Bonjour, friends! I am so thrilled to be sharing our few days in Paris. I hope it will inspire and help you to plan your own family trip to France. At the bottom of the article I'll list all the places we visited and recommend.
A little introduction
My name is Victoria Strader, and I am a mother of three with one on the way. We live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas, but all of my extended family is based in England, and I was born in Paris so the place truly holds a special place in my heart.
I’ve had the honor of collaborating with Charlotte sy Dimby several times over the past few years. In 2021, we created a royal capsule collection inspired by the British royal family, my absolute favorites! With the team, we re-edited the dress worn by Princess Charlotte for my daughter Sophie and designed a coordinating baby boy bubble, and a big brother shirt to complement! You can read all about it here and shop the outfits too since they are now part of the brand’s iconics. In 2022, we designed the Sophie Cherie dress, inspired by my daughter and all things French. You can learn more here. And for this trip, we created yet another special dress!
Our family trip
Ever since our first encounter online, we have been dreaming of visiting Paris, of seeing the boutique and getting to meet in person. We have had several obstacles but never gave up and the trip finally took place this October with my husband Ben and just two of our children, Sophie aged five and John Luke almost three. It was my little ones' very first time in Paris.
We tend to plan trips during summer but fall break was a great experience and perhaps an even better moment to travel. The crowds were smaller, tourists were less numerous, the leaves were beginning to turn golden. Weather was cooler, we did get a bit of rain but it was not cold! With a light coat we were able to enjoy lots of time outdoors.
We traveled for a total of ten days, beginning with London and then Paris. We initially thought that with jet lag we’d want lots of time but looking back seven days would probably have been sufficient to fully enjoy and explore.
To get from London to Paris, we took the Eurostar. The children especially enjoyed being on the train and going in the underwater channel. It’s quick and easy, in less than three hours, you can get from one capital to another. It’s really a really smooth process and I definitely encourage visiting both capitals, it’s a great way to give children a good insight of the European way of life.
To allow extra space for our family, we had an apartment to ourselves instead of mere hotel rooms and truly appreciated it. We decided to take it easy on our first day, to walk around and soak in the Parisian ambiance rather than rush from one museum to another. We wanted the children to settle in and grasp the magic of the city.
Once we had checked in and freshened up, Sophie had her heart set on a trip to Ladurée : macarons are a must when in Paris. The lovely man working the line realized that I was pregnant and confirmed with my husband, and then ushered us to the front of the line, skipping the wait and letting Sophie and I feel like princesses. Afterwards we walked down to look at the gorgeous Arc de Triomphe which is a sight in itself and then ate at an easy bistro before heading home for early bedtimes. We had big plans first thing in the morning!
In the early days of planning our trip, I knew that I wanted to do a photo session at the Eiffel Tower. When my husband, Ben, and I first got married, we did one and still treasure the photos from ten years ago!
This time, we decided to just take photos of my daughter and I. Of course Sophie was wearing a Charlotte sy Dimby dress for the occasion. We designed a unique piece just for her, one that would coordinate with my own outfit. We stepped out of my comfort zone a little with an off white satin cotton which had a slight sheen. For the smocks we decided on soft creams with tints of pink. Given the season, we chose ¾ length sleeves. A dress we will truly cherish forever. We debated the need of a coat but it turned out to be unnecessary.
We met an English speaking photographer from Lamour de Paris at the Trocadéro at 8am, and took some lovely photos right before sunrise, and the accompanying large crowds. We had such a fun time, and then hopped in a taxi back to our apartment. We went to a nearby boulangerie to grab a few pastries for breakfast. Another example of extraordinary kindness that we experienced in Paris, the man working gave each of the children an extra pastry to enjoy as a kind gift. French pastries are so beautiful and special. Although we can get a pain au chocolat easily at home, there is nothing like enjoying a warm one in Paris! We ended up getting our photos back a few weeks later and I couldn’t possibly be more pleased with how they turned out!
After changing into less formal clothes, we headed out for a delightful morning in Paris. We love walking a lot when we explore cities, so much so that while in Paris the front tire of our stroller popped off! So a note to traveling families, check stroller tires before traveling and consider replacing. We spent some time playing at a park near the base of the Eiffel Tower, explored the 7th, and then had lunch at La Fontaine de Mars. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the Parisian art of living, We had a lovely meal sitting under the arcades with the sound of the nearby fountain, the staff was very friendly, and the modern cuisine delicious.
