Transcript for Episode 422: Going Back to Paris as a Family

Categories: Family Travel, Paris

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent:

[00:00:16] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France, episode 422, quatre cent vingt-deux. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and I am happy to bring you a little bit of France right into your ears.

[00:00:29] Today on the podcast

[00:00:29] Today, I bring you a trip report with Elsa Acevedo about her return trip to Paris with her husband and four children.

[00:00:38] Annie Sargent: It was a great family trip, something they had been looking forward to for a long time. And it was a great hit with the Acevedo family. Family vacations are always a bit of a challenge, but you can make them work with planning, of course. And memories are what I find myself cherishing years later, especially with kids growing up so fast.

[00:01:01] Annie Sargent: Enjoy them while they are still at home.

[00:01:04] Annie Sargent: Elsa has plenty of great tips to help you plan your own family trip to France. When this episode goes live, I’ll be getting ready for my New Year’s celebration at home with my husband, daughter and her girlfriend. Most people in France attend big parties for New Year’s, but I prefer to stay home, have a nice meal, a few drinks, play board games or chit chat, whatever, but be warm and safe at home. If we lived in a big city, I think I would go to a fancy restaurant and then walk home from the restaurant. But the only restaurant in my village is closed on New Year’s Eve, and I can’t blame them.

[00:01:42] English Trifle

[00:01:42] Annie Sargent: For some reason, this year I want to try and make an English trifle for dessert. I haven’t had one in so long, and that’s a dessert that stands out, right, because we don’t make it every day. And I can also make it a few hours ahead of time, and let it cool in the fridge for a few hours until, you know, so I have time to get the other food ready for the party.

[00:02:07] Annie Sargent: So hopefully, the trifle will work out for a New Year’s Eve feast. I’m sure it’s not a traditional French anything, but that’s what I want, so that’s what I’m going to make. I will let you know.

[00:02:19] Podcast supporters

[00:02:19] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my itinerary consult service and my GPS self-guided tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app.

[00:02:33] And you can browse all of that at my boutique,

[00:02:41] Annie Sargent: I won’t share any remarks or news after my conversation with Elsa. I’ll be back with those next Sunday. Thank you so much. Happy New Year. May it bring you joy, peace, and perhaps a vacation to France.

[00:02:58] Annie Sargent: That sounds great to me.


[00:03:09] Interview with Elsa

[00:03:09] Annie Sargent: Bonjour, Elsa Acevedo and welcome to Join Us in France.

[00:03:14] Elsa Acevedo: Bonjour, Annie!

[00:03:15] Annie Sargent: Very nice to talk to you about your trip to Paris, and you named this, Paris, We’re Back! So obviously you had a good time the first time and you wanted to do it again, right?

[00:03:28] The family

[00:03:28] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, indeed we did. This was also another family trip. So you know, it’s my husband and I and a 23 year old, which is my daughter, a 16 year old boy, and then another 12, and then 10.

[00:03:47] Annie Sargent: Fantastic, so a big family. Did it make it difficult? Like, did the kids have different expectations or did they kind of all play along really well?

[00:03:56] Elsa Acevedo: Well, I mean, they’re all different ages, so you can’t really say, the expectation is completely different for everybody. So this trip, we decided to let them pick a little bit of what they wanted to come back to or have.

[00:04:11] Annie Sargent: Mm-hmm, right.

[00:04:12] Or what to see again, you know.

[00:04:14] The length of the visit

[00:04:14] Annie Sargent: Right. So you were only in Paris for four days this time, is that right?

[00:04:20] Elsa Acevedo: No, we were there exactly eight full days.

[00:04:24] Annie Sargent: Ah.

[00:04:24] Annie Sargent: And the first time you were in Paris, you were there for how long?

[00:04:29] Elsa Acevedo: I was there for about, I want to say 12 days, something like that. It was almost two weeks.

[00:04:36] Annie Sargent: Yeah, so you spent plenty of time. That’s a good amount of time to spend in Paris.

[00:04:40] So let’s talk about the things that you enjoyed most and why.

[00:04:44] When did the trip take place?

[00:04:44] Annie Sargent: Oh, what time of the year was this? This trip.

[00:04:47] Elsa Acevedo: This time we went in June.

[00:04:49] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:04:50] Favourite things they did

[00:04:50] And so what were your favorite things that you did as a family?

[00:04:54] Elsa Acevedo: So I put my top 10. And again, this is all like, not only me picking them, it’s picking, you know, letting the kids pick two.

[00:05:02] Versailles

[00:05:02] Elsa Acevedo: So our top one would be Versailles.

[00:05:06] Annie Sargent: Ah. We actually, this was our second time there, but you know, they still enjoyed it because we, it’s too big. I mean, there’s always something new to find out there.

[00:05:15] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:05:16] Annie Sargent: So did you get to Versailles, did you take the regional train, the RER?

[00:05:22] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, we did. We are always using the metro, so we’re all into that. It wasn’t hard at all, you know, we just had a transfer from, you know, the regular metro to the RER and just making sure you get the one that says Vic , it’ll take you right there.

[00:05:37] Annie Sargent: So what particular things in Versailles did your kids enjoy? Was there something you did that was particularly fun?

[00:05:46] Elsa Acevedo: Well this time, last time we did the castle, so this time, we actually did the gardens. We went to, what is Marie Antoinette’s…

[00:05:54] Annie Sargent: Oh yeah, the hamlet.

[00:05:56] Elsa Acevedo: Yeah, the hamlet. That’s where we were. The bad thing about it, Annie, to be honest with you, it was hot, it was one of those hot days. It was a Saturday, it was really bad. But we ate a lot of ice cream, a lot of snacks over there, so it was okay.

