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So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

Boston, MA
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So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

I was really trying not to ask any questions, and instead using the search feature, however I'm so overwhelmed I'm close to wishing I could cancel this trip. I know it's just because it's late at night and I've been reading posts for about 5 hours straight now and must have hit my limit.

We're heading to Europe to visit family and thought it would be nice to visit somewhere else while we're over there. Paris is somewhere we've always wanted to see so we booked our flights a couple of days ago. We know very little about Paris, and we're going to have a 5 year old in tow and an older son. We're staying for two nights and wanted to find a hotel that would sleep 4 as they're too young to put in their own room. I figured a hotel near the Eiffel Tower would be best (only because it's on the top of my list for a must-visit),and I have a list of hotels I found by using the TripAdvisor map. But when I search by rating, it seems a lot of the top rated hotels are across the river. In my search I see recommendations of the 4th, 5th, etc, but I'm not even sure what that means or how I search for a hotel in the 5th.

Since I only have one FULL day while there, I was hoping to take a tour, one that included a stop at the Eiffel Tower and maybe for a meal while there. I'm reading that it can take hours to get up there and with a 5 year old, that's not going to go very well.

I didn't want to make any plans on the first day since we'll most likely be exhausted, or the day we leave so we can stroll around and visit a cafe or do some shopping and people watching, but want to make sure I see the key sights on that day in the middle.

I honestly am not lazy and have searched and found lots of information on the subway system, about being a polite and respectful visitor, restaurants and their hours, transportation from the airport, and various other helpful information. I'm just stuck on where to stay close to the sights with enough room for 4, and how we'll be able to find a good tour that will absolutely get me in the Eiffel Tower without waiting 2+ hours.

Thank you in advance for any tips you may have.

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Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

I would skip going up the Eiffel Tower on this trip because the elevator problems means you will be stuck in a long line -- you can't even get reserved tickets now. No tour is going to get you there.

You can view the tower without subjecting a child to that wait.

I also would not go on a tour with a small child. If you must then a HOHO open top bus might work. Tours generally involve herding people about -- not at all comfortable for a child.

With so little time try to figure out the one of two things you actually want to do and then focus on them.

New Hampshire
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2. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

Obviously, you need to decide which "key sights" are important, as you will not have time to visit too many.

A hotel anywhere near the Eiffel Tower or the river will enable you to go all over by metro or bus to any of the sights.

You haven't mentioned when you're going, but sometime soon there will likely be more advance tickets available for the Eiffel Tower. Otherwise, if you don't want to wait in ticket lines or take the stairs to the first or second level, it's amazing from the ground and you can treat the kids to a view from on high at the Arc de Triomphe, Tour Montparnasse, etc.

Staying near a large park or other open area may be an advantage with a five year old if you're visiting in the nice weather if space to run around outdoors is important.

You really don't need to go on a tour, which the kids may find boring and feel cooped up. But, everyone might enjoy the hop on/hop off buses, if the weather is nice, because you can break up your travels at any of the sights and as often as you please.

There are plenty of hotels that are highly rated and have quad rooms. Many of the Holiday Inns have nice family suites (and are NOT similar to those in the USA).

Very close to the Eiffel Tower is Hotel de la Bourdonnais with quads. There are quite a few others in the neighborhood as well. Much depends, though, on your budget, how far ahead you book, and bed requirements.

melia.com/hotels/…rooms.htm

Above hotel is also very close to Eiffel Tower and has a quad with bunk beds for the kids and a large bed for the parents (as opposed to the doubles you find in many quad rooms).

Just calm down and, probably, take care of the hotel first. Then, work on a flexible itinerary and how to get from one place to the next.

Denver, Colorado
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3. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

Nonono, stop reading Tripadvisor!!!!!

Seriously, for 2 nights, you don't need the *best* hotel, just one that fits your needs.

I agree that you may not want to go up the Eiffel Tower - how about savoring it from Place du Trocadero (amazing view), and then heading up on Tour Montparnasse for birds-eye view AND a view of ET in the horizon!

Parks. Paris parks are beautiful - Tuileris or Luxembourg for the tourist must sees, or the Parc Andre Citroen, not too far from the 7th - and very family friendly.

