Where to stay in Paris with Kids
The Palace Vendome Region and Hotel Mayfair review
If you have kids and a few bucks to spare stay in the Palace Vendome region of Paris. It is the expensive part of town, yes, but It is centrally located on a beautiful park, Le Jardin des Tuileries, and is a 5 minute walk to the Louvre, a 20 minute walk along the Seine river and through a wonderful park to Notre Dame cathedral. It’s a ten-minute walk to the Musee de Orsay or the Paris Opera House. You know what… a list is going to be easier.
Walking times from the Mayfair (a centrally located boutique hotel in the Palace Vendome region)
Nearby Attractions for the kids:
- Le Jardin Des Tuileries (3 Minutes) You are basically ON this park
- Champs Elysees (5 minutes)
- Musee D’Orsay (10 minutes)
- Arc De Triomphe (20 minute walk along the Champs Elysees)
- Paris Opera House (10 minutes through the Palace Vendome)
- The Louvre (5 minutes along the park Le Jardin Des Tuileries)
- Notre Dame (20 minutes)
All of these walks have some amazing scenery and plenty of opportunities to keep the kids occupied. You can just drink in the Parisian culture or stop and shop if that’s your thing or eat at a menagerie of French restaurants. Le Jardin des Tuileries is a wonderful little park with a playground, sculptures, trees, a fountain, food and a small carousel. There’s tons of space for the kids to run around and burn off energy and benches to watch them from and recharge. Being on this park and having to walk through it to get anywhere is a big bonus to staying in the region.
The kids are going to get museumed out or historyed out or whatever and as a parent having this park be the beginning and/or end of day treat is HUGE for your sanity. Additionally, there are two hot chocolate places across from the park if the kids have been extra tolerant.
As an aside, If you haven’t had Parisian hot chocolate you have not lived. It’s essentially solid chocolate melted with some extra milk to create what I Imagine drinking a Hersey bar would be like. You can grab one from Angelina’s, or if the line is too long, which it frequently is, walk to Edwarts right up the road. The Angelina’s hot chocolate is ever so slightly lighter than Edmonds if one can consider melted chocolate light. GET THE SMALL or you will make yourself sick. More than likely you will only manage a quarter to half of that anyway. I recommend hot chocolate and then park.
Back on topic…The crux of the matter here is getting the right intersection of convenience and cost. Make no mistake about it this is the ritzy part of town but the smart traveler can get all the benefits without taking out a second mortgage. Actually that’s only partly true because, Euro for Euro, Paris has the highest general hotel costs on the continent. Typically I don’t recommend trying to save in Paris. In Paris we splurge, we save elsewhere to make up for it especially when it comes to location, and even more so when considering the kids. Public transportation with the little ones is no fun. In fact transportation in general can be a bear with little ones in tow. Toss in jet lag and you will really appreciate where the extra money went for location. Previously we stayed at the Westin Paris a very nice, very expensive hotel in the Palace Vendome area. This is a fantastic hotel if you traveling without the kids. If you are traveling with kids…not so much.
Pro Tip: Most hotels in Paris have rooms for two people max and you will have to get TWO rooms for a family. Finding a family room in Paris is harder than anywhere I have ever been thanks to stringent regulations.
I was informed that there are regulations in France regulating the square footage per person making it quite expensive for families to visit. Finding a 4-person room is a nightmare. Regardless our previous misadventures led us to do more research the second time around and we found a delightful little boutique hotel by the name of the Hotel Mayfair which is on the same block as the extremely expensive Ritz and Westin but at a very reasonable cost. The family room was two good sized rooms with a massive bathroom. A bathroom I might add that had a heated towel rack. I cannot tell you how useful a heated towel rack is to the light traveler. Throw some freshly washed pants on their and go out for the day, when you return your pants have dried like magic! Generally it takes a few days to dry pants in this climate so it makes life much easier. The extra space was welcomed to lay out clothes to dry. For the parents there is a queen size bed with double pullout couch for the kids. The room was large, clean and quiet, did I mention quiet? Quiet and clean are my two biggest needs for a hotel room. My daughter is the enemy of sleep. Noise turns her into a parent waking zombie that eats your “me time”. Me time, of course is sleep now because any other time has been absorbed by the children like the borg. #foryoutrekkies. If you are a “chain hotel” kind of person you will be giving up your amenities. Make no mistake about it this is a boutique hotel and not a Hilton. There’s no spa, there’s no Gym, there’s no hot tub, pool or sauna. You’re not going to get a view either, but if this is something you are concerned with you are doing it wrong. Take it for what it is, a nice clean quiet room with a small overtly friendly international staff in absolutely the best part of Paris to stay in with kids.
