A half term visit to Paris

Back in September I decided to make myself a travel bucketlist of 50 places to visit as I creep towards the grand old age of 50.

One of those locations was Paris and during our Al Fresco holiday to La Croix du Vieux Pont in half term, I finally got to visit the city that has been eluding me for years.

Having driven from Caen to the campsite, we weren’t that confident about driving in Paris as even the outskirts were a little hair-raising, so we decided to book the coach tour that they offer, which drops you at the Palais des Congres, a short walk to the Arc de Triomphe.

Arc De Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is the biggest arch in the world and was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to celebrate his victory at Austerlitz. It overlooks the world-famous Champs-Elysées, and sits in the middle of a huge, busy roundabout, although is accessible via a subway system underneath, so you can see it up close.

Arc de Triomphe Family

What many people don’t realise is that you can go inside the Arc de Triomphe and climb the 284 steps to the top for just €8 for adults (children are free).

Staircase

There is a small museum, gift shop and toilets inside but the main reason to climb is for the view.

View from Arc de Triomphe

Even on a murky day the sight from 50 metres above Paris is breathtaking from every angle and we spent a good half an hour just admiring the views before heading back down the stairs to pay our respects at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

omb of the Unknown Soldier

From the Arc de Triomphe we walked to the Eiffel Tower which took around 15 minutes, past beautiful buildings and historic statues.

Statue Paris

We took a slight detour to the Place du Trocadero, as it is one of the best places to view the tower.

Eiffel Tower

Since the terror attacks, the Eiffel Tower is well protected around its base and we had to queue for around half an hour just to get past security. Once inside we made the decision to buy tickets to walk up the stairs to the first and second floor, rather than pay more to use the lift.

Eiffel Tower Stairs

Isaac and Eliza both shot off up the stairs, whereas I took it at a more leisurely pace with Sebastian and we counted 347 steps to the first level.

Glass Floor Eiffel Tower

We had a bit of a break once we reached the first floor, with the kids fascinated by the glass floor before heading up the next flight of stairs.

View from Eiffel Tower

All in all, we climbed 669 steps, just to get to the 2nd floor. I have to admit that Sebby and I were the ones that found it hard work, but the trick is to take it slowly and stop when you need a break. We did look on enviously as the lift went past us a couple of times!

Place du Trocadero

The views were worth it though!

Paris

Thankfully, the next stage of our trip to the top was by lift and after a short queue we hopped in and admired the sights through the glass window as we headed to the top, 280 metres above Paris.

Top of the Eiffel Tower

As you can tell from the photo – it was a little breezy!!

View of Paris

We made sure we took in everything we could and pointed out famous landmarks before heading back down the way we came.

Eiffel Towers Stairs

We were all a little tired once we reached the bottom and in need of a sit down, so we headed back towards the river and bought a hop-on / hop-off day ticket to Batobus river cruises.

River Seine

The river cruise is a great way to see Paris as it has 9 stops all along the Seine, allowing you to visit famous locations including the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Notre-Dame, Jardin des Plantes / Cité de la Mode et du Design, Hôtel de Ville, Louvre and the Champs-Élysées.

Visit Paris

The boats themselves are comfortable and warm and look a bit like a huge conservatory on the water which offers a panoramic view from the river. There is a small standing area at the back of the boat if you prefer to be outside.

Isaac Batobus

We decided that Notre Dame would be our first stop and hopped off the boat and took the short walk across the river. Sadly we only got to see the outside as the queue to go inside was huge and the kids weren’t keen on hanging around.

Notre Dame

After a walk around the outside of Notre Dame we headed back to catch the boat, with our next stop being the Louvre.

Louvre

The plan from the Louvre was to catch the boat back to the Champs-Élysées, however, we decided to walk through the gardens to Place de la Concorde to look at all the sculptures on display.

Paris

The kids were particularly fascinated by what appeared to be a football sculpture in the middle of the path.

Ball Sculpture

From the Place de la Concorde, we headed back to the Arc de Triomphe and along the Champs-Élysées and back to the Palais des Congres to catch the coach back to the camp site.

Lens ball

We spent just over 8 hours in Paris and walked a staggering 12 miles. We may not have seen it all, but we gave it a good go!

Have you been to Paris?

 

 

28 thoughts on “A half term visit to Paris

  1. I’ve been to Paris more than 5 times in the past few years, i can’t get enough of this awesome city. It is not just the tourist attractions but also the food, the culture, the people. Love this city!

  2. It sounds like you had an absolutely amazing time in Paris, I went once many years ago and only for 24 hours, we didn’t plan it very well and we missed so much! I would love to make it back again one day with a better plan.

  3. I visited Paris some years ago for my 18th birthday. I cannot wait to return. Your photos bring back such nostalgic memories of this beautiful city.

  4. I have only ever been to Euro Disney and have never explored Paris before, I really should one day. It sounds like you had a great time and I bet the kids slept well that night after all the walking and climbing steps x

  5. awww, the beautiful city of Paris! Looks like you guys had a blast. We’ve been there a couple years ago, and we had a great time. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.

  6. Wow Paris looks absolutely magical! All of your pictures are so beautiful 🙂 I’d love to travel.here with my hubby someday!

  7. Paris is on my top 15! It looks like you and your darling family had a great time. You hit up some of the big destinations. Bookmarking this post for later in hopes I need it for Paris suggestions (;

  8. WOW it looks like you had a fantastic time and fit so much into your trip! Those views really are stunning and I know that my kids would absolutely love the river cruise it sounds like a fun way to see even more of Paris.

  9. Aww, Paris looks like so much fun. I went on a school trip once, but you couldn’t actually get into Paris because of some problem or other, so we just sat on the bus and looked at the Eiffel Tower from a distance! It was so disappointing. I can’t believe I’ve never been back!

    Louise x

  10. I enjoyed your post. Hop on hop off are not always the best value for money in my experience but glad to see the kids and yourself, Mrs enjoyed it all. Reminded me of my Paris trip, I cannot wait to go back soon!

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