A Paris Travel Trip Solo or With the Kids
A year plus into the pandemic, it hit me that I was no longer daydreaming; never mind goals- a goal seemed like a fool’s game. Mentally and emotionally, I was exhausted.
One day, I began to do something I had not done in a while; I created a vision board. My vision board consisted of one theme. Paris. Crazy lady, I know. I went from not considering anything for myself to dreaming of taking a trip to another country. No kids, no partner- just a fun mom trip.
Was flying to another country going to solve my gloominess, of course not, but getting away was only going to do good. It also would gift me something I hadn’t had in years…time to myself.
So I took the trip. Along with a fellow mother/friend who also needed solo time, we packed our bags with clothes we hadn’t worn in, let’s say…two years (!) and hopped on a jetplane to France.
One of the perks of my job is that we are offered many trips, some to faraway places. It surprises people, but I am pretty particular when accepting a travel trip. One huge factor is, yes, the kids. Another big one is that I want to go on an aspirational trip and provide our readers with something that will feel like a dose of self-care. What is the point of sharing a trip that our readers will not want to take?!
The Flight: Things to Know about French Bee
French bee checks all the boxes for team New York Family. It is the first French smart-cost long-haul airline. In New York, we have many French families, and I love this airline for our French parents who fly to France often. It also is perfect for families who want to take that dream trip and an airline such as French bee can take the entire family without breaking the bank.
French bee flies modern Airbus A350s and offers three customizable ticket options Basic, Smart and Premium. Currently, fares start at $199 one-way from New York (you fly out of Newark Liberty International Airport) to Paris, and booking is an À la carte experience. Working with your budget, you pick what fits for you. Since my trip was a ‘mom getaway,’ I chose Premium, yup, no regrets. I had plenty of legroom; all French bee seats include USB and electrical ports, headphone plugs, and unlimited in-flight entertainment. I had a yummy breakfast after I slept, which was the first time I slept on a flight. The flight attendants were kind, and the vibe was joyful. I had the wrong mask on (I was rusty), and they graciously supplied one that was compliant for flying. They asked us continuously if we needed anything-honestly my friend and I needed some TLC; we take care of everyone, and we are not often asked if we are okay or need something. So, merci for this.
Another cool thing French bee offers is to combine your plane ticket with your train destination when you book your flight. You receive a special rate on your train tickets, including guarantees of your train trip in case of delay or cancellation, which when traveling to another country this is a huge task to check off the list.
Helpful Planning Resources
I am a research kind of person- most parents are as we are use to our time being tight. Working with Atout France and the Paris Tourist Office , I streamlined the spots we wanted to visit. I also used the site to stay up to date regarding COVID in France. I highly recommend visiting this site as it was essential for planning a smooth trip.
Also, if one of the main to do’s on your list is visiting all the museums you can, consider the Paris Museum Pass. The pass allows you to skip the lines (but not security, of course!) at some of the best museums-check online to ensure your museum is on the list. You can choose between three passes: 2, 4 or 6 days, and is activated at first use. If you plan on visiting many museums, this pass is cost-effective.
Tip: for the 18 and younger set, most museums are free- this pass is best for adults.
Bonjour, what to do in Paris (with or without kids)
There are so many great parts of Paris to stay at and really you should stay in the nook that works for you and your family. We stayed in Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement- which is a neighborhood I would recommend staying in with kids or adding to your must-visit list. The restaurants and cafes are all unique and friendly. As a mom to a special needs child, I know what works or wouldn’t for my son, and I know we will come back here (soon I hope) and stay in Montmartre.
There were kids on scooters and parents dropping and picking up kids. The Metro (subway) is central to this area. The vibe felt familiar which is always a goal personally for me when traveling- and my friend and I seamlessly fit right in.
Sidebar: A few standouts of Montmartre that kids will enjoy:
- Dali Paris Museum (Salvador Dali) at 11, rue Poulbot (children under 8 are free)
- Since Notre Dame (still worth visiting) is being repaired, Sacre Coeur is located at the city’s highest point and is a beautiful church to visit.
- Place du Tertre in Montmartre with Kids- sitting on top of Paris’ largest hill; this artistic spot is full of street art, bistros, and even a little train for kids to hop on.
Psst…check out the 12 Travel Necessities for Kids
Paris in three days- museums that should be on your list
- Lourve Museum : We went in the afternoon but would recommend going first thing in the morning if you have little ones as it does get busy.
- Musée de L’Orangerie: Kids will love this beauty of a museum. You will love it for being the stunning showcase of Claude Monet’s monumental series of water lily paintings.
- Musee Picasso Paris Picasso-Paris National Museum: Keep in mind there are many stairs -thankfully there are elevators if you have little kids or a stroller.
- The Centre Pompidou Modern Art Museum: This museum is terrific; you can spend hours at this iconic museum with the kids. There is much to do and visit; I recommend going online to plan your visit if you bring the family.
- If you are babywearing your babe, you will want to bring a comfortable baby carrier, as wearing your little one will make your life much more manageable than lugging a giant stroller. The museums are busy and the restaurants packed. Carrying your baby will help you to maneuver around smoothly.
- When it comes to eating in restaurants, the French eat pretty late, so you may want to eat fairly early before the bistros get crowded when eating with young kids.
- Regarding strollers, leave your huge city stroller at home and bring a lightweight easy to fold stroller. There are narrow sidewalks in some arrondissements and cobbled streets, but let’s be honest, a toddler will only walk so much, and a folded stroller will come in handy.
- There are great parks in Paris; bring comfy shoes and wear them just like you would in your neighborhood park.
Kid- friendly Restaurant Recommendations via Atout France
LouLou Paris –located in the courtyard just outside the Louvre, this restaurant has fantastic views of the Louvre and its glass pyramid as well as the Eiffel Tower and the Tuileries gardens. If you’re looking for a post-museum meal, this is a great spot. Probably best for slightly older children; website is only in French sorry but the images will show you what a great setting.
Brutus – crepes are great for kids and adults and this restaurant presents a more modern take with both savory and sweet creations. It’s also Paris’ first cider bar and while there are 25 types of cider for adults, they also offer organic apple juice. They also have a kids menu and coloring activities to keep the kids occupied while you wait for those crepes. It’s in the Batignolles neighbourhood in the 17th arrondissement.
Galeries Lafayette Paris Hausmann—this is the classic Paris department store so after you’re done shopping for the family, there are several types of restaurants to choose from. Jour is a good casual spot for made-to-order salads and fresh juices.
There’s always Angelina—the mainstay on Rue de Rivoli famous for its decadent hot chocolate if you’re looking for a snack spot.
The Paris Tourist Office also has several family-friendly restaurants on their website
Visiting France in the time of COVID
We all know that health protocols are ever-changing. My trip was relatively recent, and at the time, a Health Pass was required. You need to get to a French Pharmacy as soon as you get settled, which isn’t difficult as they are everywhere in France. To learn more on how to acquire this pass, click here.
According to the U.S Embassy and Consulate of France: As of February 12th fully vaccinated travelers coming from any green or orange nation, including the United States (as well as minor children under 12) no longer require a covid test to enter France, and may enter with proof of vaccination and a sworn statement they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 nor contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.