[00:06:11] Extra ‘serenade’ experience

[00:06:11] We ended up doing, I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the experience of doing that, in its called, serenata. Serenate? So what you do is you pay, when they take you to the castle and they give you an example, not the castle, but the palace, it gives you an example of how they had their, you know, their parties or balls. So that’s a nice experience, a lot less people, and you get to see the castle again, you know,

[00:06:39] Annie Sargent: Oh, so this, you did a private tour of some sort?

[00:06:42] It’s not a private tour, but it’s like, it’s called the Serenade. So it’s usually after, I think six o’clock or something, you go in, it’s about an hour, they dance or whatever, and then you go through the castle. This time they did it, we were able to go into the chapel, which sometimes it’s closed, so they serenaded there.

[00:07:06] Annie Sargent: Wow. I’ve never heard of this.

[00:07:08] Elsa Acevedo: A nice experience. Yes. And they’re all dressed up like they used to be dressed up, you know, before with those big wigs and big long dresses and all that stuff. So that’s another experience you could have, you know.

[00:07:20] Annie Sargent: That’s great. Yeah. I’m going to have to look into that. I don’t think anybody’s ever mentioned it. So that’s fantastic.

[00:07:27] Arc de Triomphe

[00:07:27] Annie Sargent: And so your second favorite thing was the Arc de Triomphe. Again, an unexpected, you know, thing because Arc de Triomphe, well, you know, there’s a lot of traffic around there. What did you like about it?

[00:07:39] I don’t know. It’s just the experience of, you know, going up the steps, you know, the views, the kids, I don’t know, for whatever reason they love it.

[00:07:48] Annie Sargent: Ha.

[00:07:48] Elsa Acevedo: And it wasn’t the first time, it was the second time. So that’s something they really enjoy, you know, just walking and walking around, you know.

[00:07:58] Annie Sargent: Well, the kind of the statues on the Arc de Triomphe quite impressive. And it’s true that the view from up there is fantastic. And just looking at the crazy amount of traffic around it is kind of jaw-dropping.

[00:08:13] Elsa Acevedo: I think it is. And also, I guess, you know, they have their little maps there so you can kind of figure out where is what. So I don’t know if the kids, they really enjoy that, you know, kind of like, oh look, that’s, you know, whatever. Oh, that’s the Eiffel Tower, or, you know,

[00:08:27] yeah, yeah. They have an orientation table, so that makes it nice, because sometimes it’s, even I, I mean, I know Paris fairly well and it’s hard to spot all the monuments. People ask me, what’s that over there? And I’m like, oh, I don’t know, have to think about it.

[00:08:42] Elsa Acevedo: And I know that I, the kids kind of like, mom, is that something? And I’m like, well, let’s go down the list. What do you think it is? And then sometimes, you know, then you go back and verify, oh yeah, it is mom, you know, or No, it’s not.

[00:08:55] Annie Sargent: That’s cool. Yeah, sounds like your kids play along very well. They’re just happy to be there and enjoying the day.

[00:09:03] Elsa Acevedo: It’s like any other day, you know? I guess sometimes they are, I’m not going to lie to you. Sometimes they are, and then there’s days that they’re tired, you know? Because no matter what, you walk a lot.

[00:09:14] Where were they staying?

[00:09:14] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So where were you staying? Did you find a hotel or did you have an Airbnb or something?

[00:09:20] Elsa Acevedo: No, we got an Airbnb. I think a hotel would be too much for us because it’s six of us, you know? So we got an Airbnb in, it’s called Pick, pick bus or something like that. It’s

[00:09:33] Annie Sargent: Picpus.

[00:09:34] Elsa Acevedo: So we got it this time there. We had three metro stations, like super close. One was like, literally, I want to say, like a hundred steps or something from the house.

[00:09:44] Elsa Acevedo: So it’s really close. Yeah. And again, we’re not scared of the metro. That’s our transportation. So it’s something in that, even though we’re from LA, you know, we don’t have that. So my kids, for them, it was a new thing for them, getting on metro, you know, public transportation, because to be honest with you, over here, it’s not really reliable or even attractive.

[00:10:06] Elsa Acevedo: You know, we get in your car and that’s it, you know,

[00:10:09] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah, that’s true. LA could really use a very good transportation system, but they just don’t have it. I think it’s the cultural thing. Americans just, they want to be in their own car and that’s that.

[00:10:22] Elsa Acevedo: Yes. I honestly do, I honestly do, and it’s an eye opener for all of us, you know,

[00:10:27] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah.

[00:10:28] Elsa Acevedo: And a nice experience.

[00:10:30] Metro card

[00:10:30] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So what sort of Metro card did you get for everybody?

[00:10:34] Elsa Acevedo: Oh, we get The Navigo and it worked since the last time we went. So we just, it was actually easier, to be honest with you. My husband just, we divide everything in between. So he was in charge of the Navigo, so he was able to go through the app directly, and before we got there, we had our money already.

[00:10:51] Annie Sargent: Perfect.

[00:10:52] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Perfect. Perfect. So you were using your phones.

[00:10:56] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, we were, we were, we actually have T-Mobile. So we had text, which is more than enough for us. And we had, you know, the service, not the calling ones. Then we would have to get, we would get charged. But, you know, as long as we have, you know, Wifi in it, that’s it.

[00:11:14] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. You use Wifi and the free text, which is fine. Because if you have to, you know, if one of your kids walked off or whatever, you can send them a text to say, where did you go?

