The summer months are here and we all know the feeling of anxiety mixed with excitement of traveling with young children. Multiply that by a factor of 10 when thinking about taking a train, plane and car across all of Europe from Spain to France then to England and back and you will have an idea of what my husband and I felt before our trip.
Taking the Eurostar with our luggage. No they do not help you. No those containers at the back are not for our luggage. No you cannot use the lift to the train as these are only for Seniors. Yes please take a plane from Paris to London instead!
My husband almost had a heart attack when I told him we had to bring 5 full size luggages, 3 hand carries and 5 small bags (kids backpacks included) oh… almost forgot a stroller as well….
Travel tip #1: Multidirectional wheels are a MUST! You cannot push two large suitcases per hand. In the Paris CDG the horror is there are very few luggage carts by the airport shuttle drop off area at Terminal 2. Once you are inside though you can find some as well. The stroller is also extremely important to keep your little one in place and to hold your baby bag.
Bringing your girls to Paris is truly worth all the hard work like sleepless flight and tons of baggage. Just seeing them absorbing all the beautiful sights (after putting away their Ipads of course!) such as the Eiffel Tower
Travel tip #3: Go to the Trocadero to take pictures of the Eiffel as the back drop with your loved one. Of course if you can wake up early and go when there are less people would make it even better.
Nothing is quite like the Louvre with its exotic modern exterior pyramid welcoming the millions of visitors each year to the magnificent classic french buildings containing some of the most priceless art pieces in the world it is just the center of art and culture in the world. We wanted our girls to enjoy it the first time they came but were worried they may not enjoy art. The first time was exploratory just to see if they would be interested and lo and behold they were! Especially the story of the Mona Lisa going missing. There were simply too many people though and seemingly few elevators given our stroller. We decided to come back another day.
We came back another day but this time we booked with a private tour guide on Viator named Anna. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! She brought a story book and was very engaging with the girls. They were immediately captured in the history of the art and the museum. She had access to hidden entrances and knew where all the elevators were located so we whisked away quickly through all the exhibits. She told us that they have to take a course and know each room and the art inside.
ANGELINA’S Best Hot Chocolate
After a long day of touring the Louvre (or before!), there is nothing like a good cup of hot chocolate to perk you up. Just a couple of minutes away through the Tuileries gardens is the famous Angelina’s.
Travel tip #4: Go in the morning to avoid the lines. It is rather large so one order is enough for two and two orders enough for three people. A nice croissant is also a good offset to the dark rich flavour of the african cocoa beans.
If you still haven’t had enough sweets or would like to take home something then Laduree is only around the corner with an amazing window display.
We took the hop on hop off bus for the girls to get a sample of the town and they absolutely loved it. My husband told them little stories from place to place as they had a hard time listening to the onboard commentary (Bring your own headset!)
We ended our Paris days with a visit to Disneyland to reward the kids for all the museums we had to go to. It was a picture perfect moment in front of the castle before it started pouring down. Oh well always make the most of it! Luckily we were staying at the nearby Mariott Vacation club.
The most unique aspect of Disneyland Paris is in the Ratatouille ride which is so adorable but breaks down quite often. Get a fast pass in the morning and just hope you get in if not you may need to wait awhile but it is worth it.
A short 30 mins away by car is the magnificent Palace of Versailles. We actually did not even bother going inside with all the crowds and decided to enjoy the rare beautiful day to take a stroll in the park to the Queen’s Hamlet which has been recently restored (Take a map so you do not get lost….. or get lost its worth it!)
Travel tip #5: Avoid the crowded cafes in the palace and instead grab a hot jacket potato in the Greater Trianon then finish it with Angelina’s hot chocolate. There is a lovely train to take (we were 5 with a toddler so couldn’t fit in the golf cart you can also rent….. next time!)
The garden is lovely this time of the year.. this tree looks like its part of the Monet painting doesn’t it? What a great way to cap off this part. We will post the rest of the trip in part 2!