We've been fortunate enough to travel to Europe with Sloan twice– once in 2019 to Amsterdam and Italy, and then again last summer back to Italy– but I have to admit that I was especially excited to show her Paris. Similar to our other trips, the plan was to spend a few days in a major city and then meet up with four other families to stay in a large house together in the countryside. I'd heard my fair share of horror stories regarding European travel this summer (lost baggage, delayed/cancelled flights, COVID, etc.) and while I was prepared for all of it, I'm happy to report that we had no such issues. We got to the airports ridiculously early, risked checking luggage (with AirTags), and were consistently the only ones indoors and on planes/trains with masks. It was an absolutely incredible trip and I'm still buzzing from it all. Since a day by day breakdown would be excessive, I'm sharing a bunch of my favorite photographs from Paris, some of the things and places I loved most, and takeaways from traveling with a seven year-old.
I'm usually quite on top of the restaurants and shops I want to visit, but this time we didn't have much of a plan (nor reservations for that matter), so it was a bit more open-ended, and I've bolded the ones I'd recommend visiting. We went to Chez Janou, which was incredible, as always, even though Sloan basically ate bread and chocolate mousse for dinner as it wasn't exactly kid friendly. We also went to their sister restaurant, Le Petit Marché, where I'd been instructed to order the Chinese Chicken Salad by a friend, and it was such a lovely balance to all of the rich food we'd been eating. We also had a great meal at Papi, an Italian restaurant with stellar pizzas and even better pastas. As for our mornings, we envisioned ourselves strolling the streets and popping into new patisseries, but we were jet lagged and groggy and ended up happily eating pastries in our hotel room in robes. We walked after every dinner to get gelato and thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous flower-like creations from Amorino (surprisingly the fruit flavors, like coconut, passion fruit, and melon were my favorite).
Sloan isn't the most adventurous eater and while Italy was very easy to always find things on the menu, Paris proved to be a little more difficult. I'd anticipated that though, and packed a jar of peanut butter in my luggage (it's surprisingly difficult to track it down in Europe!) so I could make her sandwiches in a pinch, as well as a bunch of her go-to snacks that I had on me at all times to avoid meltdowns.
Two friends insisted we go on a private boat tour along The Seine after their respective trips to Paris, and though I initially balked at the price (it's wildly expensive), it was easily one of the highlights of our vacation. We booked it for our first morning, and was such an incredible way to see the city.
Sloan, like most kids, is motivated by rewards, so anytime we had a long walk, there would be something fun, like ice cream, at the end. I also brought along new books, little toys, and coloring things that I'd periodically pull out when we sat down to a meal so she'd have something she was excited about. We played a lot of games while on our walks (we averaged 13k steps a day with her!) which was the key to keeping her engaged. And each afternoon we'd go in the hotel pool with her so there was a nice balance of doing things the whole family would enjoy.
As for clothes, I'm admittedly never a light packer and feel way better knowing I have a plethora of options in lieu of a perfectly edited carry-on (you can see what I brought along here). I brought mainly linen and light cotton pieces since it was quite warm in Paris (and even more so once we arrived in Provence) and stuck to neutrals, which were easy to mix and match. I brought along three hats, which was excessive in retrospect, since I mainly wore just two of them, but they did make a difference with the heat. I was able to walk most of the days in flat sandals and while I also wore my Nikes anytime the distance was a bit further, I wish I had another good pair of sneakers that didn't feel quite as sporty.