[00:11:24] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, definitely. Or at least to verify that the next venue that we’re going is open, you know.

[00:11:31] Annie Sargent: Yeah, that’s also important. Yeah. Yeah. It’s better if you don’t show up to a venue that’s closed.

[00:11:38] Eiffel Tower

[00:11:38] Annie Sargent: Okay, so your third favorite was the Eiffel Tower.

[00:11:41] Elsa Acevedo: Yes. So the Eiffel Tower, it was our second time, but we enjoyed it as much. The only thing we did different this time is that another day, we went on a day with the family and another day, we decided to go with my husband and have dinner. So that was something great. You know, you get to see the Eiffel Tower again in the night.

[00:12:03] Elsa Acevedo: We went earlier with the kids, but another day we decided to go have a nice dinner with the husband.

[00:12:09] Annie Sargent: That’s nice. That’s really cool. It’s kind of romantic, isn’t it? The Eiffel Tower all lit up. It’s very nice.

[00:12:16] Annie Sargent: Do you remember the name of the restaurant where you had your dinner?

[00:12:19] Elsa Acevedo: It’s Madame Brasserie.

[00:12:22] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:12:22] Elsa Acevedo: It’s the cheaper one, because the other one is the Michelin one, so it’s a little, it’s a little cheaper, but it’s still a nice experience. You have your times, you have everything, you get to pick your food. And like you said,it’s romantic. We had the dinner, so before we left our dinner, the Eiffel Tower lights were on already.

[00:12:41] Annie Sargent: Cool. So this was on the Eiffel Tower that you had your dinner.

[00:12:46] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, we did. We did.

[00:12:47] Louvre Museum

[00:12:47] Very cool. All right, let’s move on to your next, which was the Louvre Museum. Hmm.

[00:12:53] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, this is our second time. We really enjoyed it more the second time. This time, we decided that we just wanted to go to one section and that’s it. We didn’t want to go see the Mona Lisa. The first time was horrendous, the line, just to go see her. So this time we decided, no, we’ve already did that.

[00:13:12] Napoleon’s Apartments

[00:13:12] Elsa Acevedo: We did the Napoleon’s Apartments, they’re called.

[00:13:15] Elsa Acevedo: So we did that section. Gorgeous. We really liked it. And then we did a couple of sculptures and that’s it. We were there for about, maybe, I want to say, an hour and a half max, and we were done. Let’s go.

[00:13:27] Annie Sargent: That’s really smart, really, really smart. When you’re with kids, you don’t want to be in there too long, they’re just going to go nuts. So yeah, that’s very smart. And picking just one thing you want to see and out of there, you know. Because otherwise, it gets to be really painful. And of course there are also, you know, I had this lady on the podcast long ago that does treasure hunts in the Louvre. And those are fun as well to do as a family, but you know, you don’t have to do that. You can just set yourself, decide what you’re going to go see and just go do that.

[00:14:04] Elsa Acevedo: That’s what we did. I thought about what you mentioned about before, but this time we said, you know what, let’s just really focus on that one that we didn’t even know about it until recently, that we started looking again, getting ready for the trip, where we’re going to go and all that stuff, that I found out about the apartments.

[00:14:21] Elsa Acevedo: And then my daughter mentioned it to me too, and I said, you know what? Let’s just look at it on the map and see where it’s located and we’ll just go directly there and that’s it, you know? And we really, even the kids really enjoyed it more than the first time. So the second time was like, mom, we should do this more often, you know, even though it’s sometimes hard to hear that from them.

[00:14:44] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and the Napoleon III apartments are just amazing. Like, whoa.

[00:14:49] Elsa Acevedo: It’s like, wow.

[00:14:50] Annie Sargent: So did you think it was more lavish than Versailles or less than Versailles?

[00:14:57] Elsa Acevedo: No, more. More lavish. Yes.

[00:15:01] Annie Sargent: It’s also newer, right? Because Versailles was Louis the 14th, and this is Napoleon III, so this 1800s, so it’s newer and they’re just absolutely fabulous.

[00:15:13] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, it is. it’s a really, I think it’s a must to go see, you know, because again, there might be a lot of people that like certain stuff, but I think it’s a must. It’s like an eye opener too, you know?

[00:15:23] Annie Sargent: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

[00:15:25] Elsa Acevedo: So I really enjoyed it.

[00:15:26] Disneyland Paris

[00:15:26] Annie Sargent: Your fifth favorite was Disneyland Paris, I bet. Tell us about that.

[00:15:32] Elsa Acevedo: So again, this was our second time. This time we decided not to go to both parks, because last time we did two parks in one, you know, in one day. So this time we decided just go to the main one and enjoy the rides, basically. That’s what we did, the kids. So it’s something that if you’re there in Paris and you have kids, I’m not saying it’s a must, but it’s recommended.

[00:15:56] Elsa Acevedo: You know, if you can, do it, it’s something that they’ll enjoy, they’re familiar with and you know, you need to do kid stuff too. You know,

[00:16:06] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And it’s not that different from the one in LA, right?

[00:16:11] Elsa Acevedo: Not really. No. No, no, no. There’s a couple of that, but it’s also good because you’ll see the differences, you know, kind of like, oh, the ride is a little different than the one in LA and you know, like the Pirates of the Caribbean is different. And so they like that. Indiana Jones is completely different.

[00:16:30] Elsa Acevedo: They’re at a good age. They like rides and you compare it, you know?

[00:16:34] I think for kids, it’s a very fun thing to do. I mean, obviously, it’s Disney, you know? They know what they’re doing. They’re great for kids, like people love them. That’s wonderful.

