J’adore Paris! Visiting Paris in December is something beautiful and magical. The city is festive with lights and beautiful window displays that are amongst the best I have seen anywhere.
I found that, contrary to popular belief, Paris was a great city for children. Our whole family had a wonderful time and the children loved the experience. Before going on the trip my children had watched Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame”. When we got to Paris and actually visited Notre Dame, my daughter asked me several times if Quasimoto was there and if we could see him. She was extremely excited to be there even if she couldn’t meet him. To make things more fabulous, we were outside of Notre Dame at midnight on Christmas morning and the bells were chiming loudly. What a beautiful sound it was! We found it magical and exciting to be there at that moment. The children were up late to experience this and they loved it. Learning about it in advance really helped to give the kids a context of what they would be seeing before we arrived. They were eager to see what they had learned in real life.
Where to stay?
Our first decision to make was where to stay in Paris. We opted to stay in the 5th Arrondissement in a short term rented apartment. We were extremely happy with this decision. My family and I experienced a local feel in a quaint neighborhood. To located our apartment we went through a company called Paris Attitude. They were able to find us an apartment within our budget, close to the metro and in the location we wanted. They offered great suggestions and sent out recommended apartments for our short trip. They were great to work with overall and our experience with them was without a hitch.
What to do?
Since we had opted for an apartment, rather then a hotel, we wanted to have a sort of concierge to help us plan our day to day itinerary. We wanted to use our time wisely and not miss a thing. Being new to Paris we really felt it would be good to have some assistance in this area. There is a great concierge service in Paris that helps with exactly what we needed. This service is called Unique Paris.They work just like a hotel concerge would and more. You can tell them the type of trip you are looking for and they can make suggestions for you and even organize the details including getting tickets for various excursions. It is almost like having your own personal assistant during your trip. They were accessible during our trip as well as before it.
Here is a sample itinerary of a trip in a short stay in Paris with young children. This type of itinerary gives a good overview of the whole city.
Thursday December 22
6:00am Arrival in Paris – transfer to Paris with First Way
Check -in to apartment
12:30pm Private City Tour of Paris
4:00pm Visit of the the Eiffel Tower and the carousel’s nearby.
Head to apartment in a cab or by metro
Friday December 23
Morning: Visit covered market of les Enfants rouges
Lunch at the market
1pm – Private walking 2-hour chocolate tour
stroll the Tuileries gardens or go shopping at le caroussel du Louvre
4pm – 2 hour private guided tour of the Louvre – Though you could spend months in the Louvre and still not see everything, 2 hours with a guide allowed us to see highlights of select art work and kept our children interested.
Evening – Visit Montmartre neighborhood which is quaint, artsy and wonderful. There are a multitude of local shops and restaurants that are worth a try. there is a funicular which you can take all the way up that is fun for the kids. The Basilique du Sacré-Cœur is located close by so worth a visit at the same time as well.
Saturday, December 24
8:45am Departure for Versailles with driver and guide
9:30am: Reservation for a visit of the castle
12:15pm – Transfer to apartment or to restaurant for lunch
Browse some Antique shops or just go do some shopping as Paris in shopping is vast and fun!
Early afternoon – climb up the Arc de Triomphe
Christmas market on the Champs Elysees — (Open everyday including Christmas Day) -The Christmas markets are very quaint and wonderful. They have a unique charm that is a mix of European flavor and holiday spirit. There is a vast array of food, knick knacks, and music. There is also plenty of hot chocolate and Vin Chaud (mulled wine) to keep you warm when roaming around in the cool, crisp air.
Sunday, December 25
Morning – Classical River cruise on the Seine
Lunch in a Parisian brasserie
Go window shopping at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps as the window displays are gorgeous. You can refer the the pictures I posted showing this at the beginning of this post.
Go on the Ferris wheel near Concorde.
Monday, September 26
Depart from Paris -transfer with First Way
There are, of course, lots of evening and night entertainment activities to do in Paris including the wonderful shows like Moulin Rouge. We got a nice view from the outside.
With children, however, that is one part of Paris we chose to leave for another trip. If you opted to, however, our wonderful concierge mentioned that she could assist us in finding childcare for any evening we would like during our stay so that is certainly an option for those so inclined.