I have had the chance to discuss this with many different parents looking to organise a memorable break in Paris with their children, and I find myself constantly surprised by how different their views are:
Maintain the standards they were used to before having kids
Wonderful hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, museum trips, long walks in the city… all of this was magical when they were just à deux, but need a bit of a twist to be suitable when there are little ones about. Hotels can be wonderful so long as they offer suites or connecting rooms; top restaurants can be enjoyed if a babysitter takes care of the kids for the evening; museum trips are feasible if the kids are kept entertained and interested with a treasure hunt; and long walks around the city can be substituted for a horse-drawn carriage or private boat tour so that those little feet don’t get too tired.
Experience the city instead of visiting it
At home it is easy to find the perfect place for a slice of cake that the kids will love, and parents probably know about intriguing new activities like cooking workshops, but abroad it is not so easy. Having inside knowledge about nearby child-friendly restaurants with lovely views, the best bakery around the hotel for a snack, or a lovely shop with smart clothes for the little ones will turn parents from tourist into bona fide local residents.
Savour the moments with the children and discover a new side to the city
Spending time in Paris and unearthing some of its hidden gems together will build life-long family memories. This could mean going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but what we prefer is for the kids to actually take part in the trip and not just be passengers on it. To stay interested, kids need to be engaged with interactive experiences. What’s more, this can be a wonderful way for parents to discover new aspects of the local culture as well. Why not learn how to bake a baguette in Paris? Or get to grips with fencing in the Loire Valley? The real luxury for parents is to know that they have introduced their children to something completely new, and sown the desire to come back again.
Make the most of the time you have together
A really successful trip usually requires a lot of time-consuming organisation before leaving and nowadays time is precious. Going on a fully-organised family trip to Paris is the best way to enjoy every second of it. When parents decide to spend a few days in a city like Paris, it is very difficult to scout out all the best options. Nothing can be more frustrating than the sense of wasting time doing something that the kids find dull while there are so many better options elsewhere. Luxury is about knowing that you will experience the very best holiday, completely tailored to your tastes and interests. Smooth pre-planned itineraries and transfers, plus fast-queue tickets, are all perfect time-savers that can make time away so much more enjoyable.
Enjoy some peace of mind in the knowledge that English-speaking help is at hand
Leaving with the conviction that everything will run smoothly is the main luxury for many parents visiting a large city abroad. The knowledge that taxis will be equipped with baby-seats, or that an English-speaking doctor is at the end of the line, can be the pinnacle of luxury when travelling with kids, as parents can feel confident in the most important thing of all: the safety of their children.
All in all, it seems like children can alter people’s perception of luxury travel, throwing up various issues for parents looking to go enjoy a superb holiday. But whatever it means for you and your family, the greatest luxury lies in being able to tailor your trip so that it meets your expectations and fulfils your dreams, whatever they may be.
Magali Déchelette is CEO at Family Twist.