[00:16:44] Annie Sargent: And getting there, there weren’t any difficulties for you just taking the RER all the way there and whatever?

[00:16:50] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:16:50] Elsa Acevedo: And we’re there.

[00:16:52] Elsa Acevedo: And it’s really easy. It’s impossible getting lost, you know? It’s just getting the RER to take you there and then you’re there. Basically, you’re outside of the door.

[00:17:00] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes. It drops you off very close to the door. And it is a bit of a long ride, depending where you start. But starting from Picpus, it was shorter for you.

[00:17:12] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, it was.

[00:17:13] Annie Sargent: You were kind of already in the West of Paris, so very nice.

[00:17:17] Disneyland Tips

[00:17:17] Annie Sargent: Do you have any tips for people on where to eat at Disneyland or how to get through the rides faster or anything like that?

[00:17:25] Elsa Acevedo: I know there’s options of buying. We didn’t, to be honest with you, there’s options of getting on the rides faster, but we didn’t do that. We were in a plan to like as many as we can, and that’s it, you know.

[00:17:37] Elsa Acevedo: Again, we went on a day that maybe wasn’t busy. We kind of looked in Google to see what days weren’t busy, and generally, it said Tuesdays and sometimes Wednesdays and Thursdays.

[00:17:49] Elsa Acevedo: But I remember hearing one of your podcasts that Wednesday sometimes kids get out early from school. So then I said, no, let’s do Tuesday. And then it worked pretty well. I mean, I think Disney is always going to be busy. But it was not that busy, I think, or busy enough that we were able to get on the rides the kids wanted to get on.

[00:18:08] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:18:09] Elsa Acevedo: It’s impossible, I think any Disney, to get on all the rides, you know. Nowadays, it’s too much people go in, so.

[00:18:15] Elsa Acevedo: Too many people, yeah, yeah, yeah.The food is, we just got regular food that they sell there. I mean, it’s not the best, but it’s not the worst. And you know, it’s good. It’s edible, you know. It’s Disney food, what can I say?

[00:18:29] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it is Disney food.

[00:18:30] Elsa Acevedo: It’s Disney food. If you were to go to those fancy, like, retu ones, then I guess it would be a different story. But, you know, normally, it’s just regular Disney food.

[00:18:40] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Even in Paris, it’s still Disney food.

[00:18:43] Elsa Acevedo: Exactly.

[00:18:44] Yeah.

[00:18:44] Musée de l’Armée

[00:18:44] Annie Sargent: Your nextfavorite was the Musée de l’Armée, which is interesting. What did you think

[00:18:50] Annie Sargent: of that? Again, I have three boys, so, I don’t know, they, first time we went, we didn’t finish seeing it all completely. So this time my oldest son said, you know what mom, we got to go finish it. So it has a lot of, again, the title kind of tells you what it is. So it has a lot of old time, like swords. My kids are into swords and all that stuff, so for them was like, lovely. And then learning a little bit of World War II, World War I, it’s just, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a boy thing or what, but they enjoyed it so much.

[00:19:25] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:19:26] Elsa Acevedo: They even enjoyed, there’s one section that we had not seen, and there’s like little Legos showing you how Napoleon, you know, how they would organize their battles.

[00:19:37] Elsa Acevedo: So they had little men and they’re like literally, like little Legos. So they enjoyed that, you know?

[00:19:42] Annie Sargent: Yeah, the little soldiers. Tiny miniature soldiers.

[00:19:46] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, representing the soldiers.

[00:19:47] Annie Sargent: Right, and you see the battles and who was where and that. Yeah, because it was so different. I mean, war back then was a completely different animal, but it’s a beautiful museum.

[00:19:58] Elsa Acevedo: And the uniforms that they would wear, the soldiers and stuff like that. So, I don’t know, for me it’s exciting, but for my boys it’s like, wow, you know, they loved it.

[00:20:07] And they have such beautiful, I mean, they have a lot of weapons, old weapons, and they also have a lot of very fancy armory, stuff that the knights and kings covered up with, you know. And the stuff they used to put on the horses to show off. I mean, these are not the types of armors that they wore in battle.

[00:20:29] Elsa Acevedo: These were beautiful armors for events to show off. And then you would see like the stages, right? So this is what he wore when he was like 10, which I don’t think he was in the battle at 10, you know, or I mean, or younger than that.

[00:20:45] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:20:45] Elsa Acevedo: And then as they start growing up, you know, so it’s fun, it’s fun that the kids really enjoy that.

[00:20:51] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and I recently, I heard a historian speaking about the fact that because we see these fancy armors, they weigh a lot and they are very elaborate, we think that’s how they fought in battle, but that’s not actually what they wore in actual battle. For battle, they had much lighter, much simpler armor, that was just designed to protect them, and that was not near as heavy as the stuff you see at the Musée de l’Armée.

[00:21:20] Elsa Acevedo: Interesting. Interesting. But it makes sense, you know? How would you walk with that?

[00:21:24] Annie Sargent: Yeah, because some of these armors are like 30, 40 kilos. That’s, you know, that’s like 60 pounds extra. Now, you know, you can put on 20 pounds extra. Perhaps, if you’re very strong, 30 or 40 pounds extra. But after that you can’t move.

[00:21:42] Elsa Acevedo: That’s true. Yeah.

[00:21:44] Annie Sargent: I think a modern soldier or modern firefighters, they carry about maximum 40 pounds of equipment.

[00:21:54] Elsa Acevedo: Okay. Makes sense.

[00:21:55] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. yeah. So it wasn’t any worse back then. It was about that, but it’s just that we see the beautiful stuff and we figure that’s what they wore in battle. But not quite, not quite.

