We were in Paris from June 22 to June 30, and we had an amazing vacation! I was there with my husband, daughter (age 10), son (almost 8), and mother- and father-in-law (ages 73 and 83).
We stayed at Paris Perfect's Marsanne apartment in the 6th. It was exactly as advertised and extremely conveniently located. I was very happy with that experience. My in-laws stayed around the corner at the Relais Christine.
Because I have a bad hip and foot, and because of the ages of our kids and my in-laws, we did not jam pack our days with activities. Sometimes some of us walked to destinations while others rode public transportation.
Day 1: Arrived, left our bags at the Relais Christine until the apartment was ready, which it was by 2. Had lunch, checked in, unpacked a bit, and then headed up to Pont Neuf for a Seine boat ride to get oriented. Went to bed early.
Day 2: Hopped the metro to L'Orangerie, lunch of the Champs Elysees, walked up to Arc de Triomphe. My husband took the kids to the little carnival in the Tuileries and my in-laws and I headed back to our rooms. Dinner at a cafe.
Day 3: We had arranged a private half-day Jewish immersion walking tour that took us through the Latin District to Notre Dame and into the Marais. We went to the Holocaust museum and then headed over to Place de Vosges. It was very cool. Lunch was falafels in the Marais, dinner at a café.
Day 4: My husband to the kids to Disneyland Paris while I went to Place de la Madeleine and the Opera house with my in-laws. We had lunch and then hit Galeries Lafayette. That night I made use of our kitchen and cooked the kids some pasta while the rest of us brought in Chinese takeout.
Day 5: We hit St. Chappelle, Le Conciergerie, had lunch, and headed to Notre Dame. The lines were too long so we decided to come back later in the week. Stopped at the Memorial to the Deported. Then hopped on a bus to Jardin du Luxembourg. The pay playground was a highlight of the trip for the kids. Then we walked back to our apartment, stopping at St. Sulpice. Dinner out at a local café.
Day 6: We had arranged a private half-day tour of the Louvre geared to children. It was amazing. We walked over to the Louvre, getting a lesson in the history of the architecture on the way. Hit the highlights. The guide took us down to the basement to see the foundation of the original structure. That is the only part my seven year old son enjoyed. He was very unhappy on that tour. Then we had lunch in the Tuileries and walked back to the apartment. My husband took the kids back to Luxembourg that afternoon. He and I went out to a nice restaurant that night and my in-laws babysat. We went to Fish La Boisonnerie and I had an amazing dish of cod in escargot buerre.
Day 7: The kids and I rode the metro to Musee Rodin while the others walked. The sculpture garden was gorgeous (I am a big gardener). Then we walked over to Les Invalides. The armor museum and the World War I and II section were big hits with the kids and the adults. We stopped at Napoleon’s Tomb as well. Then we headed over to Rue Cler for lunch (my husband is a big Rick Steves fan!). Then we walked up Champs de Mars toward the Tour Eiffel. We had arranged a private tour of the Tour Eiffel. It was amazing. First he took us to the bunker were the soldiers were headquartered during the wars. Then we went down a level at the tower to look at the hydrolic machinery that operates the lifts. Finally, we took the elevator up to the second level. The lines were extremely long due to one of the elevators being out of order (he said he thought it would be working again in a few weeks) but we had the reservation so we were able to go up with just a short wait. The view from level 2 was amazing. Then, he took us up to the rooftop above the Jules Verne. That was a little scary but really fun. I couldn’t face the line for the elevator back down, so we decided to hoof it back down. That was actually really fun. We did see one crazy thing—a family with three little kids was walking up, and the father was carrying a double stroller. Insanity! We had a very hot bus ride back to the apartment (it was 88 F that day). We had dinner at Café Procope that night.
Day 8: My husband took the kids to Notre Dame to walk up and down while I packed. Then, we had lunch and headed over by bus to Musee D’Orsay. As payback for Disneyland Paris, he got to go off on his own while I dealt with the kids. I let them lead us around (my son actually enjoyed that a little more than the Louvre). I could have used a little more time with the Impressionists, but it was fine. Then we took the metro back to the apartment, rested, went out to dinner.
We got home yesterday.
Things we didn’t do: Versaille, Giverny, Pompadeiu (I know I didn’t spell that properly) center, Sacre Coeur/Montmartre, Marmottan and about a million other museums, Jardin des Plantes, etc. Next time!
So, a few other takeways: The museum pass is worth every euro. We skipped so many lines (although not security at St. Chappelle). It is not impossible to get a bad meal in Paris but it isn’t easy. Walking to destinations is often easier than public transport, although the metro in particular is easy to use. I wish it was easier to get bus information because they are so easy, too. We ate desserts every day, several times a day. In general the waiters were extremely nice to us, perhaps because I used my rudimentary high school French.
Good luck planning your trip!