Friday, March 3, 2023

Travel to Paris with Kids {Paris in 24 Hours}

I'm excited to share the final part of our Europe trip today.  If you missed it, you can find the details of our time in London linked...Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE

Day 6: Eurostar to Paris, The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe

We spent a whirlwind 24 hours in Paris to round out our trip and I wasn't sure if we would be able to see and do everything that we wanted in such a short amount of time, but we packed it in! Obviously, if we had more time we would have been able to do so much more, but being so close in London we felt like we just had to at least hit the highlights in Paris. 

We took the first available train to Paris on the Eurostar. The kids were fascinated to learn that we would actually be traveling under the ocean and I think my son pictured being able to see fish out his window. In reality, most of the trip is dark through a tunnel, but when you come out the other side seeing the French countryside was beautiful. 

When they called for boarding on the train, it was sort of a free for all.  No organized boarding by groups or anything like we are used to. I've never been so happy for everyone's backpack and small carryon that they could manage themselves. 

When we arrived the first thing someone needed to do was use the restroom. Which you have to PAY for in the train station. That was new to me! So we walked across the street to a little cafe where you also had to be a paying customer. I bought a croissant and the woman was not thrilled that I wanted to pay with a credit card. Our time wasn't starting off great. We decided to get a taxi to our hotel to drop our bags and then got a quick nearby lunch. By this point in the trip everyone was tired from our long days, hungry from the early morning travel and a little frustrated that they couldn't even read the menu to order because it was all in French.  It was their first real dose of being in another country and not being able to speak the language. We had downloaded the Google Translate app on their phones and there is a feature that you can hold over a menu and it translates it into your language right before your eyes. That was very helpful! After refueling everyone was in a better mood and ready to start exploring. 

First up was The Louvre. I'd booked tickets ahead of time and after our museum experience the day before I wasn't sure how this would go, BUT we all enjoyed it. We followed the signs to see The Mona Lisa and found ourselves in a crowded room with everyone else who had the same idea. The kids were excited to take selfies with it and were surprised by how small and unassuming it was. 

We spent another hour or so walking around the museum and then got turned around trying to find our way out!  It was kind of like a maze, but we eventually made out outdoors to the famous Louvre Pyramid for photos. 

I could have spent all day walking around The Louvre Palace and surrounding gardens. It was so enchanting and you forgot that you were in the middle of a big city. 

Our next stop was the Eiffel Tower and we could see it from where we were. We walked along the river to make our way close to the tower. It was a LONG walk, but lots of fun photo ops! 

I had originally wanted us to go up into the tower, but they were doing maintenance the day we were there. We actually we really just enjoyed spending time on the lawn, taking photos, and experiencing something up close and personal that you've only seen photos of your entire life. 

Another thing on the kids' to-do list for Paris was visiting a French Cafe so we found a nearby one to stop in. It was the perfect mid-afternoon snack break. They got macaroons and pastries! 

After that we walked over to see the Arc de Triomphe and walked down the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysees. 

It was storefront after storefront of high-end, luxury fashion brands and people lined up out the doors just to get in and shop! 

After a nice dinner with a lot of pointing at menu items because we speak very little French and our waitress spoke very little English we walked back over to the Eiffel Tower to see it all lit up at night! It has sparkling lights for 5 minutes on the hour and we timed it just right. It was magical to see and the perfect way to end our night! 

We rode the train back to our hotel and all crashed for a few hours before waking up to head back home. 

It was an incredible trip. So many amazing memories and experiences for our family and we can't wait to pick our next adventure! 

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