[00:22:06] Annie Sargent: But the Musée de l’Armée is definitely a favorite, usually of boys, you know?

[00:22:13] But I think even girls would enjoy it.

[00:22:14] Annie Sargent: I mean, I’m a girl and I like it really, I really like it.

[00:22:18] My boys really loved it. My daughter was like, eh. But the boys were just, you know, that’s where they wanted to go and you know, that’s where we took them.

[00:22:26] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah.

[00:22:27] Musée de L’Orangerie

[00:22:27] Annie Sargent: All right. The next one was the Orangerie Museum.

[00:22:30] Elsa Acevedo: We really liked it. It’s small, nothing like, you know, the Louvre, so we really enjoyed it. You know, it’s something small. It was our first time,and then the kids had been taking a couple of French classes before, so they’ve talked about Monet. So they, you know, it kind of identified it and it was like, again, a simple, easy museum to do with kids.

[00:22:54] Annie Sargent: I really recommend it. That’s an excellent recommendation.

[00:22:57] Elsa Acevedo: Yeah, it’s like a introduction maybe and depending how it works, it works. You know, maybe we can go to another museum. This one for art, I really enjoyed it. The kids really enjoyed it too, because it wasn’t like massive, too much, you know,

[00:23:11] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. It’s not the sort of museum where you spend more than, I guess in an hour you can be all done, like perhaps an hour and a half, if you take your time. But it’s not super big, it’s not super tiring. You see the end of it, you know, you walk around this bottom part that has the permanent collection. And of course, Monet’s Water Lilies, well, that’s just, you just sit. I mean, they even have seats in the center. So if you can sit down, you can just look at them and just go, wow, how did he paint that? That’s weird.

[00:23:44] Yes, yes, yes. Even if the, you know, it’s weird, like you said, different distance, you could see different things, you know, it’s like, wow. I didn’t think you can do that.

[00:23:53] Museum of Natural History

[00:23:53] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And then you went, number eight, you went to the Museum of Natural History, and that is one that’s obviously wonderful for kids, but do tell me why they enjoyed it so much.

[00:24:04] You know what? That one, we really enjoyed as a family, everybody. So many bones. It was just hot. The only thing, the only negative thing about that day, and there was no AC there.

[00:24:15] Annie Sargent: Oh, ah.

[00:24:17] Elsa Acevedo: But it was really, the kids really enjoyed it. A lot of bones. A lot of bones. You could see,a lot of pictures that we took there that kids like that.

[00:24:25] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Lots of bones.

[00:24:27] Elsa Acevedo: Yes. Lots of bones. Everywhere you turn, you see different, you know. And it’s interesting because you’re like, oh, I wonder what this is. You know, and you try to figure out what it did. Some of the names were in English, some weren’t. But then, you know, they have their sign, it was in French, and sometimes they had only the scientific name.

[00:24:47] Elsa Acevedo: But then with the scientific name, you can try to figure it out. A lot of the scientific names are probably like in Latin. So since we speak Spanish, maybe you can, you know, we kind of figure it out, oh yes, it’s a whale, or you know, a deer.

[00:25:00] Yeah, because if you speak Spanish or French, you usually understand one another. It’s, I mean, it’s not exactly the same, but there are similarities enough to understand basic words for basic animals and things like that.

[00:25:14] The Catacombs

[00:25:14] Annie Sargent: And the next day, you also saw a lot of bones because you went to the catacombs.

[00:25:20] Elsa Acevedo: Those bones are following us. Yes. That one, I’ll be honest with you, at first I would’ve said no. We saw YouTube, we had heard you, and we said, let’s give it a try. We really enjoyed it. It’s really cool inside, seeing so many, again, bones.

[00:25:39] No, but the temperature is important, right? Because you’re cool down there.

[00:25:42] Elsa Acevedo: It is. It is. And it’s also an eye opener. Like, these bones are human, but you know, it’s like there’s no more space and that’s what happens, you know? So at first, they stopped me of going there because I thought it was going to be kind of like creepy, but no, it wasn’t, it wasn’t creepy at all.

[00:26:00] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:26:01] Elsa Acevedo: We enjoyed it. The kids enjoyed it, and you know, we had fun there.

[00:26:05] Annie Sargent: I think it’s kind of sobering to think that these people are just as alive as you and me at one point, and now they’re no longer. So the message to me is, enjoy today, because you know it’s not going to last forever. Yeah.

[00:26:23] Elsa Acevedo: Yes. yeah, yeah. So not creepy, recommended. And again, it’s a different way of seeing, you know, bones and eventually, we are all going to be bones, you know.

[00:26:32] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So had you booked your tickets in advance for the catacombs?

[00:26:37] I did most of the stuff online. And if you want, I’ll tell you after, as soon as we’re done with number 10. And then I’ll tell you how I did the tickets.

[00:26:46] Annie Sargent: Yeah, this is important. People need to know the tips for not getting stuck waiting in line forever. Yeah.

[00:26:52] Opéra Garnier

[00:26:52] Annie Sargent: Opéra Garnier is your number 10 and I love it too.

[00:26:56] Elsa Acevedo: It was our first time. It is beautiful. I really, I’ve heard it before in podcast and YouTube, everywhere they tell you, if you don’t have time to go to Versailles, go there. If you go to both, it’s great, but if you don’t have time for Versailles, definitely that’s a must in Paris, you know?

[00:27:15] Elsa Acevedo: It’s beautiful. It is beautiful.

