Family-friendly in General

Experiences in General

A hot-air balloon ride over Fontainebleau (Photo courtesy of Viator.com)

Weird, random, oddball, and just plain fun tours and activities you can sign up for in France

 
A private guide can bring the art, history, and city alive (Photo courtesy of Context Travel)

How to hire a private tour guide in France

 

Lodgings in General

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The master bedroom of this Apartment on the Champs-Élysées has a view of the Eiffel Tower (Photo courtesy of the property)

How to find and rent a vacation appartement (apartment) from $40 in France

 
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Eiffel Tower views from the living rooms in the self-catering apartments of Residence Charles Floquet (Photo courtesy of the property)

Serviced flats, residence hotels, Aparthotels, and other townhouse suite lodging in France

 
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Les Anniquins is a horse farm in the Loire Valley where doubles start at €75 a night (Photo courtesy of the property)

Stay on a working farm (Séjours à la ferme) and experience the best of French hospitality and countryside tradition

 
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The Gite Napoleon in the Alpes-de-Haute region of Provence (Photo courtesy of the property)

A place to call your own for the night or the week—renting a gîte, villa, house, or cottage in France

 
A family room can house the whole clan (Photo by John Hickey-Fry)

Crowd the clan into one room rather than renting two

 
This Provençal home in the countryside just outside of Avignon sleeps six amid olive groves, a pool, and rows of lavender—and its owners would love to visit California (Photo courtesy of Homeexchange)

Trading spaces isn't just a show on basic cable anymore. It's a way to live life like a local on your travels absolutely for free—so long as you let the local borrow your life (and home) in return.

 
This house in Normandy was looking for someone to watch the chickens and pet sheep for a couple of weeks (Photo courtesy of mindmyhouse.com)

Sleep for free on vacation by watching someone's house (and, often, watering their plants and feeding their cat)

 

Dining in General

 (Photo by Unknown)

Tips to save money on dining in France and eat better for it

 
 (Photo by Unknown)

Be your own chef and you can save money and add an extra cultural experience to your trip

 

Planning a trip to General

This Provençal home in the countryside just outside of Avignon sleeps six amid olive groves, a pool, and rows of lavender—and its owners would love to visit California (Photo courtesy of Homeexchange)

Advice, resources, & tours for families traveling in France

 
 (Photo Public Domain)

Sightseeing discounts for children, students, seniors, families, and teachers

 
A private guide can bring the art, history, and city alive (Photo courtesy of Context Travel)

France tours aimed at families

 

Sights in France

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La Tour Eiffel from the ground (Photo by Michal Long)
Eiffel Tower
Paris: Eiffel Tower

The world's most famous TV antenna

 
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The Paris Sewers (Photo by Shadowgate)
Paris Sewers
Paris: Eiffel Tower

Tour the Museum of the sewers of Paris—Way more fascinating than it sounds

 
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Skulls in the Catacombs of Paris (Photo by Joshua Veitch-Michaelis)
The catacombs of Paris
Paris: Montparnasse

L'Ossuaire Municipal is a series of tunnels stacked high with the bones of six million Parisians

 
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La Tour Montparnasse, French for "Architectural Sore Thumb" (Photo by Greg_Men)
Tour Montparnasse
Paris: Montparnasse

The best views in Paris from the only skyscraper in the city center (well, southern edge of the center)

 
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The Jardin Alpin in the Jardin des Plantes (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
Free
Jardin des Plantes
Paris: Latin Quarter

Paris's hidden garden, the Jardin Alpin, in the Jardin des Plantes park

 
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Notre Dame de Paris from pont de la Tournelle. Quai de la Tournelle on the left. (Photo by Lolowaro)
Free
Banks of the Seine
Paris: Louvre

The banks of Seine are now a park, with summertime beaches, bike paths, pedestrian zones, pools, gardens, foot bridges, and more—plus classic river cruises

 
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A tree-lined path in Jardin des Tuileries (Photo by Gala Medina)
Free
Les Tuileries
Paris: Louvre

The Tuileries are the largest and oldest public gardens in Paris

 
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A forest in the city (Photo by Yann Caradec)
Free
Bois de Boulogne
Paris: Bois de Boulogne

The Paris woods

 
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Bois de Vincennes
Paris: Paris outskirts

A formal—and formerly royal—forest just outside Paris

 
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Musée des Plans-relief
Paris: Eiffel Tower

A weirdly delightful gathering of teensy models—at 1/600th scale—of fortified towns and palaces from the 17th to 19th centuries

 
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Paleontology Museum
Paris: Latin Quarter

The National Natural History Museum's Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy Gallery is a delightful cavalcade of skeletons large and small

 
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Zoo Jardin des Plantes
Paris: Latin Quarter

This small menagerie is the second oldest zoological garden in the world

 
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Jardin de Luxembourg
Paris: St-Germain-des-Prés

The Luxembourg Gardens

 
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Parc de Buttes-Chaumont
Paris: Paris outskirts

Fabulous Paris views from a Romantic-era park

 
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Parc André Citroën
Paris: Paris outskirts

