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taking 3yo on a daytrip to Paris? Asking for a nightmare?

(14 Posts)
HaveAHappyNewJung Thu 06-Jan-11 17:08:17

I'm really not sure. We had been hoping to do a long weekend - me, DH, our young DCs and his older DCs.

DH is suffering a back injury ATM, has been off for ages and can't travel (poor thing missed a holiday because he wasn't allowed to fly) as in so much pain so we've agreed that until he's had the surgery, we can't book any trips out, he's pretty much housebound.

So obviously we've put the whole family trip on hold for a while (we'd never mentioned it to the DCs so they aren't missing it IYSWIM) - but I'm wondering about seeing if my parents would like to go for a day with me and my 1yo and 3yo.

The main reason I want to fit it in is because DD is free until she turns four, and I'm a tenner cheaper as im still a "youth" at 24. Eurostar would cost only £59 and due to DH's injury/sick pay we are unlikely to afford the higher cost trip for a year or two.

Anyway enough waffle, am I crazy to consider taking DD on a day trip, so early morning, late night etc?!? She will be about 3.9/10ish, and doesn't have a nap in the day. I'm not worried about DS as he'll be in the buggy and can always be cheered up with boob

Any thoughts/experiences?

exexpat Thu 06-Jan-11 17:13:22

I think I'd be more inclined to leave the DCs with my parents and go by myself for the day wink.

I can't really see what the DCs would get out of it - what would you do in Paris that would make it all the travelling time worth while for them? And all the hassle worthwhile for you? Admittedly my DS would have loved to do this at age 3 but he was seriously obsessed with trains and would have been happy spending all day every day on the Eurostar and Paris Metro, but most children aren't like that.

Lizcat Thu 06-Jan-11 17:22:40

DD had been to Paris three times before she was 3 and enjoyed every trip. First and foremost there are the lovely french restraunters who (mostly - one single bad experience in 100s) consider having a child in their establishment a priviledge and even if they don't have a childrens menu have a little suggestion to tickle a child's taste buds.
Then there are the numerous carousels scattered about the city by big monumets to dispel the grumps we particularly like the double decker ones at the base of the steps to the sacre cour (there is a playground here too) and across the river from the Effiel Tower.
The funiculaire up beside the steps to sacre cour is great fun, at the top is you walk towards monmatre there is a fabulous ice cream shop. DD did first walk all the way to the top at 2 and 4 months - bribed her with the promise of chocolate ice cream. She loves looking at the paintings in Monmatre too.
As you look at Notre Dame there is a playground just to the right along side the seine.
We love riding the metro, the buses and the bateau mouche.
Too late I know, but DD had an amazing day ice skating the saturday before christmas outside the Hotel de Ville.
As for late night early start etc she'll probably sleep both ways DD does still even at nearly 7. Just take snacks with you as Eurostar buffet is really expensive.

HaveAHappyNewJung Thu 06-Jan-11 19:21:04

Wow thanks for all that info! I've been to Paris a few times but never done all the child-friendly stuff. She would love to go on the seine, she's never been on a boat! Awesome idea!

DD is asking to go to France - we went to Spain with my parents last year and she's just latched onto the idea of other countries, and my parents have a French lodger.

HaveAHappyNewJung Thu 06-Jan-11 19:23:18

She loved the cable car in Gibraltar so Montmartre would be good too. She would probably love the catacombs, but I think they're closed to the public now

HaveAHappyNewJung Fri 07-Jan-11 07:37:15

Also does anyone had any experience of taking a buggy on eurostar? Would we have to stand with it, or fold it?

And how long does it take roughly, it's been a few years!

mum295 Fri 07-Jan-11 07:58:36

I did a day trip to Lille on Eurostar from Ebbsfleet with my DD (1 yr at the time) last year. You have to fold buggies but there is lots of luggage space.