Don't worry about a good tour, or even a HOHO bus. Paris is beautiful, that's one of the things that make it special. If you go in any direction from Notre Dame (literally, I'm not kidding), you will hit something very interesting.

Enjoy the great desserts, the vacation, and the time with your family. Everything else is just icing ;-)

Boston, MA
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4. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

We're not going until November. Will they still be having the elevator issues then?

Saratoga Springs, NY
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5. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

They are hoping the issues will be resolved soon, but there's no firm date yet.

I would also suggest you not do a tour. You need flexibility for when your five year old is just *done*. You can do this, but to keep everyone's sanity, you need the pace to be slower for your child if they are getting overwhelmed.

I would pick one major attraction for morning, afternoon and early evening, and be prepared to be flexible. Most people say that the district you choose doesn't matter so much, because the metro is so great.

Rasteriasha gave great advice :-)

Boston, MA
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6. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

We figured we'd probably spend $300 a night for our hotel, give or take. Unfortunately the Eiffel Tower was at the top of my list. I suppose id be happy just to visit and get lots if family photos near it and perhaps going up isn't really necessary.

I know my 5 year old wouldn't tolerate a museum or anything like that but he's more patient than most and did great on a 12 hour flight we took a few months back. That's what had me thinking he might do ok on a tour. Of course when they're "done", they're done! It would be quite tough being stuck on a tour at that point. The older one we dont have to worry about, he's 20.

Fairbanks, Alaska
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7. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

We took our kids to Paris when they were 5 and 10. We stayed in a Citadines-type apartment hotel so we could eat some meals in (because we stayed for 4 nights). Everyone has their own preferences, but I like the area around the Eiffel Tower because it is relatively quiet. (You can tell the arrondissement by the postal code - 75007 is the 7th, near the Eiffel Tower; 75005 is the 5th, etc. It makes sense when you look at a map.).

If you want to do a tour, have you considered hiring a guide for your family? There are group tours (which often offer private tours too) and private tour guides listed on TA - tripadvisor.com/…TtD

In May we did a private tour with Paris Walks and it was a highlight of our visit. We've hired private guides in other cities and have never regretted the expense. It's very informative and relaxing. There is a limit to how much information I can retain from reading a guidebook in advance, and I dislike walking around with my nose in a book.

For a short visit, I don't think that the HOHO bus works; there is too much waiting. Also, in November it may be cold up top, and the view from inside is not very good. The metro is easy to use, but for 4 people, taxis are fairly reasonable and a good way to see things along the way.

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

Hi Kay

I agree with AAL08 regarding a private tour. We were in Paris for only three days in late December, and there were four of us as well. We used Sabine from Paris Authentique (paris.authentique.free.fr/sab_eng_01intro.htm) for a half day city tour and loved every minute of it. It is obviously more expensive than a large group tour but the advantages are that you see exactly what you want, when you want and leave when you want. Having had three kids I know that those things are important when they are young!

We also had lunch at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. Again, not cheap but after paying for the airfares to Paris, it is worth a bit more to make sure we could see it without wasting time in lines. We loved it so much we are returning, without the kids, to have dinner there for our anniversary in October. This would obviously depend on the personality of your son, whether he could sit for a couple of hours. There were lots of children there the day we were there, but they all seemed pretty well behaved. The view is sensational and seemed to keep them occupied.

Don't let yourself become overwhelmed. Keep reading the forums and become familiar with things. Once you have organised the main things you want to do, the rest will fall into place.

Have fun.

Saratoga Springs, NY
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9. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

The restaurant on the 1st level of the Eiffel Tower has a children's menu at dinner-- I think it was roasted chicken and fries? Not sure. It's called 58 Tour Eiffel. A reservation there, if you can get one, will still fast-track you up the tower.

I was thinking of taking my son (he's 11) to the Pompidou -- there are entertainers outside, and you can take an escalator to the top for views of Paris. If you google it, the pictures outside look very kid-friendly.

Edinburgh, Scotland
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10. Re: So overwhelmed - hotel, tours, etc, with a 5 year old

"too young to put in their own room" "the older one is 20"

I'm confused. Seems like if the older one is 20 they would be fine in their own room and I don't think many hotels would allow 3 adults and a child in one room anyhow.

Of course I might have missed something....:-)