A note on the rooms: Our most recent trip to Paris the Hotel Mayfair was used as our hub in and out of the continent. So we stayed in the Hotel Mayfair twice. The second room was not quite the size of the first room. The bathroom was considerably smaller with very little space for clothes drying. No matter, the second room we stayed in was also nice, quiet and clean, with slightly less flash. There was one of ubiquitous awful showers with the swinging half door thing that causes the floor to flood when your shower. Again, minor inconvenience and something you get used to if you travel Europe at all. Space is at a premium!
The lobby is an adorable little thing with a small waiting room and a tiny bar that doubles as the buffet breakfast/dinner. When I say small I mean on the order of 200 sq feet. Adorable. The buffet didn’t look too appealing especially since there is some of the planets best food within walking distance in EVERY direction, God I love Paris. There’s Le Soufflee, there’s the world famous Angelina’s…. I’m going to make a list again…
- Le soufflé (30 second walk) A restaurant dedicated to Souffle of all kinds (They left the Gran Marnier on table for the Grand Marneir souffle these are a people after my own heart, can you say “season to taste!”)
- Angelinas (3 minute walk) a wonderful little French chocolate/pastry shop
- Da Rosa (30 second walk) A delightful little Italian place
- Flottes (3 minute walk) Probably my favorite food on this man’s planet. Go for the succulent pig or the Duck. They are to die for. We eat here multiple times on every visit.
- L’Imperial Rivoli (30 second walk) Overpriced, however they open earlier than everyone else and they make a great cappuccino.
Mostly though we were thankful for the staff. We were flying from the middle of the Pacific in cattle class on some American airlines jets I feel that were pulled out of retirement just to take the heard on one last trans-Atlantic journey. “Daddy, where is the tv? Is this what it was like to fly when you were you a child” “You’re really old” yes, I am aware, thank you for pointing that out. No entertainment, thanks American Airlines, and I thought United was bad. Lesson learned. At any rate, we arrived at 7am after a red eye from NYC which was a welcome stop after flying in from Hawaii on a total of 5 hours of sleep spread across three days and 3 flights still on Hawaii time. That’s a 12-hour time difference for those keeping track. Needless to say we all looked like death warmed over except for the little girl…that little monster always looks like a million dollars of adorable. I suppose that’s why girl scout cookies sell so well and us poor boy scouts have to mug people leaving grocery stores. Regardless, the point is we were tired and beat and check in wasn’t until 2pm. Let me tell you, the Gentleman at the front desk took one look at us in our fresh off the plane pajama glory and offered us a room by 9am. As a Gold member with multiple hotel chains I can tell you this was a breath of fresh air. This guy didn’t know us from Adam but he knew what zombies were when he saw them and did the unthinkable for a hotel he let us check in REALLY EARLY!! Honestly I wouldn’t have expected this and I’m loath to tell the world about it for fear that people will wander in and expect such treatment. Don’t be shitty, don’t do that, just understand that the staff genuinely cares about your well-being. He then took our bags and directed us to a café for a caffeine injection. After a couple espressos and some croissants, we zombied our way up to the room and emerged, from a 5-hour hibernation, none the worse for wear thanks to the great service and quiet room from the Mayfair hotel.
On the way out of the hotel our little horrors went ballistic in the lobby. I’m talking full meltdown sugar rush screaming and pinballing off of every hard surface including the ceiling. This naturally degenerated in a sibling MMA style brawl. The poor ring girl, I mean reception clerk was quite a bit more tolerant of their indiscretion than maybe I would have been in her shoes. Yes, we tried desperately to stop it but sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way we plan. Either way she gave us a wide berth and some friendly words and we truly appreciate the understanding. A big thank you to the Hotel Mayfair for taking care of our family and doing so with great understanding, care and all at a very reasonable price. Thanks for reminding us why mom and pop shops exist in a world of Walmarts.
Pro Parent Tip: There is a pharmacy nearby about a five-minute walk away from the Hotel Mayfair. Because you KNOW you either forgot the toothpaste or someone has the flu. Hooray for filthy planes!
Le Jardin Des Tuileries
Notre Dame, within walking distance, even for the kids, of the Hotel Mayfair in Paris