25 February 2023
In April 2022, we took a trip to Paris for a week and it was a great trip. It is a great city for toddlers because the sidewalks are generally in good condition for stroller use, and there are playgrounds everywhere we walked. Getting around in the metro is ok if you have a small stroller that folds so you aren’t limited on which entrances you can use. We made good use of our baby carrier on the metro and trains. Unless otherwise noted, I would recommend all the restaurants.
We walked a lot and this map shows the tracks we took each day. The colours are mentioned in the titles for each day.
Day 0 (April 21)
We took a pleasant flight with Air France from Montreal to Paris. We chose Paris because it was direct and we could avoid needing a car seat. It was drizzling as we wheeled our bags and stroller up to the 747 bus, but that was almost the worst weather the entire trip. Luckily for us our flight was not cancelled while the second Air France flight of the day was cancelled and people were getting put on flights several days later.
Day 1 (black track on map)
We arrived at CDG around 8am and it was a pleasant experience getting through immigration, but we did miss out on using the e-gates because we were travelling with a toddler. Getting to the train station is a bit of a long walk and the elevators leave quite a bit to be desired. However, once we got our tickets from the vending machines, we were off for a straight forward trip to Couronnes. We were staying at the Novotel Paris 20 Belleville, which is right outside Couronnes metro station.
It was still too early to check-in so we dropped our bags, grabbed lunch (though who knows what meal this really is when you have just arrived on an overnight flight) at La Cantine de Belleville (108, Bd de Belleville), and walked up to Parc de Belleville.
Our checkin was smooth and we took the small elevator up to our room. The room was spacious and we could fit the crib at the end of the bed while still being able to easily walk between them. There was a nice storage area past the bed so our bags were out of the way.
We took another walk and found a bite to eat before tucking in a bit early to catch up on our sleep.
Day 2 (dark magenta on map)
The next morning, we enjoyed croissants and coffee for breakfast (grenadine water for the baby so it was slightly pink instead of clear water) before heading west. We walked past Place de la République, Centre Pompidou, Paris city hall and Notre-Dame re-construction among many other places. Lunch was at Cinquecento (38, Rue Saint-Denis), which was a filing pizza but nothing to write home about. We stopped for afternoon coffee at Strada Café (24, Rue Monge) to narrowly avoid being stuck in the rain, and took the metro back to the 20th.
We had a great dinner at James Bun (126, Rue Oberkampf). The food was delicious and they were accommodating of an 18 month old.
Day 3 (light magenta on map)
We started off the next day at the Cannibale Café (93, Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud) before walking from the 20th all the way to the 8th to meet Doris’s friends for a picnic in Parc Monceau. It was a great walk that took us past Sacré-coeur and through many interesting streets.
After the picnic, we stopped by the Arc de Triomphe before hoping on the metro at Victor Hugo to head back to our hotel.
For dinner, we had delicious take out from Sürpriz - Berliner Kebab (110, Rue Oberkampf) in the dark in our hotel room because it was late and the baby was asleep.
Day 4 (teal on map)
The morning started with a quick pastry and coffee on a park bench then we hopped onto the metro to see the Palais Garnier and Galeries Lafayette. We didn’t do the tour of Palais Garnier, but the outside is amazing. The details in Galeries Lafayette are stunning, especially the glass ceiling in the centre and the rooftop observation deck.
We explored the area and had lunch from Kyupoké (110, Rue de Richelieu) while sitting in Tuileries Gardens. There were so many people enjoying a leisurely lunch. Next up was the Louvre (because it was there and tickets happened to be available still in the early afternoon). It was a great visit and happily we started on the opposite side from the Mona Lisa so the crowds weren’t too bad. Of course, we eventually made our way over and saw the Mona Lisa among the many phones thrust in the air so each of us could have our own blurry odd angled photo of the painting.
The afternoon continued pasts through Place des Grands Hommes and through Jardin du Luxembourg. We also saw our first moving truck with the great truck mounted lift to help get the boxes and furniture up to the higher levels.
While running laundry across the street, we had tasty pizza for dinner at La Cerise sur la Pizza (96, Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud). Every day we stopped in at grocery stores for a few pieces of fruit, some cheese and crackers to keep the 18 month old going. She really only wanted to each cheese and croissants most of the time, but would nibble on something from most of our meals.
Day 5 (dark teal on map)
I fixed our hotel sink this morning because the hotel didn’t seem to have access to someone who could clean out a drain. (This would be my only complaint about the hotel.) More pastries and coffee for breakfast before visiting the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. This was a really cool museum with great scale construction models and full sized machinery.
Lunch was at the fine but forgettable Mabrouk (64 Rue Réaumur). The baby threw up in the restaurant and nobody really noticed despite it being quite busy. The baby received a new shirt with bicycles and pants from the nearby Monoprix, which she wears to this day.
It was time to get on the metro to go to pickpocket central and see the Eiffel Tower. After seeing the tower and avoiding having our pockets picked by the large contingent of tourist followers, we walked toward the Grand Palais. We ate a snack in the lush green park with so many flowers before the metro took us back to the hotel again. We ate something for dinner, but I do not recall what.
Day 6 (red on map)
This morning we walked west on Avenue de la République on our way to Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. The toddler dropped her sunglasses from the stroller as we walked to the entrance, but of course we only realized this later in the day, and reconstructed where they disappeared from the photos. A famous people cemetery and we discovered Miguel Ángel Asturias Rosales (who will appear again when I write up our visit to Guatemala), Jim Morrison, many well kept graves, many overgrown ones, a holocaust memorial, and Édith Piaf. The toddler found each and every tap in the cemetery and wanted to wash her hands in them all.
A stop at Jardin naturel - Pierre-Emmanuel to visit the playground and meet a random italian child with his grandparents. After more walking, we ate sandwiches in another park featuring a barely functional bathroom.
The afternoon including a walk through Place de la Bastille where we spoke to yet another family with a child around 18 months. Our meandering path took us to Jardin des Plantes and later Place d’Italie.
We finally had the crepes we had been craving for dinner this night at Le Sarrasin (49, Rue de Tourtille).
Day 7 (orange on map)
After a standard breakfast of croissants, we took the 96 bus to the end of the line at Gare Montparnasse where we happened upon Montparnasse Cemetery. We visited another one of the great playgrounds in Jardins des Grands-Explorateurs Marco-Polo et Cavelier-de-la-Salle. Lunch was at Académie de la bière (88Bis, Bd de Port-Royal), which worked because we arrived before the rush started.
The afternoon took us to watch the ships in the Siene and cross various bridges. It even took us up on Viaduc des Arts (a highline boardwalk and park). Dinner was at Triplettes de Belleville (102, Bd de Belleville) and this was a delicious meal with too loud music even though it seemed to be an in between time before dinner time.
Day 8 (April 29, lime green on map)
Before packing up to go to the airport, we took one last walk around the 11th. We stopped at a few points along Canal St-Martin, where there were a few police divers either training or casually looking for something. The convenience of being right beside Couronnes metro was great since we could get on there for Gare du Nord to head out to the airport. The toddler waved at so many houses as our express train to CDG took us through less and less dense areas.
I would highly recommend Paris as a toddler friendly city with plenty to do, eat and see.