Before we had a child, my husband and I would hop across to Paris regularly. We’d stay somewhere bijou and cosy (we loved it here); stroll around art exhibitions; do a little desultory shopping (we often went before Christmas, so we’d admire the astonishing window displays on Boulevard Haussmann); stop at cafes for coffee or, later, wine; read in the Jardin de Luxembourg; dress up and have late candlelit suppers before wandering home through cobbled streets.
Now, we have our lovely munchkin – and we still want to go to Paris – and take her with us. I have bookmarked this article from Saturday’s Guardian, and will be ordering The Little Bookroom Guide to Paris with Kids. I will also be studying Babyccino’s guide to child-friendly Paris.
And I am in the throes of researching child-friendly accommodation (obviously, being London-based, we’ll take the Eurostar there – kids love trains, right?).
Hip hotel finder Mr & Mrs Smith has a new off-shoot (offspring?) Smith & Family – gorgeous places to stay with little people. Their Paris recommendation is Résidence Nell in the 9-eme arrondisement – which sounds pret-ty fabulous. The hotel has 17 child-friendly, sleek, minimalist-chic (not a phrase which tends to follow the words ‘child-friendly’) apartments, complete with kitchens, separate bedrooms for small people, flatscreen televisions, DVD players and Playstations. Double rooms from £173.30 (€205). Rates are per apartment; breakfast is from €15-@20 per adult; €7 for under-12s. If you book through Smith & Family, you’ll arrive to a bottle of rose and chocolates.
If you are not averse to a spot of spending (okay, maybe a bit more than a spot) a grande dame of the parisian hotel scene, Le Meurice is family-friendly (treasure hunt in the hotel, anyone? Plus, it’s adjacent to the Tuileries so small people can run off excess energy). Be warned: it might give small people ideas above their station. (Family packages from €830.)
On a more boutique note, try Citizen Hôtel a chi-chi but chilled-out, 12-room hotel overlooking the Canal St-Martin. It has suites which sleep three (€280) or two rooms can be linked to create an entire ‘Appartement Citizen’ or “family floor” sleeping four or five (€450 including breakfast). It’s all very pared back and blonde wood – something my interiors will never be.
If you fancy the idea of living like a local (and I do), this looks perfect. A simple, sweet apartment in a traditional Parisian building (complete with terrace and parquet floor), and situated right next to the uber-trendy Marais. There are two bedrooms (one with twin beds) and a little kitchen. From €160 per night for three nights (the price per night drops if you book it for longer). Book it (before I do) right here.
Loft – Canal Saint Martin
I have yet to book anything via Airbnb (wherein people rent their own homes), but this lofty eyrie in Canal St Martin might just might tempt me. Check out the children’s room – too cute. (From £192 per night.)
I am also pretty taken with this vintage-style flat in the Latin Quartier (from £91 per night).
Images: Robert Doisneau via Gallery Shooter, Smith & Family, Le Citizen Hotel, Appartement Blanc, Airbnb