Why Paris With Family Is Always a Great Idea

All it takes is to see it one time. That first view of the Eiffel Tower and you fall in love with Paris. It would seem to be like so many other landmarks. So many that you’ve never visited, but seen photographed. You wonder if it would fail to live up to the hype once you did get to visit it. The Eiffel Tower is so ubiquitous to the point of almost being a common sight.

Eiffel Tower in Paris

Yet when you see it for the first time, the size, the elegance, and the grandeur are there. You’re amazed at the structure. Seeing it as often as you have in so many other places doesn’t equal what you experience in person.

It could be said that Paris is like that as a whole. We’ve all heard so much about the idea of Paris, what it means, what it’s supposed to mean. Paris is almost shorthand or code for fashion, sophistication, and romance in the most spectacular combination that you could ever imagine. The language itself speaks to you in a way that conveys a certain it, a feeling that you don’t get anywhere else. 

Streets of Paris

Place de la Concorde in Paris

Everything that Paris conveys and what you imagine it to be doesn’t necessarily count up to be an excellent place for a family vacation at first thought. But that’s what it is. The legend and nearly mythic reputation of a place like Paris make it a perfect place to discover and explore for a family. It’s the history, the world-class landmarks that make it so intriguing for all ages. Even a child is familiar with the Eiffel Tower. They’re so familiar that they’ll likely be quite intrigued to see it, if not climb it. 

Standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

For all that is good in Paris, it does have several barriers for families that would consider it for a family vacation. Maybe these things are what you initially expect.

Walking the streets of Paris

The language can seem to be a barrier for English speakers. Paris is such an international city, though, that English is pretty well-spoken. Especially in areas where you’d likely be visiting. It doesn’t detract from your visit if you don’t speak French, in fact many signs are also in English. If you can learn some French words and phrases you’ll be even better off. Speak just a bit of French and you’ll notice how the mood of the conversation changes.

In front of the Louvre in Paris

I found that Parisians were quite helpful overall, dispelling a common feeling that Parisians are rude to tourists. That may still be the case, but for our experience as a family of four in Paris, I found Parisians to be incredibly helpful. Several times people got up and offered my family a seat on the metro. Others offered to translate for us, and happily provide directions. There was only one instance where someone wasn’t quite helpful (a worker at a metro station), but even then, once I sprinkled in a few French words, that changed quite a bit.

Inside the Louvre, Paris
In front of the Arc de Triomphe Paris

One of the best decisions that we made was to stay in the 17th arrondissement. This placed us away from the tourist traffic near the center of the city and more popular neighborhoods. It was here walking amongst Parisians that we got a bit of what it was like to be in Paris. Sitting at a cafe sipping a cafe with a pain au chocolat and watching a day in the life of Paris unfold is a great way to enjoy the city. It was a delight to see a well-dressed gentleman casually walk by with a slim brown bag partially covering an extended loaf of French bread (we were in Paris, so technically it was just bread), with the end protruding out of the bag. It’s something that I would only see in movies, but here it was real life. 

It was also in this neighborhood that we had our sample of various treats found in patisseries and boulangeries. Some simple, some more intricate, but delicious and fresh just the same. It became our routine to emerge from the side street our hotel was on, make it to the main street, Avenue de Clichy, and decide where we wanted to stop for our morning pastry before heading to our subway station and out into the city. 

Of all of the great memories of Paris, the best is still the first great memory. Coming from our hotel just we’d arrived, changed and freshened up. We were jetlagged but determined to see at least some of Paris on our first day. So we headed to the metro to make our first stop a big stop. We were going to see the Eiffel Tower. Taking the metro to the Trocadero station. Upon exiting we walked for a few feet and to the left, there it was. Perfectly framed and on display, the Eiffel Tower. It was so much of what was great about Paris in a single moment and a single view.

The Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero Plaza

The rest of what was great about Paris was revealed to us in the days to follow. There was a never-ending list of surprises and discoveries that kept our family thoroughly intrigued with this spectacular city. From the magnificence of the vast Palace of Versailles to the meticulous rows of trees in the Jardin des Tuileries to the whimsical carousels that dot the city, Paris was full of things to capture our attention and admiration.  

On the carousel in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Inside the Palace of Versailles in Paris
The Jardin des Tuileries in Paris
Inside the Palace of Versailles in Paris

While Paris will likely always be known foremost for its reputation as a city of romance, fashion, and culture, it will also remain a fascinating city for families to visit as our family experienced first hand. So much of what makes Paris great translates across age groups and produces a memorable experience for anyone fortunate enough to visit this wonderful city.

Author

  • Jeremiah Pittmon

    Jeremiah Pittmon is a published travel writer and photographer from Cleveland, Ohio. Passionate about exploring the world with his family, he finds inspiration in all types of travel. Through his blog, smilesonarrival.com, and social media channels, he shares captivating experiences and valuable tips for families who love to travel.

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Why Paris With Family Is Always a Great Idea
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