Sick of hearing about my frolicking in France yet? But I haven’t even told you about all the shopping damage (oh the shoes… c’est bon! c’est bon!)
Here is part deux of things to do with kids in Paris…..and then I’ll fermer ma bouche for a while!
Our boat ride down the Siene was a fun and inexpensive way to see the sights and architecture of Paris in a short amount of time. We boarded the boat in the evening (at this time of year Paris doesn’t get dark until 10pm) and got to see the gorgeous city views at dusk. The boys loved hanging over the side of the boat railing while shouting at the lovers along the banks of the Siene. The hour-long ride gave us views of both the Right and Left Banks and several sights, including a close up of the Eiffel Tower. On the boat we heard about an enchanting tradition on the only foot bridge between the Left and Right Banks: sweethearts come to seal their love by leaving a lock on the bridge railings and toss the key into the Siene as a symbol of their amour. Oh la la!
We spent the afternoon in this beautiful park one day so the kids could kick a soccer ball, push sail boats in the pond, and play on the playground. The boys were fascinated by watching French children at play. The Parisian kids behaved similarly to Americans, but they were much better dressed.
We saw many sights in Paris but this was the one place where both boys walked in and said “Whoa!” The 15 stained glass windows in this chapel are awe-inspiring. The windows appear to be stories high and depict more than a thousand scenes from Christian stories through color and symbolism. The church is only a couple blocks from Notre Dame and a visit doesn’t take long so it’s definitely worth the detour.
— Arc de Triomphe
If you have the stamina, I recommend you walk down the Champs-Elysees to see all the cafes and shops on your way to the Arc (we had a successful pit stop at the Nike store where we bought one-of-a-kind sneakers and soccer jerseys.) Jacob and I felt dizzy while climbing the narrow, winding staircase to the top of the Arc, but the view was well worth it. It’s in the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle where 12 main streets meet, so the view is spectacular. Make sure to take the hokey optical illusion photo of your kid leaning on the Eiffel Tower while you’re up there.
This is what we could manage with two 12-year-old boys who we had to drag away from playing NHL Hockey on my iPad each morning. Outside their door was a beautiful foreign city with tons to see and do but they would have been happy to stay inside and score another hat trick.
We pushed them every day to try new things– the Metro, tabouli, art history– and open their minds. To their credit, those boys accepted the challenge and had a great time. By the last day, they led the way to our favorite cafe and ordered lunch in French.
Paris had me at bonjour.
For the kids, the affection came more gradually. But even 12-year-old boys can fall in love with Paris. Just make the museum visits short and keep passing the crepes.