France is such a beautiful country with a rich history, and a fairly easy journey from London. During our time as expats in London, we have been able to make two trips to France. Once in February 2020, via plane, to the French Riviera. In September 2021, we took the Eurostar train to Paris. Both trips were lovely! We only had a first son on the French Riviera trip, and both kids by the Paris trip. Sharing the experiences in each city below.
Where: Our favorite area was near the Louvre/Tuileries neighborhood, which lies in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. It is central for many attractions, full of restaurants, beautiful architecture, and shopping. If you are traveling with young kids, and prefer a spot that easily walkable and central to many big sights in Paris, this is the place to stay!
Activities: This trip to Paris was short, and I was mostly on my own with the kids because of my husbands work, so we plan to do more on future trips. For now, this is a list of our favorite activities:
- Visit the Eiffel Tower and enjoy the view from Cafe du Trocadero (and enjoy a photoshoot with the amazing photographer, Anna)
- Visit the outdoor area/fountains at the Louvre (and inside if you are comfortable)
- Picnic at Tutilieries Gardens
- Take the train to Versailles (I did this on a previous trip without kids, but I do believe it would be manageable with them)
- Ideas for future trip to Paris: The Luxembourg Gardens, the train around Montremarte
Transportation: On our trip to Paris, we took our large double stroller. Because of this, and that we were fortunate to stay in a central location, I opted to walk, even somewhat long distances, rather than deal with folding up our stroller into the underground sub or a cab. For warning, many of the streets of Paris are narrow and not completely flat; but I pushed around our large double stroller, for the most part alone, and managed and enjoyed. I was able to take in beautiful sights of the city, while my kids ate snacks, napped, and sometimes fussed in the stroller.
Food: Our favorite spots in Paris that we ate at, and were child-friendly, included:
- Le Sens Unique: Great Italian food
- Acai & You: Terrific Acai bowls and smoothies
- Restaurant Chang: Delicious Thai
Less glamorous back-up food options:
- McDonalds: Chicken nuggets and apple slices
- Starbucks: Porridge, banana bread, warm milk
Nice and Monaco
Where: We spent four days based in Nice, walking distance from the city center. As with all cities, I love being able to walk to the town within 10-15 minutes, without having to take a cab or public transportation, in order to more easily push our stroller around without folding.
Activities: We took one day trip to Monte Carlo, Monaco, one day trip to Eze Village (along the way we stopped by Menton and Villefrance-sur-Mer) and stopped by ‘Le Jardin Exotique’. Both of these day trips are must-dos, in my opinion.
For Monte Carlo, it is beautiful to walk around the city, take in the architecture, but keep in mind the Monte Carlo casino is adults only, and you won’t be able to take your young kids inside. My husband and I swapped waiting outside with our then 10-month-old.
We were so happy to be able to stop by Menton to take in the views, although we wish we had gone during daytime as well to explore the city.
Our favorite day was definitely our visit to Eze, particularly the beautiful gardens. We stopped by to take in the views of Villefrance-sur-Mer.
Once we arrived at the gardens in Eze, we absorbed the beautiful cobblestone roads, tropical plants, and stunning views.
Transportation: We rented a car and a carseat, which made it easier and more flexible to take the road trips we wanted and stop along whichever sights we preferred or at pretty viewpoints. We picked and dropped the car off at the Nice Airport.