No, it's not a car park, it's a park park by the banks of the Seine

 

Experiences in France

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Cruising past Notre Dame on the Ile-de-la-Cité (Photo Unknown)

Take a sightseeing or dinner cruise on the Seine River

 
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Bicycle tours are fun for all ages (Photo by Susan Smith)

Guided bicycle tours of Paris

 

Lodgings in France

The master bedroom in the Apartment Avenue des Champs-Élysées (Photo courtesy of the property)

Appartements (rental flats and short-term tourist lets of apartments) in Paris can offer substantial savings, especially for four or more

 
A tent site by the Seine at Camping Indigo de Paris int eh Bois de Bolougne (Photo courtesy of the property)

Camping and campgrounds (terrains de camping) are a cheap way to spend the night in Paris

 

Dining in France

Crepes come in both sweet and savory varieties—so you can get both a meal and dessert! (Photo by Wally Gobetz)

Where to grab a quick, cheap meal—Crêpes, street food, and fast food in Paris

 
My mother and wife at a Parisian park bench picnic (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Where to get picnic pickings in Paris

 

Topics in France

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The Jardin Alpin in the Jardin des Plantes (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

What do do in Paris that will make the whole family happy—Sights, experiences, restaurants, tours, and more

 
Family-friendly links
Useful French phrases

Useful French for rail travel

English (anglais) French (français)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Où est? ou eh
...train station la gare lah gar
train train traah
ticket un billet uhn bee-YAY
ticket counter les guichet lay ghee-SHAY
departures within the hour départs dans l'heure day-PAR dohn luhr
local departures départs banlieue day-PAR bahn-LYOO
long-distance departures départs grandes lignes day-PAR grahnd leenyh
departure time heure de départ uhr de day-PAR
arrival time heure d'arrivée urh dar-ree-YAV
first class première classe pruh-mee-YAIR klahs
second class seconde classe say-COHN-duh klahs
one way ticket un billet simple uhn bee-YAY SAHM-pluh
round trip (return) ticket un billet aller-retour uhn bee-YAY ah-LAY RAY-tour
I would like to reserve a seat Je voudrais réserver une place dzuh voo-DRAY RAY-sair-vay ooun plahs
I have a Eurailpass J'ai Eurailpass dzay ao-rail-PAHS
sleeping couchette une couchette ooun koo-SHET
berth in a sleeping car une place en voiture-lit ooune plahs uhn vwa-TOUR-lee
track voie
or
quai
vwa
or
kay
car / carriage voiture vwa-TOUR
punch your ticket composter de billet cohm-poh-STAY de bee-YAY
departures le départ luh day-PAR
arrivals l’arrivée lah-ree-VAY
connection correspondance ko-ray-spon-DOHNZ
coming from en provenance de un pro-veh-NONS de
going to a destination de ah des-tee-nah-tzee-YOWN de
Is this the right platform for the Paris train? Est-ce que c’est le quai pour le train de Paris? es kuh say le kay poo-rh leh traah de pah-REE
delayed en retard hn ruh-TAR
information information een-for-mah-tzee-YOHN
left luggage consigne cone-sah-NYEH
exit sortie sohr-TEE

Useful French for air travel

English (anglais) French (français)   Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is... Où est? ou eh
...the airport l'aéroport lair-oh-POR
the airplane l'avion lah-vee-YOHn
terminal terminal tehr-me-NAHL
flight vol vohl
gate porte pohrt
customs douane do-AHN
to the right à droite ah dwa-t
to the left à gauche ah go-sh
straight ahead tout droit too dwa
departures hall Hall de départ ahl de day-PAR
arrivals hall Hall d’arrivée ahl da-ree-VAY
exit sortie sohr-TEE
delayed en retard hn ruh-TAR
on time à l’heure ah LOUR
early en avance hn ah-VAHNS
check-in l’enregistrement lun-rej-ee-stray-MUN
immigration l'immigration lim-ee-grah-SYON
security check le contrôle de sécurité luh kon-TROLL de say-cure-ee-TAY
shuttle la navette lah na-VET
boarding pass une carte d’embarquement ooun kart dem-bark-eh-MUHn
baggage claim la livraison des bagages la lee-vray-SOHn day bah-GA-j
carry-on luggage les bagages à main lay bah-GA-j ah meh
checked luggage les bagages enregistrés lay bah-GA-j on-ray-jee-STRAY

Useful French for car travel

English (anglais) French (français)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
car une voiture
or
une auto
ouhn vwa-TOUR
or
ouhn ow-TOH
scooter/motorboke une moto ouhn mo-TOH
gas station station-service stah-see-YOHN sair-VEES
gas de l'essence deh lay-SAWNS
diesel le gasolio
or
le gazole
leh gah-SOL-lyo
or
luh gag-ZOHL
Fill it up, please faire le plein, s'il vous plaît fair le plahn seel voo play
Where is... Où est? ou eh
...the highway l'autoroute lao-toh-ROOT
...the road la route lah root
...the street la rue lah roo
...the road for Paris
la route de Paris
lah root de pah-REE
to the right à droite ah dwa-t
to the left à gauche ah go-sh
keep going straight tout droit too dwa
to cross traverser trah-vair-SAY
toll un péage uhn PAY-ahj
parking stationner stah-see-yo-NAIR
road map carte routière kahrt roo-tee-YAIR
roundabout rond point rohn pwea
junction carrefour cah-ruh-FOUr