My DD did fine on the way over, but was tired on the way home and kicked off. I was in 2nd class but there was a group of business people nearby so I felt awful and took her to crawl around the buffet car for a while. Until a friendly steward came by and said I shouldn't worry about the business guys...they should have got business class seats if they'd wanted to avoid children!

How far away are you from St Pancras/Ebbsfleet? We had to drive for ages to get there/ back and that also took it's toll.

DD is now 2 but I'd consider doing it again when she's older. But I took her by myself as it was a weekday and we were meeting friends in Lille. If you are going with your parents, you would have plenty of people to deal with your DS if he gets tired. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Good luck!

gastrognome Fri 07-Jan-11 08:28:06

I say definitely go! We have taken our DD to Paris a few times (we live in Brussels so it's not far at all for us).

My only big warning would be with regard to buggies on the metro - very few metro stations have escalators or lifts all the way to the platforms, and there are a lot of steps! It's fine if you have somebody to help you (presumably your parents can), but definitely try to limit the number of metro trips you take when you are there.
Buses tend to be a slightly easier option, we've found.

If you want to go to Montmartre, I'd suggest going there by bus (no 54 or 30) from outside the Gare du Nord. Get off at Anvers-Sacré Coeur stop, and it's a short walk to the funicular from there. Then head down to central Paris (e.g. Notre Dame area) by bus (no 85) or metro (line 4 from Barbes-Rochechouart) and spend the rest of the day there, before metro-ing or bussing back to Gare du Nord.

You can get all the Paris transport maps, timetables etc. at

samay Fri 07-Jan-11 08:43:59

Message withdrawn

HaveAHappyNewJung Fri 07-Jan-11 08:49:02

Thanks I've just emailed mum about the idea. I'm also asking if their lodger will want to come too as she hasn't been back to France since moving here a couple of years ago.

Thanks for the info about the buggy too - in that case I'll take his stroller rather than the big chunky one.

I will resist the pull of the awesome Picasso museum this time though as I'd end up staying there all day

We are in Crawley, my parents are in Bromley so I guess we'd work out which house was more convenient. I was wondering if there is a deal where you add on the train fare to St P, or we may just drive if my dad wants to.

Is the bateau mouche expensive? Or are there cheaper alternatives. DD would love it.

Any other child friendly ideas would be appreciated

TrillianAstra Fri 07-Jan-11 09:13:13

From where I live, Paris by train is closer than the Lake District, or Newcastle, or Cornwall, or any of Scotland.

exexpat Fri 07-Jan-11 11:23:12

OP - the catacombs were open last summer when I was staying nearby - we didn't end up having time to go down, but passed the queues of people waiting. But I don't think it would be possible with a buggy.

In my earlier post I wasn't meaning to say there is nothing worth doing in Paris for kids - I have been a couple of times with mine, though when they were a bit older than yours - DD was four the first time. I just think that a day trip at that sort of age has rather too much travelling time as a proportion of the day. Could you not find somewhere cheap to stay and make it a more relaxed one or two night trip?

Things my two have enjoyed were bateaux mouches, Jardins de Luxembourg, Pompidou Centre (more for the escalators/views/street performers outside than the actual art), Montmartre and the cable car, and looking at the Eiffel Tower, though I haven't actually taken them up it as the queues were too big - we did the view of Paris from the Tour Montparnasse and the top of the Pompidou instead. We also did a whistle-stop run round some of the most famous bits of the Louvre.

But a lot of their interest was in spotting familiar places from films and books - DD was a big fan of Madeleine, and was very excited to see lots of the scenes from the books.

HaveAHappyNewJung Sat 08-Jan-11 10:10:04

Well - my parents both think it's a great idea

I'm excited! Not sure which station we will go to, as it depends on how many of us are going.

porcamiseria Sat 08-Jan-11 10:24:58

i went to paris with my toddler, it was OK...ish

we went to a frew playgrounds
eurostar was NOT FUN, not at all
behind the Louvre there is a lovely park with merry go rounds, ponds etc, we spent alpot of time there

I'd consider this long and hard as might be a very stressful day

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