside a whole day and you still won’t get through it all.
Shopping at Lafayette Galleries- This is a huge mall that has floors and floors of shopping and food and clothing and designer items. When we were there they had the most beautiful Christmas display in the windows and a gorgeous tree inside the mall.
Take the train to Versailles We did not do this on this trip to Paris but we have done it previously. Train tickets are cheap and it’s a fun day to get outside of the city and view the palace where Marie Antoinette lived and the stunning gardens and fountains.
Disneyland Paris- We decided to go here on our baby girl’s first birthday to make it a memorable day for her. Even though she won’t remember, we will have pictures and videos to show her when she’s older. Make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time if possible. They are so much cheaper and you won’t have to wait in the long lines. Getting to Disneyland Paris was super easy too. It’s only about an hour train ride from the city and the train drops you off right at Disneyland.
Walk down the Champs Elysee- This is the most beautiful street! There is so much shopping and tons of restaurants in this area. It’s a little too touristy for us as far as restaurants so we never really eat here but it’s still so much fun walking down the street and taking in all the sites!
Notre Dame- We go here every time we come to Paris! It was especially beautiful being here in the fall with all the gorgeous leaves.
Visit the Musee D’Orsay- We still have not made it here yet. It’s been on my list every time we go to Paris but we always seem to run out of time to make it here. It looks so beautiful though!
Walk the Tuileries Gardens and Luxembourg Gardens- These are in separate parts of the city but if you are in the areas they are gorgeous and a nice break to relax and really take in the beauty of Paris
Take a drive to Normandy- If you love history like I do this is such an amazing day trip. The beaches of Normandy were absolutely beautiful and the museums and monuments… just everything was so moving and very emotional. You can rent a car very easily near the L’arc de Triomphe and it’s about a 2 and a half hour drive to Normandy. You go through the French Countryside on the way and it’s just a very beautiful drive. We did this on our last trip to Paris about 2 years ago.
WHERE TO EAT:
I’m probably the wrong person to ask for restaurant recommendations sorry! I do not like spending a lot of money on food when on vacation, I would rather spend money shopping or sightseeing. Plus we are more snackers when in Europe because we like to try a lot of the local foods and little local restaurants. Here are a few of my favorite places to eat…
Crepes, Crepes, Crepes!! I seriously dreamed about these yummy treats weeks before our trip! They have little street vendors all over the city and they make them fresh right in front of you. They are so yummy and perfect for grabbing while on the go. The best ones are right at the Eiffel Tower.
Local French Bakeries- there are no specific bakeries that I can recommend but there are several really good ones on the little side streets between the Eiffel Tower and the Tracadero. It’s always best to get off the main streets and really go into the little local neighborhoods. That’s always where you can find the best bakeries and cafes. Be aware that they don’t always speak English so always be sure to greet them and always say please and thank you… it goes a long way!
Le Chalet Savoyard- located in the 11th arrondissement, this is hands down our favorite restaurant in Paris. If you’ve never had raclette you are missing out. It is seriously sooooo good! They heat a half a wheel of cheese right at your table and you eat the cheese with potatoes, vegetables and meats. Everything is so good and so French! I highly recommend! Make sure to have your concierge make a reservation for you. Lunchtime is the best time to go as it’s less crowded.
Galleries Lafayette- There is a whole floor of the mall with all sorts of foods, desserts, pizzas, etc… one night we just grabbed a pizza and bottle of wine and took it back to our room for dinner. There are so many good dessert places here as well to grab a sweet treat.
There were actually many nights this trip that we grabbed some small pasteries or sandwiches around dinner time and took them back to the room to eat dinner. It was tough being on the go all day with a 1 year old and sometimes we just wanted to go back for the night and rest and have Olivia walk around and get out of her stroller.
There is just honestly so much to do in this beautiful city one post is probably not enough. So if you’re planning a trip anytime soon and need any sort of recommendations or have any questions please feel free to ask. I LOVE this city and can’t wait to go back again!