Deciding to leave for two days in Paris with all the family is not always easy. How to choose activities that will reconcile Mum’s special affection for art, Dad’s taste for gastronomy and outings that are 100% reserved for children? Where to put your luggage for a stay that will be both serene and of the highest quality? Let’s go for a chic family weekend in Paris!
Planning a family weekend in a big city is often a real headache in terms of accommodation. Which hotel will be able to offer the quality of service to which we are accustomed while welcoming our little ones? Which neighbourhood should we choose? Follow the guide!
Paris has twenty districts, each with its own characteristics. It’s difficult to decide between the sparkling Latin Quarter, the peaceful and verdant 16th arrondissement or the lively Bastille district – why not be tempted by the chicest neighbourhood in Paris? Known for its avenues with wide sidewalks in Paris since the Arc de Triomphe and the parks that decorate it, acclaimed for its proximity to the Champs Elysees, the Mecca of Parisian shopping that is often chosen for its location just a few strides away from the main monuments and museums of the capital, the district of Etoile remains one of the most appreciated. In these surroundings, there are many activities will delight young and old throughout the day.
A family stay of excellence at the Hôtel Napoléon
Direction Friedland Avenue, a majestic artery named after the battle of the same name that saw the victory of Napoleon I against Russia in 1807 and which is located at number 4 is the aptly named Hôtel Napoléon. This luxury 5-star hotel is affiliated with the ‘Little Guest’ label, and offers the promise of a unique stay in a large, and very Parisian, private house. Romantic decor, comfortable and cosy rooms, an exclusive welcome and, a rare luxury in Paris, space! Open on the peaceful courtyard or beautiful terraces, the rooms combine modern comfort and the authenticity of a district full of memories.
The youngest will enjoy spending a few hours in this ultra-chic Parisian decor that illustrates one of the great periods of the history of France, that of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and will gladly adopt the castle life offered by the Hôtel Napoléon. This address offers a VIP welcome for children with a small welcome gift, and also the provision of games, all baby equipment and a menu specially designed for children at the restaurant. Do not hesitate to inquire in advance about the babysitting service offered by the Hotel Napoleon and give yourself a moment of freedom to have a drink on the nearby Champs Elysées …
When you are settled in comfortably, it is time to think of discovering Paris. On leaving the hotel, the curious will want to admire the Potocki Hotel, dating from the 19th century, one of the most remarkable examples of French classical architecture, which today houses the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris.
Investigations around the Mona Lisa
There is no question of staying in Paris without paying a visit to the Mona Lisa, the very serious perpetual tenant of one of the most prestigious museums in the world, The Louvre. Her deep and indefinable gaze will not fail to challenge your children. The museum regularly organizes games to uncover the secrets of this famous painting. The investigators (accompanied by their parents), divided into teams, will explore the museum in a fun way for two hours.
Recreational visit to the Orangery Museum
As for those who already know the Mona Lisa, they can opt for the Musée de l’Orangerie and the magnificent collections of water lilies by the painter Claude Monet. Colourful paintings of an impressive size, which are quite within the reach of children, including the youngest. Well-crafted workshops have been organized throughout the year for more than five years (the creation of water lilies from beautiful paper), and why not enjoy a playful visit in period costumes around the Douanier Rousseau? Registration by telephone on +33 (0) 1 44 50 43 01.
The Tuileries Garden, a safe bet
After an original and tasty lunch, a stroll will certainly be welcome. The Tuileries Park will allow youngsters to let off steam in the green and flowery setting of the oldest and largest garden in Paris. On the menu is the famous carousel, which has always been so popular from generation to generation, and you can also hire small sailboats with an old-fashioned charm that the little ones can guide enthusiastically on the lake. By the way, do you know where this garden takes its name? Quite simply, it was from tile factories that stood at the very spot where Queen Catherine de Medici built the Palais des Tuileries, surrounded by a beautiful Florentine garden, in 1564.
In Paris, art also comes as chocolate
If you are more tempted by a more gourmet art form, the very original Edwart chocolatier (244, Rue de Rivoli) offers chocolate making workshops for all. Slip into the shoes of a chocolatier and leave with your creations and even a diploma! On reservation at +33 (0) 9 81 93 48 92
If you are looking for a fun activity that boosts the curiosity of the whole family by combining culture and active leisure, go for a happy treasure hunt, which will allow y discover the history of the streets of Paris without being bored. This activity, which will delight young and old, is particularly recommended for a family getaway. Just download the application in advance on your Smartphone. Balad Enigm offers 15 fun rides with puzzles, games and challenges to share with the family. And if the weather is less favourable than expected, you can conceal yourself in the shelter. From the Hotel Napoléon, hop on Bus 22, the Charles De Gaulle Etoile Friedland stop is located a few steps away and will take you to Opéra, where you can reach the starting point of this beautiful adventure, at 1 bis Boulevard des Italiens.
