Parisian Playground

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The Travelers
Veronique and Christophe Salomon, their daughter Valentine (12) and son Paul (9).

The Plan
The Salomons flew Air France from Beijing to Paris, where they stayed for one week. They then continued on to Normandy to celebrate Christmas. While in France the Salomons stayed with family, but they recommend travelers book a room at Novotel Paris Les Halles for its central location, or the trendy Citadines St. Germain des Prés for its sizeable suites.

The Best Part
The most thrilling moment for Valentine was the Louvre Museum. Most kids will be excited to see the famous Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo or the ancient Egyptian collection. The illuminated glass pyramid is worth a visit in its own right. On Saturdays, children ages 4-13 can participate in fun museum workshops (given in French). The Rodin Museum also houses some must-see artwork, including The Thinker.

Avoid the Cold
Although Paris is enchanting under a blanket of snow, the Salomons do not recommend that families travel there during winter months.

Most Unexpected Event
Snow was an unexpected but pleasant surprise – the kids made the most of it. Valentine recalls, “My brother and I made massive snowballs. They were really heavy!”

Paris is lined with coffee shops, but the Belgian bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien comes highly recommended. This international chain serves soup, salads, tartines (open-faced sandwiches), homemade pastries and handmade organic bread.

Check out one of the famous department stores, such as Le Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché.

Travel Tips
It never hurts to learn a little French. Also, not only is the subway cheaper than a cab, but it’s clean and easy to use. Buy a ticket for EUR 1.50 or a pack of 10 (called a carnet) for EUR 11.10 (half-price for kids ages 4-11). Even more cost-effective is the city’s public bicycle rental Vélib’. Bikes are free to use for the first half hour, and a day ticket costs around EUR 1. A credit card is required for deposit.

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