[00:27:18] Annie Sargent: And you actually did all three. So you went to Versailles, you went to the Napoleon Apartments, and you went to the Opéra Garnier. So which one was the most impressive?

[00:27:30] Elsa Acevedo: That was a hard one. I think it’s hard for me to pick one. I think every single venue has a lot, you know, to learn and to see and, you know, admire.

[00:27:41] Annie Sargent: Yeah. All right.

[00:27:42] Tips and Tricks for Families

[00:27:42] Annie Sargent: So now tell us about your tips and tricks to make it a great family affair, what you learned.

[00:27:50] Elsa Acevedo: Definitely, I think I put my priority is, where to stay. And I definitely, you hear pros and cons about Airbnb. We have never had any bad experience with it, but I definitely think when you go as a family, it is much better staying in an apartment. If it’s not Airbnb, it could be another website, but as long as you stay in an apartment, I think it’s like a must.

[00:28:15] You learn, I’m not going to say a complete experience of how to live in France or the city where you are, but you kind of, you know, wet your toes a little on it, like buying stuff at a supermarket and all that stuff, because I’m not, we had a couple of dinners at home or breakfast at home. So I think with kids, it’s the best thing you can do.

[00:28:38] How many hours were they out?

[00:28:38] Annie Sargent: How many hours each day were you out and visiting stuff?

[00:28:44] Elsa Acevedo: I think there was days that we were longer than others, but definitely I think we tried to leave the house like around 10 ish and then get home by seven or eight. There was days we stayed a little longer, but it just depends.

[00:29:02] Yeah. But you are out a good long time every day.

[00:29:06] Elsa Acevedo: Yes. And there was days that were shorter. I’m not going to, sometimes maybe we were getting headed home at seven. It just depends on the day. Sundays, it’s hard to stay late because a lot of things were closed.

[00:29:18] Elsa Acevedo: And we learned that we needed to get home before seven if we wanted to buy anything from Monoprix. It was just, we had.

[00:29:28] Elsa Acevedo: We had Franprix, Monoprix, and we had, is it called Lidl?

[00:29:33] Annie Sargent: Yes. Lidl, Franprix, Monoprix, yeah, those are three big supermarket chains in all over France.

[00:29:41] Elsa Acevedo: They were just on the same block where we were at, you know, the same street. So some, you walked a little further, but they were there. So we had a lot of options. If they didn’t have something you were looking for at one store, they had it at the other one. So I definitely think Airbnb for a family, it is great.

[00:29:59] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:30:00] Elsa Acevedo: Than an apartment.

[00:30:01] Annie Sargent: And makes it much easier because you have more room. I mean, and booking, you could have booked three or four hotel rooms, but that gets really expensive very quickly.

[00:30:12] Annie Sargent: Yeah,

[00:30:12] Elsa Acevedo: Definitely, definitely.

[00:30:14] Annie Sargent: For a family, you pay perhaps, I don’t know what, 200 a night?

[00:30:19] Elsa Acevedo: A little less than 200.

[00:30:21] Annie Sargent: Oh, there you go. Oh, that’s good. It’s a good price. You did great.

[00:30:25] Elsa Acevedo: I think we paid like less than 150, but again, we’re not at the center. Where we’re on, you know, we were further more, but we’re still in Arrondissement 12. It wasn’t that bad.

[00:30:36] There was metros, so as long as you have a metro really close to you, then you know, you’re fine.

[00:30:44] Annie Sargent: Yeah. That’s great. All right.

[00:30:46] Reservations and Tickets

[00:30:46] Annie Sargent: The other tip you had was about reservations, tickets.

[00:30:50] Elsa Acevedo: Tickets, we got the Paris Museum Pass.

[00:30:54] Elsa Acevedo: Sowe enjoy it. I mean, it pays it off right away. We got it for the, I think the max they sell is for six days or something like that, and that’s what we did. We just organized our days to fit that. And practically, I had a kind of like a little, what is it, like a schedule of what we were going to do every day, and I reserved everything. I’m not going to lie that we were there on time all the time. No, we weren’t.

[00:31:21] Elsa Acevedo: I tried to reserve everything between the earliest to start was 10 to 10:30. Most of the places open around 9 or 9-ish. And most of the time, we were late.

[00:31:33] Elsa Acevedo: But we were able to go to all the venues.

[00:31:38] Elsa Acevedo: So basically, we just got there, we would show them that we had a reservation and they would say, oh, just give me a second and go in. You know? So for us it was just like a pass.

[00:31:48] Elsa Acevedo: Like we had some pass to get on everything. We had reservations for mostly everything. The only one that I had a hard time was the Natural Museum of History.

[00:31:59] Annie Sargent: Hmm. Because it’s not included.

[00:32:01] Elsa Acevedo: It’s not included, basically. That’s the only one that I have. The Eiffel Tower’s not included. Which one else is not included? The catacombs were not included, and Opéra Garnier was not included. So those are the only reservations that I think I did.

[00:32:17] Very good. Yeah. I used to recommend that all the time. I’m not sure it’s as good a deal as it used to be, because you used to be able to go in several times. So if you wanted to go back to the Louvre a few times, you could just do it on that one.

[00:32:36] So did you reserve a time for the Louvre through the Museum Pass?

[00:32:42] Elsa Acevedo: Yes I did. So what you do is, I actually bought the Museum Pass online. paid like, I think 3 euros more, but that was the only way I could make the reservation for the Louvre. And I didn’t want to risk it and not be able to go.

[00:32:58] Annie Sargent: Mm-hmm.

