Little Paris | Les Halles with Kids
The thing with traveling with kids is, as we all probably know, they don’t really hold the same value for things as adults. Museums, long dinners and endless walks are the things that adults often dream of when planning a trip to Europe. These same things are often torture for small children.
So, how then is one expected to travel with small kids around Europe? What a great question! I’m still looking for the absolute perfect answer, but I do have a few hypotheses that prove to seem reasonable.
The first thing, and most important, that I have to offer is the adjustment of expectations. It’s not doing the same trips with little people in the mix. It’s going to the same places and doing it quite different than you used to.
Let’s use this day I am about to show you as an example. In my pre-kid days, I would have ventured towards the area of Les Halles with a few goals in mind: a leisurely lunch, stopping by my favourite French pharmacy for a long-winded chat with the clerk about which dry oils and ointments were best, and possibly, a loop through the Pompidou for some art and a coffee with a view from their restaurant, Georges, to finish off the outing. Sounds pretty lush, right? Right.
Not to be delusional, but I have pretty great kids. They really are good, but even after years of traveling, they would struggle with an afternoon like that. A big meal, waiting in a store without touching or chasing each other, physically making it through a museum without crying or needing the bathroom and sitting in a quiet, bougie cafe? They’re too little, and, take it from my own doing it wrong, it’s not fair for them.
So now, to make life easy, we have change what our days look like. We still opted to eat out at a casual place where we could eat outside, but ordered their food straight away and then did the best we could until we were finished. After that, we went to the lovely playground outside Les Halles and let them go to town. While they played there, I went to run a quick errand in a shop got us hot chocolate from Monoprix on my way out. We chatted in the sun and then, when it started to rain, we took the kids to the Lego Store and let them play for a bit.
On the walk home, we meandered down some different streets and before you knew it- the afternoon was done.
Maybe not exactly how I would have planned it as a 27 year old, but a little compromise made the day way more fun. I mean, sure, we hung out in the park- but we did other fun things. And, come on, the park was in Paris where we could small talk with other parents and watch people pass by. It’s actually a more honest and real view of Paris than I had experienced before, and I love that for these short years it’s the experience we get to have.
Where we went:
BIGO | Limited kids menu “menu enfant,” but great daily specials for adults and just across from the park. Plan to share your kids’ dessert, the house “mousse au chocolat” because it’s massive and rich and amazing.
Outside, your kids can splash in the fountains on sunny days or play in the massive playgrounds. One is for small kids (2-6) and the other is a cool playground for bigger kids (7-12). Parents aren’t allowed inside the gates of the older kids one (which I love), but there plenty of spots to sit just outside.
So there you are. Paris with little kids. Maybe not the same Paris that you had pre-kids, but if you’re spending the day wandering to bakeries, playing in royal gardens and cooking dinners from the market in your apartment together—it’s actually still a pretty awesome time.
*images original to Aspiring Kennedy