After lunch, we separated into boys and girls, Sophie and I had a mother daughter date to the Dior museum planned, and I didn’t think it would be appreciated much by our two and a half year old son! We had the absolute best time discovering the history of the brand.
Everything was displayed beautifully and several displays took our breath away. Sophie enjoyed it as much as I did and loved taking photos of her favorite dresses on my phone. At the end of the museum, we stopped for mocktails and a cookie to rest our legs. It was another opportunity to soak up the lovely environment of Dior!
Afterwards we hopped in a quick uber to Jardin des Tuileries, to walk around before our entry time at Musée de l’Orangerie located in the heart of the garden. To prepare the children for this experience, I had been reading them a book called “The Magical Garden of Claude Monet” by Laurence Anholt. This allowed them to appreciate Monet’s iconic work all the more. It’s a great museum to visit with young ones. The water lily painted covering the entire walls and following the curves of the room invite endless contemplation whatever the age.
Learn from my mistake, I booked tickets for the children, but they were not required. However, this did end up being kind of fun because after our time admiring the famous water lilies, I went to the long line of people waiting without tickets to enter. A young woman smiled at us, so I asked if she spoke English. Her friend did a little bit, and I explained as well as I could that I had two extra tickets, and could gift them to her. They realized quickly what I meant and were so grateful, blowing us kisses and heading to the front of the line after speaking so kindly to the children. It was a tiny encounter that became a sweet memory!
After our busy day, we decided to opt out of a formal dinner and grabbed fruit, bread, meat, cheese from the grocery nearby and ate comfortably in our apartment. Yet another advantage of having one's own place. The next day, we slept in a little bit and relaxed before heading to brunch at Angelina, the mythical Parisian institution famous for its decadent hot chocolate and pastries. The children, especially Sophie, enjoyed the grand Belle Époque décor.
After Angelina we took a car over to Jardin du Luxembourg. An absolutely stunning garden that I wish we could have stayed for hours and hours. The kids rented a sailboat and were thrilled to play with it and enjoy watching others do the same. They then took a ride on the old carousel. Another huge highlight. They loved every minute and it felt so special to be watching my children enjoy Paris.
Our next stop was finally, the children’s boutique L’Île aux Fées! A special sign on the door was awaiting Princess Sophie. We all felt instantly at home.
I was so looking forward to seeing more of the Charlotte sy Dimby dresses in person, and of course finally getting to meet my dear friend in person. We had the absolute best time and my biggest takeaway was how much more beautiful all of the smocked dresses are in person. Seeing the variety of fabrics in person just blew me away. It’s so hard to photograph the exquisite fabrics. Being able to touch, feel and admire them with your own eyes makes all the difference.
We grabbed a taxi just moments before the rain began to pour in perfect time, and the kids and I rested back in the apartment while my husband went to the Rugby World Cup village to score some merch, haha! We had big dinner plans, a reservation at Francette, on a boat at the base of the Eiffel tower. We enjoyed delicious tapas style food, had a phenomenal view of the tower, and got to see the sparkle from one of the very best views in the city. Memories I will cherish forever! It was the perfect night out before our Eurostar train back to London the next morning.
Paris is often called the most beautiful city in the world, but I will say this trip exceeded our every expectation. The kindness of everyone we met left such an impression and it was beyond special to experience the city from a family perspective. I am already counting down until our next visit!
Places to look into if you’re heading to Paris with kids for a couple of days according to Victoria
* Musée de l'Orangerie - to see Monet's Waterlilies
* Galerie Dior - for fashion lovers & for a glamourous mum and daughter outing
Places to eat for lunch or dinner :
* Fontaine de Mars - typical French bistrot
* Francette - dinner on a boat with view on the Eiffel Tower
Places for delicious pastries and macarons :
Children's clothes shop :
Follow Victoria on Instagram : @victoriastrader
Visit her blog
To receive personalised tips for your Paris trip or have a special map/illustrations made, please contact the Charlotte & Burlington family club by email at email@example.com or on Instagram @charlotteandburlington.