This lovely family of four, including two teenagers, visited Paris for a 5-day autumn half-term break, complete with an array of top tips from friends, associates and yours truly.
Having crammed in loads, they felt it only right to compile and share their own top tips...
Ruth recommended the Hotel de Noailles, a quirky family-run boutique hotel in a great location, just a 12-minute walk from the Louvre. It was exceptional with fantastic service.
We managed to walk an incredible 75km in total, only using the Metro a few times, which is cheaper than London’s tube. Comfortable shoes are a must!
Montmartre, the Artists' Quarter of Paris, was wonderful. Always have some Euros as the artists often offer a discount for cash. Chat with them and be engaging, one artist reduced his price by €60 on a beautiful piece of work after talking with our daughter about her A-Level art!
We had dinner there on our first night and lunch on the day we left at two different restaurants, both outside in the square - a lovely setting to people-watch.
Climbing the Sacré Coeur to enjoy the gorgeous views is a must. It's cheap and there was NO queue despite the busy crowds inside and out. The entrance is down some steps to the left of the church as you look at it and is not very well publicised.
Fun fact or spoiler alert! The 'Sinking House' adjacent to Sacré Coeur is not actually sinking - it's all to do with camera angles.
Pre-book the Eiffel Tower. I stalked the official website a few times a day and finally managed to get summit tickets six days before we left when they released more, despite them previously showing as sold out. You will still queue and even though we had tickets, it took an additional 30-minute wait on the second floor to get into the summit lift.
Do go and see it twinkle as we did at 23:00 on our last night in Paris. We stood practically underneath, and it was beautiful.
We would recommend “Bistro Tour Eiffel” only a five-minute walk from the Tower with its buzzy atmosphere, pavement dining, lovely waiters, and of course, the obligatory people-watching.
Get a guided tour of the Louvre. This was by far the most expensive set of tickets we bought but so worth it for the additional information received from our lovely guide, Natalia. We would have missed so much just aimlessly wandering around the galleries ourselves! We took a three-hour tour and saw so much, including the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and my personal favourite - the room housing the paintings of Marie de' Medici by Peter Paul Rubens.
We knew of Angelina's famous 1903 Tea Rooms and wandered past on several occasions, but the queues were always enormous, so unfortunately, we didn’t get to experience it for ourselves. I do, however, highly recommend Cafe de Tuileries and their amazing duet of delicious salmon pasta.
The interior of the Galeries Lafayette is stunning, and I did manage to pick up my must-have Christmas decoration.
I wasn’t keen on the Champs-Élysées, finding it far too busy. We used it to get to the Arc de Triomphe, another climbing must-do! Tickets are cheap and kids go free but again, book in advance on the official website, as the queues were massive.
My advice would be to use the subway to get onto that roundabout - Carl insisted we dodge the traffic and I had a meltdown!
The Catacombs of Paris were unique, interesting and a bit eerie. The entrance is located at 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy. They only offer tickets on their website up to a week in advance and I wouldn’t advise trying to get one on the day. Our tickets were for Sunday at 11:30am and when we arrived people were being turned away with the guide advising they were sold out until Wednesday. We still waited in line until 12:00 pm to get in.
We took a one-hour Seine cruise with Bateaux Parisiens, managing to get seated on top with a good view, although the commentary was only available inside. I can’t recommend the night one as the one we did a couple of days later was disappointing. We had returned around 8pm when there were fewer people queueing but with no seats available on top. We stayed inside to listen to the commentary but unfortunately, people outside our window stood blocking the view so we ended up joining them outside on the deck.
Take care wandering around the city. The traffic is horrendous, and drivers pay no attention to green men or zebra crossings!
I loved our Paris experience because I love what it has to offer and the iconic sights I've always wanted to see did not disappoint. We had a great time and our daughter fell in love with the city.