Consider Introducing Your Grandchildren To The World, Beginning with Paris

ParisOur oldest grandson’s favorite city in the world is Paris.  With all the news about Paris and concerns about safety, Grandpa and I wanted to take him to the most beautiful city in the world, but were also concerned about safety.  Fortunately, we had the guidance of Parisian friends who assured us that we should bring him to Paris.  We were not sorry we went.  We felt safe and secure and the memories of the smiles on our grandson’s face remain with us as much as those memories are now in his heart forever.

Safety

The United States Embassy has information on France and Paris.

United States government has travel advisory information.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service from the U.S. government that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to enroll with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Benefits of enrolling in STEP are: (1) receive the latest safety and security information for your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans; (2) help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency; and (3) help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.  Go to their website for further information.

Tour guide

You can choose a family tour with an established company with an excellent reputation or hire a private guide. Most tour companies now have such trips, some specializing in grandparents and grandchildren, and if you have safety concerns, choose one such as Abercrombie and Kent, known for its highest quality and best security.  Because Grandpa and I had been to Paris several times before and we had Parisian friends we were also visiting, from Tripadvisor, we hired a French speaking guide who specialized in teenagers to be with us our entire trip.  We felt if we happened upon crowds, told to avoid, he would know what was going on.    I signed all three of us up for STEP for the most immediate alerts, and when we were walking down a street in Paris with our guide we all received a simultaneous text.   He was impressed.   It said for us to avoid crowds, and we almost immediately came upon a crowd which the guide explained was just a nurses’ strike.  Yes, we felt more secure with a French speaking guide and Bertrand was the best guide we have had on any trip.

Bertrand D’Aleman at www.myprivateparis.com

When to Go

Anytime.  We went during Thanksgiving vacation and had no lines at the Louvre!  We found it easy to get to see everything without the summer crowds.

Where to Stay

Our Parisian friends recommended that we stay near the Place Vendome, a very safe location.  There are many hotels to choose from in this area of Paris at different price points.  It is within walking distance to most tourist sites, including the Louvre and the Left Bank.

We chose Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel  4, Rue du Mont Thabor Paris, 75001 France telephone 33-1-4020-2000 and found the location, service and hotel outstanding.

What to See

We had five full days in Paris which was more than enough time to see the highlights.

Our grandson’s teacher had just returned from Paris and here were her recommendations for top sites:  1. Palace of Versailles  2. Louvre Museum 3. Eiffel Tower (especially at night) 4. Arc de Triomphe 5. Sacre Coeur (basilica) and Montmarte (artist district). Tripadvisor recommends these top sites: 1. Eiffel Tower 2.  Musee D’Orsay  3.  Louvre 4. Notre dame.

We and our grandson discussed, explored and finalized our itinerary with Bertrand, who arranged all of our tickets so we had no lines and who added surprises along the way.  He explained that Paris is in the shape of a snail, and if you look at the Seine going through it, the Seine makes Paris look like an unhappy face.  He explained the districts, called Arrondissements.

Here is our five day itinerary specifically chosen by us:

DAY 1: Eiffel Tower to top, Notre Dame Cathedral, Latin Quarter, Luxembourg Gardens, Shakespear and Company Book Store, Berthillon Ice Cream, Pantheon, Musee Rodin highlights.

DAY 2: Louvre highlights, Champs-Elysees, Arch de Triomp to top, Marais Area, Centre Pompidou highlights

DAY 3: Opera Garnier District, Galeries Lafayette, Covered Passages, Montmarte, Sacre Cour, Museum Nissim de Camondo

DAY 4: Bastille and Faubourg Saint Antoine, Saint Germain Des Pres, Montparnasse Tower, Le Bon Marche, Musee D’Orsay highlights

DAY 5: A day trip outside of Paris to Palace of Versailles

We walked Paris, we took the subway, we took Uber (which we discovered was started by two tourists in Paris who could not get a taxi).  We learned that taking Uber is better than a taxi in Paris.  Being with a Parisian, we learned everything about day to day life, history, culture and government.  Even we adults who had been to Paris before, learned new things and saw new places with Bertrand.  Bertrand even showed our grandson that he could read French on most buildings and, as a surprise, took us to the opening of the Michael Jordan store in Paris.

Yes, getting Jordans not yet sold in the United States was a surprise highlight, but of course, our grandson’s favorite site was the Eiffel Tower. We learned all about its history and the history of Mr. Eiffel (yes, there is a Mr. Eiffel).

Restaurants.  Paris is a food destination and our grandson, being a foodie, enjoyed every minute of having Sushi for lunch at Le Bonne Marche food stalls.  There is everything and anything available there for even the pickiest grandchild.

One of our favorite restaurants during our visit was Restaurant La Petite Chaise, 36 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France. It is the oldest restaurant in Paris, and they have a children’s menu. Open for lunch and dinner.

Bertrand introduced us to cafes and a student run restaurant where we had lunch.  The hardest part of Paris is the delicious smells from the bakeries on every corner.  Stop and buy a sandwich or a pastry and savor.

Savor is a good word for Paris.  There is no city in the world that is more beautiful.  It is one of the best cities to introduce to a grandchild.  Do your own research if you have safety concerns and speak to Parisians.  Yes, there was an attack at the Louvre in near the same place as we had previously stood just a short time earlier.  The attack was against police officers guarding the entrance, not tourists.  The city is on high alert and there are police and security everywhere.

This is the way of the world right now.  Yes, there are many beautiful and wonderful things to explore in the United States.  If you are thinking of an adventure outside the United States, introduce your grandchildren to Paris.

Joy,

Mema

 

 

 

 

 

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