[00:32:58] Elsa Acevedo: And the only reason is, most of the websites, if you go through the Paris Museum Pass, it’ll direct you straight to the other museum that you want to make the reservations. So you did the reservations or some didn’t direct you, but you would just put the option that it’s I think it’s a, it depends on each website of the museums, but generally, it says, Free entrance, and then you would just put that it was a Paris museum. You would click on it and they would reserve.

[00:33:26] Elsa Acevedo: But for the Louvre, you needed to have a specific number that they give you for each pass.

[00:33:32] Annie Sargent: I see.

[00:33:33] So then I was like, you know what? I’m not going to risk it and you know, get to Paris and not having that, the Louvre. So what I did is I just bought them online and I paid a little, like I said, three euros per pass.

[00:33:46] Elsa Acevedo: Again, the kids, you don’t have to buy the pass. So it was only my daughter and my husband and I that bought the pass. So it was three passes.

[00:33:54] Annie Sargent: Right, right.

[00:33:54] Elsa Acevedo: Because remember, kids are free.

[00:33:56] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes, yes. So technically, it’s European kids, but I mean, they never ask you, they just, they’re kids. You go in.

[00:34:06] Elsa Acevedo: Yes. And last time, we did it the same way. And I said, no, I’m not going to risk it. I’m just going to buy them. And the kids, if they tell me that, no, then I’ll just buy it over there. There’s no problem. You know? So, again, I guess reservations, I think it’s a must in Paris. We went in June, so it’s not that busy, but I could certainly imagine July, August, and I know a lot of tourists just going now back to Europe after all this COVID nonsense that we’ve had, that I definitely think that it is great to have your reservations. The only thing is that you would need to make sure that you’re able to go that day, you know?

[00:34:46] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yes.

[00:34:48] Elsa Acevedo: That’s the only thing.

[00:34:50] Annie Sargent: Well, and also, if you reserve in advance, then you know you’re not going to show up on a day when it’s closed. Because it happens to a lot of people. They’re like, oh, I want to go to Versaillesand it’s Tuesday, it’s closed.

[00:35:05] Elsa Acevedo: Yes.

[00:35:07] Annie Sargent: So anyway. Very good.

[00:35:09] Learn a little bit of French

[00:35:09] Elsa Acevedo: And then I guess, another tip I had mentioned was, learning a little bit of French or at least the clues of like, do you speak English or do you speak Spanish?

[00:35:19] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And it wasn’t difficult, was it?

[00:35:23] Elsa Acevedo: It wasn’t. It wasn’t. And like you said, you said it a lot, you know, the key point is, you know, Bonjour, Merci.

[00:35:30] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:35:31] Elsa Acevedo: And that gets you a lot of places. And I guess an advantage we have is that if they didn’t speak Spanish, they spoke English or vice versa, you know?

[00:35:40] Yeah, learning a little bit it goes a long way. Just learn the polite words and you’ll be just fine.

[00:35:45] Metro cards

[00:35:45] Elsa Acevedo: And then I also put the metro cards. Definitely Navigo. If you’re going to use the Metro, that is the best thing you can do. The Navigo card, it is a lot cheaper, and again, it’s something that we recycled, because the card, we didn’t have to buy it anymore. We used it again. It’s a lot easier since you have that physical card.

[00:36:05] Elsa Acevedo: Again, my husband went online and we bought it. We landed in Paris, we had our card activated and it had funds, you know.

[00:36:12] Annie Sargent: That’s great. Yes. And if you don’t have your Navigo cards already, you can get something called Navigo Easy, and I think they cost like 1.50 EUR. And you don’t even need a photo for that one. But you need one per person, and then you load up the T tickets, is what they’re called. Those are the tickets that will let you go around the central areas of Paris.

[00:36:39] Annie Sargent: But it includes Picpus, so you know, it includes quite a bit.

[00:36:44] No, we get the one that it’s, well with this one we got the one that does all five of them or something. So we had Disneyland, we had it, it pays it off. Uh, honestly, just with the Disneyland, just getting from the airport.

[00:36:56] Annie Sargent: And Versailles.

[00:36:58] Elsa Acevedo: And Versailles, that’s it, you know, it pays your whole week.

[00:37:01] Getting around

[00:37:01] And so you used Apple Maps to get around?

[00:37:04] Elsa Acevedo: Apple and Citymapper. So whatever worked better, worked better. I really enjoy Citymapper because it even helps you with the metros too. But sometimes, when it comes to the streets, then it would be Apple Maps. For getting on the metros or which metro to get off or what station to get off, what exit to use, Citymapper, I think it’s the best.

[00:37:27] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s really helpful. It’s really helpful. Another one that’s also very good is the Bonjour app. It’s the official RATP app, and it works great as well. But you know, whatever you’re used to and comfortable using, that’s what you should do. But you do need a navigation app, otherwise, ugh, it’s complicated without it.

[00:37:49] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, it’s funny, we divided ourselves. I’m always a Citymapper girl. And then my husband was the Bonjour one. . My daughter was helpful. So it’s like, look and see.

[00:38:00] Annie Sargent: Somehow you were going to get there. Yeah. It’s a team effort. That’s great. That’s great.

[00:38:05] Flash Invaders

[00:38:05] Annie Sargent: All right. What about the Flash Invaders?

[00:38:08] Elsa Acevedo: That one because of YouTube here, there, whatever, we got into it. It’s just the app you install in your phone, it’s free and it keeps your eyes busy looking for those little invaders, even adults.

[00:38:24] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. So you found a bunch of them. They’re all over Paris, really.

[00:38:29] Not a lot, but we did, you know, we did. And it’s like, sometimes it works, sometimes it even the app will tell you if it’s an original or a fake one, basically. So we enjoyed,you know, like I said, it’s a different way of looking at the city because you’re looking for that. It makes it fun.