Typical road signs

English (anglais) French (français) 
Speed limit Limit de vitesse
Slow down Ralentissez
Stop Arrêt
Exit  Sortie
Give way Cedez le passage
Give way to traffic coming from the left/right Priorité à gauche / à droit
No passing Interdiction de doubler/dépasser
One-way Sens-unique
No entry Sens interdit
Road closed Route barrée
Detour Déviation
Risk of ice Verglas
Dead-end Impasse
Speed camera Radar de vitesse
Pedestrian crossing Passage piéton
Parking prohibited Stationnement interdit
Pedestrian zone Zone piétonnne

Basic phrases in French

English (anglais) French (français) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you merci mair-SEE
please s'il vous plaît seel-vou-PLAY
yes oui wee
no non no
Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais? par-lay-VOU on-GLAY
I don't understand Je ne comprende pas zhuh nuh COHM-prohnd pah
I'm sorry Je suis desolée zhuh swee day-zoh-LAY
How much does it cost? Combien coute? coam-bee-YEHN koot
That's too much C'est trop say troh
     
Good day Bonjour bohn-SZOURH
Good evening Bon soir bohn SWAH
Good night Bon nuit  bohn NWEE
Goodbye Au revoir oh-ruh-VWAH
Excuse me (to get attention) Excusez-moi eh-skooze-ay-MWA
Excuse me (to get past someone) Pardon pah-rRDOHN
Where is? Où est? ou eh
...the bathroom la toilette lah twah-LET
...train station la gare lah gahr

Days, months, and other calendar items in French

English (anglais) French (français) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quand est-il ouvert? coan eh-TEEL oo-VAIR
When does it close? Quand est l'heure de fermeture?   coan eh lure duh fair-mah-TOUR
At what time... à quelle heure... ah kell uhre
     
Yesterday hier ee-AIR
Today aujoud'hui ow-zhuhr-DWEE
Tomorrow demain duh-MEHN
Day after tomorrow après demain ah-PRAY duh-MEHN
     
a day un jour ooun zhuhr
Monday Lundí luhn-DEE
Tuesday Maredí mar-DEE
Wednesday Mercredi mair-cray-DEE
Thursday Jeudi zhuh-DEE
Friday Vendredi vawn-druh-DEE
Saturday Samedi saam-DEE
Sunday Dimanche DEE-maansh
     
a month un mois ooun mwa
January janvier zhan-vee-YAIR
February février feh-vree-YAIR
March mars mahr
April avril ah-VREEL
May mai may
June juin zhuh-WAH
July juillet zhuh-LYAY
August août ah-WOOT
September septembre sep-TUHM-bruh
October octobre ok-TOE-bruh
November novembre noh-VAUM-bruh
December décembre day-SAHM-bruh

Numbers in French

English (anglais) French (français) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 un ehn
2 deux douh
3 trois twa
4 quatre KAH-truh
5 cinq sank
6 six sees
7 sept sehp
8 huit hwhee
9 neuf nuhf
10 dix dees
11 onze ownz
12 douze dooz
13 treize trehz
14 quatorze kah-TOHRZ
15 quinze cans
16 seize sez
17 dix-sept dee-SEP
18 dix-huit dee-SWEE
19 dix-neuf dee-SNEUHF
20 vingt vahn
21* vingt et un * vahnt eh UHN
22* vingt deux * vahn douh
23* vingt trois * vahn twa
30 trente truhnt
40 quarante kah-RAHNT
50 cinquante sahn-KAHNT
60 soixante swaa-SAHNT
70 soixante-dix swa-sahnt-DEES
80 quatre-vents  kat-tra-VAHN
90 quatre-vents-dix  kat-tra-vanht-DEES
100 cent sant
1,000 mille meel
5,000 cinq mille sank meel
10,000 dix mille dees meel


* You can form any number between 20 and 99 just like the examples for 21, 22, and 23. For x2–x9, just say the tens-place number (trente for 30, quarante for 40, etc.), then the ones-place number (35 is trente cinq; 66 is soixsante six). The only excpetion is for 21, 31, 41, etc. For x1, say the tens-place number followed by "...et un" (trente et un, quarante et un, etc.).

‡ Yes, the French count very strangely once they get past 69. Rather than some version of "seventy,' they instead say "sixy-ten" (followed by "sixty-eleven," "sixty-twelve,' etc. up to "sixty-nineteen.") And then, just to keep things interesting, they chenge it up again and, for 80, say 'four twenties"—which always make me thinks of blackbirds baked in a pie for some reason. Ninety becomes "four-twenties-ten" and so on up to "four-nineties-ninteen" for 99, which is quite a mouthful: quartre-vingts-dix-neuf.