Whenever we do a city break with the kids we try and do a family friendly tour of the city. They make such a difference particularly when you’re only in the city for a short period of time. So when we spent a day in Paris over the Summer the first thing I did was look for a family friendly tour of Paris.
I also checked out our Things to do in Paris with Kids post for ideas.
As we had had a great experience with Tours by Locals in Berlin in February I contacted them first and they set about trying to find me a great family friendly guide.
You can use the search function on Tours by Locals to hone down by city, then by dates and then you can add your interests too.
Initially there had been a number of guides we could have chosen all with different experience and we settled upon someone who had some fabulous experience with kids. Unfortunately she became unresponsive shortly before our trip and Tours by Locals were left trying to find us a new guide at short notice in August. Tours by Locals were incredibly helpful they just couldn’t get hold of them.
So Gabriele stepped up to the mark (last minute) and met our large group of 14 for a tour of Paris in August, one sunny Wednesday.
I’ve set out the history behind the request because Gabriele wasn’t really a family friendly tour guide. We had a lovely morning with her, she was lovely to the kids and she was very knowledgeable about the architecture and history of the areas she showed us, but sadly the tour wasn’t overly engaging for the 8 children we had with us.
We had told Gabriele that we were going to visit The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe in the afternoon, so she planned the following itinerary:
10:00 AM – Meet at La Gare du Nord
1. Ile de la Cite with Notre Dame
2. Saint Michel and 18th century Paris
3. Saint Germain des Pres (sweets options : chocolate shops, macaron shops, homemade Popsicles)
4. Luxembourg Gardens
12:00PM Metro to Montmartre
12:30PM Sacre Coeur with amazing view over the city
Place du Tertre
Discovering the windmills of Montmartre
Place des Abesses
End : 2:00 PM
Our private family friendly tour of Paris was due to take 4 hours.
Due to some traffic jams and our terrible experience with the Paris Metro (not exaggerating honestly) we didn’t get started on our tour properly with Gabriele until 11am as she had to help us with fixing our tickets and a team toilet stop as we’d been on the go since 8am. Gabriele quickly adapted the tour and we set off to Notre Dame.
At Notre Dame Gabriele talked us through some of the history and we of course talked about the fire in April 2019 but there was quite a bit of focus on the architecture, which we as adults enjoyed but it wasn’t perhaps so much fun for the kids.
From Notre Dame we wandered down the left bank of the Seine taking in famous bookshops, the market stalls and of course the river itself.
We loved the stroll around this part of Paris. It being August it was quiet and peaceful as many Parisians leave Paris for their holidays during that time of the year. We could meander and chat about the history and what we were seeing without hundreds of other people around.
Again for me, I think with a more family friendly tour guide the tour might have featured more around Paris’s exciting battles and history (of which it has rather a lot) rather than its architecture.
At times though, my history loving eldest did wander along with Gabriele to ask more questions on what she’s heard and Gabriele was happy to oblige.
As we had been wandering in Paris for all of an hour, it was time for ice cream! Ice Cream makes anything better and more fun, for all of our kids. Gabriele told the kids that they were going to have the best ice cream in all of Paris, and the shop we ended up at did not disappoint.
The shop we ate ice cream at was Pozzetto and I’ve left the map here so you can find it too if you find yourself in that part of the Left Bank.
After the ice cream we got back on the Metro and made our way over to Sacre Couer. For one reason or another we had to miss out quite a lot of the tour and I think perhaps on balance we should have stayed around the left bank and not taken another couple of metros to get to Sacre Couer as we didn’t really have a lot of time to do anything apart from get to the top before Gabriele had to leave as it was 2pm.
Sacre Couer and the views from the top are always always worth seeing though and we had wonderful clear weather.
Our timings and transport sadly just felt wrong for most of the tour and the day and we didn’t quite get out of it what we might have done. What this experience will not do though is put me off booking another family friendly tour, or another through Tours by Locals. This was just one of those mis matches that didn’t quite line up on the day.
We did however see an awful lot of Paris and enjoyed the rest of our afternoon too!
Why not check out our post on Things to do in Paris with Toddlers
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.