[00:38:46] Plan if your kids get lost

[00:38:46] Annie Sargent: And you had a plan for if your kids get lost, tell us about that.

[00:38:50] Elsa Acevedo: Yes. That one, I think is really important. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, or even if you’re as a couple, you know, we always make sure that if, especially when you get on public transportation or metro, you might get distracted or something. So we’ve always mentioned, you know, this is our meet point, next station, you get off and we’ll be there.

[00:39:12] Elsa Acevedo: You know, it just gives us minutes to get there, and then if you see someone dressed up with, you know that works at the metro, tell them, you know, I’m waiting for this. So I always, you know, I’ve always told the kids that. And memorize the address where we live or our phones so they can get us a hold of us, you know .

[00:39:32] Elsa Acevedo: But it’s, I think, a key key point. We saw someone getting lost exactly at Disneyland, so it’s always kind of like an eye opener that it could happen to anybody. But always, you know, always have that peace of mind and making sure the kids, it’s not getting them scared, it’s just alerting them, you know?

[00:39:48] Annie Sargent: Yeah, make a plan, discuss with them, if we get separated for any reason, this is what we should do, you know. And then you’re ready. If it happens, you’re ready. If it doesn’t happen, great.

[00:40:00] Elsa Acevedo: Exactly.

[00:40:02] Always have an alternative plan

[00:40:02] Elsa Acevedo: And my last one that I said is, always have an alternative plan, because even though you have scheduled, you know, two or three things for that day, to be honest with you, it’s only two that you end up doing with a big family. But always having that extra one just in case, so it, there was days that we ended up doing things faster than we thought we were going to do, so then we’re like, oh, well, now we have something free. Okay, why don’t we jump on the metro, and even though the distance was a little further, but we have time to go there. Or we have time to go buy this, or, oh, I wanted to go buy this. So at the end of the day, if we were done with anything, I always pack more stuff, even though I know we’re not going to make it.

[00:40:45] Elsa Acevedo: And again, planning is just looking for things that are close to like, okay, we want to go to the Louvre. Okay, what’s next around there that we can walk around after or before? So that’s basically what I would always recommend. Have that extra one that maybe if you don’t do it that day, maybe you could do it another day when you’re done, you know?

[00:41:06] Annie Sargent: Sure. Yeah.

[00:41:07] Having that metro card makes it a lot easier. That you don’t have to worry about it, you know, just swipe it and you know, you’re on the next metro to get to that other location. Or even the Paris Pass, you know, if you have that and you still have time for another museum, hey, jump into it.

[00:41:26] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah, you can do it.

[00:41:28] Differences from the last visit

[00:41:28] Annie Sargent: So what were some differences that you noticed between your last visit and this visit?

[00:41:33] First one, we saw streets a lot cleaner. A lot cleaner. To be honest with you, we didn’t even see a dog poop.

[00:41:41] Annie Sargent: Wow.

[00:41:42] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, I was really impressed, really cleaner streets. The metro was a lot cleaner. I don’t know if it because of the COVID that it gave them time. Not a lot of people were using it, but we saw everything a lot cleaner.

[00:41:57] Elsa Acevedo: A lot of, I know a lot ofmuseums and venues are getting that little lift. Maybe it’s because of the Olympics coming up. That’s what I think, but there’s a lot, a lot cleaner, a lot, lot cleaner this June that we went than, you know, two years ago in August.

[00:42:15] Annie Sargent: Wonderful. Well, Elsa, you had a good trip, didn’t you?

[00:42:21] Elsa Acevedo: We sure did. We sure did. Maybe we’ll repeat it one day.

[00:42:24] Annie Sargent: Maybe. Oh, there’s plenty more for you to see in Paris. There’s plenty you haven’t seen yet.

[00:42:29] Elsa Acevedo: It is. We’ve mentioned it before with the kids. My daughter’s, I don’t think we would go again. I’m like, no, there’s more things we could do another week.

[00:42:37] Annie Sargent: Well, and also because you live in LA, there are sometimes really good deals on airfares, so you could get lucky and get cheap flights.

[00:42:48] Elsa Acevedo: Yes. This time we booked it, through French Bee so we didn’t get to Charles, we actually flew to Orly, so we got to meet another airport, so, hey.

[00:42:57] Annie Sargent: And French Bee was okay?

[00:42:59] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, it was. I mean, it’s not the same as Air France, but.

[00:43:02] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:43:03] Elsa Acevedo: But I mean, it’s cheaper.

[00:43:04] Annie Sargent: It’s cheaper, and you got there, huh?

[00:43:06] Elsa Acevedo: Yes, we got there.

[00:43:08] Annie Sargent: That’s great.

[00:43:08] Elsa Acevedo: It’s the same hours.

[00:43:09] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s the same long flight.

[00:43:14] Elsa Acevedo: That doesn’t change.

[00:43:16] Annie Sargent: Nope. Nope. All right. Elsie, thank you so much for talking to me about your trip. I really couldn’t do this podcast without people like you who volunteer to do it. So thank you. Thank you.

[00:43:28] Elsa Acevedo: No, thank you. And hopefully this, you know, helps people decide, especially families. You can do it

[00:43:34] Annie Sargent: Yeah, you can do it. Merci beaucoup! Au revoir.


[00:43:46] Copyright

[00:43:46] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France Travel Podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and Copyright 2022 by Addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial, No Derivatives license.

Elsa and her 4 children: Going back to Paris as a family episode

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Categories: Family Travel, Paris