Hometown Guide to Paris from Ashley Daley
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, but few people get to experience it for more than a few days at a time. Ashley Daley was lucky enough to spend two years living in Paris with her husband and their two daughters. Although she now lives in the state of Washington, Ashley has picked up some tips for visiting her adopted hometown in France and is sharing them here. If you want to travel to the City of Light like a local, read on to learn about Ashley’s favorite spots for eating, relaxing and exploring in Paris with kids.
HI ASHLEY! COULD YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE US TO YOUR FAMILY?
Hi! We’re the Daleys. I’m Ashley and my husband is Aaron. We have two beautiful daughters: London, age four, and Adeline, age three.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE AND WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK?
We recently moved to the Pacific Northwest in Washington state after living near Paris, France, for almost two years. I’m a stay-at-home mom, who does a bit of photography on the side.
LIVING IN PARIS FOR TWO YEARS SOUNDS LIKE A DREAM. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD AND WHY?
It’s hard to pick a favorite neighborhood in Paris! They’re all so beautiful! I do love the 4th arrondissement though, right over by Notre Dame. It has a few playgrounds tucked away around the cathedral and has a great market on Sundays. The 6th (where the Jardin du Luxembourg is), 7th (which is famous for the Eiffel Tower and museums) and the 16th (where the Jardins du Trocadéro are) are all fantastic, too.
I do love the 4th arrondissement though, right over by Notre Dame. It has a few playgrounds tucked away around the cathedral and has a great market on Sundays.
ARE THERE ANY PARTS OF PARIS YOU DON'T LIKE? WHAT'S OVERRATED?
Well, we didn’t care much for the 18th and 19th arrondissements. Not that they were terrible or anything, they’re both just a bit more rough around the edges and we preferred the center of Paris more.
I feel like climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower is a bit overrated. The lines are long and there are tons of people trying to sell trinkets or scam tourists. The view is lovely at the top, but I feel like to really appreciate the tower itself, one should head over to the Jardins du Trocadéro (right across the river), where you can catch gorgeous views of the tower itself. It’s also a great place for a picnic.
THAT SOUNDS LOVELY. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SPOT TO TAKE OUT OF TOWN VISITORS?
We actually liked to take them to Versailles, which is about 30 minutes outside of Paris. Not so much to the main palace itself, but to the Grand and Petit Trianon, which are gorgeous and far less crowded. There’s also Marie Antoinette’s hamlet, which is a great spot to walk around in the spring and summer.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITY THAT OTHER PARENTS MIGHT NOT THINK ABOUT DOING IN PARIS WITH KIDS?
We loved visiting Château Vaux-le-Vicomte! It’s a beautiful chateau less than an hour from Paris and it’s super kid-friendly. There are costume rentals (for both kids and adults) and they have fantastic holiday activities geared towards families (we loved going during Christmas and Easter).
Looking for another easy day trip from Paris? Check out this half-day travel guide to Monet’s home in Giverny.
WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS' FAVORITE THINGS TO DO IN PARIS?
They loved playing on all the fantastic playgrounds.
DID THEY HAVE A FAVORITE PLAYGROUND?
They loved any playground they could play on, but they really enjoyed all the playgrounds at Jardin d’Acclimatation. It costs a few euros to enter, but it’s well worth it for all the fun kids can have there. It’s perfect when visiting Paris with children.
THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR A KID VISITING PARIS: WHERE CAN THEY FIND THE BEST ICE CREAM?
Definitely Berthillon, near Notre Dame!
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN PARIS?
That’s a great question! Paris is so photogenic that it’s hard to pick a favorite spot. If I had to say just one, I’d probably go with the Jardins du Trocadéro, because it’s such a lovely park and it’s easy to get the iconic Eiffel Tower in the background. I also loved taking photos at the Parc de Sceaux during the cherry blossom season, too.
ANYTHING ELSE PARENTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PARIS WITH KIDS?
Go visit all the different boulangeries to taste some of the best bread in the world. Don’t be afraid to try new foods and to ask your kids to try it too (they might surprise you!). Our oldest tried escargot when she was around 3 years old and actually liked it quite a bit!
Paris isn’t the only family-friendly destination in France. Check out our guide to France for families, featuring eight unique vacation ideas that aren’t Paris.