Dare to Hoverboard with your family
If you are more « sporty » or the sun shining on the capital arouses in you the irresistible desire to stay outside, opt for a refreshing hoverboard ride on the banks of the Seine, offered by Insolites Board. Whether you are a beginner or experienced, you will be safely supervised, to discover the new sensations of the Hoverboard, at 10 Rue des Archives. From the hotel, line 1 of the metro (Station Charles De Gaulle Etoile) towards Château de Vincennes will take you there in fifteen minutes (Hôtel de ville). Reservation required on the website.
Guignol, a rendezvous for the little ones
Puppet theatres are part of the cultural heritage of Paris. Attending a performance of Guignol is always the occasion for a pleasant family break. The Luxembourg Garden Puppet Theatre is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and offers 3 performances at 11 am, 3:15 pm and 4:30 pm. It is advisable to go there 30 minutes before the show.
The ideal thing for a family trip is, of course, to organize the day around stops that are both entertaining and gourmet – let’s not forget the foods!
Claus’s happy breakfast
In Paris, a beautiful address dedicated to breakfast that is available throughout the day is recommended. From the Opera, line 7 of the metro will take you to the Palais Royal station, a few metres from Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, where this beautiful locale is hidden. At number 14, it is an elegant white storefront which houses Claus, and has become the Parisian institution of breakfast and brunch. The ideal equation, which does not forget to be chic, to satisfy young and old. In formula or à la carte, there are appetizing specialities that are 100% homemade. You can eat there from 9:30 am to 5 pm on weekends. Making a reservation is strongly recommended.
Go for the cakes of Sébastien Gaudard!
For an unequalled snack, go to the Tuileries Gardens, at Sébastien Gaudard’s, the trendy pastry chef which never ceases to amaze. Originally from Lorraine, the son of a pastry chef, he reinterprets the pastries of our childhood with a deliciously contemporary touch. Its Paris-Brest is close to perfection and we can not leave without tasting the famous Mussipontain (named after the inhabitants of Pont Mousson in Lorraine in tribute to his parents). In this pretty patisserie, at number 1 of the Rue de la Pyramide, old counters, cement tile floors, ceiling mouldings, glass bells and dumb waiters serve as a backdrop for the abundance of sweets. To be discovered, even if you’re not hungry!
Senoble, real butter
Before the sun goes down, discover at number 11 of the Rue des petits champs, the beautiful shop of the brand Senoble, a French label that was created almost 100 years ago in Burgundy, and leave with a few bags of « Véritable Petit Beurre« . A true delight!
Cool dinner at Grillé
To end the day on an original note that’s 100% French and yet somewhat exotic, go to dinner early at Grillé, an address that mixes generosity by divinely reinterpreting the Parisian kebab. In a Turkish-inspired, minute-cooked, organic flour cake, Aveyron’s milk-fed veal is served with a subtly spiced sauce, cooked on a spit and cut into thin kebab slices. An explosion of flavours, a fun meal and delicious homemade fries, the recipe for a successful family dinner!
Marcello, the family Sunday friendly restaurant
Because a family Sunday would not be worthy of the name without a real brunch, we have found the perfect address. For that, cross the Seine and dare to have lunch on the Left Bank of Paris where Marcello will welcome you. While this chic canteen is one of the best-kept secrets of Paris, you will still have to book. More than a restaurant, Marcello is an atypical locale that’s full of life, a delicious mixture of an Italian coffee bar and a Brooklyn bar with a beautiful terrace n the heart of Paris. You can enjoy a Neapolitan egg, a nocciola croissant or even carrot cake. The welcome and service are extremely friendly and the Sardinian bread with scents of rosemary served with the aperitif lends a cheerful tone. A bit of New York, a bit of Italy and a lot of passion! Neither too noisy nor too quiet, a nicely brewed clientele. Sit back and savour this sun-drenched menu! The dishes are even better when you share them, one of the currencies of the house!
Whether it’s your first visit to Paris or you know your pocket this bubbling capital, there is always something to marvel in family. Enjoy your stay to enjoy moments of life to share between young and old and let yourself be seduced by the good addresses and tips selected for you.
Catherine, married, mother of Justine, from Paris